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Postscript                                               A Good Night’s Sleep

             Wash chaired Synergeia’s fellowship meetings,  which brought  past and potential
             donors together. During an annual three-day fiesta that doubled as a donors’ program
             called Tipanan, he made the rounds of booths, bought products, and led the dancing.

             “He continued supporting Synergeia even when he was already using a cane. He
             requested all the meetings to be held at SGV so he could attend. He continued
             holding workshops with the trustees and convening business leaders at SGV, even
             hosting breakfast meetings with donors. He taught me the importance of reporting
             to donors,” says Nene. “It embarrassed me every time he called me a ‘saint.’ But he
             would scold me and urge me to overcome my shyness and attend dinners. He would
             ask me to sit beside him. Once, we sat near the former president of the World Bank.
             I told myself, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to say?’”

             But Wash was always there to back her up and open doors for Nene Guevara. He
             continued assisting Synergeia financially, and even modeled for the fashion house
             Bench just to give his talent fees to Synergeia. He nominated Nene for the Gawad
             Haydee Yorac Award because he wanted more people to know about Synergeia.

             Nene last saw Wash a week before he flew off. She remembers hugging him and
             sensing that he seemed to be running a temperature. She pleaded with him not to go,
             and actually told him that “If you go to New York, you’ll die!”

             The situation remains dire: in 2018, the  Programme for International Student
             Assessment of the Organization  for Economic Cooperation and Development
             (OECD) showed that 15-year-old students from the Philippines ranked lowest
             among 79 countries in reading proficiency and the second lowest in mathematics
             and science.

             It was the kind of daunting challenge that Wash took up with unbridled enthusiasm.
             “He was passionate about the importance of basic education,” Nene says, looking
             back. “He would say that if people didn’t know how to read, they would become
             poor. And if they are poor, they would sell their votes.” This was why, controversial
             as his idea was for some, Wash believed that the Philippines could not function as
             a real democracy if so many Filipinos lacked adequate education for them to make
             informed and intelligent choices.

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