On a Monday, 10 PM before going to bed —

Me: Where’s Dad?
Mom: Still at work.

Waking up to Tuesday morning, 8 AM —

Me: Where’s Dad?
Mom: He left early for work.

This was a mother-daughter ritual between me and my mom 5 days a week, more often 6, for as long as I can remember.

And yet, we, my siblings and I, know my father. He may have worked doubly hard during the week but during weekends, he had our undivided attention.

My dad worked hard all his life.  He was the second child of 5 kids of a humble farmer from a far-flung province in the north of the Philippines. Knowing that he couldn’t get the education he needed to pursue a career in his hometown, he left and fortunately was accepted in one of the prestigious universities in the Philippines while working simultaneously to pay for his education.

It was in one of his stints as a teacher that he met my mom, and together, they decided to raise a family in Manila. Soon he became a well-respected influencer in the field of Agriculture. His company even sent him to the US for additional training.

But at home, he put on several hats — he was the provider, the go-to driver, the entertainer, the adviser, the teacher, and the wise old man. Everything I needed to know, I learned from Dad — and here’s just a tip of the iceberg:

  • Work hard: Pursuing your dreams no matter what the obstacles are, may it be poverty, can be achieved. But also, work smart. My dad later in his life realized the need to slow down and spend more time in his passion which was farming.
  • Be kind: Despite the hardships to make ends meet for his own family, my dad continued helping pay for the education of my cousins, teaching our relatives how to put up their own business, and yes, even funding them.
  • Eat together: As much as we can, we ate together as a family and we ate heartily and enjoyed good food. Conversations over meals was the best way our family connected. I got from my dad my love for Japanese food, salad, and trying exotic dishes.

I always say that I won the lottery when it came to being born into a family with my kind-hearted Dad at the helm. And this Father’s Day, my dad may have gone ahead, but his legacy lives on in me and I will celebrate it with my own family, after a long work week, devouring delicious meals we love. Maybe steaks and salad at Al Fresco’s. 😉

How about you? Where are you headed for this Father’s Day?

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