Gerry Perez tearfully makes his final goodbye as his son AJ Perez is laid to rest.
There was a great outpouring of sadness from family and friends of AJ Perez when the young actor was finally laid to rest at around noon on April 26 at the Manila Memorial Cemetery. AJ died last April 17 in a vehicular accident on his way home from a show in Dagupan, Pangasinan. The showbiz industry mourned the untimely and tragic passing of the 18 year-old, and his friends in showbiz wept as they paid their final respects on the day of the burial, beginning from a mass at the Christ the King Church in Greenmeadows, Quezon City to interment at the Manila Memorial Cemetery.
Those who attended the burial included AJ’s co-stars in the teleserye Sabel
, Jessy Mendiola and Joseph Marco, his fellow Giggerboys Sam Concepcion, Arron Villaflor, and Enrique Gil and former Giggerboys Chris Gutierrez and Dino Imperial; Sam Milby who just flew back from the Star Magic concert tour in the US, Star Magic handlers, and a few ABS-CBN executives. The actor’s friends and classmates from La Salle Greenhills also paid their last respects.
AJ is survived by his parents, Gerry and Marivic Perez, and twelve-year-old younger brother Gello. Gerry, who was with AJ when the accident happened, made his final tribute to commemorate the happy life he shared with his son. The following is an excerpt of his eulogy.
“Exactly nine days ago, our beloved AJ bade goodbye to this beautiful world of ours. I stand before you with feelings of grief, longing, and loneliness. I would like to tell you AJ’s life story which I hope would provide inspiration to all of you as it did to us with what recently transpired.
“AJ and I, as many people know by now, have bonded for such a long time, not just in show business but even before that. We’ve shared so many beautiful things, starting from his training in basketball, and up to the day that he passed away.
“We should reach out and look at ourselves to see what AJ meant to each one of us. I know when all of this is over, you will all go home. But in your minds and hearts, I hope you will never forget AJ.
“I will always treasure these moments which remind me how wonderful it is to be a dad to a very loving son. For so many times there were many words left unspoken. How I wish I can turn back the hands of time. However, all that remains now are memories which I will treasure for the rest of my life.
“If AJ were alive today, he would wish for all of us to live in harmony, treasuring the great times together as a family, with his friends, classmates, neighbors, colleagues in the industry, acquaintances, fans that he loved so much. I can’t ask anything more from a son like AJ. He is a very loving, caring, and obedient brother to Gello.
“I often ask myself what AJ’s passing means to me and all of you. I’ve spent time searching for answers, and I ended up with nothing. I thought deep in my heart, and I realized what AJ’s death means to all of us. Life is too short. Just let go. Love and care for one another need not wait. Live our lives to the fullest. Say the things we have all wanted to say to our loved ones. Always appreciate every single day that God gives us to experience His goodness. Whenever we are down and we wanted to do things, I always say, ‘Do your best, and God will take care of the rest.’
“While it remains elusive for most of us to live in a perfect world, AJ always wished that we all live in harmony and understanding. He never wanted to disappoint anybody. He would always think of the feelings of others rather than his own.
“AJ is already on his way to a wonderful journey, to be reunited with our wonderful Creator. AJ, my son, forever you will be in our hearts. Our final wish in you journey is, may God rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun always shine on your face, may rain fall soft up