I met tito Geno at the end of the first day of my Victory Weekend, back in November 2013. I felt like I already knew so much about him through tita Patty — his wife, and my mentor. My first impression of him was that he was your typical geek, in the way that he looks exactly what I had in mind as the engineer tita Patty described him to be. He spoke with this mix of gentleness and energy — a trait that never gave up until the last time I saw him.
Our meetings that followed were sporadic, as I usually looked for tita Patty during the Sunday 6:00 p.m. services at Victory Fort Bonifacio. The Villa couple served as ushers during that time, and their smiles and energy were infectious as they welcomed incoming attendees.
My second exchange came a few months later in January 2014, when I decided to volunteer as part of the ushering team. Tito Geno had just come out of a recent hospital confinement, and yet he decided to come and encourage the new members of the team. Despite the disease he battled, his gentle energy never left him — in fact, I felt that it just shone much brighter! Perhaps, it was inspite of his struggle that he was able to shine brighter.
I was bouncing around with “new Christian” energy, and was just encouraged by tita Patty not to be ashamed to ask God for a husband, or to ask others to pray with me for that desire. I came up to tito Geno, and he gladly recounted how he was able to share the Good News during his confinement. With humble humor, he also mentioned how the nurses found it funny and a bit strange that it was their patient who comforted them, instead of them comforting him.
My memory is probably vague as to what tito Geno said exactly to end his story, but it was something along the lines of —
It’s all Jesus.
To which I grinned, and all I could think to say, as I gestured with my arms as if to say, “Behold: Tito Geno!” was —
I want this!
I do believe I have taken tito Geno by surprise, until I realized how vague and confusing my statement was. He asked, “What do you mean?” I knew I wanted something more than what I ended up saying — probably an awkward, “what you have with tita Patty!” — but our exchange ended shortly after. It would be a while until I get to talk to him again.
Fast forward to October 2015 — I was going through a major transition in my life and I have learned a lot in my journey. Tita Patty and I just had a date, and tito Geno came to pick her up. Tita Patty gladly recounted what I told her, and he responded with —
Praise God! Patty, let’s pray for her…
There are times in the Christian circle where, “Praise God!” in response to whatever kind of news sounds rote to me, in the similar manner that the we would ask, “How are you doing?” without being concerned over how the other person is really doing. However, I could not deny the joy that was growing in my heart during that season — just being joyful in God, that is — and tito Geno’s few words just served to punctuate that.
See, even if my circumstances could not conceivably muster praise at 100%, the reminder that God is worthy of praise and worship at all times for His goodness; that He is the same powerful, awesome, fearful, and loving God who has me in the palm of His hand regardless of the circumstances.
It would be the last time I spoke to tito Geno.
Around three weeks ago, when tito Geno’s mother, Nanay Lily fought her own battle, I sent word to tita Patty — something to encourage her and tito Geno during their family’s ordeal, because I figured out what it was I meant when I said, “I want this!” —
I want a faith like yours. I want a love for Jesus so strong that it overflows every single day. I want a trust in God so deep that it’s unshakable. I want boldness and a sincere love to share the good news with people. As a couple and as individuals, you display that. And without shame, I say that I also want a relationship like yours that only serve to magnify the awesome goodness and overwhelming love God has.
Tita Patty, tito Geno, you both have been a source of encouragement and inspiration to me po, and you continue to do so every day. Today, it’s my turn to offer encouragement: I pray and claim a divine turnaround for you and your household. I pray and claim blessings and answered prayers so sudden that they can be called miracles. The love you display is already so blinding (in a good way!) but with God, love is limitless.
Thank you po, for what you do and for what you say. Thank You po, Lord, for the lives of my tita Patty and tito Geno. You are good to me as You are good to them. Thank You for Your faithfulness, power, provision, peace, and love.
Tito Geno Del Corro Villa passed away on 19 April 2016. His loving wife, tita Patty was with him.
His legacy lives with that of the saints that came before Him, and through the lives of the people he has touched. It is a legacy that is undying as the eternal God. Tito Geno lived a life so bright, because Jesus worked His light through him and his loved ones. He lived the life of a victor because he claimed the victory Jesus won for him on the cross every day. He was the epitome of a child of God who has faithfully run the race of life. Tito Geno now stands at the finish line as Jesus welcomes him with these words: