ForeverMissed
And if I go while you’re still here
Know that I live on,
Vibrating to a different measure
Behind a thin veil you cannot see through.

You will not see me
So you must have faith,
I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
Both aware of each other.

Until then, live your life to the fullest
And when you need me
Just whisper my name in your heart,
I will be there.
                            - Emily Dickinson
Posted by Marife Yap on June 4, 2021
It has taken me some time to write a tribute and to remember Dean Albert, or Albert, as how I would refer to him. Perhaps I am not wrong when I say that there is one thing that Bert and I shared as a common memory - the excerpt of a "letter" penned by Margaret Silf in the final chapter of the book she authored entitled " Just Call Me Lopez". I had quoted this letter and placed it in a slide and framed it, presenting it as a gift during the retirement party of Albert at the AGSB in 2013. At the time of his passing and when Lorna read this same excerpt at the end of a memorial mass for Albert, I was again moved and deeply touched by how apt these words are as if Albert had appropriated them to be his own. Truly, our dear friend and colleague, Albert "has simply gone from Somewhere to Everywhere"! Even while here on Earth, as a colleague and friend at the Ateneo, Albert's unassuming and stabilizing presence in many a challenge and crisis always served as assurance that there is nothing to be afraid of if we courageously carry out the Lord's work here in this world and seek to do His will. That for me, is how I always remember Albert - as God's good and faithful servant who gave the best of himself to help people achieve the best of what they are meant to be. And he did this in a strategic, well thought through manner and with great generosity and heart. His kindness and gentleness was shared with everyone such that Albert always made himself available and approachable, ready to be of help. I have been a beneficiary of this many times in the many challenges and problems faced in our work in Ateneo and Albert always listened to me even as I would break down in tears talking to him about various concerns. Many times, his gift of presence was enough to assure me that all will be well and that things would be solved. Finally, Albert also left me with the legacy of acceptance that he always exhibited - not an acceptance that meant defeat but an acceptance of entrusting everything to God after doing everything we can, thus fully trusting the Lord to take care of the rest. So, to end, I quote again..."Walk on now in courage, and in deep content. You are God's pilgrim. God's love and grace are all you need. Thank you, and adieu, my friend, Albert!" - with deep respect and affection, Marife
Posted by Rosalie Factor on May 29, 2021
Tito Albert is an inspiration to me in so many ways. Primarily, I admire him so much in being able to balance his work, family life and service to the Lord so effectively. He was also always generous with praise and cautious with criticism. He is a true leader in every sense of the word, a model father, worker, servant and Christian. We will all miss you po, Tito Albert. Thank you po for everything. Rest in the arms of the Lord.
Posted by Lorna Buenviaje on May 22, 2021
Eulogy given by Dr. Amable R. Aguiluz V, fondly called "King" by everyone, during the memorial mass for Albert on May 23, 2020.

For Albert,
At first, I was reluctant to accept the invitation to join this memorial Zoom gathering for Albert because I found it difficult writing lines, finding the exact words to describe him and the emotions involved in it. I thought, it was easier to just sit and to continue enjoying the home quarantine than to do this at last. But it was equally difficult to say no to Lorna...

I met Albert in early 80s through another friend. That time, he was connected with government in concurrent capacities as Chairman and President of the government’s housing bank (Maunlad Savings Bank), Program Director of the Land Investment Trust Program and Senior Vice President of Home Financing Corporation. I knew he was also assisting the then Ministry of Human Settlements in these capacities. All these positions were held by him at a young age of 28. Later, he became Dean of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

In pursuit of AMA’s education endeavors, I needed someone like him who is full of knowledge, a financial analyst and a business strategist. Considering he possessed these desirable qualities, he remained unassuming and down to earth. 

I knew he would be my best friend, and I wasn't mistaken. In light moments, we shared personal thoughts and experiences. We developed mutual admiration and respect, that I considered him as my confidant. (I am just not sure if he also considered me as his confidant.)

We became very close to the extent that I couldn’t proceed with any project without asking for his thoughts and advice.

That’s why, in order for us not to part ways, I made him a member of the Board of Trustees, of all the companies and corporations I established.  Kaya, ‘ika nga, walang kawala. Diligently, he did not miss any Board meetings. In fact, he was always first to arrive in meetings, yet he didn’t mind being the last to be paid; knowing that salaries of our men takes precedence.

Moreover, he always made sure that all our meetings start with a prayer. After adjournment of meetings, we make time to reflect on specific items discussed, especially ridiculous proposals raised that brought us to a never ending laughter as we talk about the "kalabaw", our internal term jokingly referring to a request that appears too small as a rope only to find out that it was so big a request; there’s a carabao at the end of the rope, so to speak. Albert also brought to us the word "bolondyong", which means Stupid.

Our bond of friendship continued to strengthen, now involving members of my family. Para mas lalo pang walang kawala,. . . at may forever. . . , I made him Ninong in the wedding of all my children: Miguel and Christine, Angela and Poch, Clara and Jeff.

AMA gained so much from his expertise in strategic management and corporate governance. As an entrepreneur, I had all the guts; Albert had the theories, concepts and strategies.

Thirty (30) years ago, Albert had a heart attack. We thanked the Lord that he survived the very critical procedure. In God’s grace, and in the presence of the best experts, the operation went above all expectations; he recovered smoothly and fast enough.

Perhaps very few of us are aware that Albert was a prolific writer. In fact, he was also my speech writer. Notable of which was my speech and the message of one of my daughters, Angela, on her 18th birthday celebration.

Both Albert and Lorna are very religious; they dedicated time for their Parish. Albert worked for the establishment of a scholarship program in AMA for poor but deserving parishioners. On May 14, just last week, he texted me about another scholarship grant, which I immediately obliged.

That was our last conversation,. . . . virtual pa.

