It is a rare privilege to have warm, caring and talented parents. There was nothing they would not do to help you become the best that you can be.
My father, who I call Papa, was known to friends, relatives and the general public as “Yowing.” Riding through town in his jeep, waves of spontaneous cheers from children and grown up’s could be heard saying “Yowing.” The surprising thing about this is that even after 17 years of absence from the native land while he resided in America, the greetings from children were just as fresh as before. These children could not have been born when we left the country.
A natural born statesman, he had a slogan printed across his campaign picture which said, “Ang matuod nga ulipon sa lungsod.” (The true servant of the town.) He was elected congressman of the first district of Bohol in 1946. He was re-elected in 1950. He served his people well. Streams of people came to the house for private audiences seeking help through my father. The same was true in Manila where people lined up to see my father at his office.
He was a great orator. When he speaks during the ‘Seven Last Words’ service at church, he builds up the passion of Christ to a climactic height effectively moving people to tears. He enhances his speech with sound effects produced with the simple technological advances of the time. He uses the same skill in winning votes for his candidacy.
He was an operatic singer, a tenor, an actor, a musician playing the guitar, banjo and banduria. A well-read person, he can explain concepts using sharp analogies to tie down the abstract to something concrete. He was an excellent teacher, injecting humor and brief lessons on human understanding in his classes.
I wanted to study ballet and that could only be done in Manila. We were then residing in Bohol and vacationed in Manila in the summer. As we went from one studio to another to register, my father received one rejection after another. He did not give up, he knew the reason for the rejection. We would be tying up a spot only for the summer which would otherwise have been filled by a year round student. With that knowledge, my father computed the hours for a year round student taking two or three times a week lesson. He then asked my older sister, Nany, to take group lessons three times a week, my brother and I would take three group lessons a week and two private lessons a week. With the combined hours we got in.
I went to the same college where Papa was teaching. I successfully passed Trigonometry during the first semester. When summer came, he asked me to attend his class for review and mastery. I went. Indeed it was a fresh approach and I learned trigonometry anew plus the joy of teaching. As a bonus we enjoyed a piece of cake and a cold barley drink together during the break. In return for this treat, I graded his students’ quizzes. I also joined my father’s field trips to the planetarium as part of his astronomy class.
Without my knowledge, Papa had my first year college quizzes and other test papers book bound. It looked so professional. (I later learned that Dr. Maria Montessori’s father did the same thing to his daughter’s news clippings.)
When faced with difficulty in some chemistry subjects, he bought the textbooks from Adamson University (a different perspective might help) and he somehow found a set of problems solved in quantitative and physical chemistry. His advice was for me to solve every problem in the book, not just the one assigned. He showed me some memory aids using the Roth memory course. To this day, I continually make little outlandish connections to make new learning stick.
At first he was disappointed that I switched from chemistry to education but later on acknowledged that education is my path to do the work of the master. He likewise supported me in this endeavor.
Papa was a healer. He first healed through magnetic healing then augmented this task with homeopathy and radionics. People from far and near traveled to see him and were cured.
Papa was a writer. He wrote declamatory pieces for me and my sister. He was also a composer and with Regino Dano, a lifetime friend, he composed Ave Maria, Romance and other pieces. On his 37th birthday, he wrote a poetic prose about his romance with my mother entitled, “A Butterfly to a Wild Rose.” Upon his death at the age of 74, I wrote a sequel, “Butterfly, Good-bye.” My mother made a fabric picture with a butterfly figure bearing my father’s photo and a large rose, bearing my mother’s photo. Three little rose buds completed the scene with each of our pictures – Nany, Vril and mine.
A renaissance man, a loving father, a faithful husband, a leader, a role model, a strong believer in the Divine Plan - Oh my Papa, to me you are so wonderful. Thank you for giving me the vehicle for this life on earth and for pointing me in the path of righteousness.
Happy Father’s Day, wherever you are!
His mode of campaigning