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Sunday, June 21, 2020

My Tatay

My Tatay
ni Melchor F. Cicho
June 22, 2019

I never had a chance to greet my father a Happy Father's Day. Not because I did not meet him or had not lived with him. It's because at that time, in the early 1960s, this so-called Father's Day, was not that popular yet. In fact, we never knew there was this Day. I knew it when I already have my own grandchildren, and my father had died more than half a century ago.
But I have a happy memory with my father.
He was the first Lezonian Municipal Treasurer of our town, Lezo, Aklan.
On Sundays, Tatay and I would go fishing in Maeara, a man-made lake in Sta. Cruz, Lezo, Aklan. Or in Aklan River. I would be in charge of looking for earthworms as our fishing baits.
After our fishing adventure, Tatay would always set aside a few pieces of puyo or pantat for his sumsuman with his tuba drinking friends. The rest of our catch would be cooked by my elder sister, Ramona, or by my mother, usually with coconut milk.
We called it pinayukang puyo. Oh, I loved it.
When my birthday would come, I would ask my father some amount of money to buy puto at Nay Diday's house. If not, I would buy it in our public market. You know how much? Five centavos for a slice of puto. At that time, the price of one bottle of Coke cost ten centavos, while a ganta of white rice cost sixty centavos!
Because of poverty, my brothers had to go to Zamboanga City, where eventually where I took my secondary education.
One good thing about my father is that, he never spank me nor shouted at me despite of my misadventures. I also never heard him shouting at my mother. And he did his best to make us all professionals.
It was from my father's character that I eventually coined this saying: Raise your voice and your dignity is lowered.
Unfortunately, one of my elder brothers died while I was in high school. And so my other elder brothers sent a telegram to my father informing him of the sad news. And when he read it, he was shocked. He collapsed and never recovered from it. He died three days after the death of my elder brother, Alfring.
My acquaintanceship with my father was not that long enough, but I always treasure his inspiring character.

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