I know you’re in a better place now, without illness and pain. Surely, we will all miss you.

For Lorna and the whole family, I wish to let you know that I have been reading these words with deep sadness in my heart, but trying to make you all feel honored and special for the opportunity of knowing the amazing person that Albert was. He will be very happy if we will pursue Albert’s advocacies and legacy.

To quote another great Albert – that is, Albert Einstein - “Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.”

It pains us very much not having the opportunity to physically attend today’s memorial service to pay our last respects due to the restrictions of the pandemia.

On behalf of my family and AMA, I thank you, my dear friend Albert, for having such an impact on my life, and making it rich with your unwavering support and unconditional friendship. You, will always be a part of AMA’s history – its risk-taking pursuits, challenges and achievements, blows and adversities, upturns and successes. Have a great journey up there.

Rest in peace, my best friend, Albert.
Posted by Tanya Reyes-Juliano on May 21, 2021
I have not known Tito Bert very long but I have always felt his innate gift for guidance. It was very easy for me to talk to him. He has always been such a “cheerleader” and ardent supporter for those he cared about and admired. I remember when my family went through a tough time a few years ago, even while having undergone surgery, he wanted to find a way to help us and was very vocal about how he would like to support us - he made sure that Arlene told my family about it. He truly is one of the kindest, most genuine people I know, a natural born leader. I feel very lucky and honored to have known him, albeit briefly, he truly made an impact in my life as well as that of my family. He will forever be missed.
Posted by Kaken Buenviaje-Varona on May 21, 2021
Here are two tribute videos I made for Papa. In the second video, I used a song by The Beatles that Papa used to sing to us when we were kids. That song was my first introduction to The Beatles, and my sisters and I grew up listening to and loving this legendary band because of Papa.

https://vimeo.com/421753357

https://vimeo.com/545389321
Posted by Lorna Buenviaje on May 20, 2021
Tribute given by Noemi Poblador on May 20, 2021 the ninth day of the novena for Albert's first death anniversary

One of the most admired lay leaders in our parish, the Presentation of the Child Jesus, and our very good and dear friend, was Bro. Albert. He was an epitome of a church servant – so warm & humble, pure of heart, super generous, very caring, & has genuine concern especially for the poor - our developing communities.  With his wit and wisdom, his endearing sense of humor, his profound understanding of faith and deep spirituality, and his faithfulness to God’s calling for evangelization, Bro. Albert is a true disciple of Christ, worth emulating.  
We, in the PCJ parish are so honored and blessed to have Bro. Albert and Sis. Lorna as our former parish pastoral council couple heads, who had led us in formulating our shared vision, mission and core values. God has truly bestowed on us one of the most beautiful gifts – the special gift of Bro. Albert and Sis Lorna. 
They spearheaded numerous parish programs, which have been adopted not only in our vicariate, but also in the entire diocese of Paranaque. The selfless dedication & zeal, tireless service and true leadership of Bro. Albert and Sis Lorna had a very significant impact in making our parish, a participative and proactive church. Indeed, Bro. Albert was Jesus’s model of a servant leader and a shepherd after His own heart. He will always be fondly remembered. We are forever most grateful and blessed. May God welcome Bro. Albert in the halls of His eternal kingdom. 
Posted by Minnie Menguito-Ramas on May 20, 2021
I have considered Tito Albert as an epitome of an almost perfect person - a whiff of class in his words, a balance of sense of humor and dictionary-driven style of presenting materials during church meetings. Almost perfect I should say but with Tita Lorna’s “time’s up” stare during meetings, he will readily cutoff his speech and hand the microphone to the next speaker.

His death brought sadness not only to my family but in the entire PCJ Commission of Youth (COY). Tito A, together with Tita Lorna, provided full support to COY - from programs, to fun fest activities, to scholarships,and even to youth problems.

We will continue to pray for you Tito A. When we pray for those who requested prayers, both River and Ranch always say, i-last na natin si Tito Albert sa prayer line-up, “busy si Tito Albert sa heaven, kakahandle ng management seminars”.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary continue to cover you with her mantle of protection as you simply enjoy the merits of His Eternal Kingdom.

We definitely miss you.
Until then Tito A.
Posted by Lorna Buenviaje on May 20, 2021
Tribute given by Dr. Alran Bengzon during the Online Mass for Albert sponsored by AGSB on June 8, 2020

A HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY
Alfredo R. A. Bengzon, MD, MBA

Let me begin by addressing all who participate in the event this morning as Friends of Albert and his family.

For easy understanding I have divided this manuscript thus: an Introductory Part with three sections (A,B,C) and the Main Part with two sections (Narratives and Reflections)

A. The context or raison d’etre centers around what happened on May 21st or 18 days ago, for which I borrowed a terminology I first heard from my son, Dr Mikey in 2008 or 12 years ago. Eighteen days ago Albert celebrated his “Heavenly Birthday.”

B. The other perspective triggered in my mind between May 21 and today, June 7, has to do with time and timelessness or eternity, best illustrated by Fr. Jim Reuter’s favorite prayer.

“Lord God, look down upon us
This day, this hour
Regardless of what has gone before or what will come after.
Give us the grace to consecrate this time entirely to You
All the actions of our body and soul.
May all the thoughts that come to us be true.
May all the things to which our hearts go out be beautiful
With all the beauty of God.
May all things we want be good.
Give us the light to see your will
The grace to love it and the courage and strength to do it.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”


C. On a similar occasion on May 23 or 16 days ago, I invited everyone on Albert’s behalf to invoke God’s unconditional love, and his boundless mercy and compassion for his good and faithful servant who gave the fullness of himself in complete obedience to the Lord’s customized plan for him from his beginnings to his final arrival home and the Lord’s embrace.

