Philippine Daily Inquirer | 02:08 AM June 22nd, 2015
I KNOW the hardships my father, as the main breadwinner of the family, needs to face. He spends his weekends doing “sideline” jobs which add to the measly income he receives from the government. There were times when the only food we could afford was a can of sardines. There were also times when the only “baon” that my parents could give me as I’d leave for school was just enough for my jeepney fare and a “good luck” hug. During those trying times, my parents would humbly say to us, “Magtiis muna mga anak.” My siblings and I did not complain. We were happy and content with our simple life. But looking back and knowing how my father and his parents lived years back, I cannot help but cry and be thankful for the life I currently enjoy.
I remember my father telling me the sacrifices he and his parents had to make for him to finish college. There was a time when my grandparents had to pawn their wedding rings just to give him a fare going back to UP Diliman. He was lucky to have his uncle, the late UP history professor Wilfredo E. Tamayo, by his side during those difficult times.
Exactly four years ago, before my high school graduation, my father told me that he was not able to attend his college graduation. The reason was obvious—poverty. They did not have the money to pay for the graduation fee.
My father was able to attend my older sister’s college graduation five years ago. In a few days he’ll be attending another graduation.
I can vividly recall how proud he was during and after my sister’s graduation. He kept smiling and telling people that his daughter had graduated from college. Funny, he did the same after knowing I’ll be graduating this June.
Unlike other more fortunate families, we celebrated my sister’s success then at a small fast-food chain near the Philippine International Convention Center. But my father, seemingly happy, enjoyed the company of his family more than anything in this world.
On June 26, as I climb the stage to receive my diploma, I will bring with me my father’s name. I will bring with me the pride he had when he finished college. I will bring with me his unending hope that someday our lives will be better, that our lives will be what we all hoped for and prayed for. And as the university president hands me my diploma, I will remember the greatest advice my father, Reginald B. Tamayo, gave me—to remain humble and to keep a thankful heart.
I hope I always make him proud.
—REINER LORENZO JARABE TAMAYO,