Opinion: Tribute to a Self-made Man
It was a well-deserved tribute that Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra paid to 85 year-old Eliseo Solas, owner of El Sol Press and past President of the BacolodCapitol Lions Club.
"Despite his busy schedule, Eliseo remained dedicated to his chore as a Eucharistic minister. That, despite being 85 years old," was how Msgr. Navarra described Siyong.
And he also paid tribute to Siyong as a father since it was also Father’s Day.
The birthday luncheon was held at Room One of the Royal Grand Hotel. It was filled with people, including from Iloilo. Incidentally, Siyong actually comes from Sara but migrated to Bacolod only shortly after the second world war.
He had started working as a "vaquero" because his parents were poor, to pay his tuition fee. But Siyong, handsome and vigorous, continued with his studies and later finished with a Bachelor of Arts in Commerce.
He established his first printing shop in Capiz and became a Capizeño. "Like me, he was also an aswang," commented Msgr. Navarra.
After sometime, Siyong moved over to Bacolod where he put up a shop along Gonzaga Street near the provincial jail compound.
He mostly handled diocesan jobs. He was also a close friend of the late Bishop Antonio Fortich who took a liking to him.
But Siyong, despite his busy schedule, took time out to devote himself to social activities. He later joined the Bacolod Capitol Lions Club and rose to be a former president. Although that required much of his time, Siyong remained committed to his assignment and was considered one of the best presidents of the Bacolod Capitol Lions Club.
That was the reason why former past presidents of the club attended his birthday celebration yesterday. Among those conspicuous were former President Nani Maglupay (he was the prexy of the club), incumbent president Noring Tonogbanua, Bert Espina, Vicente Tiu, Steve Po, including me as charter president. Felix Pasquin, rector of the San Sebastian Cathedral, delivered the opening remarks that paid tribute to Siyong’s 85 years as a Christian.
Incidentally, he is a Eucharistic minister of the San Sebastian Parish.
Despite the fact that he lives now far from San Sebastian Cathedral, Siyong still spends part of his time ministering to parishioners from his place in Alijis.
The amazing thing with Siyong is that, despite his 85 years, he remains sprite and hearty. He still walks straight and shows no sign of the usual aging process of osteoporosis, or rheumatism or arthritis. And he has shows no signs of absent-mindedness. His eyes are still clear & keen. So is his hearing. And walks briskly like a young man at 50.
Precisely, that was the reason why I failed to attend last night’s Ang Banwahanon awards. I got caught by the rains after that birthday luncheon. And, contrary to my impression about Siyong, I nursed a slight fever late in the afternoon as I am writing this column.
Anyway, the more important is that, I doff my hat off to Siyong Solas, the 85-year old former president of the Bacolod Capitol Lions Club and still Eucharistic minister of San Sebastian Cathedral.*