Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A milestone
He was born several decades ago in a tiny barrio that has now grown into a progressive town. He was a young boy when the imperial Japanese army invaded, ransacked and pillaged our beloved country. Yet, my father doesn't bear any resentment towards them. His usual joie de vivre made him endure a childhood in such harsh conditions. He always maintained this positive attitude that people are by default good so they are not really capable of doing evil things. Well I guess, it makes sense to always think good of your fellowmen. What doesn't really make sense is how I seem to bear so much resentment towards the evil 'conquerors' in my heart. I guess someone has to do so on behalf of my father.

Anyways, let's move on.
He pursued his career with an insatiable drive and spent 40 years of his life working to provide a decent life for his family. Everything he did was for 'mga bata' as we would fondly call me and my sister. A term he still uses even when we are already in our 30s.

His main passion is watching movies. In his childhood, he would save to watch the latest Errol Flynn or Humphrey Bogart movie at the cinemas. You mention a certain film to him, he will tell you exactly where he watched it, the year it was shown and the director of the movie. He will pepper most conversations with lines from old movies or say 'I was in my 3rd year of college when I saw that John Wayne film'.
He has the sharpest mind, his memory is still intact after all these years. Of course with age, the usual lapse of where he left the keys or his glasses are to be expected. Now that he is retired and is a card bearing member of the Senior Citizens club, he gets to watch movies for free. A hobby he and my mother happily indulge in every week. Nowadays, he is my best source if I want to know if a currently showing Hollywood (take note, he has no interest in local movies either just like yours truly) movie is worth watching or just wait to rent it from the local video store.

He was a voracious reader and his analytical mind can retain most facts.
He made us read the Reader's Digest and Time Magazine from cover to cover. He told us we need to know what is going on in the world. That our universe doesn't revolve merely around our little space. We have to be constantly aware of contemporary events as they unfold in the world. Despite the fact that his eye sight isn't as sharp as they used to be, I managed to convince him to read "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons". He is currently reading "Cujo" by Stephen King.

My wanderlust tendencies were developed early on because my father loves to travel. He would drive with my mother as his navigator to neighboring countries when we were stationed in Belgium. He exposed us to new places to admire the scenery, taste the local cuisine, visit the tourist sites and just soak in the atmosphere of a different culture. Oh yes, we did a lot of traveling, indeed. Despite all his worldliness, he still maintains a humility that dates back to his humble beginnings. He prefers to keep a low profile and would get flustered if we made a big deal over him.

My father is the only one who has captured the ability to make me laugh boisterously. He has a keen sense of humor and always sees life as one big laughing matter. Nothing is too serious. He can always find something funny to chuckle about.

He is also very music oriented and watched a lot of foreign artists perform in concerts when they visited the Philippines, way back then. So music is an important part of our daily lives. It was never quiet in our houses. No matter where we lived, the sound system would be blaring with music.
I'm the one who patiently combs the Internet for any type of songs he wants me to download. Then of course I would upload them into his mp3 player. He searched all the music stores everywhere we went to find a CD of Roy Hamilton, but was never successful. Lo and behold, I found all the songs recorded by Roy Hamilton on Limewire and burned them into a CD so he can listen to it to his heart's content. He calls me his little techie consultant. A monicker I carry with a badge of honor and pride. =)

His main advice when things get too unbearable is to "take 3 deep breaths". Calm down, clear your mind then face the problem, head on.
It sounds rather trivial but hey it has always worked for me.

Yet after all the good things I've said about him, he is not perfect. He does have his flaws and imperfections yes believe me he does!
But then no one is perfect, right?

Today as he celebrates another milestone in his life, we his family will spoil him rotten. We bought him several gifts. Items which will feed his main passions. I'm sure they will light up his eyes with such joy and excitement. Then he would berate us for even bothering to spend too much for him. But I can't think of anything better to do today than to celebrate the life of a man who has enriched my life not materially but with so much cherished moments of delightful experiences. A man I simply adore to bits and pieces. I am the person I am today because of him. I thank God for blessing me with a soulful father

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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