Every man, however simple and unassuming, has one beautiful story to tell – one shining moment of bravery or daring, one momentous instance of love, kindness, and compassion which is a joy to read about; it gives us a reassuring feeling of man’s worth to himself and others, of the meaningfulness of the human experience.
The whole life of Nanding is one beautiful story. It is a story often told of great men – how they overcame the poverty of their beginnings, how they fought against all odds, and rose above ordinary men. Nanding’s life story is a hardbound classic – the poor bootblack from Tondo who made good – but it has its own peculiar piquancy and humor and tenderness. It is easy to identify with Nanding, the boy who goes swimming dog-style in the rain-swollen canal, the father who likes children so much he fills his house with them, the enterprising breadwinner who breaks his back at any honest labor, and the teacher who wins the trust of his young students. The charm of it all is that it could be my story, your story, everyone’s story.
Dr. Fernando Bautista, Tatay to most everyone, is a sweet man, simple, even self-effacing. It is an ordinary life lived extraordinarily. He was not just a citizen; he became a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. He was not just a teacher; he became a founder of a university. Being an educator myself, I have high regard and respect for his mind and principles, and I admire his achievements. Still, when everything is said about him, he will be remembered most singularly for being a great educator.
Dr. Amado C. Dizon, President, Manuel L. Quezon University, August 9, 1993