My Christian Warrior

nengkoy & joe

I grew up in a Catholic family.  My father was Catholic when he converted to being a Born Again Christian back in the late 80s.  Ironically, his conversion happened in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia where he was based as an overseas worker.

When my father retired and decided to stay for good in the Philippines with my family, he was one active member of his church.  He even attempted to convert every one of us in the family.

Too bad for him, he started with me.  I actually commend my father for trying.  His strategy to start with me was so genius.  He knew that if I will be converted, it would be very easy for the rest of the members of my family to become Born Again Christians.

Up until the last days of my father, he never stopped in convincing and converting me.  I guess he knew that I am really the one who needs to be saved from the fires of hell. Hahaha! I can still remember the funny and humorous intellectual debate we had about how to be a true Christian while he was in the hospital.

It has been years and my father has gone to heaven.  He may have failed to convert me, yet I am pretty sure that in spirit, he still looks after me, Nengkoy and the rest of my growing family. He has always been my Christian Warrior.

I guess my father’s failure to convert me is really not a failure after all.  Because a true Christian Warrior will simply let you be the seeker of your own Truth.  And that is one of the multitude of impacts and contributions of my father to me.

Happy Father’s Day Tatay!  You got one proud son here…


Offertory With My Father

tatay joe

tatay joe

Last week before spending a short weekend escape in Baguio, I and my friends stopped over and heard a Holy Mass in the Shrine Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag in Pangasinan.  And during this very Holy Mass only did I realize that every time the Offertory is about to begin the person that enters my mind is my father.

Offertory would always remind me of my childhood, my father and the numerous episodes of my family hearing Mass in Baclaran Church.  When the choir starts singing to indicate the start of the Offertory, my father would automatically dig his hand in his pocket and would hand me and my siblings a couple of coins.  These are the same coins that we would naively put inside the collection bag being reached out and brought around the church to collect cash donations.

This simple episode that constantly reactivates in my memory every offertory, I guess is the modest and humble symbolism that reminds me about my father being the family’s able provider and role model.  This simple act (I guess) is the symbol which in a way developed in me the concept of charity, kindness and sharing.

Aside from enriching my soul and taking the opportunity to thank the Heavenly Father for all the blessings he showers me, attending the Holy Mass is also an avenue to remind myself that I actually had a “good” father.

Happy Father’s Day Tatay…

Goto on Father’s Day

yum yum!

yum yum!

Some would sneak out of the bedroom to have a bar of chocolate or a decent pint of ice cream.  Others would have a bag of cookies or even prepare themselves a hearty sandwich.  These are some of the common food chows people eat if they would have a midnight snack.

I never have cravings for a midnight snack, and if I would have one, I would go for a super bowl of “goto”.  I don’t know the English word for goto.  But it’s a hot rice porridge with meat innards (usually ox tripe and intestines) topped with chopped leeks, toasted garlic and a squeeze of the ever versatile calamansi fruit.

Psychology reveals that patterns for adult food choices is based on childhood influences, socio-economic life course and obviously the physiological state of hunger.  I believe on all these three factors.  But my choosing goto as a midnight snack is based on the first.  My childhood influence.  This is basically because of my father.

happy father's day tatay!

a true dad knows how to and not ashamed to do the laundry… happy father’s day tatay!

During my days living in Pasay, my father religiously fetched Nengkoy from work when she would render overtime reaching until the wee hours of night.  Before my parents would head home, they would drop by a goto store to purchase this superb rice soup.

And when they would arrive home, both would wake up all of us (their children, including the maid) so as to enjoy the tasty goto.  Heavy-eyed, lethargic and drowsy, I would slurp a mouthful which would definitely wake me up.  This has become a very long habit of my family in Pasay until my father has gone sick and Nengkoy retired from work.

Now that I am an adult, has lived independently from my family and my father has gone to heaven, today’s Father’s Day I guess would be so nice to have a midnight snack.  Definitely, that would be some big bowl of hot delicious goto.

