THE JIMENEZ LEGACY
By Yrhen Bernard S. Balinis, MRIN, AMNIS, SIMarEST
The deep husky baritone voice; the long well-kept hair; the slow yet sure walks; the glistening eyes that seemingly stares at your soul, these are some qualities that the late Commodore Dante-Lazaro Jimenez will certainly be remembered by. The 68-year-old commodore breathed his last in the peaceful night of 29 January 2021 due to aortic aneurysm.
But beyond all these fleeting physical memories is the strong legacy that he and the Jimenez family created for the Bicolanos.
“Sarong marinero sa kada pamilyang Bikolano” (One mariner in every Bicolano family); a very ambitious goal that they were able to deliver. The Mariners’ Polytechnic Colleges system has been a pillar of the maritime studies for many young seafarers since its foundation. With three schools in the region— Canaman, Naga, and Legazpi— the dream of becoming a seafarer was paved way by these Institutions ideally located in heart of its provinces’ centers.
I am one of the fruits of the school’s grand ambition and a recipient of the Jimenez legacy. In the summer of June 2014, I started my maritime education in Mariners’ Legazpi, one of its sister schools. Being an active campus journalist for Mariners’ Collegian, I have had my fair share of personally meeting our then-college president in various occasions. While doing an interview with him during a post-event speech in our school, I saw that his eyes were tired from all of the day’s work yet he pushed on to give me an interview of substance for my article. His vision for the youth and his support to our publication ignited a passion within me. Ever since then I vowed to myself that I will follow his footsteps of being a dynamic advocate for young seafarers and a firm upholder of the human rights of those oppressed. It was also through his support that Mariners’ Collegian has had its special newspaper pages in the April 7th issue of Manila Times. This was in connection of the graduation and awarding ceremonies of batch 2017’s completion of academic requirements. True to that promise, here I am now more than half a decade later still writing for national and international journals, and continuing the battle for equality.
In his brief voyage here in M/V Earth, Commodore Dante acquired significant accomplishments that if I started enumerating them, they would take up the whole issue of Marino World Magazine. Tantamount to the successes are also the amount of criticisms he amassed along with it. But among those stellar achievements do you know which stood best among the rest?
It’s that: he served as a father not only to his own kin but to the thousand students and graduates of MPCF-Legazpi under his tutelage. He touched lives not by splendor or grand schemes but by his humble support to the students’ endeavors. He may be viewed by some as stern, but in his final moments I, too, shall bow.
We all have our stories of how we met certain people in our lives; some grander, some simpler and more profound. Yet at the setting of our suns we will recount: how many of those souls we encountered have we made a positive impact that has reverberated long after we crossed each other’s paths? Commodore may have passed before us but his legacy will echo long after he’s gone. Let our brief mortal life here on earth be dedicated not solely for ourselves but in the service of the greater good and ultimately a preparation of our life here-after.