A Tribute to Amiel Alcantara — Ateneo’s Angel

A statue in the Ateneo Grade School grounds that aptly represented Amiel

A statue in the Ateneo Grade School grounds that aptly represents Amiel

Today, Amiel Alcantara was laid to rest. I was unable to attend. Last night, my sore throat came back for the second time and my nose was congested. But I am glad that I was able to visit — yesterday.

I was not feeling that well yesterday either. My energy felt sapped. But there was an inner compulsion in me to go and visit Amiel Alcantara’s wake in Ateneo before he was laid to rest and to finally meet the little boy that occupied my thoughts ever since I heard about his accidental death in Ateneo.

Dine and one of my 2 girls who study in Ateneo, were with me. We were actually wondering where Amiel died because I only had the GMA News simulation to imagine where it was. As we approached the entrance to the grade school, just off the gym and Henry Lee Irwin Theatre, we saw a spot blocked off by metal barriers, filled with flowers and surrounded by candles. It was right smack where the kids were being picked up, very close to the gate that led to the Grade School. I began imagining just how many yayas, drivers and kids saw everything happen. It must have been so traumatic, so terrible, especially for the young ones!

The spot where Amiel was hit

The spot where Amiel was hit

As soon as we entered the GS chapel, we knew just how well-loved Amiel was. The place was packed to overflowing. His teachers were there and so were his classmates and school friends. Most of the adults were in black (a sign of deep mourning and regret for a young life lost) while his batchmates were still in their PE uniforms.

We prayed briefly before Amiel’s coffin, then met his dad Pepe — a  soft-spoken man. When Dine asked what that day was like for him, he recounted how it was just an ordinary day when he saw his kids off to school. But there was one striking detail about that day, he said. The car bearing his kids had began to move off already when it stopped. The door opened and out came Amiel running back to hug him. He said his thoughts were: What does this kid want from me? You know how kids are — when they want something from you, he told us. But Amiel just wanted to give him a hug since he forgot to do so.

Shortly after, the 6pm Mass began with Fr. Ben Nebres as the main celebrant and 3 other co-celebrant Jesuits. Dine and I were asked to stay in the first pew, just opposite the pew where the Alcantara family was. It was a blessing. We were able to listen intently to Fr. Ben’s homily as well as the sharings of his family and best friend, Vince.

A glimpse of the Alcantara family, including Yaya Tata (in wheelchair) who was injured trying to save the kids

A glimpse of the Alcantara family, including Yaya Tata (in wheelchair) who was injured trying to save the kids

Near us were some of Amiel’s classmates from 4-Manobo. I spoke with them during a lull after Mass and asked them what they remembered doing with Amiel that day that serves as their best memory. Typical of 10-year old boys, one boy chirped up, “RECESS!!!!”


Just some of Amiel's classmates

Amiel's uncle

Amiel's uncle

Amiel's aunt

Amiel's aunt

His best friend Vince

His best friend Vince

Their stories showed just how loving Amiel was. Fr. Ben recounted a time when Amiel spent 3 hours looking for a teacher so he could get back a friend’s soccer ball. His aunt, a dentist, recalls how Amiel (described as more mature than his age) called her the day before to set a dental appointment. She had asked him if he would go out since that Monday was a holiday and he responded no because “I like to BE home!” Was this comment a purview of things to come? I don’t know — but what really gave me goose pimples was his aunt’s comment that whenever she would text and type Amiel’s name using predictive texting, what would come out was “ANGEL”. Yes, Amiel, you are now an angel and you are truly HOME!

I briefly hugged Amiel’s mom, Niann. There were just too many visitors coming to her. Too bad because I found out later that evening that she was a childhood friend of my good friend and kumare, Aly.

I’d like to end with this video lovingly prepared to show the boy who loved and was loved. Amiel’s uncle told us that he had wanted to add another thing a classmate had written: “You are now so popular. Even Boy Abunda sent you flowers!”

My hands were a bit shaky while holding my camera so I will replace this once Amiel’s family posts the original video. Meanwhile, take a look at the life of a blue angel…

Rest in the arms of our Lord, Amiel. You are now a totally whole, healed person in your eternal Home. Watch over your loved ones who will continue to miss you. Ask our Father to grant them peace, comfort and healing knowing you are safe with Him.

UPDATE (March 16, 2009)

Dr. Martin Moreno, Amiel’s uncle, sent me a text today with good news. Yaya Tata will be discharged tomorrow, March 17, before noon, after a successful debridement operation, saving her left leg from amputation. Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful news!


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wawam
    Mar 01, 2009 @ 12:13:01

    if you are an ateneo parent or just a parent who was touched by amiel’s tragic death and you want what happened to amiel never again to happen at the ateneo campus – join us and send a petition letter to ateneo school authorities.

    send an email to: amiels.footprints@gmail.com and copies of the petition lettet will be emailed back to you.

    let us not stop until something is done about this.


  2. Dr. Regente I. lapak
    Mar 01, 2009 @ 22:14:19

    I am praying for the soul of Amiel and also the entire Alcantara clan.

    I pray that God will grant the entire family enough courage and strenght for the loss of Amiel.

    Amiels death has a purpose.

    Rey Lapak


  3. anna m. lim
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 22:16:08

    my deepest sympathy to the entire family of Amiel.my family are praying for the soul of Amiel and the family of both alcantara and torres. it is true that Amiel has a mission. it gives all the parents to think what is important to them. and it is also very painful for the kids of torres who in case will be jailed because they will lost their mother.


  4. Carla
    Mar 03, 2009 @ 02:04:50

    Nothing is more painful than a sudden death of a child. My prayers goes to Amiel’s soul and his family-that they may find strength to move on and accept the things they cannot change anymore. Amiel is in a much better place now with God and his angels…
    And I would like to think that there is a purpose for what has happened–maybe:
    for the Ateneo admin: that there is always room for improving the safety of our boys in school
    for the parents and drivers: that we have a big responsibility once we are behind the wheels
    I hope Amiel’s death will serve its purpose for all of us…and let us all pray that it will not happen again..

    Rest with God Amiel, your true home!


  5. sassy mom
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 13:31:25

    My prayers are with Amiel and his family. I also have a ten-year old son and now my prayers are double for my kids.

    There is always something that we can learn from this tragic accident. As a person behind the wheel, it is a reminder that driving is a big responsibility and we need to be extra cautious with how we drive.

    Rest in peace, Amiel.

    Sassy Mom

    Jane: Salen, so nice to hear from you again. Hope we can meet again soon.


  6. sharon espinocilla
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 16:35:01

    when i read some of the blogs about this tragic incident, i practically cried in front of the computer. My first and only son is only 1 year old and 3 months. Since im working, i always left him to his yaya and it is the only time that i feel so scared for him. what will happen if im away?

    But God is here, with His Angel’s wing, i know my son and and the children of mothers out there will always be safe.

    I will pray for the Family of Amiel that in time, they will learn to accept the Divine Reason for such hurt.


  7. aly
    Mar 14, 2009 @ 05:09:19

    did you meet the mother’s sister, analou moreno lansangan, the one in the picture giving a eulogy? did you know that she’s from ligaya too?


  8. Ryan Ericson Canlas
    Mar 31, 2009 @ 16:55:24



    Ryan Ericson Canlas
    International SAP BASIS Consultant


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