Happy Father's Day! My Father's Influence Made Me Who I am Today

Two papa ❤️๐Ÿงก

Today, the world celebrates father's day. And it's our papa's turn to step into the spotlight as we mark this very special day with a heartfelt tribute for them.

Papa has only one brother, whom I also called Papa, he had served for three consecutive terms as Vice Mayor in our town. While my mother has two brothers, and one surviving brother-in-law. Happy Father's Day to them! ๐Ÿ’–

Two papas ๐Ÿ’–
My father and uncle who I also 
called papa

I rarely talked about my family in the social media. I don't even post pictures of them. I feel that social media is harsh to people who chose to maintain some degree of sanity and privacy. 

My parents are raised in an era where life is so much simpler, happier and easier, away from the stressful world of technology, they just love a simple and peaceful life in the province. So I respected their privacy.

Happy Father's day Papa!

But today is different. It's a father's day celebration. So my father deserves an exposure. ๐Ÿ˜

I have a very happy childhood. I grew up in a loving home with a well-guided upbringing. When I was still a kid,  I was a typical Papa's girl who would cry when I couldn't see him in a day. 

Family dinner

Best Memories with my Father

When I was still in my elementary, we lived in my father's ancestral home, in a small seaside barangay in Surigao del sur. My parents worked in the government office in the municipal town, so I wouldn't see them until early evening during school days.

Every afternoon, I was excited to go home after school to wait for my parents coming home from work because Papa would always have something for us, either biscuits or fresh homemade bread from the lone bakeshop in the municipality. 

One of Papa's house rules when we were kids was to never eat junk foods. So I haven't tried chips, nor chocolates, until college.

I didn't grow up having toys or dolls. Papa thought fancy toys were unnecessary stuff for kids and just a waste of money and childhood, so he didn't spoil us with toys but allowed us to indulge in real playing time normal for growing up kids. 

For the first five years of my life, we lived in a farm where he co-managed a poultry business. He always made a room for farming even though that time he was working full time in the municipal hall as a Local Revenue Collection Officer. 

He also ventured into Copra, Abaca, Corn and fruits trading. It was a wonderful life. I would spend the day running around the valleys and rice fields with cousins and farm tenant kids. 

Papa built a small house made of wood where my siblings, cousins and I could play traditional games of charades, or just hopping around. 

When insurgencies erupted we moved to my grandparents' place and left the farm to some tenants. Seven years later, my father sold this farm and we permanently lived in the town proper. 

My Father's Influence

He  taught me how to read, draw and write and even bought me writing sets before I started school. One of my childhood hobbies was sketching and drawing and my father would buy me coloring sticks of all kinds and it was amazing. My weekends were mostly spent drawing elements of nature.

It had a massive influence in my growing up years, I began to love readings, writing and  nature photography. It helped my creativity to develop to what it is today.

Papa loved history and one of my early recollections after our evening prayer was to sit in the veranda and listened to papa telling us about Philippine history and all those heroes. Before I entered grade three. I knew all about Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. And all the crusade of Andres Bonifacio.

He would tell great stories. No wonder, I grew up very curious about words and letters which helped awaken my consciousness towards books and literary writing. 

I developed a love for reading early in life, in part because my father loves to read. 

He had a monthly subscription of "The Colombian", an international magazine for Catholics circulated to all Knights of Columbus (a fraternal organization of Catholic men all over the world) where my father is a member. 

It was the very first magazine I read. Almost every reading material in our house was all about Catholics, so early on I've a better understanding about my faith, about how Catholicism should be understood.

Much of my growing up years were molded with my father's principles in life. A strict disciplinarian and born in an era where words of parents were treated sacred that must be obeyed at all cost,.

He made sure his house rules were clear enough to put us always on his radar. His traditional way of discipline influenced the way I make decisions later in life. It made me who I am today. 

I grew up very close to him. When I was still a kid, I would accompany him to the church where he regularly conducted a church service. 

Parish priests in Surigao del sur only limited to municipal towns, so church (we called it as a chapel) in each barangay often left to lay ministers to conduct a Celebration of the Holy Word every Sunday (Holy Mass can only be conducted by ordained priests and deacons). 

Apart from being a Catholic lay minister, papa also worked in the government office. So during school break, I would tag along with him at the municipal hall, I loved it because at lunch time, he would treat me to a lone restaurant in the place which served delectable dishes and allowed me to order anything I want!

