A Tribute to Our “Manoy Teddy”

A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva

The Bohol Chronicle

April 7, 2013

From “Doring” to “Teddy.” Our eldest brother was baptized Teodoro V. Abueva, Jr. Born in 1923 to our Papa Doro and Mama Nena, he was “Manoy” to us, his six siblings. To all others he was “Doring” until he went to Cebu to study at the Cebu Junior College of the University of the Philippines where he preferred to be called “Teddy” instead of “Doring.” 

Growing up in Tagbilaran, the capital town of Bohol, our Manoy was forever reading books and magazines. He was exempted from any chores that we younger ones took on. I remember that Manoy was also exempted from punishments (kneeling and belting) that  brother Billy (Napoleon) and I would bear now and then for our mischief. But we didn’t mind, for we looked up to Manoy, our leader in our exotic family games, like making paper money by the millions and gambling in Casino de Paris. I cannot forget that time when we cajoled Manoy to jump some ten feet from the ledge of our ceiling unto a pile of pillows on a mat on the floor. I remember that in high school he won second prize in a national essay contest. 

When our adventurous Manoy heard that U.S. armed forces were coming to “liberate” the Philippines from the Japanese occupation in October 1944, he went to Leyte to meet them.  So he was away when our parents and sisters in their mountain hideout in Duero were captured by Japanese soldiers. Manoy was still away when our Papa Doro and Mama Nena were executed by their brutal captors in Balitbiton, Valencia. So Manoy, our eldest, was among the most shocked by our parents’ cruel death. He was only 21 years old when he became the head of our family. 

But Manoy was able to graduate at U.P. He got us brothers and sisters a cottage at the Diliman campus. He insisted that we all study in U.P. Much later Manoy also induced me and my wife, Coring, to settle down at Beverly Hills, Antipolo and even got his architect friend to design the hillside house that has been our home since 1969. Manoy had encouraged Billy, Napoleon, in his artistic inclination that would later earn him his title of National Artist in Sculpture. Strangely, Manoy even urged me to be president of U.P. which I dismissed as a quixotic ambition I never nurtured; but it did happen many years later, in 1987. 

Manoy had lived 40 years in New York when I urged him to return to the Philippines to retire. So Billy and I took turns taking care of our Manoy. He suffered a stroke about six years ago, as did Billy himself. Over a year Teddy’s dear friend, Ms. Nora Daza, also took good care of Manoy. He had been back with us in Antipolo when Manoy, who had suffered so much from his paralyzing illness, passed away on March 11 in our home. Fortunately, two kind priests had attended to Manoy spiritually. Manoy would be 89 in July 2013.        

Here follow a news story by a friend and then an obituary by Teddy’s New Yorker friends.

 Teddy Abueva’s support of Indonesia’s independence war vs the Netherlands. Part One: Indonesia, Brunei, and Thailand. By ERIK ESPINA. October 14, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – “Freedom is more important than pacifism,” with effort, whispered senior citizen Teddy Abueva, eldest brother of a recognized clan of UP (University of the Philippines) graduates who left a legacy in said institution – one a sculptor, the other a former head.

Teddy is 87, a stroke patient, bedridden, and at times, wheel chair-bound, yet manages to evoke a clear hue of history back in the 1940s when our neighbor Indonesia, needed true allies in this part of Asia, in a post war era, and in a decade when their own colonial master was resurgent, resisting the grant of independence for an archipelagic nation of 17,508 islands (6,000 inhabited).

Abueva, then president of the UP Political Science Society, a staunch pacifist, was however offering to raise funds, volunteer to travel, and go to war on behalf of the Indonesian cause back in 1947. Sharing the headlines in several newspapers e.g. Herald, Daily news, even a Spanish Language paper, etc. along with Teddy were six other prominent names: Salvador Doy Laurel, Jack Arroyo, Benjo Bocobo, and others.

Officially, the Philippines remained neutral on the issue of a sovereign Indonesian State. Abueva however managed to invite Carlos P. Romulo as guest speaker for their campus society. Significant of the latter’s speech was a statement supporting independence for Indonesia. Teddy mentions towards the end of the conversation, a written invitation sent by the late Indonesian President Sukarno extended individually to the group to visit and be official guests, anytime.

TEODORO V. ABUEVA. Obituary. Published in The New York Times on March 20, 2013

  • “Please accept my heartfelt condolences and prayers. Cherish…”

ABUEVA–Teodoro Veloso (Teddy); died peacefully, March 11, 2013, at the home of his brother, Jose V. Abueva, in the Philippines. He was 89 years old.

Teddy came from a family distinguished for its political activism, intellect and artistic talent ranging from statesmanship to the arts. He joined his parents, Teodoro and Purificacion Abueva, in resistance to the Japanese occupation.

After the war ended, he completed studies at the University of the Philippines and worked in public relations. He did graduate work at the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Later, he was appointed Director of the Philippine Pavilion at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. On his way back to Manila, he stopped in New York, decided to move there, and remained until 2001.

A cultural omnivore, he reveled in all manner of art, theatre, dance, music and food, discoveries he shared with his many friends. He created fabulous feasts and gardens. His artistry, generosity, kindness, joie de vivre and sense of humor will be missed by his friends around the world and his loving family who cared for him in his last years.

He is survived by his brothers, Jose and Napoleon Abueva, two sisters, Amelia Martinez and Teresita Floro, and many nieces and nephews.


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