When I was learning how to drive, I’d volunteer to park our cars in the garage so I can practice. One time I was parking my dad’s pick-up and when I thought I had done a good job considering the tight space I had to maneuver in, I forgot to put the gear into neutral and I lifted my foot off the clutch. It jerked forward and hit the wall, denting his pick-up pretty bad. I thought I’d never drive again. After hearing the thud, he went out and inspected the damage. He just scratched his head and gave me a “tsk, tsk” and that was that. No sermon, no shouting. I like that he let me make mistakes when I was growing up so I could learn from them or take responsibility for whatever the outcome maybe.
For many years before Facebook birthday reminders, my dd would call AM radio hosts to greet me a happy birthday. I would feel like a star in school, gym or at work whenever teachers, personnel, and friends would tell me, a mere student or ordinary citizen, that they heard my name on the radio. I always felt like a billion bucks. My dad is very supportive to the extent that I feel bad whenever I do not keep my end of the bargain. Every ambition I had he would support it even if he’s Chinese and would have wanted to have an engineer or scientist for a daughter. He bought me mixing software when I wanted to be a DJ in high school, he helped me apply for internships when I had bad grades because work experience might help, he bought me my first camera when I decided to be a photographer, he never kicked me out of the house when I was a freelancer. Heck, he even took a photo of my reporter crush when I asked him to. I hope it was a proud moment for him when I picked up my first work-related award in PR last year. I also like how he loves my friends as if they were his own children. He didn’t mind some of them living with us for weeks and once in awhile he would ask me to invite them to join us to eat out. The best thing about my dad is he’s also my best friend.
As a kid, I vividly remember my dad regularly bringing home some of my favorite gummi candies, and allowing my siblings and I to dabble into different sports and activities, swimming, basketball, riding horses etc. My dad, together with my mom, gave us a well-balanced childhood, allowed us to experience failure, and taught us to get up and bounce back. I would always remember him constantly reminding us never to indulge in self-pity. This line has been ingrained in my DNA and has allowed me to embrace the value of resilience. My dad is not just all about serious stuff, he is the funniest in the family. I hope one day you get to meet him. Happy Father’s Day, Papi!
My Papa got his first tattoo at the age of 64. He is the coolest dad ever. He got his second one a few months after this photo was taken.
—Marie Joanne Mirasol Panlilio
My Papa is the best because being la unica hija, he did an amazing job in caring for and protecting me. When I was in taking up Nursing, he would gladly take me to my place of duty. Medicine days came and he would always prepare snacks while I’m studying. Who wouldn’t love milk and cookies at 3 a.m. after a power nap? Some days when I was busy reviewing for exams, he would just lie down my bed and talk nonsense just to draw my attention and say, “Anak, pansinin mo naman ako” then we’ll burst into laughter. Now I’m married, he would sometimes offer to take me to work. Our exchange of video calls and I love yous became regular. The love of a father is absolute and unconditional. I look forward to our weekly grocery bonding. I love you, Papa!
—Jorja Maria Almendrala-Molina
My father will always be the first man in my life. He is the king in my fairy tale and I will always be the princess. There are many in events in my life that I spent with him that I will always treasure—may they be complicated like making life decisions or simple ones like grocery shopping. But the most significant to me is when I found out that I had diabetes.
A few days before my 40th birthday, I got sick. On-and-off high grade fever, loss of appetite, the works! I saw the worry in his eyes when I was rushed to the emergency room of Cardinal Santos. We stayed there for hours because the machine wasn’t reading my sugar count—meaning it was so high that there was no number equivalent to it. I opted to go home because I felt okay. Being hardheaded, I said I can do it. It’s just fever. I can walk. Eventually, we were allowed to go home. But two days after, dinner time, I had the worst chills of my life and the highest fever. My knees were wobbly and I can’t focus well. He was the one who spoke with the doctor on the phone asking what to do. I could hear them panicking but I was too weak to react. He was the one who injected my first dose of insulin. Then I was rushed to the hospital and was confined for five days. I wasn’t allowed to receive visitors at that time due to high risk infection because my kidneys suffered when my sugar was high. It was just me and my mama. But every day, he would video call us to ask for updates. He joined Facebook groups who offered prayers for people who needed it the most. He took care of my three fur babies—Bruce (+), Buster and Brad. He cooked for them, fed them, bathed them, did the laundry, cleaned my room and bought me a new bed to sleep in so that when I came back I would be as comfortable as possible. The list went on and on.
At that time I realized, no matter how old I get, I would still be the child that needs nurturing from my father and from my mother, that these people would always step up when we, their children, need them. I am forever grateful. I am proud to be called their child. I am me because of my father and my mother. I am whole. I am loved.
I was a competitive swimmer, but not a lot of people know that my dad was my very first coach (even though he wasn’t the best swimmer himself). We spent afternoons at the pool, where he helped me put on my goggles and floaters, and made sure I comfortable in the water. I remember one person even saying, “you’re so lucky you have your dad to teach you how to swim— I wish I had that!” He’d want me to say that the best thing about him is his good looks, but I think it’s his drive, fierce competitiveness, and most importantly, his dad jokes. They really are the best, but don’t tell him that!