11 December 2007

happy birthday, papa!

my father is the original ofw in the family. most of my growing up years were spent away from him, as he travelled the world for work. and mind you, it's not the comfortable desk jobs like my friends' fathers. my father worked with his hands. back-breaking work, in the middle of the ocean for months at a time. his consolation for being away from family, i think, was the fact that he was always near the sea.

it's his element. until now, i am in awe when i see my father on the horizon (yes, the horizon, meaning the really deep end of the ocean), just wearing snorkels --no life jackets, and having fun in the water. and when he'd come back to shore, he'd always be carrying something. sometimes, it would be several oysters that we'd eat raw, or some of those jelly-like plants, and he'd have it served for lunch. there's a picture somewhere at home of him and his buddies holding up a shark they caught. yes, a shark..as in "jaws". how cool is that? it's too bad we don't go to the beach together often these days (now there's a plan for the summer).

even though my father was away most of the time while i was growing up, his presence was always felt. we'd be told to do good in our studies or else "when papa gets home...". whenever he gets back from one of his trips, we'd all be awkward around him for a couple of days. you have to remember, this was the 80s, no e-mails and cellular phones for us to communicate whenever we want to. our contact was an occasional greeting card, letters and the occasional (and expensive) phone call. so it would be a couple of days of trying to adjust with his presence (very commanding, i must say), and then, afterwards, the fun (however we define it in our family) begins.

i can't say that i am close to my father, that i tell him all my troubles and things that happen with me. because if i did, well..let's just say, i don't have enough bail money yet. but we get each other, you know? i distinctly remember last year, when all that was happening to me and i gave him a call just to say hello. the conversation went this way:

papa: o, kamusta ka dyan?
me: ok naman po
papa: o e kamusta naman kayo ni ano...
me: ay, wala na po
papa: (silence..clearly feeling a little awkward about this topic) eh...ok lang yun, maganda ka naman e. ano ginawa sa yo?
me: sus! wag na pagusapan yan, pagusapan na lang natin si erap

then he proceeded to give me a blow-by-blow of the behind-the-scenes of philippine politics, the rotten topic already forgotten. see? we don't talk about things like that. but i do know i have an ally, a defender should i ever need one.

and today is my papa's birthday. he won't be reading this entry anytime soon, but if you see him around manila, say "happy birthday" to him, ok? he may look daunting at first, but he's a real softie. and he's good-looking too.

one of my hazy childhood memories was when my father went up with me to the stage of the auditorium to get my award during graduation. i heard one of the single teachers say: "yan ba si mr. randrup? ang gwapo, parang si phillip salvador!" (naks!). but seriously, i remember that, and the child in me looked up at my dad, trying to figure out where the resemblance is. and i couldn't see it. sure he's tall and tanned (having just come back from one of his assignments), but he's just "Papa" to me.

he's the guy who taught me to drive ( i loved hearing his hoarse voice shout at me..hehe), how to jump start a car, how to cook isaw (which is really gross). he taught me how to hold a fighting rooster for sabong. it is from him that i inherited half my nose (hehe), my quick temper (i'm calmer now, though) and my big feet. and it's from him that the jologs side of me came to be. you see my dad likes everything simple and cheap (often too cheap). he's ok with eating at the nearest carinderia and talking to all sorts of people. marunong makisama, is how they call it.

so that's enough about my papa for now. let's all just wish him a great day.

happy birthday to you, erap!

1 comment

  1. mahal ko na fafa mo :) pa haberday na lang :D


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