Mang Diego, he who mastered the art of saying "smile," "ready, one, two, three" and "say cheese," passed away yesterday morning. He was the official photographer of Colegio de la Milagrosa, and from the time I was in nursery to the time I left for high school, he captured my then so-called life in albumfuls of black-and-whites.
He was the invisible hand behind birthday and Christmas parties, school programs, field demonstrations and class pictures. He captured--to my eternal embarrassment--my leave-me-alone scowl in my sixth-grade annual. In the same way that he captured the many Kodak moments of every Milagrosinian.
Mang Diego was an institution,a regular fixture in the CM grounds. Even when he was already slowed down by diabetes and by age, he would find an excuse to be near his beloved "school."
Barring the years that he would deliver his precious black-and-whites to our house, I was never really close to Mang Diego. Not having seen him for the longest time, I pictured him still as the sprightly retratista of my youth.
I guess I never really thought that my childhood heroes would die...