My grandfather, Eusebio C. Manalili (1903-1990) although silent, declares from his epitaph his life words: "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
My mother fondly recalls the incredible entrepreneurial genius of this opulent man. He traded all sorts of things from medicine to real estate. Wary about the banking system, he hid most of his money in sacks. His manner and decorum were impeccable as his fashion was. He first introduced me to the necessity of preppy. Thus, he bought me my first wingtips.
I only disdained visiting Lolo Eusebio for two things: First, two minutes right after a road travel, he would immediately coerce me to a walk to his barber. He would always require a full trim. I often wondered why Mom would always demand that I travel with a full pint-size coat and tie just to see my old man. He was so eccentric with details: he folded his soiled clothes. I remember always being reprimanded for not shining my shoes.
Secondly, he would always pull me out of bed to read the Bible. When this is imposed at 4 in the morning, the dereliction is disturbing.
On one of those mornings, he was reading the story of Joseph. He began sharing his own journey as a businessman. He spoke about the gift of wealth and who gives it. He intimated that I pursue the world of Economics as a way to honor God. This was rather confusing from the perspective of my adolescent digs. How can money and God tango? I once heard someone tag moola as root of all evil. But then, his long stories spoke as though God and money were never enemies.
One day, he laid hands on me and whispered a most unusual prayer: "May the blessing of Joseph be yours."
I never understood the implications of a patriarchal bestowal. What's with a mere uttered wish anyway?
When I followed Jesus, I was led to consider the meta-narrative of wealth. I took Economics, I taught Economics, I tried Economics. My limited observation led me to a point of discernment.
Grandfather was indeed right. There are only two kinds of men: those who acknowledge God and are directed well; and those who act knowledgeable and are nothing but empty husks.