"happy father's day, tatay." I sent a text message that day.
Our father-son relationship was far from conventional. We have different styles. Usually these differnces would lead us to clashing. Tatay has the typical Filipino male machismo, very manual and a tad bit arrogant. On the other hand, I am his typical gay son. Dun palang plakda na.
He has many faults, and believe me, they were quite amazing faults but our family has always drawn strenght from him
I remember my mom's story. Once they lived in San Andres Bukid. It was an apartment in a modest area. Her silver necklaced was snatched right out from her neck. Crying as my father arrived, she told him the story of how it happened. Father went out and after some time he returned with her necklace. My mother never asked. She just trusted.
Our life in Cavite is yet another story. There was one time when my sister-in-law some some men on our roof, probably checking out stuff to steal. So when my parents got home she told them. My mother was furious. She started smoking and said to my father, "Ilabas mo 'ung baril. Mga putangina 'yang mga 'yan. Pangahas." My father kept his cool and walked towards the house of the suspected neigbhor. There were some teens outside the house and the father of that house. We couldn't hear what they talked about but we noticed that the area became deserted after my father walked towards our house. From the stories we've heard he said, "Ano bang problema? Bakit n'yo kame ginagago? May nagawa ba kameng masama sa inyo?... Eh kung ganyan, di namin kayo masasagot kung may mangyayari sa inyo."
I still remember the time he shook my hand to congratulate me in my highshool graduation.
There will always be that possibility that I would take his place in the family when the time comes. I pray that I will be strong enough to take the reigns like he has for so many years.
"Salamat, anak. Asan regalo ko?" He childishly replied.