SHE DREAMED of becoming a doctor. She would work double-time to keep herself on the right track by juggling both academic and extra-curricular work. She treated responsibilities not as burdens but as stepping stones to her dreams.

College of Pharmacy sophomore Kristina Agustin, could have been another honor student or perhaps a successful doctor, if not with the tragic Manor Hotel fire in Quezon City last Aug. 18 that killed her and her parents.

Born and raised in Isabela, Kristina was the third child of Renato, a businessman, and Elizabeth, a housewife.

The Infant Jesus Montessori School in Isabela was her second home from preparatory to secondary years. In here, she was a consistent honor student.

Tina was exceptional. She was not just busy with school; she was actively involved in organizations and extra-curricular activities in and out of the campus. Her leadership skills were exemplary. She was troop leader of her school’s Girl Scout unit and she represented her school in regional, national and international assemblies.

Tina continued to excel in her studies in UST and last semester, she made it to the Dean’s List.

“She was very diligent. Lagi ‘yan pagdating galing school, uupo sa study table niya tapos mag-aaral na and magre-rewrite ng notes. She was very focused,” Anna Frieda Hong, Tina’s best friend and dorm mate at the Sta. Catalina Ladies’ Residence, said.

As class treasurer, Tina was known for her dependability and trustworthiness.

“Masipag na bata iyang si Kristina. You could always depend on her. She was a very responsible class treasurer,” Mrs. Imelda Salandanan, Tina’s Physiology and Anatomy professor, related.

Panitikan nga ba?

“Tahimik kasi si Kristina. Very unassuming. Hindi mo aakalain na marunong siya talaga,” Zoology Prof. Frieda Hapan, one of her teachers, added.

Tina can be found most often in the company of her closest friends. According to Anna, Tina is sweet and thoughtful.

“She never forgot any occasion. Birthdays, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, she always (give) gifts,” Anna said.

According to Andielyka de Guzman, Tina’s classmate, “One time nga nung debut ng isang friend namin, Tina planned to have a little surprise for her.”

Ghenier Enrique, another friend of Tina said that she was very supportive. She was always there when he needed her.

“Hindi niya ako pinapabayaan. She helped me become strong enough to surpass the tough times.”

“I used to have bad habits. She helped me quit them. She made me become a better person. Tina healed me,” he continued.

Tina preferred to be quiet and maintained a very low profile. But she never closed herself to other people.

Like any teenager, Tina loved to have fun. Her idea of good –time however was very understated. She preferred listening to R&B music, reading pocketbooks, and watching movies. She also made use of her gifted hands in drawing and handcrafts. Tina was fond of shopping for clothes and audio CDs. She likes anything in pink. Her room resembles a cotton candy because of its pink color.

She was, however, quite reserved when it came to eating out. “Sobrang conscious siya sa figure niya. Kasi magde-debut na siya kaya ingat na ingat sa pagkain,” Anna noted.

Big gas chamber

But Tina left exactly three months short of her 18th birthday. Anna said Tina was fretting because no one was making plans for her debut.

“Excited na talaga siya sa debut niya. Naiinis siya kasi bakit wala raw nag-aasikaso nung occasion.”

Unknown to her, everything was already set for the celebration. Everything were already planned—the guest list, the venue, the caterer, and the souvenirs. Tina just needed to be fitted in her debutante gown.

But Tina will never be. The non-experience of it, perhaps is a plan of God.

While attending a Christian seminar at the Araneta Coliseum, Tina and her parents stayed in one of the rooms in that infamous hotel.

The fire broke out at 4 a.m., and almost 80 people suffered suffocation—including the three of them.

“Every moment with Tina will always be cherished,” Anna wistfully added, as she remembered her friend’s tragic death.

Tina always believed that life was short and should therefore be lived well. And that was exactly what she did. Indeed, for those whose hearts she has touched and whose lives she has moved, Tina will never be gone nor forgotten. She will remain forever in a place that will ensure her immortality—their hearts.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.