Happy Father’s Day to everyone…

Ano nga ba inglish sa gowtu?

A Massive Thanks To A 70’s to 80’s OFW: A Father’s Day Special

Thanks to an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), at a very tender age I know the taste of Baby Ruth and Hershey’s chocolate bars.  Thanks to an OFW, I am one of those young lads who owned a Japanese electronic game set called Atari.  Thanks to an OFW, my pubertal apparel includes United Colors of Benetton shirts, Swatch watches and Adidas shoes.

Thanks to an OFW, my taste buds are no stranger to the savoriness of Spam and imported corned beef.  Thanks to an OFW, at an early age I was exposed to a wide range of cassette-tape music from sweet soothing tunes of Carpenters to pop-beats of Boney M.  Thanks to an OFW, even before the existence and coining of the words “balikbayan box” I know the epidermal comforts brought about by Ivory bath soap and Jergens body lotion.

An enormous thanks to my father for all these.

tatay joe in saudi arabia

tatay joe in saudi arabia

I know these are all mundane worldly materials and I should instead thank my father for giving me an urbane civilized life.  He may have passed away a long time ago but I know my father knows that I’m thankful for that already.  So I’m giving myself a chance to express my deep gratitude regarding these specifics.

Hapi Paders Dey Tatay! Misyumats!

Joe’s Boxing Moves – A Father’s Day Special

While the whole world is still trying to figure out how to swallow the bitter reality that Manny Pacquiao lose a fight yesterday to Timothy Bradley, have you ever seen your dad, brother or best friend how they looked like while watching the controversial fight?

Every time there is a key boxing event, I am always reminded of my late father.  In my childhood days during these major events no one in the household could watch anything on TV.  Switching the channel would be like chasing bad luck and adversity. Thus you would have to settle with other forms of entertainment.  But for me my dad is my source of entertainment during these TV boxing episodes.

He is not the commonly overt cheerer type.  He is neither a clapper nor a shouter.  When he watches a fight, he would slightly sway his body from left to right front and back as if he would parry, dodge or deflect an opponent’s punch.  These movements are so faint and subtle you wouldn’t notice it unless you would stare, watch and observe.

That is why every time my father would watch a boxing match I would cunningly observe him.  When his posture and movements would go too obvious, I would laugh out loud.  He would then gently ask me why I am laughing and I would just say nothing and pretend as if I am also watching the match aired on TV.  When he would shift his center of attention back to the fight on TV I would again watch him and laugh out loud once more when his swaying movements would yet again gone too apparent.

Bradley, Pacquiao, Maywheather, Donaire and other pound for pound kings may popularly break through the history of boxing and will eventually retire but Tatay Joe’s eccentric yet barely obvious moves will always remain as the most entertaining to watch during a boxing match.  I of course will forever cherish those treasured moments.

So the next time your dad, husband or brother would watch a boxing match on TV try watching them instead and be entertained!

Ayan, ang siguradong panalo.

Dance with my Father

Today is Father’s Day and I sorely miss my Tatay!   This song (by Luther Vandross) says everything that I’m feeling.   Here’s the moving lyrics…

Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around ’til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never, ever end
How I’d love, love, love
To dance with my father again
When I and my mother would disagree
To get my way, I would run from her to him
He’d make me laugh just to comfort me
Then finally make me do just what my mama said
Later that night when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he would be gone from me
If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him
I’d play a song that would never, ever end
‘Cause I’d love, love, love
To dance with my father again
Sometimes I’d listen outside her door
And I’d hear how my mother cried for him
I pray for her even more than me
I pray for her even more than me
I know I’m praying for much too much
But could you send back the only man she loved
I know you don’t do it usually
But dear Lord she’s dying
To dance with my father again
Every night I fall asleep and this is all I ever dream

Lab yu Tatay Joe!