Father's Day will be celebrated worldwide on Sunday, June 15. Tatay is one of the honorees of this very important occasion. For us, his children, he is the greatest
and the best in the world. How lucky we are to be his children!
He lost his own father at a very young age, so he had to help earn a living for his mother and two sisters. He is a self-made man. From being a farm-help to his kind stepfather, he taught himself to be a mechanic and later, to be a businessman. He is a very skilled man. One of my treasures is a comb,fashioned from a piece of stainless steel, which he made by using a kikil. A batidor, which he crafted by pounding a bar of tanso, is now a proud possession of my youngest sister. Other items that we have in the house like a pulbera, a kaserola, a sandok, are tangible proofs of his creativity.
He single-handedly designed, prepared the bill of materials, and supervised construction of my family's house and the reconstruction of our old house. The carpenters respected him, for they knew that he knows how to do the job.
I remember him reading The Manila Times everyday in his effort to learn English. It paid off, because he became a whiz at reading titulos of real properties and explaining to us every single detail in them.
He was ahead of his time, for he used to tell people to limit the number of their children, when family planning was still unheard of . He prefers having extravagant Christmas fare for us, over spending lavishly for fiestas. He worked so hard to give us education and a very comfortable life, things he never had as a child. He brought us pasalubong, after his trips to Manila ,which he did many times each week. He always brought home tiklis of lansones, big bags of ubas and mansanas and my favorite tikoy, for us. He bought me a Parker fountain pen, when we were still in grade five. We had hula hoops, folding umbrellas, etc. when they first appeared in the big city.
He had the idea then, that in the future, the land wouldn't be enough as population was growing so rapidly. So he thought of reclaiming a part of the sea by the depensa in Wawa. Many people criticized him for that, thinking that he was wasting his money. I marveled at how he was able to make representations with the various agencies, like the Bureau of Forestry, Bureau of Lands, etc. and how he was able to make a very neat and complete file of all his transactions, relative to the tambak. He donated his landclaim and rights to the land( where we now have the Wawa Park, Orion Health Center, TESDA, P.R.Roman Elementary School, etc.) to the town of Orion, through the late Mayor Gabriel Manrique. There were no donation papers made, just a gentlemen's agreement between them. We are happy that the land was put to good use by the municipality.
He has a very kind heart. Every morning, he would put the tiklis of fish outside the kitchen door, for our neighbors, who always came with their containers, planggana, platong lata, bilao. Back then, there were no plastic bags and Tupperware containers yet. On Christmas time, he and my mother would bring home malagkit from Bicol , which they distributed to our kababaryos and also allowed them to pick the niyog from the coconut trees in our backyard - for their noche buena of suman. "Di magiging masarap ang pagsasalo nating mag-anak, kahit na anong sarap ng handa natin, kung ang mga nakapaligid sa atin ay walang kinakain. Dapat ay matuto kayong tumulong sa kapwa nyo." That is an oft-repeated lesson from him for all of us. When he and Inay immigrated to the U.S., he came home after three months, bringing loaves of cheese which he gave away as pasalubong to our kapitbahays. He never returned to the U.S. preferring to stay here where he grew up. He said that life here in our country is paraiso.
He loves music. Proof is he had this big collection of 78 rpm plakas of beautiful kundimans, by Ruben Tagalog, Cely Bautista, Sylvia La Torre, etc. Being the eldest, I had the rare privilege of playing them on the turntable, which I had to do over and over again, because it was the manual type - wala pang automatic noon! He plays haunting music in his silindro, to bring us to sleep in the papag of my mother's store. Most of the time, we pretended to be asleep, because it was then that he would carry us in his arms, one by one to the bedroom in the second floor of our house.
Tatay loves Francisco Balagtas' Florante at Laura, and used passages from it for his pangaral to us. "Ang laki sa layaw karaniwa'y hubad; Sa bait at muni, sa hatol ay salat..." " Kung ikaw'y maliligo, sa tubig aagap, nang di abutin ng tabsing sa dagat..."
Other pangaral from him. "Kahit maghapon kang lumuhod sa simbahan, kung pagdating mo sa bahay ay di mo itatratong kapamilya ang mga katulong, walang Diyos na matutuwa sa 'yo."
"Ang tunay na pagmamahal sa Diyos ay maipapakita lamang sa tunay na pagmamahal sa kapwa."
He is very particular with our morals, so there was an unwritten rule in the house that all manliligaw, would have to leave at 8:00 p.m. He had a big clock set in our sala for this purpose.
I could go on and on if I give way to the flood of sweet memories that I have of our father. Lest I fill all the blog space, I better end this now.
To sum it all, we-Tessie, Nato, Edna, James and myself - are so lucky for having TATAY for our father. How I wish I told him all these when he was not ulyanin yet. Now at 91, and bedridden, all we could do is take care of him when we are in Orion, and pray for him from afar.
Thank you, Lord, for giving TATAY to us. Thank you for that blessing...
And to you, TATAY, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!
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