Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!

Tribute to our good friend Louie Tolentino

BY BLESS SALONGA – I have known Tito Louie Tolentino as the Program Producer of SBS Radio Filipino. I met him first at FCF Life Centre in Michinbury and then later at Hillsong church in Baulkham Hills where he and his lovely wife Tita Nida serve as church volunteers.

Author and the late SBS radioman Louie Tolentino

We became friends and he ministered to me according to the Christian ethos “to look after orphans and widows in  distress” (James 1:27).

Louie and Nida Tolentino

I love my two beautiful children, but I struggled with life’s challenges capped by very limited support and depleted resources. I have been trying to stay afloat but challenges seemed kept rolling in waves making it hard for me to catch a break. At times I found it easier to detach, disappear and isolate. For the first time in my life, I truly I doubt whether I was a good parent. 

I had my first child at 19 and subsequently migrated as a single mum and much later had another child. It lead to a low point in my life when I found myself with a fragile grown up gay son and a daughter with multiple disabilities and complex medical needs. We are the so-called  “modern family.”

Tito Louie reminded me of my father and caring uncles because of similarity in their dispositions. I admired the way he spoke, his sense of humor and the way he carried himself. In the last two years, Tito Louie  became my classmate, my pastor, mentor, best friend and father all-in-one.

Tito Louie is known for being an adventurous, charming, caring, dedicated, energetic, generous, humorous, intelligent, kind-hearted, lively, optimistic, quick-witted and talented Christian and family man. He has spent a lot of his personal time to provide practical help to those who needed them. He was not just a humanitarian; he was also an evangelist.

He was the “Tito ng Bayan” (Uncle of the People). Allow me to share some of my lasting impressions  about Tito Louie:

Tito Louie didn’t judge people. At least in my case – my past, my circumstance, my decisions, intentions and vision. He was my confidant; he was aware of my bad choices in life and but understood that I am not perfect. I felt heard, acknowledged and respected. 

He didn’t brag his life’s experiences and his achievements. He only related his humble beginning and his breakthroughs in overcoming pain, obstacles and shortcomings. He was humble and took off his shoes whenever he come to my house.

He didn’t impose his own wisdom either, mostly wisdom from God.

Tito Louie didn’t like holding grudges. Whenever I expressed disappointments with people, he would cite  Matthew 18:22, and said to forgive them “seventy times seven times”. 

He didn’t just preach the Word, he lived it! His humility, his honesty and down-to-earth nature were refreshing and appealing. He had this exuberant amount of love, care, understanding, respect and forgiveness in his heart.

He made me feel important even going out of his way for our weekly bible studies and always ensuring my handicapped daughter Olivia comfortable and safe. He would also check up on us mother and daughter few times a week; sometimes praying for me over the phone. 

He subscribed to Matthew 6:3 which says,“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” I knew about his breathing ailment but he would focus on helping others rather than complain.

He didn’t think of what I can or cannot offer as a friend. He seemed focused on me being a daughter, a sister, a mother, a friend and God’s child. He gave a constant but tender loving reminder that I mattered …. because Christ died for me.

One time asked me to go back to broadcasting and producing a radio program. We planned to have family picnic at my son’s gravesite as soon as restriction’s lifted. We thought of joint family travel to South Coast beaches. And he was committed to walk me down the aisle as “father of the bride” when I marry my new fiancé.

But now we’re here. Nothing anyone would say could possibly take away the pain of Tita Nida, Jonathan and Joanne and baby Paxton for losing a loving husband, father and grandfather. We can only join and support  them in their loss while also celebrate that he was a blessing.

Having lost my son myself just a few months ago, I know the dread of death. No matter what I do and say, I cannot bring my son back. Coincidentally, this pandemic has brought upon a large number of deaths across the globe ensuing great pain and sorrow to many.

But the good news is that  death has no power over God. Jesus conquered death. And the same ever-powerful and loving God is the Resurrected King uncle Louie served. Tito Louie, at the age of 80, not only lived a full life, he lived it well with joy in his heart serving Jesus.

With his family and friends, together I grieve his loss. But let us be comforted by what Louie imparted to me early September. He told me he “was ready to go anytime” and texted me last 23rd  September, 2021 the following:

Romans 8:37: We are more than conquerors through Him who love us.

Tito Louie was a blessing to my family. Thank God for the three wonderful years we have known him. We felt we were hit by a tornado with his demise. He was a brief but great impact in my life. 

I will forever treasure the beautiful memories, the selfless acts, the lame but funny Daddy jokes, the thoughtful phone calls, the random FB messenger links, our occasional family travels, meals and prayers together . I remember him for the night school classes and sending him links to connect because he kept losing or forgetting them, and most of all his legacy of loving and serving others.

We will all miss Tito Louie’s smile.  I’m sure he’s smiling even wider in Heaven in the company of our loving Father. Tito Louie, after all your earthly travels and adventures, and welcoming countless people in your life; it’s now time for you to enjoy God’s warm welcoming embrace and love. You’re definitely one beautiful addition to Heaven.

Welcome to your new home.