Catalino was an active and smart child, an honor student through his elementary and high school years. He graduated top of his class in both elementary and high school. He was a natural leader in his school and in community.
In 1971, Blas started attending meetings organized by the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) where issues of pollution arising from the operations of the Bataan Pulp and Paper Mills were being discussed. Catalino showed himself an outstanding youth leader. He organized and mobilized young people in Samal, Bataan, to seek solutions to the pollution being caused by mill.
Because his family could not afford to put him through college, Catalino opted to work after high school. He applied as an apprentice at the US Naval Base in Subic, Zambales, and was accepted to work in the US base’s naval repair facilities. He impressed his American supervisors with his skills.
During this time he became active with the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) in Central Luzon.
Later he was admitted as a scholar at the University of the East (UE) in Manila. He continued to be active with the KM chapter in the university. He had been in college for only one semester when Marcos declared martial law in 1972. Immediately, Catalino went home and started organizing among the villagers in Samal, Bataan. He was a key figure in the Lakbayan, a march that started from key cities in Central Luzon and ended in Metro Manila, demanding the restoration of freedom and democracy.
On October 25, 1972, just over one month since the declaration of martial law, Catalino was arrested by soldiers as he was conducting a meeting. The owner of the house tried to hide Catalino by wrapping a mat around him, but the soldiers riddled the mat with bullets anyway.
Catalino died at a very young age of 21. Hundreds of local people came to his burial, most wearing red as a symbol of their support for their young hero, who showed courage and commitment and took up issues in their behalf.
His family had high hopes for Catalino and hoped that because he was bright he would be the family’s way out of poverty. His death destroyed this dream. Nevertheless, the family is proud of how Catalino led his life to serve his neighbors and his countrymen. To them, he died a hero.