GOOD evening, Everyone. My name is Diane, and I’m the daughter of Jerry Yap.
I stand here before all of you to represent my whole family to share what we hope our Dad would want all of you to know.
But before that, thank you for sharing the best memories you’ve had with my dad.
I’m actually trying to think of just one memory, but, being with him all my life, there’s just too many to mention and I can’t pinpoint one specific (memory). It’s always the best memory with my Dad simply because of who he is as a person. He’s just the type to show up, he doesn’t even have to talk, he’ll just walk.
He’s up by six a.m. every single day and starts his day. At nine a.m. sharp, he leaves his room to go to work. Ever since I was young, this would be his schedule and even if he’ll have to work from home because he has a flu or fever, he will still stick to this strict schedule of his routine.
So, I’m 29 years old. So for 29 years, this was what I saw of my Dad. He makes sure to put other people first. He knows that so many people are depending on him. And Papa embraced being used by God to bless so many people.
We all know how hardworking he is as a person, but, we all know that he also knows how to have fun. He always reminds me of the importance of finding the balance between work and play. The way he lives his life, he would tell stories of his disco days, he goes to Bruno Mars concert with a drink and dances the night away at 57 years old. Mas alam niya pa nga ‘yung mga songs ni Bruno Mars compared to me. Just a week ago, literally a week, just last Saturday, I finished a bottle of wine and ended up not going home. I said “Papa, sorry hindi ako nakauwi.” His exact words were, “Okay lang. Relax ka din.”
I think we can all agree that he’s someone we could run to about anything. Asking for help. Be it about family, love life, business, showbiz, even drugs since he was a part of a rehab family before, government, shopping, kahit partying pa. He’s a man full of wisdom. We’ve all been blessed to know him in different ways.
I never really understood or saw the life Papa had outside of our family but I always knew he had the biggest heart for all the people he met from different walks of life. He treated everyone with kindness, respect and generosity. He is so dear to so many people.
I remember growing up, wondering, kapag nagta-travel kami bakit ‘yung mga police sa airport nagte-thank you. “Thank you, Sir Jerry!” Pati ‘yung mga janitor, “Thank you, Sir Jerry!” Puro thank you. I’m like, bakit sila thank you nang thank you kay Papa? Pero being in this wake these past three days made me realize how many lives he has really touched even outside our home. I have no words to hear all of the stories you guys shared. To see the flowers being sent to him, nagtataka nga ako bakit ang daming Senators, never ko namang na-meet ‘yon. I actually asked my friend na politician na nag-visit kay Papa. Sabi ko, “Pag politician ba, send lang kayo nang send ng flowers?” And then, he told me, “Hindi. Mahal ‘yan noh?! We can’t just send. It means they see your dad as a friend. Meaning, natulungan sila at one point.” Tapos meron pang mga random na nagme-message sa akin, “Alam mo ‘yung Dad mo, barkada ng Dad ko, he was really there for my Dad.”
Our whole family is filled with so much gratitude for all of you who shared your stories and how my dad contributed into your life. All the more, it’s becoming clearer to us. I actually have a lot of questions, pero with everything that happened in the last three days, all the more that it became super clear to me why God gave my Papa a very peaceful rest or exit out of this world.
Last Wednesday night (November 17, 2021), people were shocked to learn the news that my father had passed away. Sobrang unexpected talaga. Until the end, Papa left an impact on all of us. Of who he is as a person. Forever, pasabog. Lahat tayo na-BULABUGIN. Binulabog niya talaga tayong lahat!
To clear it out, he didn’t die of CoVid. I hear people asking, “CoVid ba? CoVid ba?” No, it wasn’t CoVid. And I witnessed everything, so I feel that, maybe, it was God’s and Papa’s way of giving you guys that explanation of what really happened to him.
