Gone too soon: Remembering Jeslar Uriel Larumbe as a promising MVP, son, friend
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Jeslar Uriel Larumbe was known for his charming dimples and bright smile, which greeted everyone he met.
His friends described him as friendly, caring, talented, and hardworking, especially in his basketball pursuits.
To his loving mother, Uriel was a reliable firstborn who deeply cared for his family and was dedicated to achieving his dreams. He had planned to surprise her on her upcoming birthday with news of passing the Civil Engineer Licensure Examination.
However, tragedy struck on February 4, 2024, when Uriel died in a hit-and-run accident, leaving his mother devastated.
He was only 23 years old.
Bernadette Larumbe’s world shattered that morning when their family tragically lost their beloved eldest son, who had a bright future ahead.
Despite the loss, she finds solace in knowing that Uriel was always kind and compassionate, leaving a lasting impact on everyone who knew him.
A responsible son and older brother
To Bernadette, Uriel is her clingy first born and the most responsible older brother to his two younger brothers.
In an interview with CDN Digital, she narrated how Uriel was always kind since his childhood and always listened well to his parents, especially on his curfew.
While his parents worked, Uriel took his younger brothers to church every Sunday.
Despite being shy when his mother cheered for him at basketball games, he was affectionate and sweet at home.
Uriel has always been a reliable older brother who cares deeply for his siblings, aged 19 and 11, wanting only the best for them since they were young.
Bernadette tearfully revealed that her second child was waiting for his student visa to study abroad. Despite her reluctance to have him far away, the visa was approved a day after Uriel’s passing. She sees this as Uriel’s final gift to his younger brother.
A genuine friend
To his friends, he was “Lars” and “Yel.” And sometimes, they jokingly called him “Humba,” referring to him as the famous Filipino dish.
Three of Uriel’s closest friends, Raymund Apiag, Clynth Baluran, and Miggy de la Torre, shared their cherished memories of him with CDN Digital.
Miggy described Uriel as the witty friend who made them feel comfortable being vulnerable, always ready to support friends in need.
Clynth recounted how Uriel motivated him during academic struggles and served as a pillar of support when he felt homesick while studying in Manila.
Raymund reflected on their deep conversations and karaoke sessions, highlighting Uriel’s generosity and inclusivity as a friend. They emphasized that while Uriel enjoyed playing, he remained focused on his responsibilities as a student and athlete.
A caring boyfriend
Uriel and Chiquita Farrarons met in senior high school and their friendship blossomed into a romance that lasted for six years, despite initially not wanting to be classmates.
According to Chiquita, Uriel was a respectful boyfriend who patiently waited until she turned 18 and always made her feel loved and cared for.
The high school sweethearts enjoyed simple food dates and talked about their future plans of marriage and having at least two children. While Uriel may appear serious to others, Chiquita saw him as her sensitive and sweet partner.
A talented MVP
Bernadette shared that Uriel was only 2 years old when he fell in love with the sport and has been very passionate about it ever since.
He joined the varsity team, participated in basketball tournaments, and trained alongside his teammates to improve his skills.
Of course, his mother was his cheerleader/manager at every game.
Uriel achieved success as a two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) and two-time champion with Batch 2017 in the Don Bosco Cebu Alumni Basketball League (DBCABL). He also played for the Don Bosco Greywolves in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi).
A dedicated future engineer
Uriel’s dream started from the moment he built his first chair during a woodworking class in his third year in high school.
Raymund shared that Uriel mentioned to him, just before the accident, that a small wooden chair had inspired him to pursue civil engineering, which now serves as a cherished memory of Uriel.
After graduating in June 2023, Uriel took a break from basketball to prepare for the licensure exams and planned to pursue a master’s degree abroad after gaining some work experience. He was determined and hardworking, eager to leave his mark on the world.
Sadly, at only 23 years old, his life was unexpectedly cut short.
Now, his family and friends find solace in each other as they celebrate Uriel’s life.
They remember him as a food lover who enjoyed eating after playing. People continue to pay their respects at his wake at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Punta Princesa, Cebu City.
Despite their grief, Uriel’s mother wishes for him to guide them from above and to take comfort in the fact that he lived a good life.
“Sakit kaayo namo nga wala na siya. I hope na malinawon iyang pagpanaw. Dili siya magbangutan. Gusto nako nga happy siya and paningkamotan gyud namo nga malet go namo siya,” stated Bernadette.
For everyone who knew him, Uriel will always be remembered as a compassionate person with a budding future if only fate had been kinder. | with Mark Bandolon, CTU Intern
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