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Celebrating the Life of the “The Voice” – It’s time to say goodbye…

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This is a continuation of special series of blog posts capturing the experiences & activities of the Sapaula-Carballo family handling the unexpected death of a beloved family member, sparking an unplanned international, trans-Pacific family reunion.  This is what Money Smart Radio calls, “Building the Family Bank”. We will enlighten the celebration of the life of  a pillar of the media in print, radio and TV broadcast journalism – Cris “The Voice of Davao City” Sapaula.

It is an interesting Filipino custom that a deceased family member does not remain physically alone at the funeral home until the final services are done.  For the past five days, my aunt or cousins would rotate and coordinate their daily schedules to continue a prayerful “vigil” in honoring my uncle’s life.

But today we gather together for the last time.  Friends, media personalities and family of my Uncle Cris Sapaula, convened at the place where he worshiped each Sunday, United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), Davao City.  I have been Tweetin’ about these events leading up to this day on my Facebook and Twitter pages.  I shared with my family the comments and prayers from the friends connected in our social media community…they say a big THANK YOU!  Personally, I appreciate the time you have taken out of your day, over the massive amounts of updates on your feeds to send such thoughtful words our way.

Friends and family offering their condolences to Tessa Henson, the oldest daughter of my Uncle Cris.

Friends and family offering their condolences to Tessa Henson, the oldest daughter of my Uncle Cris Sapaula.

It was a heart wrenching send-off for my Uncle Cris.  “Ate” Tessa, the oldest of his children, flew all the way from the east coast of the US and delivered a word of remembrance.  She highlighted the greatest stories of how her father supported her dreams by constantly speaking words of life into her and creating doors of opportunity in which she took advantage.

Close friends spoke of how my uncle got them started in broadcast journalism and owes their career to him.  One other would state his only reason for joining the church choir would be for the strong vocals my Uncle Cris would bring to make others around him feel more confident.  Without him present, they wouldn’t even want to attend practice!

Lastly my father, who is the youngest of five children and only brother, sang a song titled, “Going Home”.  I don’t know how he got through it without breaking down, but he delivered a song with such passion, love and strength.


This youngest of five children and brother of my Uncle Cris, my father Adelmo delivers a final song titled, "Going Home".

Later that evening, we would gather at the home of my Uncle Cris…to do what Filipinos to best…EAT and LAUGH!  We had a chance to break open some family photo albums and reminisce a little bit on stories from the past.   Looking at these old photos from the 60s and 70s, of them just starting a family, had me think a little bit of my own journey as a parent.  Time sure to does fly by fast so if it does, I want to make sure I am more and more intentional with my children.  Kids do not come with an instruction manual but what I can do is make sure we create lessons from our life long experiences.  When it is time for me to “go home” one day, it will be my children and their cousins looking at albums and I hope they remember the joy, love and laughter we all shared with the time given to us.

Photo of Cris "The Voice" Sapaula, during his younger days.

Photo of my uncle, Cris "The Voice" Sapaula, during his younger days.

What a day, what a milestone, what great conversations and a great time spent here with family.  Goodbye Uncle Cris, we’ll sorely miss you…we look forward to seeing you in heaven, broadcasting the news even there!

I am easily falling in love with Davao City and our family’s homeland country, the Philippines.  The culture of people is different from what I am used to in the US.  The last time I visited here was 15 years ago and this is NOT the third world country I recall.  Not only are the airports completely updated and modernized, the cities have undergone much improvement and economic development.  I am proud of what the Filipinos have done with their nation and I look forward to what God may have in store for me here, in the future.

Tomorrow, I am scheduled for a press conference with GMA-TV, Sun Star Davao, Mindanao Times and Digital Press Photography at the Dimsum Diner off Torres.  I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts of the legacy left by my Uncle Cris, the importance of personal savings, entrepreneurship, using the internet to create opportunities and how social media is revolutionizing communication.

For the very first time, I have met half of my team of virtual assistants that I have had work with, through email and Skype communication, for the last 5 months.  This team has helped us build our internet presence with search engine optimization, edited our videos and build the very website you are reading from right now.  Ironically, these virtual assistants work right here in Davao City, Philippines!  Inspired by this meeting, with the efficiency and expertise these virtual assistants have displayed at the very cost effective way of getting this work completed, I am compiling notes for a video on “Top Best Practices of Working with a Virtual Assistant“.

Stay posted for that!

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. David Newby says:

    Hey Matthew. My mom almost died 2 years ago at age 51, and that experience reminded me to spend more time with my two sons as my most important legacy/investment. It’s great to see the life lessons you drew from attending your Tito Cris’ funeral.

    It’s also great to see that your vision for what God may have for you in the Philippines is growing as well. Lord-willing, I will be able to serve and be a part of the spiritual and economic revival of the Philippines. Check out my vision to bring $40M/yr+ to the country at http://www.YourProsperityPower.com/vision and tell me what you think.

    I’ll be glad to speak with you about ways we can bless Mindanao together powerfully for the Lord’s glory; just email me a couple good times for you and we’ll set it up. God bless and take care.

    David Newby

    P.S. I use pinoy VAs too. They’re great to work with!

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