first met Dr. Roberto Puentespina Jr. sometime in 2003 ( if my memory serves me right) when he went to our office in Mindanews in downtown Davao City. He was then preparing for his famed Malagos Bird Show to be showcased in Manila. We easily got along because we both speak the same dialect and our roots came from the same place: Iloilo.

We are both Full Blooded Ilonggo (FBI). Proud FBI.

From then on, we occasionally see each other due to our nature of work and sometimes over few bottles of beer.

Few years later, he became one of our ninongs during our wedding. And we are truly honoured with that.

Popularly known as Doc Bo, he pioneered the use of birds and other animals through his weekly bird show to create awareness on environment protection and climate change mitigation.

He is also widely known for his contributions to save the critically endangered Philippine Eagle as a volunteer veterinarian in the 1990s.

“When I married him, I knew that he is not just mine. He is such a big personality that I knew I had to share him with a lot of his passion and projects. In fact, when I had my first son nahirapan nga akong tumawag sa kanya dahil nasa Philippine Eagle siya,” his wife, Olive, recalled during the tribute night with their fellow University of the Philippines alumni, mostly from Los Baños campus. Read my story here.

On November 15, Doc Bo succumbed to an illness at a private hospital in the city. He was 57.

About six or seven years ago, he had been asking me to take him to the bahalina maker in Agdao. It was only in February this year that we were able to find time and visit Hedu Arcay, the famous bahalina maker in the city (at least famous to us, coconut wine lovers). I didn’t know that it would be the first and last time that I’d be taking him to Hedu.

They had a quite long chat. Doc Bo showed his interest on the craft. He’s always like that, his passion and quest for more learnings took him to different places.

So long, our dear friend.