My Father's life of service in the community

He is a cross between a regular guy and an extraordinary fellow. He himself was raised in a comfortable home but did not grow up hostile to the environment. 

In return, he dedicated his life to humanitarian causes and in the Catholic church service, something he inherited from his mother.  

My father, who has a degree in political science, is an activist, an environmentalist, an anti-mining advocate, a crusader for peace and justice in our province, an advocate of organic farming and a pre-cana (a pre-marriage seminar that should be attended by couples who wish to receive a Catholic wedding) lecturer. He hates inequality and oppression. 

I grew up watching him going out to the street, voicing his protest against illegal logging and mining. I saw his great passion in protecting the environment, something I also inherited. 

He once fought hard for the closure of two mining companies in Surigao del Sur due to its worst effect in the environment. 

He is always busy, either spending his precious time in the church or organizing activities for social actions. In his own belief, it's every Christian's duty to be responsive to social issues. 

He often said that we were born to be God's stewards to all His creations, and any activity that will harm the environment and the human dignity is a direct defiance from God

His devotion to Catholicism is unparalleled. He made sure nothing will get astray from the flock. He founded many organizations to fortify the Catholic belief in our place. Each week, there's a family gathering for a Bible study. He spearheaded Catholic chapel constructions in barangays to reach out the faithfuls in far-flung areas.

He founded several NGO's mostly for farmers. And took position in the board of several cooperatives.

He is also greatly admired in our place, people are fascinated with his unique devotion to the church. And his humility and effort to work for solidarity of the faithfuls. 

He once chaired the PPCRV (before my uncle joined politics), the Catholic Church's watchdog during election. And was a Parish Pastoral President for 10 years. 

Disciplinarian Father

It was only my father who could tolerate my tantrums without losing temper, he would easily yield when I wrangled to buy something. 

But like a good disciplinarian father, he never tolerated some of my impossible lapses, he would shout at the top of his lungs and shut me with glazing eyes if I did something terrible.

Though he was busy with his work in the government office and in the church and community, he made sure we're carefully guided during our growing up years. 

He never let a single day passed without checking us, his favorite hour of the day (to talk to us) was at the early dawn. 

And even if we won't wake up, he would sit beside our bed and would bombard us with advises and detailed explanation on how life should be handled to avoid mess. 

Unlike other kids, my siblings and I did not grow up watching television. He strongly prohibited it. So our night time was always spent studying before we were put to bed. 

We were  allowed to play with other kids in the neighborhood only on weekends. Back then, I had no issues with this arrangement. And I went on with my life, unruffled.

Meals were always spent in the table with some discussions. Because we had no access to television, my father would just provide us updates with what's going on with the environment, the latest social issues, the unsettling wars on the other side of the world and the economic woes the country was facing during those years. 

But every Saturday, he would take us to the seaside, just a few distance from our home ( we lived in a coastal area facing the Pacific Ocean), to spend our breakfast. There,  the setting was always relax (no more lectures haha!) and a little informal, sharing plenty of laughter.

Before attending college, I had a long week of lectures from him. He warned me endlessly to be cautious with the people I will meet. 

"Stay away from those who go to the bar and drink alcoholic beverages. Don't talk to boys, don't get involve into a relationship while still in school" and "never come home late at night" were his most prominent reminders. 

I took everything by heart and hadn't disappointed him. So I wasn't close to anybody while in college. 

I was extra cautious with the people I met. The first time I started talking to boys was when I was already working

But my discomfort towards men is not my father's fault. In fact, I thanked him endlessly for raising me that way. It's a precaution I made for the most part of my life.

I wasn't raised to be dependent with men. My sister and I were not raised to rush into marriage. We were disciplined to become independent. 

My father often said that I was born in an era where life is often treated unholy by some and where wars are frequently heard everywhere. So he advised me to be extra sensitive to the people who needed help. 

Born in a very conservative environment, my father isn't a fan of all sorts of entertainment. He couldn't even remember if he ever went to  the cinema to watch movies

He hated variety shows with girls dancing in bikinis, he found it too lurid to be watched by children, so we did not have television until my last year in college. Even then, he strongly discouraged us from watching soap operas. 

My parents 

My rift with my father

Like most kids, me too had a row with my father.