And then, very quickly I turned to Lorna and their family and loved ones and pointed out that Albert had gone ahead to prepare places for them.

I added, “Abrasos, Lagrimas y Oraciones.” May these hugs, tears and prayers lessen the sting of your sorrow and lighten the heaviness of your loss by reminding all of us that our Faith assures us that “Life is not ended, it is only changed.”

Narratives:
I have deliberately chosen the three stories that follow because I believe they tell us something about Albert and the Lord’s customized plan for him and how he has, in his life journey responded. It helps the reader/listener understand the connection between the Introductory Part and the Main Part and so clarifies propositions I raise in the Section under Reflections.

First, on Holy Week 2003, as Albert lay on the operating room table in the old TMC prepared for a quadruple bypass, his heart suddenly stopped. The entire surgical team, myself included and the family on standby were stunned into inaction and dilemma, assuming that either option of jumping into surgery or doing nothing would result in death. Surprisingly without words but only glances exchanged, surgery proceeded as if an “on switch” was turned on. Everything went well and he survived without any deficits.

Ten years later in 2013, Albert went into cardiac failure suddenly. Treated with what was then standard of care for such a crucial situation, a newly emerging technology – the use of stem cells – was added for 6 months. The outcome – survival and improvement which were what were at least hoped and prayed for ensued but the absence of deficits or debilitating disabilities provoked in the minds and hearts of Albert’s family and friends that perhaps something


special in Albert’s customized plan from the Author of Life and all in life was in gear.

Finally, 3 years later in 2016 he developed a hemorrhagic stroke where considerable bleeding worked its way into and destroyed some parts of the brain parenchyma. To reduce and diffuse the resulting increased intracranial pressure, portions of his skull were removed surgically (craniectomy) and concurrently a shunt was inserted into the brain spaces. Once more, a miraculous recovery without any deficits in his cognitive faculties, speech functions and motor abilities ensued.

Why am I going through all these factual recitations? 

Reflections

First, by the book he should have died from any of those harrowing incidents or at least be in a vegetative state or severely limited by deficits. So I invite all of you who have become aware only now of these gifts from the Author of Life and all in life, to add your profound thank you to those surely already and repeatedly raised by Albert and his family to God.

Secondly, all of us who are Albert’s friends now and for as often as our minds are so stimulated, must ask, “What is the Lord’s message to us about Albert now that he has left us and gone home?” It is my impression that most people think or regard their loved ones who are “gone” from our world as unavailable to us for engagement. Sure, we pray for them and even to them, but that’s about all! 

Which brings me to my third point for our reflection. Where Albert is now allows him to be more available to help us in our world. If God is the Ultimate CEO, Albert can be available to us as our “lobbyist.” Our life stories are what Albert lived out and how he went about living his part ensured his entry ticket into heaven. He is our best witness and he can argue our case and personalize it.

In my final reflection I believe that there is a relationship between Albert’s humanity and the gift-miracles that highlight the Lord’s customized plan for him during his life journey on earth.

Many countries in the world concede our giftedness – culturally, in education, in our social relationships and through our faiths. Yet our problems are seemingly unsolvable and intractable as evidenced by inhumanities that defy solutions despite efforts and talents even from people in position of authority and resourcefulness.

Consider the humongous ones: poverty, inequity, injustice, untruthfulness. On the other hand, reflect on two outstanding attributes of Albert as person and professional: the Spirit of Otherness and the foundational value of accountability (“pananagutan”).

From where he is, as platform and as model, he is available to us and eager to “lobby” for us 24x7.

In conclusion, I truly believe that all we need to do as individuals, families, communities is to change our mindsets and heartsets, the argument for which is “Life is not ended, it is only changed!” And “Mirabile Dictu,” believe it or not, such change cuts both ways. He is in heaven now, and for us, it is possible, I believe, to have an experience of heaven on this earth and in our time!

I rest my case!

With respect and affection,

ALRAN
June 7, 2020
Posted by Verne Quiazon on May 20, 2021
Dean Albert Buenviaje: In Memoriam
A video tribute to his golden years in the AGSB

https://youtu.be/ZXCCiNfu_v0
Posted by Verne Quiazon on May 20, 2021
We have a chat-group of former AGSB colleague with Albert. There is almost always a conversation going on in our chatroom. The threads are usually long and can go in all and any directions. And we try having face to face meetings at least at least once a month.

It was during this time that we have truly to come to accept and appreciate one another. It was during this time that I have come to know that:

Albert is a good and generous man. Many also know him as a great person with impressive achievements. What he has done, what he as accomplished, make him great. But who he is, is what makes him good and generous.

For some time in the past few days before he died, I was quiet in our chat group. He sent me a private message asking if I was okay. I did not tell the group then I just had a surgery. I simply told him I was okay. But the gesture – simple, sincere – was Albert at his best as a friend. Albert loved to check on his friends. He is always ready to help, to serve, to be a man for others.

His love and friendship for others knows no boundaries, no limits, no ends. He connects people. He enables and empowers them. He is very smart and can always come up with inspiring missions and visions. And it is with heart and love that he brings these to fruition.

I feel this love the most when I see his family. He is a super proud daddy to his tres Marias. And It is admirable how he has kept all of them close to his heart even though they are in different places of the globe. I love how he dotes on him grandchildren, specially Gabo.

I am happy for having Albert as a friend. I know we will never see him again. But he will always remain in my heart and memory. I have been greatly blessed to be part of his life and he of mine.

Thank you for the friendship Albert. I am looking forward to seeing and being with you again.
Posted by Lorna Buenviaje on May 20, 2021
Happy First Birthday in heaven Fafi. You returned to your true home last May 21, 2020, so it will be your first birthday in heaven tomorrow May 21, 2021. Thank you for the love and laughter you have given all of us through the years. You have been such a wonderful husband, father, grandpa, mentor, colleague and friend to the people whose lives you have touched. Your passing left a huge void and we will miss you terribly. However, we are consoled by our belief that you have reached the fullness of time and have been rewarded by God with His eternal presence. Cheers to your heavenly birthday celebration. We love you. 

