Leopoldo Calixto, who was Babes to friends, was raised in an old post-war Manila district. His father owned a motorshop and later a furniture-shop. His mother was a nurse, later becoming head nurse at the Philippine General Hospital.
In college, Babes organized student groups to protest police brutality and demand school reforms.
He contributed articles to the AvantGarde, the school paper at Mapua, writing mostly about fraternities, particularly their response to the imminence of martial law. He helped revive the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) in 1970 in the face of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. Babes met with the staff of various student papers, urging them to tackle school issues and relate them to national issues.
He built a network of out-of-school youth activists in San Andres in Singalong, where he lived, and on the railroad tracks.
After martial law was declared, Babes moved out of Manila to organize resistance to the new regime, choosing the Western Visayas where he had relatives among the Yulos. He described himself as “of the poorer Yulos.”
But he spent most of his time with farmers. He sent news to his family in Manila in small, tightly folded letters where he talked of having to walk barefoot and learning about planting, worlds away from his life in Pasay. But he wrote that he liked his work because it allowed him to help people directly with their problems.
Babes was with an armed organizing team when it met up with paramilitary units in Calinog, Iloilo in February 1974. Babes was wounded in the encounter that followed, but he kept fighting for many hours. He was dead when constabulary soldiers at last dared to approach his hiding place, the following day.
Born 30 July 1945 in Manila
Died 20 February 1974 in Calinog, Iloilo
Parents : Leopoldo Calixto and Elsa Yulo
Education : Elementary – Rafael Palma Elementary School
High School – Philippine School of Arts and Trades
College – Mapua Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering