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5 Heartwarming Quotes From Ernie Lopez's Eulogy For His Sister Gina

From honoring Gina Lopez's life's most noble achievements to describing all the ways she overflowed with love, this little brother picked all the right stories to share about her

Already teary-eyed before he took center stage at his big sister's wake, Creative Programs Inc. (CPI) president Ernie Lopez said, "Please bear with me if I get emotional, but I don’t think there’s any way around talking about Gina without getting emotional for me."

"The story of Gina is a story of love. From the very beginning to the very end of her story, it has love written all over it," he continued.

Bracing his audience for a eulogy told from the perspective of a family member who was in awe of the late and great Gina Lopez up until her very last breath, Ernie spoke lovingly of her, reminding us all that Gina was, indeed, amazing in every way.

Here are our some of our favorite quotes from his speech: 

"Her love story [is one about] our country and people in general. She loves people so much and she loved our country so much, she left our family. She joined Ananda Marga and they told her, 'You cannot restrict your love to your own family alone. You must give your love to the entire world, to the family of God...' So because of this love, she wanted to give to the whole world, she left her family. But it was all because of love."

Looking back at the time in his life when he and his family hadn't yet understood Gina's blessed mission to better understand the ways of the world and figure out her place in it in order to usher in change, Ernie can now smile about it. In fact, he's now proud of the sacrifice that his sister voluntarily took on, decades after she embarked on that journey. 

For 20 years, Gina had been completely cut off from her family; it was by no means a decision of impulsiveness, but rather, a product of intense discernment and an unwavering gut feel that it would all be for the greater good in the end and a display of her selflessness that would continue to guide her all throughout her life. 

"Gina is so full of love that even after she separated from her husband, Sona, [she] generated so much love... She said, 'I’m the best ex-wife that anyone will ever have.' She made sure Sona always had a job, [was] always taken care of, and she really loved him, even though they were already separated. And I saw this love demonstrated especially in the hospital because Sona was at her side 24/7, every day."

Ernie made sure to show everyone that even in Gina's earnestness with and focus on her work, she still had a great sense of humor. In her life's situations that benefited from a more lighthearted approach (and from the parties involved not taking themselves too seriously), his sister knew exactly what to do or say, and it was this charm that made her so lovable, so likable, and now, so sorely missed. 

"There’s just so much love going around and it’s because of love, she put up Bantay Bata, Bantay Kalikasan, Bantay Usok, and the I Love Foundation. You know when they ask me on-air about her, [I say that] she loves the environment so much. She does. But the reason she loves the environment is because of what it can do for us, what it can do for our country. She loves people and she loves the environment because of what it can do for people."

Ernie acknowledged that one cannot honor Gina's memory without talking about what she was best known for—her total and utter respect for Mother Nature and how she rallied for the protection of our country's natural resources. But unlike others who share the same passion, hers was rooted in the belief that one of the solutions to alleviating poverty in the Philippines—a country heavily dependent on agriculture and ecotourism—was to strengthen our position in environmental policy-making.

Everything she worked on had one end goal: to make sure that it would all eventually ricochet back to the Filipino people and improve their quality of life, meaningfully and sustainably.

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I want to dedicate this post to my Tita/Aunt Gina💚. Attending several of her wakes and meeting all these people she affected opened my eyes to who she truly was and what she did for everyone. But to me she was just a Tita. I was her “darling” and her energy radiated throughout our family. I could never keep up with her conversation and sure she couldn’t keep up with mine😂 But there was a love that I saw and experienced through the things she did for others. I wish I got to know her story earlier and get to know her more but I can’t stop myself from believe that I will carry on what she did through whatever medium it may be that my life has to offer. I know I can’t say much that others haven’t already said but I can definitely say what I believe. Tita, to me, you stood for Love, Compassion, and Strength. Your love never stops flowing, your compassion we never stop experiencing, and your strength never stops going. I will never forget you. The impact you made in my life and others is everlasting. May your love share on.💚GL💚 • • • #GenuineLove #GL #GiveLove #GinaLopez #GL💚 #💚

A post shared by 🤪Nathan L. Niel🤩 (@ilovefunathan) on

"I saw this beautiful woman who worked at the hospital and I [had] met her [on] three other occasions but nothing happened. She accompanied me to Gina, and Gina said, 'What’s your name?' She said, 'My name is Michelle.' Gina [asked], 'How old are you?' and Michelle said, 'I’m 48 years old.' Gina said, 'Are you married?' Then Michelle answered, 'I’ve been annulled for the last 19 years.' And then Gina told her, 'I want you for my brother.' She doesn’t waste time talaga; she’s always in a hurry. So she started telling the doctors in the hospital, 'This woman is going to marry my brother.'" 

The presence of Michelle, Ernie's new partner, is something he considers as Gina's last gift of love to him. All of the things she's done for the Filipino people and all the ways she's inspired her family, he jokingly pointed out how she still had time to be a matchmaker, and a successful one at that. 

In one of the last times that Ernie and Michelle saw Gina, Ernie planted a kiss on his new love and Gina simply squeezed both of their hands in wordless, yet deeply touching, gesture of her approval. 

"Many people have asked me, 'Are you going to take over to what Gina did?' I thought about it a lot and I can’t take her place. I can’t do what Gina did. No one can. But I believe if all of us together make an effort, if all of us really committed to love God, love our neighbor, to take care of the environment, then it’s really true that our country doesn’t have to be a poor country. Families don’t have to be separated; you don’t have to have a person living here and their loved ones are abroad. It can be done."

In four short words, Ernie helped summarize the entirety of his sister's career: "It can be done." In the face of adversity and fierce opposition from all sides, Gina has persevered and even thrived. She was unstoppable on all fronts and it was her courage and tenacity that inspired a nation to believe that they had a future, one that was attainable and full of promise. 

Even in death, Gina made hearts soar and spirits strong, and it wasn't only her brother Ernie or the whole Lopez family, at that, who feel this way; her countrymen, from Luzon to Mindanao, all know this to be true, and it will also be them—us—who will continue to keep her legacy alive for years and years to come.

Rest in peace, Gina Lopez.

Today is the funeral of Gina. The public viewing of the remains of the beloved ABS-CBN Foundation Chairman was held from August 22 to 23 at the ABS-CBN compound.

Photos from @ginalopezph @abscbnnews