MANILA—Fashion designer JC Buendia and former speechwriter Ali Sangalang shared how they remember the late former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III when they were still working with him.
Buendia used to design Aquino's barong and suits, as requested by his Aquino's sister, Kris Aquino, and their mother. He designed the barong Aquino wore during his proclamation as president in 2010, and several shirts for Aquino during his campaign for president.
Buendia said the late former president likes to keep his wardrobe simple. He also said Aquino likes to make the mood light.
"Si PNoy para siyang barkadang makipag-usap. Mahilig siya mag-joke," he said during an online interview with Jing Castañeda.
This was also how Sangalang described his former boss. Sangalang was a member of the team of speechwriters who used to work for Aquino.
"Firm siya at strict siya when it comes to work. Talagang alam na alam niyang duty ito, duty itong ginagawa namin. Pero may light moments talaga with him. Lalo kaming speechwriters, kami 'yung kinakausap niya kapag patapos na 'yung araw niya," Sangalang said.
"Friendly pero firm lalo na when it comes to work."
Sangalang added that he liked how simple Aquino was.
"Minsan 'yung pagiging simple, 'yun 'yung pinakamalinaw eh at 'yun 'yung pinakamahalaga minsan eh, 'yung pagiging simple and basic, straight to the point," Sangalang said.
"Tapos 'yung pagiging thorough niya and precise sa lahat ng ginagawa niya, very meticulous siya sa ano, ako particular talaga sa speech, sa data na gusto niyang makita lagi para sa mga report niya. Mahalaga 'yun eh kasi balewala kung ang gaganda ng sinasabi mo pero walang laman, at hindi nata-track."
Buendia said being decisive is what he liked about Aquino.
" 'Yung pagka-decisive, 'yung pagkatigas ng ulo, it's something positive kasi when he sets out to do something, talagang gagawin niya talaga," he said.
Sangalang also admired how Aquino was a good role model.
"Siguro 'yung huli, pagiging ano niya talaga, pagiging mabuting ehemplo niya sa pagiging Filipino," he said.
Aquino passed away Thursday morning at the age of 61. He was laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City on Saturday, beside his parents, democracy icons Benigno Aquino Jr. and Corazon Aquino, in solemn rites attended by family and friends.
The Aquinos told ABS-CBN News that they declined a state funeral for the former president but did not say why.
After his term ended in 2016, Aquino was largely silent and out of the public eye.
Watch the full interview with Buendia and Sangalang here.