The poem below by Karen Boyer best personifies the loving and devoted father that you had been to our children.

Silent Strong Dad
He never looks for praises
He's never one to boast
He just goes on quietly working
For those he loves the most

His dreams are seldom spoken
His wants are very few
And most of the time his worries
Will go unspoken too.

He's there.... A firm foundation
Through all our storms of life
A sturdy hand to hold to
In times of stress and strife.

A true friend we can turn to
When times are good or bad
One of our greatest blessings,
The man that we call Dad.

Posted by Lorna Buenviaje on May 20, 2021
Eulogy given by Abigail Buenviaje during the Memorial Mass for Albert on May 23, 2020,

On behalf of the Buenviaje family, I would like to thank you all for taking time out of your weekend to join us in the memorial service of my dad, Albert Buenviaje. I’m Abby, the eldest child of Albert and I was assigned the difficult task of speaking for the family.

Many of you know my Dad as the great, lovable Dean of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business or perhaps as the brilliant director/ or CEO leading the strategic management of several top companies, but what most of you don’t know (and this was shared by my late Lola), is that his original, long held ambition in life was to be a kutchero ng karitela– sorry, I need to explain what a kutchero is to my son, who can’t speak tagalog - kutchero is a coachman of a horse-driven carriage. This was a common means of public transportation back in the day, but now you can only see them in Intramuros. My lola explained that they rode a karitela once, and my Dad enjoyed the ride so much – I think they happened to be with a chatty kuchero – the kutchero was explaining the history of the different places they passed, told jokes, made sure that he and my lola were comfortable during the entire ride especially since there was a flood, and after the ride he saw my Lola hand over a few coins to the kuchero as payment – My Dad exclaimed that “This was his dream job – because the kuchero ng Karitela brought joy and learnings to people, was caring and reliable since you can only ride a karitela during floods and you got paid doing it.” A few days later, he said, he can perhaps also be a movie actor, but my Lola squashed this immediately and said he wasn’t good looking enough, and that he should just stick to his kuchero ng karitela ambition. 

My dad as you all know, did not become a kuchero, but the overarching principles of why he wanted to be a kuchero were carried on in his life – he brought joy, laughter, selflessness, care and learnings to everyone he met.

My Dad, being the true blue Atenean he was, always imbibed the vision of AGSB and would always repeat this mantra to his children and I’d like to share this with all of you -  “Expertise without integrity is empty. Integrity without expertise is ineffectual. Expertise and integrity without service is irrelevant.” I remember how a taipan who knew my dad told me once that my Dad was the “the most brilliant person he’s ever met and that he could either have been a multi billionaire due to his brilliance or ideally the President of the country”. Instead, my dad chose to devote most of his life, sharing his expertise through service and education – as a coach to his students, a mentor to CEOs and leaders, a strategic planner for corporates and a teacher to all.

Our family is extremely overwhelmed with the number of messages and anecdotes we received from people whose lives he touched. Leaders and students recount how instrumental my Dad has been in helping them achieve their goals and successes. My Dad also dedicated these past years as well (together with my mom) in working in the vineyard of the Lord, thru their involvement in various parish activities.  He unselfishly shared his leadership ability to the parish community. He took an active role in the various leadership development programs of the parish.  Coming from a poor family during his growing up years, his heart is always with the poor. He supported parish programs to improve the lives of the less fortunate families around them, not just financially (as he saw this as a temporary solution), but more so through EDUCATION, believing that when you give people the tools to improve themselves, eventually they can elevate their standard of living.

During this lockdown, my dad also re-tooled and made himself, in his own words “cool and tech savvy” to further people’s learnings. He learned how to use zoom. Every week, he would give us, his children a zoom lecture where we would discuss economic, capital markets and political updates. I work for an investment bank and naturally, I knew all these, but to be honest, my Dad always brought fresh perspective to these topics. We always looked forward to these and encouraged him to open these up to other people. The day before he passed away, he was actually so excited to launch his own virtual classroom for his students in the corporate world – to enumerate some of these topics are Strategic Management, Corporate Governance, Managing Change, Economics for Business. He posted his excitement on Facebook a few hours before he passed away. My Dad truly was that teacher and mentor that inspired hope, ignited the imagination and instilled in people a love of learning.

To the family, my dad was perfect in every way. To my mom, he was a loving and sweet husband.  My mom and my dad were high school sweethearts, which is something unheard of in this day and age, and which also means they’ve been together as a couple for more than 50 years! They were such a great super team supporting each other in every way. And after all these years, my dad still looks at my mom like he was seeing the most beautiful person in the room. My Dad even commented during one of our zoom calls that he wasn’t bothered at all by the lockdown, since he was locked down together with my Mom and that they were actually re-living their teenage years. Whatever that meant, that statement made all of us, his children cringe.

To us, his children, and also grandchildren and sons in law, apart from being our mentor, he was our greatest cheerleader. Whenever we had major projects at work, in school or every time we encountered difficulties, my dad would always end our conversations by shouting “Fight, anak, fight!” in encouragement. When we would succeed, he would lead us in a dance which he dubbed as the “Chipachi dance” – it was like a tribal success dance where we all formed a circle and chant our success. My Dad taught us that if you really put your mind into something, anything is possible, any difficulties can be overcome.

