A Tribute to Sir Michael De Villa

Graphics by Netanya Escote

They say “Those who touch our lives stay in our hearts forever”, and it reigns true through the memories we’ve shared with those we love. No matter the circumstance, they never truly leave us. They live on through our actions; they live on through the memories. Sir Michael De Villa was a personality that influenced our campus with love and light. Whether you knew him as an old classmate, teacher, or friend– he was always an individual who aimed to entertain and uplift those around him. He was an inspiration that has unfortunately left us far too soon, but a lasting impact that will live on with Enderun forever. This is shown through the many stories told by the people who have experienced his guidance and support, comedic remarks, and love.

Upon reaching out to one of his dear friends Ms. Suzanne Llanera, I was able to see Sir Michael’s impact through her storytelling– how she lit up as she shared their memories together. Ms. Suzanne knew Sir Michael not only as a kind and loving soul, but as a humorous yet particular classmate. Attending Executive MBA classes together, Ms. Suzanne reminisced on their days in Titan’s Hall. From quietly chatting during class to planning out lunches in Venice Grand Canal Mall, their friendship was a joy for her to look back on. He was a great source of entertainment everywhere they went, and his straightforward yet “malambing” personality will surely be missed. She also recalled his love for animals, having seven cats of his own at home. He loved his cats dearly, and they’ve bonded through that love for animals.

The following are some memories shared by two individuals that further showcase Sir Michael as a teacher and friend:

Ms. Christine Pascual

Michael was a good friend. He was the kind of friend that stood by you no matter what. He was the thoughtful kind. He never forgot to send me a short message during my birthdays or Christmas. I will definitely miss the box of cheesy puto he always gave me during the holiday season. He knew it was my favorite so he always made sure I got a box all to myself. He never failed to invite me and our friends to get together with him just so we could catch up and update each other about what’s going on with our personal lives. I wish I knew that last February 2021 was our very last lunch together. A big part of me says I could’ve stayed longer, Michael. I should have listened more to your crazy antics, laughed a bit harder with your punchlines, but because of covid, we could not stay longer.

Looking back at our decade-old friendship, I am actually blessed to have spent and created wonderful memories with Michael. As what Bel Castro said to me when he passed, “You will always have Switzerland.” Indeed, we have made happy, funny and kenkoy memories together –like when your briefcase was almost stolen in the train, but thankfully I saw the man holding your bag and I grabbed it from him! I was your superhero hehe! Your sled refused to slide in the snow so you just decided to carry your sled while you walked down the hill and we were laughing so hard! These will stay with me forever.

Two years ago, he wished he didn’t have to go through surgery again as his body has suffered long enough from the cancer. Few days before Michael passed away, he told me that he was not in pain and that he was comfortable at home. He said “I have made my peace with my Creator and His will be done.” These gave me comfort and peace. My friend is home with His creator and redeemer and he is probably throwing punchlines up there. Rest in Peace my dear, dear friend. I love you.

Sir Paolo Reyes

Michael could be regularly found at the bar during lunchtime conducting his Service Lab class. He would run in and out of Restaurant 101 usually with a stressed out look on his face and sweat rolling down the side of his face. He would ask Manny for a Diet Coke while wiping his sweat with a handkerchief. Michael would invite me to eat at the Restaurant then bark at the students to get me the best table in the restaurant. He would sit at my table while his nervous students upsell the tongue-twister specials of the day. “Come on Hijo, you got this,” he’d encourage his student.

While waiting for the meal to arrive, Michael would point out a person in the restaurant and make up a story of how she was the sister of a movie actress who got into some scandal and flew off to a foreign country for damage control. “No, I swear it’s really her!” he would insist straight-faced while looking me in the eye. He would later hold me down as I stood to confirm his theory with the restaurant diner. He would hold back his snicker until he was wiping tears from his eyes.

At the end of one lunch, he was keen to observe that I slipped my gold SnR membership card to pay for my meal. He would keep silent as the student ran off to swipe the card and only come back later with a confused look. “You have to confirm the mode of payment before you run to the cashier,” he’d admonish with a smile. “Sir Paolo was a priest before he came to teach in Enderun but you still have to be careful.” His creativity was always his strength.

I got to visit Michael in between his cancer treatments. He toured me around his immaculately clean house and introduced me to his seven cats. He loved his cats. We had a four-hour lunch in February 2021 and still it ended too soon. We could have talked until dawn if we did not have responsibilities to meet. When we walked to our cars, he belittled his hunched back. He lost his six-foot stature to back pains. Nine months later he messaged me how he appreciated me and how we got through thick and thin. The cancer spread everywhere from his spine. He made peace with God and would be going home from the hospital. I joked that I would visit him dressed as a priest to give him my blessing. It was not meant to be. Michael went home to his Creator a week later.

Thank you, Michael, for blessing me with ten years of friendship and laughter. I value the fond memories we shared. You helped me get started as a teacher in my first year. You later pushed me forward when I was your section head and co-teacher. The 50 Saturdays of MBA classes were lighter with your comic relief. You are now at peace and free from all the pain. May you be welcomed to your eternal home with the words: “Well done good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of the Lord.”

You may also like...