DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / November 20) – “When I married him, I knew he wasn’t just mine. He was such a big personality that I knew I (this man who had) had to share a lot of passion and projects. “
This is how Olive Puentespina described her husband Roberto, popularly known as Doc Bo, to her classmates at the University of the Philippines, most of them from the Los Baños campus.
Like many of Doc Bo’s colleagues, Olive remembered how passionate her husband was with his endeavors, especially during the days when he volunteered as a vet for the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF).
In 1995, Olive recalled, about a week after the birth of their first son Roberto III, she couldn’t reach Doc Bo because he was with the Philippine Eagles.
Dr. Roberto Puentespina Jr. in his Malaga bird show. MindaNews file photo
Five years later, she was in labor with her third child and couldn’t reach Doc Bo because he was back up at the Philippine Eagle Center in Malaga. “I think there was a health audit. They would catch the eagle that is already in the cage and examine its health. “
The 57-year-old veterinarian succumbed to an illness in a private clinic on November 15.
Popularly known by his nickname Doc Bo, he volunteered to help rescue the critically endangered Philippine Eagles.
His efforts made it possible to release the eagles back into the wild.
Doc Bo was also a pioneer in the use of birds and other animals in his “Malagos Bird Show” on Sundays to create awareness for environmental protection and climate protection.
Domingo Tadena, former head of conservation breeding at PEF, also described Doc Bo as a very passionate veterinarian, adding that they shared many unforgettable moments.
Tadena, who had worked to save the Eagles from 1978 to 2008, recalled meeting Doc Bo for the first time in the mid-1980s at the first prisoner rearing camp in Baracatan’s hinterland, Toril district.
“At first he was still a student, although he had only just arrived at our camp in Baracatan, he still had a long neck. Pero wala sya dala habol “(He was a student at the time. He arrived at our camp in Baracatan and brought a long neck (a bottle of rum) with him. But he didn’t bring a blanket,” remembers Tadena with a smile.
He added that Doc Bo had visited her camp to collect fecal samples as part of his compulsory schooling.
Because it was so risky to collect fecal samples during the day, Doc Bo spent one night in the camp collecting the fecal samples. “The eagle will attack you if you enter the cage while it is still bright. You should go in at night ”(You will be attacked by the eagles if you enter the cage during the day. You should go at night), Tadena explained.
Since then, Doc Bo has been a volunteer until he became a veterinarian in 1991.
Tadena praised Doc Bo’s contribution to their efforts to save the Philippine Eagles, adding that with his assistance they were able to hatch 21 eagles.
In the 1990s, Doc Bo was always there when they needed his services, caring for the captive eagles and the injured and rescued animals.
Tadena cited one of Doc Bo’s valuable efforts in helping the PEF rescue an eagle named Marikit in Surigao sometime in 1995.
He added that they flew the injured eagle to that city on a military plane for medical care.
Doc Bo put a splint on the eagle’s broken leg. “Na-ayo baya to” (The eagle has been healed).
While sad about Doc Bo’s death, Tadena said he was grateful for the opportunity to work with him.
“If the hatch is successful, we are ready. Then immediately Pakals and Tanduay. If it’s not even successful, we’ll be there together. ”If the eagle hatch succeeds, we would celebrate with Tanduay. If it doesn’t work, we cry together.
Anna Mae Sumaya, former PEF zookeeper, said Doc Bo is very passionate about his job.
“He has never failed to provide insight every time we have cases. I will always remember him as a warm and compassionate person who always had good stories to tell, ”said Sumaya, who now works in a wildlife park in Dubai.
Olive described her husband as a visionary.
“He taught me to be patient. Because he thinks so quickly. His vision is bigger than what he can do right now. We have to support him in his visions. Sometimes we don’t even see each other. Where are we going? That’s how fast he is, ”she explained.
According to Olive, her husband has started various communities outside of her family. “And he has other experiences and memories that I don’t even know about. “
In 2017, Doc Bo founded Davao Thermo Biotech Corporation, a large-scale biodegradable fertilizer that uses hyperthermophilic composting technology.
This technology, originating from Japan, is the first in the Philippines.
He started The Yellow Drum Project, which aims to divert biodegradable waste from the landfill to their composting facility, including at the household level.
Doc Bo was a key figure in the UP Alumni Association in Davao. (MindaNews)