Most important of all was how our dad taught us to love and care immensely – to be selfless of one’s time for the people you love. He was always available for his family, despite his extremely busy schedule. He was always available for all our school activities growing up (awarding ceremonies, declamation contests, etc.). He was always available and would be the first to ask “kamusta” on text or viber and would remember for some reason all the important deadlines or work projects we had on our plate. He would never forget to ask how things were going for those milestones. He was always available to volunteer to personally be the taga-sundo from the airport of his balikbayan daughters (when Arlene was still living in Singapore and whenever Kaken would fly back from Australia). He was always available to be their personal chauffer to take them to wherever they needed to go during their visits, even if it was just to go to the mall. He would be the first to raise his hand if any of his grandkids needed a ride to the doctor or sundo from school. Whatever was going on with his busy life, he was always available and he was always there.

My dad had so many achievements in life, but while he never bragged about these, he was the proudest dad and granddad. He was always the very first one to post on social media whenever my sisters and I accomplished major projects, like an IPO listing ceremony, or my sister’s successful marketing exhibitions; or my sister’s major supply chain project – sometimes before even these were publicly disclosed and we’d have to remind him to take things off from social media. He would also be the first to post milestones of his grandchildren, like my son, Gabo’s report card; my niece Ela singing her favorite song from Frozen, even before us parents had the chance to do so. Hence we fondly nicknamed my dad the “Town crier”.

Despite my Dad’s many health challenges, God actually blessed us with so many years with him. He had his first heart attack at the age of 40 in 1992, a quadruple bypass in 2003 and his last health scare was in 2016 – when he had a stroke and underwent a double brain operation. And yet God allowed him to surpass all these challenges – allowing him to walk all 3 daughters down the aisle during our weddings, mentor several people to achieve their goals and most of all enjoy his two grandchildren, Gabo and Ela, immensely.

Pa, to say we’re going to miss you terribly is the greatest understatement. We can’t begin to imagine not having you at the end of the phone checking up on us, encouraging us and your grandkids and having you at our weekly zoom sessions. This is definitely a huge loss for us, and while we know the pain of your loss will be profound and deep, we are comforted by the fact that you are now home with your Creator.

Rest in peace, Fafi.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Marife Yap on June 4, 2021
It has taken me some time to write a tribute and to remember Dean Albert, or Albert, as how I would refer to him. Perhaps I am not wrong when I say that there is one thing that Bert and I shared as a common memory - the excerpt of a "letter" penned by Margaret Silf in the final chapter of the book she authored entitled " Just Call Me Lopez". I had quoted this letter and placed it in a slide and framed it, presenting it as a gift during the retirement party of Albert at the AGSB in 2013. At the time of his passing and when Lorna read this same excerpt at the end of a memorial mass for Albert, I was again moved and deeply touched by how apt these words are as if Albert had appropriated them to be his own. Truly, our dear friend and colleague, Albert "has simply gone from Somewhere to Everywhere"! Even while here on Earth, as a colleague and friend at the Ateneo, Albert's unassuming and stabilizing presence in many a challenge and crisis always served as assurance that there is nothing to be afraid of if we courageously carry out the Lord's work here in this world and seek to do His will. That for me, is how I always remember Albert - as God's good and faithful servant who gave the best of himself to help people achieve the best of what they are meant to be. And he did this in a strategic, well thought through manner and with great generosity and heart. His kindness and gentleness was shared with everyone such that Albert always made himself available and approachable, ready to be of help. I have been a beneficiary of this many times in the many challenges and problems faced in our work in Ateneo and Albert always listened to me even as I would break down in tears talking to him about various concerns. Many times, his gift of presence was enough to assure me that all will be well and that things would be solved. Finally, Albert also left me with the legacy of acceptance that he always exhibited - not an acceptance that meant defeat but an acceptance of entrusting everything to God after doing everything we can, thus fully trusting the Lord to take care of the rest. So, to end, I quote again..."Walk on now in courage, and in deep content. You are God's pilgrim. God's love and grace are all you need. Thank you, and adieu, my friend, Albert!" - with deep respect and affection, Marife
Posted by Rosalie Factor on May 29, 2021
Tito Albert is an inspiration to me in so many ways. Primarily, I admire him so much in being able to balance his work, family life and service to the Lord so effectively. He was also always generous with praise and cautious with criticism. He is a true leader in every sense of the word, a model father, worker, servant and Christian. We will all miss you po, Tito Albert. Thank you po for everything. Rest in the arms of the Lord.
Posted by Lorna Buenviaje on May 22, 2021
Eulogy given by Dr. Amable R. Aguiluz V, fondly called "King" by everyone, during the memorial mass for Albert on May 23, 2020.

For Albert,
At first, I was reluctant to accept the invitation to join this memorial Zoom gathering for Albert because I found it difficult writing lines, finding the exact words to describe him and the emotions involved in it. I thought, it was easier to just sit and to continue enjoying the home quarantine than to do this at last. But it was equally difficult to say no to Lorna...

I met Albert in early 80s through another friend. That time, he was connected with government in concurrent capacities as Chairman and President of the government’s housing bank (Maunlad Savings Bank), Program Director of the Land Investment Trust Program and Senior Vice President of Home Financing Corporation. I knew he was also assisting the then Ministry of Human Settlements in these capacities. All these positions were held by him at a young age of 28. Later, he became Dean of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

In pursuit of AMA’s education endeavors, I needed someone like him who is full of knowledge, a financial analyst and a business strategist. Considering he possessed these desirable qualities, he remained unassuming and down to earth. 

I knew he would be my best friend, and I wasn't mistaken. In light moments, we shared personal thoughts and experiences. We developed mutual admiration and respect, that I considered him as my confidant. (I am just not sure if he also considered me as his confidant.)

We became very close to the extent that I couldn’t proceed with any project without asking for his thoughts and advice.

