Ronna Bonifacio | Attracting Opposites
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Attracting Opposites

Perhaps one of the first truths that made this man interesting to me were his obvious contradictions. He’s a firecracker yet his heart is tender, he’s overly protective but he masks it with his silence, he is firm but he is forgiving. Every day I relish in his seeming opposites, and every day it draws me in.

I may not have enough words to write about you yet, but we do have plenty of family and friends who are witness to you. Here’s a glimpse of my most challenging subject to date, from the eyes of those nearest and dearest to him.

Name one of your favorite memories of Bojo as a child, that gave you a glimpse of that kind of man he would one day become.

Dad: When the three of my kids, Bojo, Aaron, and Faye, would go to birthday parties, Bojo would make sure that all three of them would eat first. He would make sure to call all his siblings and make sure they would eat, because everyone would be playing. Because the three would usually be left with just each other—Bojo makes sure his siblings would eat when it’s time to eat.

What are some of your best answered prayers for Bojo?

Mom: His obedience to God. Because despite some of my prayers for him being wrong and a different career direction… but because of his obedience and his sensitivity to the Lord’s calling, [he was able to answer God’s call for his life].

For Bojo especially now, [I pray] that he will be more empowered by the Holy Spirit. I always pray that he will be a good husband, a good father, and a good leader in the ministry. And that he would use whatever gifts God gave him to honor Him.

What is your favorite growing up memory with Bojo?

Aaron: I think one of my favorite memories—it’s not so funny—was when I joined our high school pageant, Mr. SIS. It felt good to have all of my family supporting me, and when I lost I felt bad. But I was okay, it wasn’t such a big deal. But then my brother was shouting outside that the judges were all demons and Bojo was so furious that I lost. It felt good that he was so supportive and he always had my back. He’s the same today, he’s a big brother who protects, and he’ll always fight for his family.

‘He always had my back. He’s the same today, he’s a big brother who protects, and he’ll always fight for his family.’


What is Bojo like as an eldest brother?

Faye: For me, he’s protective. He really knows his place as our big brother. My fondest memory of that would be when we were in the States, I remember that it actually became a fight but it was because he just wanted us to know that he was protecting us. And he wanted to make sure that we were safe. And that we would listen to him because he is our kuya. Since the three of us were alone in the States and without our parents, he was the one whom we had to listen to. I like that he’s protective of Aaron and I.

Tell me one thing Bojo said or did that made the most impact in your life as a young teenager.

Pau Gomez: There’s this one time when me and my friends from NEON (youth group) were kind of having like a little bit of drama and we were going back and forth talking to him, and then my side was talking to him. You know Bojo is a very direct and frank guy and he said, “Instead of telling your problems to me, why don’t you tell each other your problems and settle it yourselves?” Ever since then I felt like with all the friendships and relationships I’ve had at the workplace and even in university, I’ve learned to be more confrontational—I mean sometimes yeah I kind of go off on Twitter—but at the end of the day, what he said stuck with me to this very day. I’ve been known in our community as someone who does exactly that and I believe it describes Bojo as well because he kind of taught me how to be real with other people, especially when it comes to the nitty gritty. I think one way to describe Bojo is, definitely real.

Avram Francisco, teacher: Two things—the first one is I’ll never forget “More is caught than taught.” It’s something that’s always resonated with me. Since I’m now a teacher, it’s not just about what we say but it’s more about what we do that impacts people. In terms of gesture, it’s his heart to correct, or his heart to care for me. I’ve always seen Kuya Boj as really my Daddy figure, that’s what I call him Daddy Boj. He’s always looked after me, even when I don’t see that the things I’m doing are wrong. He has the ability to direct me back to following God.

What I love with him is he pushes you in the water and hopes that you can swim and that you don’t drown. And that’s something that I really appreciate and pushed me to follow Jesus more. It’s not about him, but the light was always on Jesus. It wasn’t really about him showing himself as a mentor.

‘I have plenty of memories of Bojo just consistently believing in me more than I did at those moments.’


Miguel Calayan,
director: So it’s hard for me to choose any particular moment, but I have plenty of memories of Bojo just consistently believing in me more than I did at those moments. We’ve had coffee together, doughnuts together, we’ve watch movies together, in which we would sit around for hours and I would always feel safe enough to open up and Bojo would be strong enough to comfort me if I was going through some troubles or push me further when he believed I could take his advice.

I remember going to Krispy Kreme with him at High Street and we sat for hours. I think at that time I had just gotten out of a terrible breakup and questioning what I was going to do for the next few years and as stern as Bojo is with his beliefs, and as solid as he is with his conviction, not once did I ever feel any form of judgment or condemnation. Whenever he would speak, whenever he would give advice, as real as it gets, it was always out of love, and care, and belief that you could be better. It was out of genuine concern and desire for you to reach the best potential for your life.

That aside, I do remember when a lot of the church was going through a lot of tumult and Bojo was going through his tough season and he pulled me aside, but when he sat down and apologized and gave the most sincere, vulnerable expression of contrition, complete with tears, that was powerful. That shook me. I walked away from that putting him in an even higher plane. As much as crying in front of your disciples feels diminishing, it was something that gave me a whole new respect for him. I think that was one of the factors that made me comfortable enought to be honest in front of him. It’s just those two, his vulnerability and his willingness not to have to put up a facade. And the fortitude to take a stand and give stern, valuable advice from a place of real love and concern. These are memories that have stood out from the whole time I have known him.

Share one of your fondest memories of Bojo.

Larry Uy: We remember one week before you got married, you were here at our house, Ronna, your fiancee then—may picture pa tayo nun na nag-toast-toast sila—you were staying over because you always stay over. You had an overnight bag inside Ronna’s red Honda Civic, and then you were playing PS3 with the two boys—Fifa of course—and it was bye-bye time. Ronna went inside the den and said “Bye, I’m going!” and you just said “Okay, bye!” And then maybe you blew a kiss and then Ronna left. Lo and behold after a few minutes, I saw you running out—

Yet: …And your face!

Larry: You were running out from the den shouting, “Ronna! Ronna! Where’s Ronna!” She left maybe 10 or 15 minutes ago and I asked why. You said “I left my overnight bag inside the car.” And Yet and I were like, “Sweetheart, ikakasal na ‘yan next week! Ano ‘to!” But you just continued playing… Ayaw ko na reveal ‘yung iba kasi birthday mo.

Yet: Basta binigyan ko siya ng bagong toothbrush from a hotel ata.

***

Happy 32nd birthday, Bojo. May we have more chases, calling out “unfair” judges and referees, and complex contradictions.

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