MANILA, Philippines — As the old saying “behind every successful man is a supportive woman” proves to be true, what more if she’s a strong-willed wife out to support her husband 100 percent?
Mrs. Fe Aguillon-Cimatu, a supportive woman, was not always a shadow to her husband Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, a former general and chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Fe would always be a woman who proved she can make a difference; she can make change.
Fe, affectionately known as Ma’am Fe, was not just an ordinary housewife. She was the good woman of the house she built all through the years with her better half.
Fe, a native of San Jose, Antique, passed away peacefully on February 20, 2021, leaving a big hole in the heart of the former general.
Born on April 22, 1948, Fe was a very responsible and caring individual especially to her own family. She brought this wonderful trait to her marriage with Cimatu.
Hands-on as she was known, Fe even took charge of their wedding. She was her own wedding planner.
The then-general groom-to-be was still in Marawi for a military operation four days before their wedding date. Fe laid out everything for him, assuring the groom that every detail in their dream wedding was in place. She would remember telling Cimatu “ikaw na lang ang kulang.”
Having a military husband was not an easy task. Those long, arduous out-of-town assignments–most of the time dangerous–placed on the general’s shoulders did not become a stumbling block in her married life.
During several combat operations of Cimatu, the loving wife would often visit him. There were times when the husband rushed back to the barracks to see the wife he sorely missed. He would sometime find her in the nearest public market, picking up the freshest vegetables for their evening meal, over which they shared stories.
A confidante and ‘cheerleader’
The responsible and caring wife from then on was always by the general’s side, not just witnessing his journey but also serving as cheerleader as he took charge of several sensitive posts.
The reserved housewife, who did not often go out of their house, devoted most of her time to her better half. She opted to stay at home, to make sure that the house was cleaned up, to read books, and to take care of the plants in their mini garden.
Fe was so dedicated to stand as a house keeper of the family, that instead of employing household help, she personally attended to the needs of her man. She wanted to make sure that whatever he needed was already “prepared even before he asked for it.”
Fe was also a businesswoman, but one whose priority was a good and healthy married life. She had to sacrifice a lot during her husband’s military days, during those times when they could not be together.
There were some occasions when Fe joined her husband during his out-of-the-country assignments. First was in Libya, when Cimatu was appointed as special envoy for a delicate assignment; she personally attended to his needs.
The other was when he was posted in Poland for another special assignment. On both occasions, Fe insisted on joining him, knowing fully well the danger he was facing.
From General Cimatu to Secretary Roy, from being a wife of a general to becoming a wife of a Philippine government civilian official, Fe was there every step of the way. She was not always visible, but she was always felt, especially by her better half.
As the country welcomes National Women’s Month in March, it is a fitting moment to recognize every woman’s humble sacrifices since they, like Fe, also the contributors to the successes of their man’s dreams and visions. INQ