That’s why, in order for us not to part ways, I made him a member of the Board of Trustees, of all the companies and corporations I established.  Kaya, ‘ika nga, walang kawala. Diligently, he did not miss any Board meetings. In fact, he was always first to arrive in meetings, yet he didn’t mind being the last to be paid; knowing that salaries of our men takes precedence.

Moreover, he always made sure that all our meetings start with a prayer. After adjournment of meetings, we make time to reflect on specific items discussed, especially ridiculous proposals raised that brought us to a never ending laughter as we talk about the "kalabaw", our internal term jokingly referring to a request that appears too small as a rope only to find out that it was so big a request; there’s a carabao at the end of the rope, so to speak. Albert also brought to us the word "bolondyong", which means Stupid.

Our bond of friendship continued to strengthen, now involving members of my family. Para mas lalo pang walang kawala,. . . at may forever. . . , I made him Ninong in the wedding of all my children: Miguel and Christine, Angela and Poch, Clara and Jeff.

AMA gained so much from his expertise in strategic management and corporate governance. As an entrepreneur, I had all the guts; Albert had the theories, concepts and strategies.

Thirty (30) years ago, Albert had a heart attack. We thanked the Lord that he survived the very critical procedure. In God’s grace, and in the presence of the best experts, the operation went above all expectations; he recovered smoothly and fast enough.

Perhaps very few of us are aware that Albert was a prolific writer. In fact, he was also my speech writer. Notable of which was my speech and the message of one of my daughters, Angela, on her 18th birthday celebration.

Both Albert and Lorna are very religious; they dedicated time for their Parish. Albert worked for the establishment of a scholarship program in AMA for poor but deserving parishioners. On May 14, just last week, he texted me about another scholarship grant, which I immediately obliged.

That was our last conversation,. . . . virtual pa.

I know you’re in a better place now, without illness and pain. Surely, we will all miss you.

For Lorna and the whole family, I wish to let you know that I have been reading these words with deep sadness in my heart, but trying to make you all feel honored and special for the opportunity of knowing the amazing person that Albert was. He will be very happy if we will pursue Albert’s advocacies and legacy.

To quote another great Albert – that is, Albert Einstein - “Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.”

It pains us very much not having the opportunity to physically attend today’s memorial service to pay our last respects due to the restrictions of the pandemia.

On behalf of my family and AMA, I thank you, my dear friend Albert, for having such an impact on my life, and making it rich with your unwavering support and unconditional friendship. You, will always be a part of AMA’s history – its risk-taking pursuits, challenges and achievements, blows and adversities, upturns and successes. Have a great journey up there.

Rest in peace, my best friend, Albert.
his Life

Life Story of Albert

Early Childhood

Albert was born on August 21, 1951, the youngest of 3 children of Amando and Priscilla Buenviaje. His elder sister, Carmencita Buenviaje Sarrosa, is a pediatric doctor, while his  elder brother, Rene Antonio Buenviaje, is an engineer.

Albert learned grit, determination and the importance of education from his late father, Amando. While Albert’s early childhood years were in Anak Bayan, a squatters’ area in Paco, Manila, his father always instilled in them that their present circumstances would in no way define their future  -- that education and hard work can change a person’s life.  Amando, while working as a janitor in Meralco pursued his studies in the evening and was able to earn a law degree. Meralco management recognized his grit and he rose from the ranks from a janitorial position to become head of Personnel Management in Meralco. With his improved income, the family was then able to transfer to their present ancestral home in Scout Fernandez in Q.C. 

His father’s touching success story inspired Albert. As Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Albert believed that giving deserving students from poor families the chance to have a proper education is the key to their social mobility, the key to unlocking their respective success stories, similar to his father’s. His advocacy for the scholarship program of our parish was one of his priorities.

Educational Background

Albert finished his primary education (Grades 1-4) at Letran College. He transferred to UST Elementary school for his intermediate education (Grades 5-6) and likewise completed high school at the UST.

In 1972, Albert graduated from Ateneo in A.B. Economics (Dean’s List). He pursued his Masteral Degree in Business Administration from the same university, while balancing his responsibilities at work, family and his studies.  That was a very difficult time for the family financially – meeting the mortgage payments on their house, financing his MBA studies and at the same time raising a young child. But hard work  and strong faith in God pulled the family through.

Work Experiences

Albert started his career at Warner Barnes, as Executive Assistant to the Vice President in charge of Exports and later the following year, joined Philippine Shares Corporation, a company owned by the late Tomas Aguirre, where he handled Special Projects.

As his inclination at that time was in economics and finance, Albert decided to move to a banking career in 1976 and became Far East Bank and Trust Co’s head of the Credit Investigators and Appraisers Group. It was during his time in the said bank that Albert’s acumen in finance was honed. In 1979, he transferred to Industrial Finance Corp, belonging to the Yuchengco Group of Companies, handling their leasing operations. He was quickly recognized as one of the young, brilliant minds in finance, and thus, was offered to be part of the think tank to form the Ministry of Human Settlements, where he became Senior Vice President of Home Financing Corp. and concurrently Chairman of the Board and President of Maunlad Savings Bank, its housing bank.  During his government stint, Albert successfully launched the Land Investment Trust Certificates, which was the country’s precursor of the present Real Estate Investment Trust.  After his 4-year stint in the  government from 1980-1984, Albert rejoined the corporate world in various capacities – he became Chairman of the Executive Committee of the publicly listed Dizon Copper Mines, CEO of Ventures Bank, member of the Board of Directors of several companies , e.g. The New Medical City Hospital (Professional Services, Inc.), The Medical City South Luzon,  Medical Arts Tower Inc., AMA Group of Companies, PICAR Development Corporation, First Municipal Development Corporation and other institutions in various industries.  He became President & CEO of The Medical City South Luzon

Albert provided Strategic Management programs for various large, top tier corporates, often assisting these corporates to plan for the next tier of their business. Among them were St. Peter Life Plan Group of Companies, Professional Services Inc., AMA Group of Companies and other companies engaged in various industries.

