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Deceased Members of the Province

Fr. Alberto Lopez Esmeralda, OSA

January 17, 1962 – March 7, 2024

Fr. Alberto Lopez Esmeralda, OSA was born on January 17, 1962 in Antipolo, Manila to Aquilino Cuaresma Esmeralda of Nueva Ecija and Ligaya Cayaban Lopez of Zamboanga del Sur. He was baptized on May 12, 1966 at  Sacred Heart Parish in Kamuning, Diliman, Quezon City.

He finished his primary grade school at St. Mary’s College in Quezon City and finished his elementary years at Lourdes School in Mandaluyong. On June 3, 1980, he joined the Augustinians at the San Agustin Seminary in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City.  After finishing his Philosophy studies, he underwent the novitiate formation program at  San Agustin Seminary in Intramuros, Manila.  During his formation years, he excelled in the areas of academics, arts and music.

He professed his simple vows on June 5, 1984 at  Nuestra Señora de Gracia Parish in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City.  He spent two years initially of theological studies at the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary from 1984-1986 and completed them at the Order of Saint Augustine’s Augustinianum in Rome, Italy in 1988.  He received his solemn profession on Nov. 12, 1988 at the Collegio Internazionale Sta. Monica in Rome, Italy.  He pursued further studies in Licentiate in Scriptures at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.  After completing his studies, he came home for his sacerdotal ordination on Dec. 22, 1992 at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu City by the late Most Rev. Manuel L. Salvador, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of  Cebu.

Fondly called, Fr. Abet, his first assignment was as House Procurator of the Augustinian community at  Nuestra Señora de Gracia Parish and San Agustin Seminary from 1992 to 1994 in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City.  He was also the Master of College Students.   In 1994, he was transferred to the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City.  During his six years at this University, he served as Campus Minister, Director of co-curricular activities, and Dean of Theology.  He also taught several theology subjects namely Salvation History, Introduction to the Life and Works of St. Augustine and  Social Doctrines of the Church.  As Campus Minister, he gathered bible reading groups which led to the creation of the project, “Kabataang Agustino Program”  in 1995. In 1999, he created the “AgustinongPinoy”  website.  Challenged by most search engines that provided non-Catholic and fundamentalist results, he started writing his first topic, “The Rapture: A Catholic Perspective”.  This was followed by other interesting topics, among them is the most widely read, “Ten Augustinian Values.” 

From 2000 to 2004, he was assigned to  Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod and appointed as Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Later he moved the AgustinongPinoy to two other websites: the Mystical Geek (http://agustino.org) and Res Biblica (http://www.biblista.net).  The latter contains articles on Sunday Scriptures and other related topics, its core is constituted by the articles he wrote for Suite 101.Com’s better known as the “Catholic Bible Studies”.  He was also teaching Theology subjects while assigned at CSA-Bacolod. For a change, he had the chance to make the St. Augustine Quiz Bee at CSA-Bacolod more interesting by using the Augustine Page https://www.geocities.ws/hipponensis/index.htm as a review resource page on Auugustine’s life, works, theology and spirituality.

Fr. Esmeralda was assigned in 2004 to the Mother of Good Counsel Parish in San Pedro, Laguna where served as House Treasurer and Parochial Vicar until 2010.  Grounded in his love for Scriptures and in the Augustinian values, he began in 2005 to organize small groups in some areas of the parish which later became the foundation of Basic Ecclesial Communities.  He likewise got inspired and engrossed in celebrating BEC masses at the squatters’ area, the “Homes-Along-the Railway”. He also taught at the neighboring Colegio San Agustin-Biñan.  He celebrated his silver anniversary as an Augustinian on June 5, 2009.

His last assignment was at Colegio San Agustin-Biñan from 2010 to the present. Despite his deteriorating health, he never stopped writing about the Scriptures and our Holy Father, Augustine.  His health worsened when one leg had to be amputated and months later, the other had to follow.  On the sad day of March 7, 2024, his physical suffering came to an end.

Father Abet, in his anonymity, was famous through his writings which he shared on the web.  He generously expressed his love for writing and sharing his wisdom.  On the lighter side, he was a one-of-a-kind artist from the heart, writing scripts for stage productions on the life of St. Augustine and His conversion, among many others during his days at the University of Santo Tomas and the University of San Agustin.  He wrote various songs; some of them featured in  “Tunog Agustino II.”  He also had a passion for cartoon creations.  It was his favorite recreation, next to his favorite sport, basketball.  He created clay models – three-dimensional versions of his cartoons.  He also created cartoon illustrations on Good Manners and Right Conduct donated to the Augustinian Province of Italy, on the Vision and Mission of the University of San Agustin, and some illustrations of the then-Augustinian newsletter of the Province.  Moreover, he explored the world of web graphics where he used it as a venue to illustrate some of the ideas that he wrote about. With his demise at the age of 62, a new journey of Fr. Abet, the “Agustinong Pinoy”, has just begun.

To us Augustinians in the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu-Philippines, the writings Fr. Abet left behind will be a treasured legacy. His friendship and dedication as an Augustinian religious will stay in our hearts, and the lives of the students, parishioners, and lay associates. Farewell Fr. Abet! In God’s mercy and love, savor the bliss of eternal rest and peace.

Fr. Abet’s remains were interred at Manila Memorial Park, Dasmariñas, Cavite on March 13, 2024 and commenced with a Funeral Mass at 9:00 am at the Santo Niño de Cebu Parish, Biñan, Laguna.