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Goodbye, Francis: Rap In Peace!

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Francis MagalonaFUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
March 12, 2009 12:00 AM 

 Francis Magalona’s widow, Pia Arroyo-Magalona arranges the flowers around the urn containing Francis’ ashes.
Until the very moment when the urn containing the ashes of Francis Magalona was buried at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City yesterday, his widow, Pia Arroyo-Magalona, the Pillar of Strength, kept her widely-admired composure because that was how Francis wanted things to be: That is, no excessive show of grieving, no copious tears (even if many of the sympathizers couldn’t help it), no Good Friday faces but perhaps Easter Sunday smiles.

Francis MagalonaEven the priest, Rev. Fr. Bert Ampil, who said the Mass Tuesday night at the Christ The King Chapels in Green Meadows, Quezon City, where Francis’ remains lay since Friday night, was in a buoyant mood, reminding Francis not to really “Rest In Peace” but, yes, to “Rap In Peace.”

The 9 p.m. Mass preceded the eulogy in which Pia, along with her and Francis’ eight children, recalled their happy moments with Francis and thanked those who sympathized with them. Regine Velasquez did a heart-rending rendition of Pangako; her boyfriend Ogie Alcasid also sang, holding back tears. But Michael V., one of Francis’ bosom buddies, broke down, assuring Francis how much he love(s) him. “I love you, Francis. You know that,” sobbed Michael V. Gary sang a touching song about friendship.

Malou Choa-Fagar, an executive of Tape, Inc. which produces the GMA noontime show Eat, Bulaga! which Francis co-hosted until he was taken ill in August last year, bade “my Peter Pan” a tearful goodbye. The sober but emotional eulogy was capped by a video prepared by the Bulaga! guys (led by Joey de Leon, Vic Sotto and former Sen. Tito Sotto).

A member of the Camera Club said in his tribute that Francis, an avid camera bug, qualified for membership after only six months instead of the required one-year probation, and won a prize in the club’s Sensual Photo contest by submitting a close-up shot of Pia’s sensuous lips.

Francis MagalonaAfter the Mass that ended after midnight, Francis’ remains were brought to the Funeraria Paz on Araneta Ave., Quezon City, for the cremation that lasted for more than four hours. The ashes, collected in a bronze urn, were brought back to the Christ The King Chapels where a necrological Mass was held before Francis was brought to his final resting place, sent off by family members, friends, colleagues and fans, many of whom lined the route from Green Meadows to Marikina City — and by a dozen balloons and butterflies of varied colors that lit up the summer sky.

The urn was buried beside the tombs of Pia’s relatives and not, as earlier reported, beside those of Francis’ parents, Tita Duran and Pancho Magalona, which are at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.

Up there where angels sing, Francis must be rapping to his heart’s content. Down here, his fans continue to play and replay his nationalistic songs (Mga Kababayan Ko, Kaleidoscope World, etc.).

Malacañang has posthumously honored Francis with a Presidential Medal of Merit for promoting patriotism through music.

There’s a move to make Francis a National Artist, an honor he more than deserves.

Go ahead, Francis, Rap In Peace!

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