Academe World – His True Calling

It was in the academe where Albert found his true passion and mission. Albert first got to teach in the 1990s -  International Finance (which was his forte at that time) at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.  Thereafter,  he was appointed to several positions in AGSB – Director for Internal Affairs, Regis Program Executive Director, Assistant Dean, Associate Dean and eventually became  Dean in July 2007 up to 2014.

Being an administrator of a school was never in Albert’s radar screen. His passion was in teaching. However, Albert said that there are many unplanned developments in our lives.  They are called “detours” in one’s life. And the most scenic and adventurous roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take - --gifts that one should be thankful for. 

During his teaching stint at AGSB, Albert gave of himself, understanding the power of connection and insisting that his students learn not only the concepts and skills needed for business but more significantly, the importance for a person to be whole, that is to live with integrity and passion for service to others.  The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.  Albert truly believed that teaching was more than just imparting knowledge; it is inspiring change. Even as his main objective was to teach others, Albert always said that he also learned from his students and mentees. He achieved some form of personal transformation during his stint at AGSB. He had a desire for a deeper level of spirituality and desire to serve others more, and these he attributed as his learnings from the people he worked with and from his students at the Ateneo.

During his death, we were overwhelmed with the number of messages and anecdotes we received from his students, mentees and people whose lives he touched. Leaders and students recounted how instrumental Albert has been in helping them achieve their goals and successes.

Serving in the Lord’s Vineyard

From 2016 up to the time of his death, Albert, together with Lorna were the Couple Head of the Parish Pastoral Council of the Presentation of the Child Jesus Parish, where they are parishioners. They facilitated the formulation of the shared vision, mission and core values of the parish and  spearheaded numerous parish programs, which have been adopted not only in the vicariate, but also in the entire diocese of Paranaque.

One of the advocacies of Albert in the parish is to help uplift the lives of the parishioners from the developing communities. He gave all out support for the Scholarship program by either actively soliciting scholarship grants for deserving students and also providing scholarships out of his own pocket to multiple students who were not included in the parish program. He also spearheaded the provision of aid in cash and/or in kind to the developing communities who were affected by the lockdown from loss of jobs.

Wife, Children and Family

It was in USTH High School that Albert met the love of his life, Lorna, during one of the high school fairs. They became sweethearts at third year high school and dated for eight long years, before tying the knot in 1975. They were each other’s first love, a rarity in today’s world.

They were blessed with their first child Abigail (Abby) the following year. They chose the name Abigail for its meaning – source of joy.  Abby was an only child for about 7 years before the couple was blessed with another child, Arlene, whose name means source of light.  Two years later, they were again blessed with another girl, Katherine Ann, the youngest child of the family.

His tres Marias were a source of joy and pride to Albert. Despite his many accomplishments, Albert was never one to brag about these. However, when it comes to his daughters’ achievements, Albert was always the first one to shout this out loud – whether through stories, posts in social media (like Facebook), integrating our success stories in one of his many classes -- so much so that his daughters branded him as the town crier.

One of the greatest things Albert taught his children was being selfless of one’s time for the people you love. He was always available for his family, despite his extremely busy schedule.  He was always available for all his children’s school activities growing up. He was always available for a call, a text, a Hi, a pep talk for his children and grandchildren. Whatever was going on with his busy life, he was always available and he was always there. He was truly the anchor on which his daughters all stood.

Albert was given the opportunity by God to walk his three daughters down the aisle and enjoy the antics of two of his grandchildren. His grandson Gabriel Luis, “Gabo” (from Abby and Karlo) was born in Feb. 2010, followed by granddaughter Micaela Lourdes “Ela (from Arlene and Diego) in Nov. 2016.  His third grandchild, Amy Alberta (from Arlene and Diego) was born on August 16, 2020, almost three months after Albert passed away.

Health Challenges and Death

Albert suffered his first heart attack at the age of 40 in 1991. At that time, his youngest daughter Kaken was only 7 years old and was receiving her first Holy Communion in Woodrose.

In March of 2003, Albert suffered a major heart attack and had to undergo quadruple bypass operation. On Holy Week 2003, as Albert lay on the operating table in the old Medical City, his heart suddenly stopped. The entire surgical team, and the family on standby were stunned into inaction and dilemma, assuming that either option of jumping into surgery or doing nothing would result in death. Trusting in God’s providence, his wife Lorna gave her approval for the surgery. Everything went well and he survived without any deficits.

Ten years later in 2013, Albert went into cardiac failure suddenly. He was treated with stem cell for 6 months. The function of his heart improved after the treatment.

Then 3 years later in 2016 he developed a hemorrhagic stroke where there was considerable bleeding of the brain. To reduce the resulting increased pressure, portions of his skull were removed surgically (craniectomy) and concurrently a shunt was inserted into the brain down to his stomach to drain the fluids that accumulated in his brain. Once more, God granted him a miraculous recovery and he did not have any deficits after undergoing physical therapy and rehab for just a few months.

Finally, on May 21, 2020 God called Albert to his final home. That morning, after breakfast, Albert went to his garden to do his usual breathing exercises. Then he called his wife Lorna aloud, saying he was dizzy, and she let him sit down. He passed out, and was declared dead on arrival at Asian Hospital. The whole family was, of course, inconsolable because everything happened so fast. Despite all his health challenges in the past, there was simply no preparing for this. Just the night before, Albert even posted on Facebook that he and Lorna were preparing his virtual classroom. These were for the seminars he was going to conduct online.

