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Read the Full Transcript of Miguel Celdran's Eulogy for His Brother, Carlos Celdran

"Carlos was not for the fainthearted. He was a flame that lit up the room."
IMAGE Jason Mariposa
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Denise Celdran, sister of Carlos Celdran, shared on her social media the eulogy delivered by her brother Miguel for Carlos. The eulogy is a glimpse into the life of Carlos as a Filipino, a son, and a brother.

Read the full text of Miguel Celdran's memorial for his brother, here:

Haaay, Carlos.

Carlos was many things to many people. It always amused me how people or the media struggled to define him. Cultural activist, tour guide, artist, actor, provocateur par excellence. Carlos never held an elected position yet he somehow had a mandate that commanded the attention of many. People listened to his opinions like they were constituents. I tried very hard to understand why. I can only surmise it was his brutal honesty and genuineness that endeared him to many. Anyone who has taken his tour will leave with a changed mind on how you view Manila, our country and our history. He had that power. He was a romantic who believed you should see Manila and our country the way he did.

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But to me he was always my baby brother. No matter what predicament he was in, I was proud that he looked to me to bail him out. Whether it was negotiating his release from a Manila police precinct, or pleading my heart out to a monsignor not to file case against him after his protest, I relished the role of being his Kuya. Ultimately, my last task was to claim him in a Madrid funeral home where I knew my role as elder brother had ended.

Like Quixote trying to duel the windmills, he took on institutions with an idealism uncommon to many. In the interest of his self-preservation, many times I pleaded with him to end his relentless campaign. You’ve made your point bro, now just shut up already and just be a bloody tour guide-slash-artist. But he wouldn’t have it. He possessed a conviction I have read about in great men. He embodied the phrase, “This world was not made a better place by those who watched on the sidelines.” He had his supporters but his detractors pilloried him daily which was an agony to witness. Ultimately, all the battles wore him down.

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Carlos was not for the fainthearted. He was a flame that lit up the room. He was my Icarus, who, despite my screams of “Watch those wings bro, watch those wings,” still flew higher, and higher, and higher. He wouldn’t have it any other way. He wasn’t a fade away kind of guy.

Whether you thought he was right or wrong, he made you think, and think again. He had the conviction to stand up for his beliefs despite the cost. He made me question my own limited beliefs as to what was possible.

Like every human on this earth he had his noble qualities and flaws. He was both a hero and a villain BUT he never apologized for being who he was. Carlos was Carlos. He blazed a trail so others may reflect about their daily route. There’s a reason why he left us so soon and why his death caused us so much pain. We may not know that reason now but we will one day. Having a front row seat gave me a lesson in love and agony. If he was my cross, I was more than happy to carry it. The Buddhists like to say you need mud to make a lotus flower. If mud is suffering, then we all must suffer to make our lotus flower.

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History is littered with failed stories of men challenging the norms, and only time will tell how much exactly he made a difference. But what is indisputable is the difference how he made us all feel. I believe history will treat him kindly, much better than when he was amongst us. I will not end this eulogy with the tired cliché of how he fought the good fight as that would only be a feeble description of the life he lived. Go rest now bro, you’ve paid your dues. You’re now in a place where there are no more causes to fight for, no more battles to be won, and you can just be as we all really are… pure love.

Vaya con Dios mi Hermano. Te quiero mucho.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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