Former President Fidel V. Ramos was a "very warm and funny" grandfather, his grandson Sam Ramos-Jones said Monday as he looked back at his lolo's life and legacy as a military man and public servant.
Despite spending most of his life as a soldier and politician, the country's 12th president let his grandchildren pursue their own career paths even outside military and public service, Ramos-Jones told ANC in an interview.
"He's a living legend of history. I'm a big history buff, and that's something I'll cherish for the rest of my life. On the other hand, when you get behind the achievements and all of his public service career, he was also just a man," Ramos-Jones said of his grandfather, who died on July 31 at the age of 94.
"He was a very warm and funny grandfather. He's very supportive of me and all of my cousins in whatever our pursuits were," he added.
Ramos-Jones admitted that he and other members of his family were often asked whether they would follow the path of his grandfather in the military or politics, but the former president would always say that there is no single way to serve the people.
"One of the things he would repeat often to us is that there are so many ways to serve your country, there are so many ways to serve your community, and ultimately that's more important than any role or title," Ramos-Jones said.
Ramos-Jones said the biggest lesson he learned from his grandfather is in one of his catchphrases --- "unity, solidarity, and teamwork."
"There's plenty of things we can disagree on as a nation and as citizens but there's plenty more that we should be able to agree on when it comes to getting down on the basics of doing the job of governance and supporting our communities to help themselves develop," he said.
Ramos' wake was opened to the public on Sunday and Monday to let Filipinos pay their last respects to the late chief executive.
Ramos-Jones said it was "very overwhelming and very heartwarming" to witness the support that his grandfather received from the public despite their socio-economic, religious, and even political differences.
"I think it's a great testament to just what kind of a man FVR was, that we had people come from all walks of life," he said.
"He prided himself on being friends with everyone, on working with everyone and anyone so long as they were willing to get down to work as well, and we really see that here over the last week," he added.
Public viewing of Ramos' wake will continue until 4 p.m. on Monday. A state funeral with full military honors for the late president will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 9.