My Close Encounter with Sir Lex

Dr. Felix Librero or Sir Lex as we fondly call him here at the University of the Philippines Open University ( UPOU) passed away on 16 March 2021. 

I was blown away by the news. I learned of this sad news early morning a day later, and later learned that he was cremated that day with only the closest of his family and friends. 

I realized that I have not been seeing his posts on Facebook for a while. He has not been well this past month, as Ms. Jegs, his wife,  has shared in a Facebook post. I have always looked forward to his stories about how he was, where he and his wife went, who among their nieces and nephews they visited, even what they had for breakfast or lunch. 

Thankfully, Sir Al, his only son and Ms. Jegs shed light to the questions that even my friends from LBSCFI and some UPOU Alumni have asked through   private messages. 

I did not know Sir Lex as well as those who have been with UPOU since inception, but for the years I’ve been with UPOU, his presence was first daunting (.. this is because I am a DevCom graduate and he authored many of the books we read),  then comforting and fatherly. We did not share many conversations but listening to him and reading his works was enough for me to know how great and grand a person he is. I was lucky he knew me by name, and sometimes sought me for very small favors – such as telling my boss this and that. These encounters were precious, I now realized. But only because he has passed.

I remember seeing everyone who comes in and out of the UPOU Main building because the then Information Office where I work (now Office of Public Affairs) was just behind the guard post. Sir Lex usually walks in, he didn’t have a cane then, and it was always a delight for me to greet him with so much enthusiasm. I can still imagine him wondering what’s gotten into me. 

Sir Lex (middle) with (L-R) Dr. Liza Carascal, former UPOU Registrar; Dr. Melinda Lumanta, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso, former UPOU Chancellor and current TVUP Executive Director; and Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor. 

I also remember one of the longer subjects we talked about was the UPOU Jacket which our office took charge of. He was waiting for his jacket, and when he finally received it, we coaxed him to join other UPOU officials for a photo, which later became UPOU’s unofficial ad for the merchandise. He was also very supportive when UPOU launched its official blog that he promised to contribute monthly. We were struggling for contributions and had to follow up from UPOU constituents but Sir Lex gave us enough to last us for a few months. 

I wish I knew him better and more personally. I wish I knew him not just through the stories about UPOU’s beginnings and growth years, and the list of accomplishments and service to the university, as Arlyn Romualdo has shared in her article about Sir Lex. I wish I’d given more effort to knowing him more too. 

As for UPOU, it lost a big part of its heart when Dr. Felix Librero breathed his last. Sir Lex died at a ripe age of 77. He was survived by his wife, Jegs, his son, Al, daughter-in-law, Vanny, grandson, Aiden, and sister, Nita.

UPOU will be holding a memorial service to commemorate his life and immense contributions to the university on 26 March 2021, 5:00 PM over the UPOU Facebook Page. His urn is available for public viewing at the UPOU Community Hub from 24-26 March 2021, 8AM -7PM. 

Dr. Librero was a pioneer, a mentor, a father and a friend. And to many, like me who find him so accomplished yet so humble, he is a legend.

Written by Anna Cañas-Llamas

Edited by Joane V. Serrrano


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