I am posting this now because my Dad just visited me by playing the video of "The 3 Little Pigs" on my PC. It seems he wants me to move on and start working already.
My Dad was a superstar and he made sure each one us, his children, would become superstars as well. My sister, Ate Nats, topped the chemical engineering board exam. My brother, Kuya Jojo, is a very successful expat in Jakarta. And me, I am privileged to work for an international company.
My Dad in his younger years was a celebrity basketball player in Ateneo de Naga. I heard that his shooting record is yet to be beaten. A lot of girls were after him, but he only had his mind and heart set on my Mom. And we were lucky because my Dad spent every moment of his life for his family.
I've always been a Daddy's little girl. When I was a kid my Dad would always bring me out on dates. We'd head to Luk Yuen at Quad (Glorietta wasn't around yet) and he'd always order noodles and siopao. During that time I only liked eating the siopao skin my Dad would peel off from the siopao. There would be days that we'd go to Dayrit's and I always ordered what I believed were giant cheeseburgers. At home my I only eat crab if my Dad opens it up for me and he'd put gata on my rice with a bit of calamansi. He would also add the soup from the nilaga with some toyo on my rice so I'd eat more (I was very thin when I was a kid). I remember those dates vividly to this day. Oh and he always bought me lollipops and cotton candy.
My Dad's love for me is bottomless despite the fact that I have let him down countless of times. He was very strict and the only time I lost my curfew was when I got accepted in my current job (I was 30 already!). I thought it was really unfair and I rebelled many, many times, but my Dad has always been there for me and I'm really glad that he is my Dad. I would not have it any other way.
Here are some of the most important lessons I learned from him:
1. be service-oriented
My Dad's a homebody. The extra time he had he spent serving God and others. I was a kid when Mom and Dad were helping out in building the Parish church. I remember tagging along in countless number of meetings. I always wondered how Dad managed to help so many people. He helped an innocent prisoner go free. And he always spoke up on issues whenever something was wrong. He said we should not keep quiet whenever there is injustice.
Dad also focused on specific advocacies and he wrote about these advocacies with much passion. I would say that his lifelong work which includes his fight for the unborn child can be found in his book. In the last year even though he was physically weak he focused on distributing this book to people in government and people with influence. And that goes to show that it is in my Dad's heart to continue serving others even when he is gone.
2. be humble and have integrity
My Dad was never boastful. I only found out that he was a basketball superstar from his high school classmates. And mind you he was also always on honor roll, their high school salutatorian and magna cum laude in college. I only found out about that because I oftentimes leafed through his high school and college yearbooks. What my Dad wanted us to do is just to get the job done and make sure we do it right.
My Dad was incorruptible. I learned the lesson on integrity when I was just 12. I had a classmate in St. Scho, who's by the way a congresswoman now, who had a PhP200 daily allowance and my baon back then was just ten pesos. I asked my Dad why my baon was so small compared to my classmate. I asked him, “Dad, ganun ba kayaman mga mayor?” And my Dad then explained to me all about corruption. He always reminded us that a good name is far more important than material wealth.
3. live simply
My Dad always told us that his only pamana to us is our education and he made sure that all three of us got the best education and that's why he enrolled all of us in De La Salle University and not his alma mater (which is Ateneo). And because all of us valued what he said we all got a Masters in Business Administration.
One thing I also made an impression on me was Dad's “Share a Family” project where you'd have to prepare and share a meal with a less fortunate family. It was truly an eye opener to share one's blessings with others. I hope that this is something that my Titos at the Knights of Columbus can continue.
4. Family first
Family came always first with my Dad. In all of my 35 years I never saw him go out just to make lakwatsa. Whenever there was a gathering with his friends, he'd ask either my Mom or me to go with him – para raw makauwi siya ng maaga. He was always home before sunset and inasmuch as I took that for granted, I only realized later on that other Dads weren't like that.
We were on our own with our studies, but my Dad always lent a helping hand whenever I had questions. I oftentimes sought his help for assignments in Filipino and my law classes back in college. Dad taught us to always think outside of the box. To always see beyond what was on the news. To always ask questions. And we had lessons on politics every day during dinner.
Dad left management of the house to Mom, except the kitchen. Dad always came up with really delicious dishes and I only learned how to cook some of it when I got married. You see, my Dad never opened a recipe book to cook. He was a talented cook and he cooked for us and Mom for 50 years.
Daddy was the disciplinarian. He would rarely get mad, pero ang style niya eh he'll ask Mom to do the first-level sermon. Makuha ka sa tingin. He was strict, but only because he wanted what was best for us and he wanted us to be safe. A lot of my friends used to be scared of him, what they didn't know though is my Dad is the corniest joker around and he'd only sing two songs – the “kamote song” and a funny Japanese song. Oh, and my Dad was extremely ticklish and we all got that from him. Later on though my Dad mellowed down and my friends eventually treated him like their Dad too.
5. And finally, give your trust to the Lord and everything will follow
This is the most important lesson that Dad taught all of us and was his central message during my wedding. I always asked him before how he and my Mom managed their marriage and he just said that all throughout the years they just lifted everything to God and all the problems and issues were ironed out on its own. We were truly blessed as a family because of their faith in God.
Before I end this sharing I'd like to thank my Dad for all the love and care he gave me, Ate and Kuya and my Mom. For standing in as father figure for Miguel. I will never forget what you taught me Dad. You have a huge pair of shoes that's going to be hard to fill in, but we will try our best to deliver the mission that has been given to us. And do not worry because we will take care of Mom.
Thank you Dad and I love you very much.
Thank you to everyone who stayed with us during this time of grief and thank you for your prayers.
To Tito Pete, Tita Dolly, Tita Dena, Tita Gay, Tita Helen, Tito Mel, thank you so much for coming to our rescue. Mom and I had no idea what to do when the doctor declared Daddy's demise. And to Tita Letty for the support and making sure we always had food during the wake.
To my SVMM family, for being there and for singing such beautiful songs for Daddy. I'm sure you made him smile.
To the Knights of Columbus Council 7806, thank you for the tribute and the necrological service. I hope my Dad's legacy would live on with your projects.
To my Daddy's Ateneo classmates and friends, thank you for sharing such lovely stories of my Dad when he was young. He oftentimes told me about how you guys drew lots on who's going to go first. Dad was supposed to be the last, but as Tito Ed said, "Your Dad didn't have any vice or affairs. Masyado siya mabait."
To my sisters golden high school classmates, thank you for standing in for my Ate. I guess 15 years from now we'll be doing the same for our batch. And my SSC friends too, thank you for the alalay.
To the Passionist fathers, thank you especially to Fr. Luis who anointed and gave the eucharist to Dad just before he passed.
To the Sun Valley Homeowners Association and Barangay Sun Valley, thank you too. Please take care of our park, that it may continue to be our community's "lungs".
To Jun Lozada, thank you for coming, the fight will go on.
To my best friend, Darwin. Thank you for flying in from Cebu and just being there. And to Anne and Harry, for coming too. My blogger friends, for keeping us company and the kwentos.