Bobby Aboitiz: The man who loves Cebu

By Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo April 20,2017
Roberto Aboitiz

Roberto Aboitiz

Roberto Eduardo “Bobby” Aboitiz was a man who truly loved Cebu.

Under his leadership as president of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi), he spearheaded and supported youth development and social development programs, among which are the Kool Adventure Camp (KAC) and Mega Cebu.

In her tribute to her husband after the Mass of Resurrection held last Monday at 3 p.m., Maria Cristina “Marian” Aboitiz says Bobby believed in the potential of Cebuanos to steer development with the help of the “bugsay” (paddle).

Bobby used the bugsay principle in spreading the message that each person has the ability to power-paddle oneself toward a chosen destiny and to bring about positive development to the community.

“He was guided by the belief that progress will come about if everyone was involved,” she told an audience of family members, politicians, development workers and Rafi employees.

Family man

Marian says Bobby was a “great father” and “wonderful husband.”

“Bobby loves Cebu. When we got married, he told me we will never leave Cebu. He truly believed in Cebu,” she says.

Marian says Bobby constantly reminded their four children — Amaya, Ana, Tristan and Carlos — that “not everyone has the same privileges that they have.”

He taught his children to ride the motorbike, to love Sundays spent in the oceans, to tie knots and fish with bamboo poles.

“He encouraged them to look at the big picture, to be fair and be engaged… passage on the values and history of the Aboitiz family,” she says.

Marian says Bobby listened to the music of the Beach Boys, the Beatles and the Everly Brothers.

“I can go on and on and tell you about Bobby, but he would not want me to do that. He would want me to pick up your bugsay today. Work together to make this place we call home a better one,” she adds.

Also in attendance Monday were his siblings: Jon Ramon, Mikel Alberto and Diana Aboitiz-Cacho.

Three stooges

Jon Ramon says Bobby was as low-key as he was humble.

Growing up in Cebu, Jon Ramon says they loved spending time in Liloan. His brother loved the “Three Stooges.”

“He was passionate with vintage cars and motorbikes. He loved fishing even when many times he came back empty handed,” he says.

Among the many programs of Rafi, Jon Ramon says Bobby pushes for the KAC and its camp in Balamban to give a venue for public school children, teachers and the public to participate in a program that promotes teamwork, collaboration and leadership.

Bobby was instrumental in the actualization of the Mega Cebu program.

“His dream was to unite government, civil society and private sector to establish well-planned projects that truly benefit the Cebuanos,” he says.

Jon Ramon says Bobby transformed Rafi from a small foundation to a vibrant organization with over 500 Rafinians.

Jon Ramon was composed until the very end of his tribute when he paused and turned emotional. “Bobby, I leave you only with one thought — we love you very much,” he says before he stepped off the podium and went back to his chair.

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