Every man, however simple and unassuming, has one beautiful story to tell – one shining moment of bravery or daring, one momentous instance of love, kindness, or compassion which is a joy to read about; it gives us a reassuring feeling of man’s worth to himself and to others, of the meaningfulness of human experience.
The whole life of Nanding is one beautiful story. It is a story often told of great men – how they overcame the poverty of their beginnings, how they fought against all odds, and rose above ordinary men. Nanding’s life story is a hardbound classic – the poor bootblack from Tondo who made good – but it has its own peculiar piquancy and humor and tenderness. The charm of it all is that it could be my story, your story, everyone’s story. It is easy to identify with Nanding, the boy who goes swimming dog-style in the rain-swollen canal, the father who likes children so much he fills his house with them, the enterprising breadwinner who breaks his back at any honest labor, and the teacher who wins the trust of his young students.
It is an ordinary life lived extraordinarily. He was not just a citizen; he became a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. He was not just a teacher; he became a founder of a university. Being an educator myself, I have a high regard and respect for his mind and his principles and I admire his achievements. Dr. Fernando Bautista, Tatay to most everyone, is a sweet man, simple, even self-effacing, but when everything is said about him, he will be remembered most singularly for being a great educator.
– Dr. Amado C. Dizon
Manuel L. Quezon University
August 9, 1993