2 weeks ago, I got to talk to him before heading to the Admin office to finish work. I asked him how long has he been teaching in SoFA Design Institute. He jokingly answered, “Di ba nga last Christmas party, Amina mentioned na ever since the school started, I was there.” And he was. He’s been with SoFA from the very beginning. I don’t know much about his history with SoFA, but I still remember how I first got to know him. It was March 2015, my first week at SoFA, when Rodel, our registrar, mentioned that I should befriend Sir Dan upon learning that I’m the new graphic designer. I thought, who is this Sir Dan that I need to know him? I googled his name and I thought yes, I really should get to know him. I read some of the articles about him online– about telling stories through fashion illustration, the innate artistic talent in all of us, and I also saw some of his works. I was amazed and excited at the same time. I already thought of ways on how I can approach him and ask him so many questions about his passion, his profession, and just about his life. Since then, I would see him around school but never really find the courage to introduce myself. Three months later, the opportunity to befriend him came when we sat next to each other during a creativity development seminar for staff and faculty. The workshop gave me the chance to ask him questions and really get to know him. I’m so grateful for that day. The day I got to talk and laugh and brainstorm with the Danilo Franco.
After that workshop, I would never miss the chance to greet him when I see him around the campus. Sometimes I would see him painting in a classroom or in a corner by the canteen. Watching him paint is so relaxing, and exciting at the same time. I loved asking him questions while he painted—where does he get inspiration, does he use references on his works, what’s his favorite medium, and many more. Sometimes I’d catch him very early in the morning, already working on a portrait gift for his sister’s friend. Other days I’d see him way past work hours concentrated on the intricate details of an illustration. Looking back now, I realized that he was really in love with what he does. He loved using his hands in creating wonderful works of art. And he was generous with his gifts. Meng, one of my officemates, told me that he once gave each staff their very own portrait for Christmas. And he never withheld knowledge and wisdom. I once asked him how his students are doing and he’d often rant about their lack of patience and persistence. But in those rants, I heard his love and concern. All he ever wanted is for his students to reach their full potential; that’s why he gets frustrated every time they don’t see what he sees in them. Who would concern himself with other people’s progress when he has reached such a high stature in his career? Sir Dan would. As great as a designer as he is, he chose to serve students by sharing his life with them. He dedicated 10 years of his life to teaching and mentoring students—not just in design but also in life.
It will take a lot of time to get used to his absence. But it’s time for him to rest. His 10 years with SoFA was enough. His 64 years here on earth was enough. He has touched so many lives.
Thank You Lord, for letting me get to know the Danilo Franco.
- used to express good wishes on parting.
- an act of parting or of marking someone’s departure.
Enjoy paradise, Sir Dan.