A tale of triumphant love and dedicationBy Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TOLOSA, Leyte—There’s a statue of a uniformed young man facing the sea here honoring the hidden heroism of a Boy Scout who single-handedly saved the whole parish, already under siege, from death and destruction during World War II.
The Boy Scout, Valeriano Abello, stepped out onto the besieged beachfront and made flag signals to misguided American troops to properly direct them farther up the mountain area where enemies had sought refuge.
“Even our grandmothers had to wave their white locks to signal to the Americans that there were no enemies down there,” said church leader Romy de Leon.
If not for Abello’s heroism, De Leon said the whole town would’ve been bombed and burned to the ground.
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Ash-haired Romulo “Boy” Sebreros returned to his beloved birthplace by the sea here on Wednesday for another thanksgiving visit. He was also here last year and the year before that.
It’s no plain coincidence that Sebreros, a poor boy who worked very hard to make good in the Big City, is home again in time for the Feast Day of St. Peter, patron saint of Telegrafo, now Tolosa, today.
This year, though, he beams with thanks and special pride that they are ready to dedicate a dilapidated chapel rebuilt into a church to the patron saint.
The rebuilding of the church into a dignified place of love and worship was made possible through the initiative of Fr. Rey Caraballa, energetic and bright-eyed Telegrafo parish priest, with the support of patrons from the community and members of the San Pedro Association (SPA) in Manila.
“Our parish priest is God’s gift. He’s a selfless, tireless crusader,” Sebreros said.
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Boy Sebreros is joined in his mission here by his wife Aurelia, children Buboy and Celia, and fellow vegetable traders Pete Tanyao and Pidiong Valerio. They are being hosted by engineer and Mrs. Loloy Pica, who’ve themselves made great contributions to the church construction.
“Our St. Peter reminds us that God will never be outdone in generosity,” Fr. Caraballa said.
In the case of Boy Sebreros, who left Telegrafo for Manila as a hungry, shoeless 12-year-old, he said he will be eternally grateful to his Poong Señor San Pedro.
He also said that it was the dying wish of her mother, a church worker and devotee to St. Peter, for him to be able to help and take care of his poor town church.
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His life has been a miracle and Sebreros always loved to tell great tales of how San Pedro lifted him out of hopelessness and abject poverty.
Sebreros never hesitates to come to the aid of those in need.
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He tells of one mysterious tale after Telegrafo was miraculously saved from a tsunami.
It happened one gray afternoon when seaside dwellers heard the shrill, whistling threat of an impending calamity.
There were those who tried to pray to San Pedro in the chapel, with some later reporting that someone must’ve taken away the smallish holy statue, clad in white and green, for momentary safe keeping.
The whole seaside town held its breath all night long, ready for the worst but still deep in prayer.
When morning broke, there was glorious brightness in the sky.
When people next flocked to the chapel to pray, they reportedly saw San Pedro back in the altar.
There were also reports about an old man aiming a cane at the horizon, with a couple of doves flying by.
Boy Sebreros said that when they checked on the image of St. Peter, they noticed wet sandy traces and marine plant thorns clinging around his feet.
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