Sir Nick was in a comatose for nearly a year before he died.
i am not sad, i am happy that he has finally decided to take his well-deserved rest. he struggled up until the last days of his life.
too many nice memories with him are coursing through my mind right now. interestingly and amazingly, the most vivid is one of my last conversations with him:
we were in his room at the UP Faculty Center, brainstorming about the Dakilang Alay book project. with us was award-winning director and his close friend and comrade Ka Boni Ilagan. one of his other good friends, Sir Edel Garcillano, barged into the room to deposit his latest sales of Pinoy Weekly to him. then followed our easy banter on any and every topic that they could think of.
our conversation somehow came upon the indemnification for human rights victims of the Marcos regime. ka boni is among those awaiting compensation. sir edel asked sir nick when his would be due. sir nick, after a pause, said, “hindi ako nag-apply (i didn’t apply.)” “dapat nag-apply ka, sayang din ‘yun (you should’ve. it’s a waste that you didn’t),” sir edel said.
“hindi mababayaran ang lahat ng ginawa sa akin, anoh (no amount of money can compensate for what they did to me)!“, he said, albeit good-naturedly.
and we sat there silenced and inwardly bowing our heads.
i was and will always be humbled by Sir Nick’s life, work and wisdom — as an academic and one of the most efficient professors of Philippine study, and more importantly, as a revolutionary.
mabuhay ka, Sir Nick, Ka Monico! you will be missed, never forgotten.
Pagpupugay kay Kasamang Monico Atienza
NI E. SAN JUAN, JR.
Inilathala ng Bulatlat
Tuwing dalaw namin, naghuhuntahan tayo sa lagusan ng DiliMall –
Ngiti’t biro mo’y testimonyo, sa gitna ng terorismong umiiral,
Sa masiglang pagsulong ng proletaryong masa sa bansa’t buong daigdig
Buhat pa sa mahimalang pagkaigpaw sa tortyur sa Crame’t Bicutan…
Tunay ngang bawat sakit at sakuna’y katambal ng tuwa’t ligaya –
Sumalubong ka sa ulan ng punglo, di alintana ang panganib sa bukana,
Walang pangambang binagtas ang diyalektikong landas ng pakikibaka
Walang pakundangan sa ahos at tukso ng imperyalismong humahadlang
Nagmamadali sa pagtawid sa rumaragasang agos ng kasaysayan –
Malayo ka na, pulang manlalakbay, ngunit aantabayanan pa rin namin
Habang libu-libong puso’y nagpupumipiglas sa Crame, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo,
Sa susunod nating pagtatagpo sa lagusan ng DiliMall, Ka Nick,
Sasalubungin ka namin, tiwala na naghihintay sa dulo ng daang magubat
Ang himala ng ngiti mong bumabati sa tagumpay ng rebolusyon.
Sir Nick (in white shirt and blue sunvisor) in a rally with CONTEND (Congress of Teachers for Nationalism and Democracy)