USC mourns the passing of Dr. Antonio Batomalaque

The USC community mourns the passing of Antonio Batomalaque, Ed.D. who passed away on May 24, 2022. 

Dr. Batomalaque, or Sir Tootsie as he was fondly called, worked in the University for 44 years until his retirement in 2021. He was hired on December 1, 1977 as a laboratory assistant of the Department of Biology. From this humble beginning, he eventually became a tenured faculty member and held key administrative posts including Chair of the Department of Biology (1992–1998), Dean of the School of Education (2009–2015), Director of the Basic Education Department (2018–2021), and also served as Coordinator for Accreditation Affairs (2008–2022). 

His body lies in wake at the Adoration Chapel of the St. Arnold Janssen and St. Joseph Freinademetz Church in Talamban Campus from May 25 to May 28, where a Holy Mass will be offered every 7:00 p.m. The requiem Mass will be held on Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 12:30 p.m. We request the entire USC family to pray for the repose of the soul of Sir Tootsie. 

A tribute to a colleague and a dear friend: Antonio “Tootsie” Batomalaque (Sept. 12, 1955–May 24, 2022)

A dear friend and a mentor—that’s how I consider Tootsie to be. But more than a mentor, I also consider him as a brother with whom I started my career in the Department of Biology. 

I learned from him the skills of a microtechnician, preparing chemical reagents, and assisting laboratory classes until I took over his position as a microtechnician when he took a leave of absence in 1982 to train in Advanced Microbiology under a UNESCO program in Japan.  

Truth be told, he came back but never got back his old position. Instead he took a full teaching load in the Department of Biology and left me the microtechnician job as a full time administrative staff. Thus, he unselfishly opened the door for me and provided me the opportunity to advance my career in the University of San Carlos.

Tootsie was such a jolly person and one never has a dull moment with him in our department meetings, class field trips, biological expeditions, and, yes, even during recollections. He cracks jokes one after another; witty ones and sometimes green ones, much to everyone’s delight. His wit and talent was legendary to us, even to his friends in Japan when he was still there as a Japanese government fellow in Tsukuba, writing a regular joke corner for a Filipino magazine catering to expatriates and students in the ‘90s.  When he was Dean of the School of Education, Tootsie was our constant icebreaker during Council of Deans meetings, often bringing the house down with his jokes.

He enjoyed the little things in life, literally and metaphorically. He liked to play miniature toys, Japanese cartoons, origami, and collected key chains from his travels abroad and as gifts received from friends, which practically filled his table and the wall in his office at the Department of Biology. He also loved music, especially inspirational ones and OPM that he liked to share with many of his friends as birthday or Christmas gifts. 

In our younger years, watching Tagalog movies was our favorite pastime when downtown theaters on Colon St. were the place to be during weekends in the ‘80s, followed by eating pansit with Coca Cola at a popular refreshment parlor called Fareez Delight on Manalili St., to cap the day.

While everybody sees him as an outgoing person, Tootsie was also a quiet and private person and a man of faith—a devotee to Santo Niño, whose Friday afternoons were regularly spent at the Sto. Niño Church. 

His command of the Japanese language made him a highly in-demand tutor by executives in Japanese companies at the Philippine Export Zone Authority in Mactan, working part-time on weekends to augment his income and support his family. 

Yes, Tootsie has been his family’s breadwinner, who made sure his siblings and nieces finish their college education. I respect his privacy that even now I never got to know where he lived after moving to Mactan from their Labangon residence. Hailing from the southern Cebu town of Malabuyoc where his family originally came from, and where I also trace my own fraternal roots, I looked upon him as a townmate as he always talked about my relatives whom he knew more than I did. 

I lost a friend in Tootsie, as many did, and I’m sure he will find his way to heaven through our prayers.

Rest in peace, dear Toots.

Written by Danilo B. Largo, Ph.D. (Manager, USC ITSO)

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