Preparations are under way for the launching of “Old Warrior and Other Poems” a book of poetry penned by Nestor Maniebo Pestelos, a long-time resident of Bohol who has been known more for his various community development involvement both here and outside the province. The launch is slated to be at the Atrium of BQ Mall At 3:P.M. on May 14, Wednesday.
“Old Warrior and Other Poems” consists of 33 poems written by the author in the past several years that reflect his poetic insights into issues and concerns of a life well lived. Its lead poem, “Old Warrior” is expressive of the burning ideals, frustrations, weariness and continued commitment to a cause he has dedicated himself to since his youth – the betterment of humanity and the transformation of communities.
Nestor Maniebo Pestelos was born 72 years ago in Lagalag, Tiaong, Quezon Province. Even as he had been inclined to write early on, he soon got himself involved in social and civic endeavors. He helped conceptualize the Ilaw ng Buhay program and later moved on to other community development endeavors. In 1982 he was appointed Resident Director of the UNICEF-assisted Ilaw International Center. In 1989 he became a Participatory Development Specialist for the UNDP-UNOPS project in the South Pacific and the Maldives. Later, in 1997 he worked as Chief Technical Adviser for another UNDP project in the Solomon Islands. From 2002 onwards he became involved in the Poverty Reduction program of the province of Bohol. A year later, he organized the Bohol Local Development Foundation (BLDF)that served as partner of the province of Bohol in its various projects aimed at poverty reduction and sustainable development. He also involved himself in similar ventures, partnering with local and international agencies. After the 2013 Bohol earthquake, he became involved as convenor of the Bohol Quake Assistance Fund Drive in support of the Community-Based Shelter Assistance Project that worked to assist families whose houses were totally destroyed during that year’s temblor.
All these time, people knew of Nestor M. Pestelos as a committed community development worker. In fact his main distinction this far has been to develop the Poverty Database Monitoring System(PDMS), a method of accurately identifying poverty status in the local level, a devise that have gained wide acclaim and which had been utilized in certain Asian countries. Unknown to many, as Nestor Pestelos became more deeply involved in community development, the writing bug that had first bitten him as a young man had come to nag him in his later years; he had started taking the pen once more, writing poetry. Still it would take his wife, the former Florencia Gilay of Baclayon, as well as many of his old school friends to encourage him to publish his collected works.
Nestor Maniebo Pestelos finds it significant that the publication of his first book of poetry happens at the time when his Foundation has committed itself to building 150 basic but expandable houses in two of the most earthquake-stricken areas in Bohol- Antequera and Pangangan Island. Having decided to donate proceeds of the sale of his book to their house-building project, he mused, “ People who buy my book could either enjoy poetry or take comfort from the fact that they would be contributing to the task of providing real shelter to people who are still living in tent homes.”
Truly, this old warrior hasn’t really age.