First week of October of this year, my Dad found out that he had a tumor in his liver. He actually didn’t want to tell me. But, through my Mom Evelyn, I was able to get a copy of his ultrasound result and I showed it to my boyfriend’s dad who happens to be an oncologist. Ang sabi niya is, “It’s probably liver cancer. Stage 2 going to Stage 3.” I told Papa, “I know what you have, but we can’t confirm until there’s a biopsy.” He told me verbatim, “Alam ko na. Secret lang. Don’t tell anyone muna.” Knowing him, he didn’t want anyone to worry for him. I knew and hindi ko sinasabi sa mga kapatid ko.
From there, I happened to be in charge of all his medical-related concerns. Scheduling all doctor appointments. Scans. Everything. I made sure it would be all appease for Papa. All he had to do was show up at the hospital or the online consultation with the doctors with us.
It was hard for all of us to accept because wala siyang symptoms. Wala siyang pain. ‘Yung mga ibang doctors na kinita namin, sasabihin pa, “Are you sure, you don’t feel anything?” Binobola pa siya, “Sir, you look so good! Ang lakas lakas mo pa Sir!”
I saw my Dad through the whole ordeal. He hated having cancer. He hated it. ‘Yung friend niya, si Tito Manny Florendo (when he died of cancer last year), lagi niyang sinasabi, “Mabilis ‘to! Ito ‘yung ayaw na ayaw ko.” But he was headstrong, ready to face it. The fighter that we all know. The tough man.
My siblings, on the other hand, focused on running the business and managing the house para Papa can focus on taking care of himself with his wife, my mom, Tita Evelyn. We heared different opinions from different top doctors, from different friends, ‘yung iba sabi, “Go for surgery.” ‘Yung iba, “Go for chemo.” ‘Yung iba, Chinese medicines, holistic treatment. Ang dami naming pinuntahan since then. Lahat pinuntahan namin.
Papa really wanted to live and face this cancer. We all know the tough man that he is. There was an option to just let it be. Pero he wanted to be in control like the man that he was. He wanted to be in control. ‘Yung final plan namin was to get surgery here and if needed after his recovery, we will gonna fly to Singapore for his treatments. ‘Yun ‘yung plan talaga. ‘Yung original plan kasi we had a relative who was based in Singapore and we could file for familial ties (family ties) in Singapore.
Last Monday (November 15), he underwent surgery and post-op complications occurred. You all know my Dad, he’s very smart. Sobrang talinong tao si Papa. At alam niya kapag palpak. And I was expecting na pagmumurahin niya ‘yung doktor. But, I was in front of my Dad. I was there when he said his last words (natakot ako, akala ko mumurahin niya ‘yung mga doktor), but he was very conscious that time, that was Tuesday around 6 am. He had a big smile on his face, he asked the doctor, sabi niya, “Doc, natanggal ba lahat?” Tapos, sabi namin, “Oo” Sabi ko, “Papa grabe, natanggal lahat. Tanggal talaga sa katawan mo.” Sabi niya, “Dr. Pulido, ikaw ang ibinigay sa akin in God. Even sa Chinese temple Doc, sabi ikaw. Salamat Doc.” Nag-two thumbs up pa si Papa in front of my face and ang sabi ko after noon (naka-smile siya), “Papa gusto mo kausapin sila Ditsi? Tatawag ako ngayon.” Sabi niya, “Hindi na. Magpapahinga na ako.” He said, “MAGPAPAHINGA NA AKO.”
And then, Wednesday at 12 noon, he was pronounced dead. And then, after that, I asked the nurses who were there, sabi ko, “Kumusta ‘yung Papa ko no’ng morning kanina?” Sabi nila, “Ma’am actually sobrang peaceful ni Sir kaninang umaga, parang natulog lang siya. Nag-normal lahat ng results niya tapos pumikit siya and then he went away.”
