I was never the kind of student who loved sucking up to professors. In fact, some of my batchmates would remember me as the one who loved to argue with the teacher. But here's the thing: Gerry Katigbak was not like any other profs.
I'll never forget the way you used to pull jokes on us and how you always made the room feel a whole lot lighter with your funny antics.
"He was my teacher too when I was a student in CSB. I admire his passion for teaching. Because of him, I realized that fashion involves a lot of hard work." – Veejay Floresca, designer
Sir Gerry was a pleasant man and was anything but a "terror" in class. He loved his students and always took time to listen to whatever it is that we had to say, whether it was subject-related or pure gossip.
One class I remember him teaching was History of Costume. It was a three-hour period and he’d usually take over the second half after our other professor, veteran designer Edgar Mendoza, would leave us to do our work. I remember how he’d jump from table to table checking up on our works while cracking a few jokes here and there. Sometimes, he’d even talk to us about chismis from the other classes.
"Whoever said that fashion is shallow and all about drama surely hasn’t met Sir Gerry. He is proof that hard work and a big smile plastered across your face will get you far in this industry. " – Dax Bayani, designer
It was on a busy Saturday morning when I learned of Sir Gerry's passing. Our Preview Editor-In-Chief Pauline Juan was even the one who broke the tragic news. At first, I wasn't quite sure how to react. The first thing I did was to post a message on the Facebook group where my batchmates are part of, perhaps waiting for a sympathetic reaction. The next sequence of events somehow distracted me from this waker-upper, but halfway through the day, a brown butterfly greeted me in the heat of the afternoon as if bidding a last farewell. And while I'm not one to believe much in superstitions, I couldn't help but be reminded of the man who once served as my mentor.
“[He's] very energetic and endless sa kakulitan. Once kasama mo sya, buhay na buhay ang good vibes. That's what I'll miss about him.” – Lydia Pajaron, co-faculty at DLS-CSB
Apart from the knowledge that he shared in class, what I'll always take away from him is the virtue of patience and kindness: thet two things he consistently showed no mater how rowdy the class got or how kulit we all were with our never ending complaints and whatnot. Even after graduation, each time I'd run into him, he'd never fail to greet me as we stop for a quick chat, checking up on me and giving me career advice. I guess that's what I'll miss the most: seeing his familair face light up each time he sees one of his students and how he constantly checks up on how we're doing in the same manner a concerned tito would. Alas, those days are gone as I'm left with memories of his ridiculous jokes and snarky yet funny side comments.
God speed, Sir Gerry. You will forever be missed.