Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bello Maynigo Casanova: A Trailblazer

I recently got the news that my first cousin, Engineer Bello Maynigo Casanova just joined the God Almighty in Heaven. Our prayers go with our condolences to Manang Lydia and children Dodo, Lucylynn, and Boyd. His late son Bobby is meeting him at the gates of Heaven.

The last time I saw Manong Bello was during the funeral of my eldest sister, Herminia in Rosales, Pangasinan some years ago. He and Manang Lydia came all the way from Malaybalay, Bukidnon to join us in our family’s hour of mourning and grief. I remember him saying that his older sister, Manang Mining was over 100 years old. He said in a humorous tone, that he had to give her a LIFETIME pension of P10,000/month.

Manong Bello was a trailblazer in our family. Most in our family excelled in arithmetic, the older ones becoming mathematics teachers. Uncle Venancio, my father Antonio, Bello’s older brother Manong Jesus, and Manong David were good examples. They however became either School Principals or District Supervisors.

Manong Bello’s mother Auntie Pinay was the eldest sister of my father who was the youngest in the family. Brilliant with numbers Manong Bello was the first in our family to become a licensed Engineer and a very good one. He was subsequently followed by other relatives that included my only brother Pepe who was equally handsome; Engineer Jessie Casanova who was with Boeing for years; Engineer Tony Casanova who was No. 2 in the Engineering Board exams; and a few more belonging to the younger generation that included my only son Raul and the Engineer Casanova kids who now work for Boeing. Others like my late sisters Loreto and Mila as well as Manong Dado and Valentin pursued the CPA route.  Of course, more significant was that numbers became more infinite when two in our family became priests – Fr. Butch Maynigo who is now a Parish priest at Staten Island, New York and the late Fr. Cornelio Casanova.

I will never forget what the Rector of San Beda College told me when he saw the results of my aptitude exams, “Why don’t you take up Engineering?” I replied, “I want to be a lawyer. Besides, father, San Beda does not offer Engineering.”

A trailblazing “Bello, a Maynigo, and a handsome Casanova”, he met and married beautiful Manang Lydia who belongs to the famous Tabios family of Bukidnon. For that, my handsome cousin settled in that part of the country.

The Maynigo Casanova family is also noted for Poultry Raising and Piggery in our town of Rosales. Manong Bello brought this experience and exposure in this field to become the largest supplier of chicken and pork to San Miguel Corporation out of Mindanao. He and his wife also built and ran a successful grocery/supermarket business in Malaybalay.

Being married to a political family like the Tabios clan, he learned and actually mastered the political game. He became the Provincial Chairman of the Liberal Party of Bukidnon and, in fact, he even ran as the gubernatorial candidate of the party at one time. Losing the election did not diminish his political and economic influence in the province up to the time of his death.

He had a brother-in-law who was a former BIR Commissioner; another a former Congressman and Governor; and another a Dean of a college. I remember getting invited by the Dean to speak at the college once.

Manong Bello was a Man for All Seasons. He was not only a brilliant Engineer in the regular sense but he was also as smart in engineering one’s political ascendance, business endeavors and even in kickstarting one’s career as he did for many people I know. His kindness and generosity became his own trademark in the family.

"What we are is a gift given to us by God. What we become is our gift to God." 

Manong Bello was a great gift to us from God. For what he became and for what he has done on earth, he is a great gift to God.

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