Looking back we realize that God loved Albert that He did not let him suffer. Had Albert been revived, he would have stayed in the ICU alone. And with all the tubes attached to him, he would have been very miserable since his family would not be allowed to stay with him. Also, with the present raging and very virulent strain of COVID19, Albert with his many comorbidities would have been at high risk of being infected. God, in His mercy, spared Albert from this.

So we give praise and thanks to God for allowing us to have Albert in our lives. We have been truly blessed by his presence, his words, his humor, his actions, and his love. It is not what he has that expresses the worth of a man, but what he does and what he is. And Albert was a great man-  a great husband, father, grandfather, son, leader and mentor to all. We pray Almighty Father that you may grant Albert a merciful judgment and look kindly upon him, this we ask through Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Recent stories

The Best Father and Mentor

Shared by Abby Buenviaje-Magpayo on May 21, 2021
As an investment banker, yearly, I would conduct several capital markets lectures in Manila and key provinces in the Phils.  While I knew my subject matter very well, I also knew I often struggled in these lectures as I came across as boring, dull and perhaps even wearisome during these seminars. The words “boring, dull and wearisome” were words you would never hear from students that had attended my Dad’s classes/ lectures at AGSB –his classes were always full and he was a much sought after speaker/ strategic management resource person by many large corporates.

So every time I had a lecture, I would reach out to my dad for help -  for a “good opening” and “good closing” section for my seminars, in order to hold my audience’s attention.  And while my Dad would excitedly write an opening and closing for me, each time, he would always remind me that I shouldn’t just be an expert at what I’m doing – it’s about loving and being excited about what I’m doing,  and sharing this knowledge with other people. He would always tell me that when people genuinely see your love, passion and enthusiasm for what you do, that’s when you’ll be able to send your message across.

I eventually did improve through my dad’s help (although I would never be in the same level as he, despite using his openings and closings).  In each of my lectures, whether this would be in NCR, Cebu, Davao, Pampanga etc., there would always be 2-3 individuals that would approach me after the lectures, asking if Albert Buenviaje was my dad and basically just sharing how my dad had helped them in some way – as a student seeking advice on their thesis; as a business owner starting a new venture; as a CEO that needed strategic management recommendations; as a mentee that needed guidance, whether professional or spiritual.  I could probably write an entire book of anecdotes from people I’ve encountered, all declaring what an awesome, selfless mentor my dad was.  Each time I would share these encounters with my Dad, he would still remember each person – what advice he gave –and he showed genuine happiness over what each has achieved.  My dad truly displayed that teaching is a profession that creates all other professions.  He would always tell me that teaching isn’t just about teaching a subject matter – it’s about inspiring others and changing people for the better.

When my dad passed away, I received more than 500 messages on my social media, largely from people I didn’t know.   I read each one and each reached out to share how my father had affected their lives and unselfishly shared his knowledge and guidance.  Truly, the greatest use of one’s life is doing something that will outlast it.  My father left a legacy – the legacy of being a great father, mentor, coach, teacher and inspiration to all.

Dreams are spiritual truths

Shared by Kaken Buenviaje-Varona on May 21, 2021
I am going to share two vivid dreams I had of my dad after he passed away. Although these are just dreams, they both illustrate how Papa was a remarkable human being who was an inspiration to many.

A few months after Papa passed away, I dreamt that we were in his room, talking about random things and reminiscing about the past, just like our conversations in real life. I don't remember exactly what we talked about, but his last message stuck in my mind. He said, "Basta the key to life is to do everything with love. When you spend time with your family, do it with love. When you work, do it with love." I woke up immediately after his parting words and felt heavy-hearted, but I knew deep in my heart that it was really Papa reaching out to me from where he is right now. Those who know him well will agree that Papa lived his life that way - he did everything with love. He truly loved his work, family and friends and valued every moment he had with his loved ones.

In another dream I had about Papa, I was frequenting a particular restaurant and every time I was there, Papa had a meeting with a different person at the same table. In my dream, I knew he was dead so I thought I was just imagining things. Then one day I bumped into my sister Ate Arlene and her family at the restaurant. Ate Arlene was sobbing because she also saw Papa's spirit, meeting with someone at the exact same table. When I woke up from my dream, I texted my sisters about it, not knowing what it all means. My other sister Ate Abby then shared a story related to my dream. Note, this was my first time to hear this story - there was one month in 2019 where she saw Papa more than three times at Via Mare in Greenbelt. In that month, she just happened to walk along that area and Papa was always seated at the same table at Via Mare. She would knock on the window to say hello and Papa would signal for her to come in so he could introduce her to his client, student, colleague or whoever he was meeting that day. After each time they saw one another, my sister called up Papa to ask why he had a meeting with that person and he often replied to say he was there to give free advice. That was Papa – he was willing to travel all the way from our home in Las Piñas to Makati to comfort someone or provide free counselling. He genuinely wanted to help anyone out of the goodness of his heart.

These dreams may just be dreams, but they show how Papa lived his life until his last day – he was a selfless person who put love at the centre of everything he did.

Best Lolo In the World

Shared by Abby Buenviaje-Magpayo on May 21, 2021
As written and shared by my son, Gabo Buenviaje-Magpayo:

Lolo cared about me very much and would always encourage me.  He would call me everyday and tell me I am the best apopos in the world!  He was always very proud of me, whatever I did, especially when I have good grades.  One time, I had bad grades in Filipino, and felt very upset with this.  Lolo and Mamuy went to my house and Lolo comforted me and said not to worry, that he also had bad grades in Filipino when he was young, And he became the Dean of Ateneo!  Lolo said what’s important is that you tried your very best, not necessarily being the best all the time.  He said I was still the best apopos in the world.

Last Sunday, I was awarded First Honor for the school year and had the highest grade in Grade 5.  I’m sure Lolo is dancing in heaven and telling everyone in heaven I am his best apopos in the world.  I miss you so much Lolo!  I love you!