Atty. Jude Ralph Villacin Yap
He is named after the two saints—St. Jude and St. Rafael. His mother is a devotee of the former and he was born on the day of the latter. Lawyer Jude Ralph Villacin Yap was born on October (he preferred not to mention the year). Every 24th and 28th day of October mark his red letter day.
On the evening of October 28, the rain was pouring moderately when I was at the gate of Villa Villacin. I was with Tita Leoni R. Pantinople, Yap’s secretary for diplomat friends. The parking spaces were still empty. We were earlier as expected. Time flies so fast, a couple of years ago, if you had read the first time I wrote about my first visit at Villa Villacin during the house warming where I met Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, together with her mother, Madam Beth.
This familiar villa greeted us with melodious music from 70s and 80s. They were settled right at the balcony of the villa echoing their powerfully blended voices; Doc Noli’s Rhythm Band all the way from Tagum City was in the house.
Meanwhile, one after the other, two by two, the guests were entering the villa carrying boxes wrapped in fancy paper. Tita Leoni and I accommodated them, making sure that they have a place to settle with to feel comfy. I saw a familiar face, the Reverend Father Jovel Bongay of the Immaculate Conception Parish of Mintal, together with his company were coming in.
While every guest in different walks of life was getting inside the villa, all of them were asking me the same question when they had approached by the door, “Where is Atty. Jude?” I just smiled at them, then, a voice from outside answered, “Nagpagupit pa!” He was Joel, the chief security guard of the mansion carrying a huge multicolored umbrella fetching guest after guest.
Not so fast, the birthday boy, Atty. Jude Ralph Villacin Yap finally arrived! At his command, all of us went upstairs. To our surprise, there was no food on the table and no catering services, either. (Not a usual scenario in a birthday bash, right?). But, I could not find any mark of dismay on the sea of faces I was with.
Suddenly, Atty. Jude appeared carrying bags of foods! To my awe, there were beautiful “Madams” from the crowd helped Atty. Jude to set the food on the table. As I observed these “Madams”, they were not just visitors. They have this “endearing relationship” with Atty. Jude. (You don’t do that in party if you were not a dear friend of the birthday celebrator?!) When almost everybody was busy in setting the food, it was then I realized that Atty. Jude was not somewhere just to groom his hair. He was buying an ample food for all of us!
While the table was not yet set, Atty. Jude was distributing bags of goodies to us as the music continues to establish warm atmosphere inside the villa. Then, Atty. Jude invited us to make a tour around Villa Villacin. When everything was in order, I called the Reverend Father Bongay to start the celebration with the blessings of the small house inside the vicinity of Villa Villacin, the two apartelles, the four cars—Ford Everest, Juke Nissan, Honda City and the vintage Volks, the newly renovated Villa Villacin, and the mini zoo of the villa. Throughout the blessing ceremonies beside Atty. Jude were his siblings and their families—Dr. Peter Yap and family from Bantayan Island of Cebu who brought shrimps, crabs and danggit; Pilot Reynaldo Yap Jr. and family; Teresita Yap Aller, a businesswoman in Cebu; and, Manual Yap, a businessman and his secretaries, Atty. Jose Yap and family.
“I want to correct the emcee, I am not “the Star” of this celebration. Everybody in this mansion is a star. Anyone who does what is good shines like a star.” The very words of Atty. Jude Ralph Villacin Yap during his speech. He ended up his speech with thanksgiving to God for the gift of life and to each and every one of us who were there. To name a few: attorney’s brothers from Lex Taliones Fraternitas—Erwin Alfaraque, City Government of Davao HRMO and Atty. Benjamin Wong, Wong Law and Associates; Mr. and Mrs. Armie Lorenzo, Comptroller of Marco Polo Davao; Jorlyn Paralisan, Registry of Deeds Deputy (Davao); Oy Ching Siong and children of DIMDI Holding Empire; attorney’s architect, Madam Sariva Mustajid; the renters—Che-che and company, Alvin, together with his mother from Japan, and Nurse Baluma; Miss Amalia, attorney’s personal secretary; Fe Gementiza, former secretary of Ayala Group of Companies for 20 years, currently attending her coconut farm; all the bank managers in Davao City and their staff; the Sales ladies and gentlemen from SM City, Ecoland and Ace Hardware; and, of course Atty. Jude’s employees and their families. It was so amazing to hear from the mouth of Atty. Jude when he mentioned our names one by one. Few of them were his relatives, some of them were his friends, and lots of them were his dear ones! But wait, he even mentioned some special people who were obviously not seen in the party that night: our very own President Rodrigo Roa Duterte; the Consul of Japan, Madam Dodo; the Consul of Indonesia; the President of the Turkey Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Mustafa; Hon. Erap Estrada, Manila City Mayor; John Gaisano; Mr. and Mrs. Cummins, Multimillionaire of Zamboanga City; Madam Elizabeth Gocongwei; Madam Teresita Cuzon, BDO Chairman of the Board; Capt. Ritchie of Cebu Pacific; Sonny Dizon and Crocodile Farm; Sonny Carlos Dominguez, Finance Secretary; Atty. Casquejo of Comelec 1st District; Judge Carpio of RTC Davao; Atty. Erwin Quilatan of Davao Light and Power Co.; Atty. Reger; and, his close friend, Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy. An approximate of 300 guests were there.
It was almost twilight when Tita Leoni and I have decided to leave. We went to Atty. Jude’s library; there he was, facing his fridge sized volt, seeking something. When he spun around, he was carrying a small rectangular box. “Attorney, una na mi, salamat kaayo sa pag-imbita,” my words of goodbye to him. “Happy Birthday po ulit,” I added. He went back to his volt, as if never noticing me. In a moment, he spun around again, “As what I promised you a while ago, here’s my gift of gratitude for you, he replied. He handed to me that small rectangular box. With so much, anticipation, I opened it. With its “brand” name on it, I know this Swiss made gold stainless wrist watch cost a sum of many. “Attorney, thank you po!” He nodded with a smile. And, everyone in the man-sion received a reasonable gift from Atty. Jude Ralph V. Yap.
To Atty. Jude Ralph Villacin Yap—Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday! You’re such a true and natural human being! God bless you more. Ali A. Alauya Jr.