Father William Francis Masterson, S.J., priest, Jesuit, academic, and dean is a memorable icon in the College of Agriculture. Who knew that this former rector from Ateneo de Manila would become the first dean of Agriculture, and helped many farmers in Mindanao? I bet his students and fellow faculty would be the judge of that. And who knew that he would transform a barren wasteland of rocks and mud into what is now today as Manresa Farm. Verily, Fr. Masterson is no ordinary servant of God.
When I attended the memorial lecture last December 15, I was very overwhelmed on what the Archbishop Antonio Ledesma had commented on Fr. Masterson, on who is Fr. Masterson to him. As listened to Fr. Big Boy's adventures as narrated by Fr. Ledesma, I found out that Fr. Big Boy really had a really "big" adventure from the hustling and bustling streets of Manila, to the quaint and peaceful hills of Cagayan de Oro, from building Loyola Heights, to building Manresa Farm. He helped not only the farmers, but also the urban poor as well with the organization what is known today as FICCO. His students had many fruitful stories to the new generation of Aggies. I myself a 5th generation Aggie knew only little about Fr. Big Boy, until when I listened at the lecture, its like Fr. Big Boy telling his tales. If he was here right now, all of Aggies would pile up like a rally just to see him and hear from him. I even heard more from one of his students, Dr. Amporn Wathanavongs, who now heads a big, corporate-sized cooperative in Thailand, who tells his tales about him with Fr. Big Boy. Everyone was laughing when Dr. Amporn told about Fr. Big Boy's ability to forgive... and forget.
Last Friday, December 17, at the memorabilia exhibit inside SEARSOLIN, what really shocked me the most... is his shoes. Just imagine the size of those pairs of shoes and slippers. Hmm... they don't call him "Big Boy" for nothing, that's for sure, even my fellow classmates were very shocked at them. Anyway, at the exhibit, we were amazed at the awards he was given, he was even featured in a news article... in Hebrew, after awarded by the Minister of Agriculture in Israel. He even had the key to the city of Manila. Just one question, now that the key to the city is in Fr. Big Boy's hands, how will the city be opened? Joke lang po.
In the end, Fr. Big Boy has made so many contributions to the city, and eventually to Mindanao. And after 100 years, has build many generations of Aggies, and Manresa Farm his most prized legacy. Even a road is named after him! One thing is for sure about Fr. Big Boy, he does all he can...
...to reach the unreachable Star!!!