In the last few weeks of Papa’s life, nakita ko he would pray everyday. Sinasabi ko pa nga sa mga tao, “Grabe si Papa, hindi na nagmumura. Pray lang nang pray.” And he would even tell us to pray as a family. I’d always pray to God, sabi ko, “God, I hope my family would encounter you, would feel you, tapos nagulat ako no’ng Sunday, no’ng November 14, paglabas ko ng room ko, ‘yung mga helper namin, ‘yung houseboy namin, naka-kneel, nagdadasal with all my family.
That gives me peace knowing that before Papa passed, he even accepted Jesus and he is in a good place now. He was also able to indirectly say goodbye to his best friends and his family. Being in this wake, parang tumawag pa raw si Papa sa kanila na umiiyak. Na never siyang umiiyak sa kanila before. So he was even able to say goodbye to them properly.
And then, when the death report came out. ‘Yung size ng tumor niya was already 11 cm. It was just 7 cm no’ng last scan namin. It grew 4 cm in less than a month. It shows that the tumor was becoming aggressive and it was about to hit my Dad. And I don’t know if much of you are familiar with liver cancer, but it’s one of the most lethal cancers na magde-deteriorate ka talaga. You’ll get jaundice, magye-yellow ka, ‘yung face mo magiging chiselled. But ‘yun nga, the doctors we’re asking, “Sure ka, wala ka talagang nararamdaman. You look so good, Sir Jerry!” ‘Yung things he wants to hear.
What I can tell you guys, is, I saw my Dad through the whole ordeal. Papa really wanted to live. He really wants to live. We all wanted him to live. Laban talaga kami. One time, sabi pa niya sa akin (Wednesday ‘yun), “Friday lilipad na tayo pa-America. Papagamot na ako doon.” Sabi ko, “Okay. Sasama ako. Let’s go!”
He knew that. But, you know, God loves my Papa too much and spared him from suffering from cancer. He never felt any pain. Hindi na siya magiging anxious for what’s going to happen next.
There’s this Bible verse that says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Papa was spared from being seen by his loved ones from being in pain and suffering and deteriorating. We all know Papa wouldn’t want that. He’s nice to see. Sobrang macho pa rin. ‘Yung hair niya is all in top.
Actually, I just met my half-brother two days ago and sabi ko, “Willing si Papa mag-chemo kahit pa mawala lahat ng hair niya.” Sabi niya, “Papa would go crazy ‘pag nawala ‘yung hair niya.” God really knows best.
I’m sure some of you have seen his coffin and he is exactly how he wants all of us to see him. Ang kapal ng buhok… Malusog…
Papa was such a great Dad. A great Boss. A great Friend. A great Husband to my Tita Evelyn. A great Uncle to my cousins. A great Brother. And everything more.
I’m sure that Papa is at peace at this moment. All the people nearest to him gathered together in harmony to celebrate a beautiful life he lived. Walang nag-aaway. Lahat talagang iniisip si Papa.
Thank you everyone for joining us tonight.
And I just wanna share, if your parents are still around, love them. They will never be perfect. The same way my Dad was not perfect, but nonetheless, cherish each day with them. Never let an argument with them last for more than three days. Tell them each day you love them, because once they’re gone, you’re going to still wish that you did more.
The last time I hugged Papa was in the admissions, when I dropped him off. And if I knew that was the last time that I’m gonna hug him, sana nag-stay pa ko doon for one hour.
We may not understand God’s plans now but it is always perfect. It is always for the best. Same with Papa, talagang nakita ko ‘yung sobrang kalakihan ng puso niya. Ayaw talaga siya ni God mag-suffer. God really maintained his normal Jerry self. ‘Yung macho, ‘yung masayahin, ‘yung maganda ‘yung buhok.
I will miss you Papa. But I have peace that you didn’t go through any suffering and God gracefully made you exit. Na-BULABOG kaming lahat sa exit mo. Sobrang BULABUGIN ka talaga.
I’m sure I witnessed the whole ordeal because this is the message that God wants me to tell everyone. Thank you everyone for loving my Papa.