After college, gradually, I was disillusioned with my father's stiff principles in life and we occasionally had a row because of his interpretations on some world events. 

As with most activitists, my father detested America and badly criticized whoever sat as US President. So to prevent from bickering, I would not join him in the living room watching news. 

Several years later and moving to a complicated era of modernity, I could not help but think if my father was right with his interpretations.

Stronger Amidst Challenges

Despite his radical principles in life, my father has this endearing character that made me think if he owns a charity institution in his past life. 

If he saw a vendor in the street with torn pants, he would give his own, if he saw a homeless person knocking in another door, he would fetch him and let him stay in our house (this happens several times), he regularly offered foods, water and a small amount of money to people who are in dire poverty. 

He often said that part of our mission in life as a true Christian is to share what we have to people who don't have. I admired this part of his character.

Since 1995, Papa lived a life of a monk. He doesn't smoke nor eat meat. And only drinks water and tea. 

He grows vegetables and herbs in our backyard, and spent most of his time in church works. Yet, it wasn't enough to protect him from one illness that tested his strong faith in God.

By 2009, his deep commitment to the Catholic life service and the community halted when he had cataract. 

He became completely blind and his movement was limited to sitting and sleeping. It was a real test of faith. He could no longer offer his service to the community and the church.

Did he blame God? No. In fact, everyday he received communion. Each morning, accompanied by my youngest brother, he would jog and do brisk walk at the seaside. 

He was chatty with whoever came near to him. He had time for laughter and didn't lose hope that one day he could see the world again.

Towards the end of 2010, with constant monitoring from doctors, his blood pressure became stable and he was well enough to undergo an eye operation. 

By 2011, he completely recovered and resumed his devotion to church service. It was through this event that I witnessed the real meaning of faith. 

My father is one person whose devotion to his belief surpasses the personification of hope. Something that taught me to hold tight on whatever I believed in and hoped for.

My Father's disappointment in me

I'm always an obedient daughter. But there were two occasions that I disobeyed my father. One, about my college degree. 

He always wanted me to take up law. So when I entered college, he told my mother to enroll me in a pre-law course, political science, in Ateneo. But I barged them to let me took up Chemical Engineering because I was so fascinated in Chemistry while still in high school.

Papa relented. But in the first semester, I struggled with mathematics so I shifted to a business course. He was badly disappointed he didn't attend my college graduation. 

After college, he wanted me to work in the government office. So he made some arrangement with our town mayor. 

I was given two choices. But I refused both, because I wanted to work in the city. When I finished my masteral degree, my father again asked me to work in the government office. Again, I refused, because I wanted to work in the industry.  

But years went on, I know my father accepted my decision. But I was secretive with my career path.

I did not tell him the truth. I know he will get disappointed. He has always high expectations on me. He thought I could do better than took some mediocre jobs.

Perhaps, because I was so competitive when I was still  in school, I always excelled in everything. And never accepted defeat. 

Somehow I felt guilty because in a way I disappointed my father, but I'm not stopping my wagon of destiny. 

My goal in life is to make my father the proudest

I'm in constant pursuit with whatever wonderful path in store for me. I know it's just out there. All I have to do is chase it. I wished to get a job that made him the proudest father.

Someday, I know I will be in the right place. As what my father had always wanted for me. I always believe that one of our responsibilities as children is to make our parents proud and happy. If we messed up, they would think they failed as parents. Seeing us lived a good life, free from troubles is their greatest achievement.

Now,  even if I am miles away from home, I still think about my parents, especially my father, because he has such a huge influence in my life. 

His discipline endures. And I often turn to his marvelous words whenever I'm in trouble. It always helped me got back to the right track.

Sometimes, I wonder if I'm the same person I am now if he is not my father. If I didn't grow up with his conservative discipline and his unique life's principles. 

Perhaps not. Perhaps I'm different. Not sensible enough to understand the intricacies of life. Especially this toxic, liberated world. 

My father is already in his prime years and I am very thankful that he is healthy and sprightly active. He is now 80 years old but still active in the community.

Despite his constant bout of hypertension, he is well enough to live a normal life everyday. He has a very healthy lifestyle and his active church service adds zest to his daily routine.

For this happy occasion honoring all the fathers in the world, my only wish for my father is to be healthy all the time and live a long life, well enough to see me build a family of my own. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Happy Father's Day Papa! ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽˆ๐Ÿ’–

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