Eugene Rey Penesa Aloc, a former BYU-Hawaii student, brother, husband and father, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 24. BYUH students who knew him shared of his legacy as an entertainer, storyteller, and uplifting friend.
Eugene passed away in his hometown Mercedes, Philippines, due to a severe heart condition, said younger brother Adam Aloc, a senior double majoring in hospitality and tourism and business management from the Philippines.
“[He] passed away, but he’s still here. His memories and our time together still remains in my heart,” said Adam Aloc.
Princess Donato Astle, a senior from Qatar majoring in exercise and sports science, said, “I’m just really grateful I was one of the people that learned from him and crossed paths with him.”
According to Adam Aloc, Eugene Aloc started school in January 2012 but went home a year later due to medical issues. He returned in April 2015 with Adam Aloc. After another year, he returned home due to medical issues and to wait for his soon to be wife who was on a mission at the time.
Roger Zavala, a senior majoring in IDS business and communications from Honduras, said Eugene Aloc was always a hard worker. “And when I say hard worker, he really had to work hard to stay at BYUH, do homework. With everything he had to do, he was a hard worker. Just getting things done, even with his health condition, was really hard for him.”
Astle said Eugene told her he was never scared of dying because his patriarchal blessing told him he’d be able to do all these things before he passed. She said, “I noticed he was able to do all these things this past year before he passed away, like having a family. He taught me to have faith in what God has in store.”
Arkhe Pacis, a BYUH alumnus from the Philippines, said, “I’m so happy he got married before. I thought it was impossible for him because of his condition, but he got a baby too.
“I don’t know what his purpose was coming here to BYU, but I think he fulfilled the motto ‘Enter to learn, go forth to serve.’ Even though he didn’t really finish his degree, he learned something out of his stay here.”
Eugene Aloc became well known for his magic skills after performing on Pilipinas Got Talent, an event hosted by the Filipino Student Association. Adam Aloc mentioned, “He performed a magic act because he’s a magician. Being on the stage, all the Filipinos were like, ‘There’s no way he can do that, he can’t pull it off, it is a joke.’ But then his performance was very impressive.”
Astle added, “He brought magic stuff with him everywhere, even in the cafeteria when we were eating. He’d be like, ‘Want to see a magic trick?’ and I was like, ‘Okay Eugene.’ He always makes us happy.”
Eugene Aloc’s family and friends also mentioned how he had a love for storytelling. Derrick Tropia, a senior studying business management from the Philippines, said, “He always has a story. You don’t take whatever he says literally because you might not think that it’s true,
but then a couple of days later you just realize it was actually true.”
Pacis smiled and said while laughing, “His stories are a little exaggerated. He’s really known for that among all the Filipinos. They call him ‘prof’ or professor because when he talked he seems like he knew everything.”
Adam Aloc added, “The [stories] aren’t unbelievable. They just make you go like, ‘Huh? What? Really?’ You don’t know if it’s real or not real, but it’s fun to have that person around you.”
Ruth Tibungcog, a senior studying psychology from the Philippines, said Eugene Aloc was also a great comforter and supporter to those around him. She said he treated her like a younger sister and comforted her when she was depressed.
“He encouraged me to do all the things I wanted to. Every time that I was down on myself and degrading myself on [Facebook] posts, he would comment and find ways to make me feel good,” she explained.
She shared a particular incident when she received a post that read: “Share this if you’re ugly.” Tibungcog said, “He was the first one that commented and said, ‘You’re not ugly, nobody is.’ He’s the kind of person to lift everyone up around him.”
Astle said Eugene Aloc was one of the first people who welcomed her to BYUH. “He’s definitely a genuine friend. He’d listen to you even if he doesn’t have anything to say, but most of the time he’d have advice for you. He was very wise and had lots of life experiences that he could always relate to when you needed something, kind of like a philosopher.
“I made this real exotic Filipino food that I’d never done before in my life and I had him taste it just to get feedback. I knew he didn’t like it,” she said before laughing, “but he was still really nice about it.”