Friday, December 14, 2012
The late Adrian Cristobal, better known as Nito, was a long-time fixture in Guam politics and society. His father moved to Guam from the Philippines at the urging of earlier Filipino migrants, and he found good employment with the naval government, among other positions.
Nito started off working for the government and then became a senator, re-elected time and time again, many times as one of the highest vote-getters.
Besides this, he was very active in his parish in Barrigada.
But I knew him personally and he embodied for me some of the best traits of the Chamorro gentleman. Un kabayero.
His door was always open to visits. With grace and refinement, he would slowly open all kitchen doors and cabinets and, one by one, bring out the next best thing. He never laid out his treasures all at once. He did so piecemeal, as if to extend your visit even longer by enticing you with the next surprise. He never made one feel that one was intruding on his time or space. Quite the opposite; that your visit was what he was hoping for all day. I am sure that, at least at times, this was really not the case!
On top of that, he was perfectly sociable. Engaging in his discourse, yet always allowing you to have your say. He seemed to enjoy my historical questions, and he was very free in answering them, not holding back. I still have my notes written of our conversations, dated 1984, 1985 and so on. I learned a few secrets of Guam history of the late 1930s till the 1980s that I couldn't reveal, as the families involved are still with us. I believe he trusted me with my discretion.
And he had a great laugh, strong and hearty. If you were sad, which I wasn't, his laugh would have made you forget your sadness.
I miss my visits to him. I regret I was not wiser to ask more important questions, but I was just in my early twenties at the time. And I regret that his generation of Chamorro men, and the way they lived, is passing away.