I first met Dr. Manny Vergel when I was still in college. He was the father of a dear old friend, Karl, who was obviously inspired by his father as he strove to get a degree in civil engineering. I learned then that Dr. Vergel was doing consulting work and my friend's stories of what his father did I think gave me a clearer understanding of what civil engineers do and what the profession was like. He graduated from UP will a degree in Civil Engineering and proceeded to take his master's at the then SEATO in Bangkok, which is the precursor of today's AIT. He obtained his PhD at Iowa State University where he specialised in Agricultural Engineering. He worked for some time at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and had taught at UPLB. Dr. Vergel was a general practitioner of sorts by the time I met him. He worked on different projects in the different sub-disciplines of CE including hydraulics, construction and transportation. Few people are like that nowadays as CE's have become more specialised, in part to be recognised as an expert in the more specific field under civil engineering that one wanted to focus on. His kind of CE is rare nowadays.
The last time I spoke to him was before his heart attack last year. I remember asking him if he would agree to review the research reports and outcomes for one of our projects. He quickly agreed and told us to just send him the reports via email so he could just read them on the computer. He was always kind to us and willing to help out any way he could. I also remember him allowing us to stay at their company's office so we could use their computers for machine problem assignments that we had for one of our engineering subjects. This was at a time computers were still expensive and few had one in their homes. Students who had tight budgets could not afford to spend time hands-on on rental computers in campus. That was how I would like to remember him - a kind, father figure who guided his sons despite his own shortcomings, and was willing to help out other people especially those struggling as they started work on their chosen profession.
Thanks for your help and for inspiring us Dr. Manny Vergel. May your soul rest in peace with our God in heaven. And may your works continue to inspire others for years to come.