Julius Fortuna, comrade in arms, is now in heaven

June 23, 2009 § 7 Comments


Manong Julius Fortuna

Manong Julius Fortuna

Most distressing news—my friend and comrade, Julius Fortuna, columnist of Manila Times, died at 9 in the morning today. This is most distressing to me since I consider Julius one of my closest friends. My friend, Nick Ferrer, formerly of Philippine Star, texted me at 10:30 this morning. Reportedly, he died due to a heart attack. As of this writing, he is at the Capitol Medical Center along Quezon Avenue.

We last met two weeks ago. The last time we talked, he was complaining of his heart condition. He asked me if I know someone who wants to buy his Toyota Landcruiser. He needs it for his second angioplasty. I did my best but no one seems to warm up to the idea.

For those who do not know him, Julius Fortuna is a former political detainee. In GR No. L-49473, Julius was one among those jailed during the Marcos regime, along with Jose Luneta, Hermie Garcia, and Fernando Tayag. Julius was an active social reformer who wants to see a New Philippines. He suffered for more than 10 years before being released by the Cory government.

Julius is a prolific writer. While he also served government corporations (he was formerly a board director of PNOC), he did so without compromising his political principles. Since 1998, we helped each other fight the establishment.

Manong, Alvarez, Sen. Gordon, Obama kid and Emil Ong

Manong, Alvarez, Sen. Gordon, Obama kid and Emil Ong

He’s a well respected journalist. He organizes the regular Kapihan sa Sulo, where we usually meet. Last week, there was no Kapihan. He did’nt text me to go to greenhills for our regular Sunday meetings. I was so busy with my job and my family that sometimes, I was’nt able to go to these meetings.

Yet, the times I did go, I cherish those times I spent with Manong Julius. He’s a rich repository of History. And what’s good about all of our conversations, I learn so many things from him.

When he celebrated his birthday last year, I was there. He was jolly. What’s good about Julius is he enjoys the company of his true friends.

While we were at the funeral of another colleague, who was also a good friend of Ding Gagelonia, he said that ” bok, una una lang yan.” I felt fear. No, Manong, that eulogy of yours will never ever be with us. No. Marami pa tayong taong pagsasamahan. Marami pa tayong bundok na lalakbayin. Marami pa tayong dapat baguhin.

Manong, you who gave me a precious gift from your beloved Romblon, take care. Dun na kayo sa langit maghuhuntahan nina manong Max, Ka Doro, Ka Alejandro Roces, Ka Jose Diokno, tata Noel Cab, tata JoCap and manong Philip Tan. I miss you all.

When Noel died, Manong was inconsolable. I shared his grief. Noel was also a very good friend. Tata JoCap also made me cry.

Manong, I’ll pray for you. I’ll miss you po.


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§ 7 Responses to Julius Fortuna, comrade in arms, is now in heaven

  • Joel Tan says:

    Though expected, this news saddens me, as much as news of Noel Cabrera’s passing. What makes it even more saddening is the fact that I’m now based in Leyte and have little means to fly to Manila to pay my last respects.

    I served under and with Manong Jules in the Manila Chronicle. I considered him both mentor and friend, always approachable and seemingly on the verge of an epiphany every time we had a friendly debate over political issues.

    Truly, I learned a lot from him, and these I would forever keep as resources in my continuing journey through life.

    To Manong Jules, rest well, my friend. I hope that in your final moments you found that spark of understanding that the Philippines has become a better place because of your efforts.

    • Joel, same here. I felt numb when I saw him lying in his coffin. It was just so sudden. I felt that I don’t want to leave him there.

      yet, I left after about an hour or so. Hindi ko kayang makita ang isang kaibigang nasasa ganoong sitwasyon.

      I shed no tears for him, for I believe that, in time, magkikita kita rin kami sa langit. Duon, baka pwede kaming mag spa together, kasama sina Manong Max.

  • He was a loving cousin and an acting BIG Brother to all in his family.

    He will be missed.

    We love you Manong Beb (Julius)

    From your family in Souther California
    Fradejas Family…Toletino Family…Perito Family…Tanscionco Family…Sowles Family

    • Like you, I also share both sadness and joy, sad because I lost a friend and a mentor. Joy, because at last, Manong Jules is now safely in the hands of the Almighty.

      Manong, I hope me computer dyan.

  • Bhaves Fradejas Tansiongco - Dalida says:

    Tito Beb, (Jules)

    We will miss you. I was thankful that I was able to spend time with you in Odiongan last April. God knows that it will be our last conversation.

    We love you!!!

    We are very proud of you for all the things you did for the whole family.
    May you rest in peace and may god guide you on your journey to heaven.

    Bye beb.

    Lili Fradejas in Southern California

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