One day more and its gonna be a week old…the event that shocked a lot of people with disbelief…especially in the running community…The day Penn Ceñido aka Skipper was murdered at his workplace.
Last September 26, the last night before he will be laid to rest, Cris and I went to St. Peter Chapels Commonwealth, together with some running friends to pay our last respect. I’m happy there was a second mass for him.. At the homily, the priest said something about how to remember a loved one who passed away. He said,
“Let’s remember him not by how he died but by how he lived his life”
True enough. While most of us, more so his family, cannot accept how brutally he was been killed, there is a silver lining to that cloud of thought, why not remember him by how he shared his life and how he has been a part of our lives.
I want to remember Penn as a generous and fun loving person. I first encountered Penn at Takbo.Ph forum. He was Skipper at that time. There, he is one of those forumers who would give advises to newbie runners like me. I first met him in person at AnR Tiendesitas. Until I became an official member of Team CB. My close encounters with him were just the recent ones, like mid-part of 2011.
Penn is hardworking and generous. When Penn launched his chicken business, he sponsored 10 dressed chickens for BDM 160 Team CB participants and support last January. Cris and I claimed it at his store at the Commonwealth Market. There he showed us how his business works and his routines. He’s got to give up some of his activities like running because he is a hands-on business man. But he really wants to go back running with friends. Since he can’t find time, he does cross-trainings and rides his bike to work sometimes instead, he told us. Another account of Penn’s generosity was during the typhoon Sendong where he sold his bike “Skipper” and had all proceeds donated to the typhoon victims.
Since Penn lay low in running, I wasn’t able to bond with him at team’s training when I became a TCB member. Fortunately, he can manage to be present at the group’s get together once in a while. There, I was able to bond and laugh with him even for a short period of time. Some of these events were the online chats and “kulitan”, post race hangouts, TCB Christmas party, the post Outreach outing at his friend’s house pool. And the recent was just last September 15, exactly a week before the tragedy.
That was a sweaty, fun-filled day with Penn. We had a badminton tournament late afternoon. It was a tummy-aching, laugh-out-loud moment watching him play. Most of us were newbie to the game but what he lacks in skills he makes up in having fun and he made sure anyone who watched him will enjoy their game, (well at least I did!). He changed and soaked again his white shirt with sweat twice, I think during his 2 games. Then he went to me and said, “Inay! kung ganito lagi ang ipapawis ko sa larong ito, okay lang na araw-arawin ko maglaro.” Then he proposed another tournament and he’s gonna sponsor for it.
We didn’t allow to end that day…there was a dinner after the tourney, a surprise baby shower dinner to be exact, too bad he can’t join us. I had a chance to hug him when he bid goodbye that night — without knowing, that was my 1st and last chance to do that.
Friday night, the eve of his death, teammate Cherry buzzed me through YM a plan to run the next morning with Penn, and I agreed. But, I had to back out after Cherry gave me a wake up call, and went back to sleep. I received a call from Cris, who’s on his way to Mt. Banahaw updating me of their whereabouts then broke this bad news. “Bie, may bad news…Pinatay daw si Penn sa bahay nya…” Hearing that I thought it was joke. I forgot I was still sleepy and stood up and checked and hoped i was just dreaming. But I wasn’t. I opened my Facebook, the news feed that fronted my wall was a photo of Penn with a caption “You will be missed, Penn Ceñido! Thank you for the friendship.” My entire body froze… my world just stopped. When I recovered…I immediately contacted Penn’s cellphone…NO ANSWER…In panic mode, asked some friends to contact his other numbers. Then asked Cherry if he’s with Penn already hoping Cris was just bluffing, but at the back of my mind, why would he tell a joke like that. We researched more, until we found out he was actually shot to kill at his chicken store at the Commonwealth Market. =(
To cut the story short, those who heard the news, didn’t stop until it was confirmed. Didn’t believe until we see it before our eyes. Waited for updates about his body and wake details. The day was like a roller coaster ride and before I knew it I saw myself in our florist friend stall nearby doing reservation for a flower arrangement for the dead. We delivered the flowers that same night at St. Peter Chapels, but he’s not yet there. We waited an hour and there goes a blue casket rolling in front of us followed by weeping angry relatives.
I cant still believe my eyes as I look at Penn inside the box. Tears fell continuously from my eyes as I reminisce the last moments with him. How he made us laugh like crazy last week. That thought that we’re supposed to be running at UP that morning only if I didn’t backed-out. The thought that his plans and goals he shared for the next months are all gone. The thought that a little girl lost a father at a very young age.
To pay tribute, the Team decided that the upcoming weekend races will be ran to his dedication. We invited running friends to do the same and wear black ribbons to show cooperation.
I created movie clips in commemoration of our dear friend Penn Cenido. With a prayer intention to seek justice the soonest possible time. With the hope he’s in God’s loving arms. That someday we’ll see each other again at the FINISH LINE.