Happy Father’s Day 2019

 

 

What does it takes to be a good man and be a good father?

 

He was 23 undergraduate and jobless when I was born. He named me “Ann” para daw sosyalan akong pangalan (name). I grew up observing him, always looking after me. His genuine desire to be there for me no matter what. For him, I was his precious little girl and the most important person in his life.

He taught me how to build and flew my first kite. It was made of a white plastic bag, broomsticks, and sewing thread. He had to be creative since he couldn’t afford to buy a Barbie doll for me anyway. While we were flying my own built kite, I looked at his face and gushed, “I am maybe a tiny little girl, but I will never fail you, Papa.” We will make this through “together,” no matter what it takes.” The kite was soaring up and freely, high above the sky.  It was like an Aha! moment for me. My dear father, my first inspiration. I couldn’t imagine myself failing him despite all his sacrifices and hard work for me.

They say love is hard, love is indeed hard. Imagine, how big and serious responsibility it is for a man to raise a child and be the primary source of strength and hope for his family. You all think it is simple! You all conclude that men are just difficult, yes they are difficult! They are having difficulty explaining for themselves. You are all blinded because you all never dig into the reality and complexity that men they are having are a hard time too. You can all laugh silly because you all think he has not done enough.

A man has feelings, often gets tired, gets confused, get scared, gets sick, and the worst lost his way. You all only see his flaws and stigmatize when he gets emotional. Instead of showing help and understanding, we often put more negative input to the one who is actually trying. When you’re a decent man, you’re unpopular. Unworthy men even gets the price and recognition.

Men are humans, not robots. A man thrives in the form of personal security and self-confidence and when he can execute smart choices for the sake of his family.

Like everyone else, he needs love and support from his family and sincere good friends. It is that hard to make a man happy. Dumb wives and lovers will never understand it!

 

Without those basic things, a man is nothing — a man in a no man’s world.

It is a man’s world. It’s still a man’s world, and it is tough. Men under pressure by societies endless expectations.

 

To my one and only father who first told me I was smart. To the person who raised me from scratch.

He who believed that someday I would grow older and will make smart choices of my own.

I may be a difficult child in my unique way. It is because you learned me from the start, I can be somebody.

It is still so hard, Papa, to think smart and do good deeds at the same time. I wish it were that simple.

Smart choices are always hard. Sometimes it breaks your heart. How can anyone still be smart and be brave when it comes to lost?

But my promise is still a promise. I will never fail, even if it takes me a lifetime to do so. I’ll strive hard to make a difference.

Even if the earth collides with the moon. You know, I’ll do the mission impossible for you.

 

I miss you, and I love you with all my heart.

 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

 

Your daughter,
Ann (Ann-e)
*the girl who was raised like a boy by her father

 

Advertisements

OFW Problems

“It is health that is real wealth. And not pieces of gold and silver.”

-Ghandi

OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker/Pilipino sa Ibayong-dagat

“Once you are born poor, you’ll always feel poor. Otherwise, you have forgotten who you are.”

I was born and raised in a small barangay in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Life then was relaxed and seemed so simple. As a girl, I was always the positive type who had dreams, and my first inspiration was my parents, whom I love so much. I was often told it is crucial to finish your education. Perhaps you can work abroad. Overseas was the goal, everybody’s goal. I grew up observing several relatives of mine and neighbors enjoying quite better life conditions compare to regular Filipinos who stayed, work, and live in the Philippines.

If you want to build an extravagant house, buy a car, and support your family, all you have to do is work abroad. Everybody says, “You can always do and achieve better overseas.” It also means that investing your time and effort doesn’t even count at all, here in our own country. It sad but I always look back to the version of me before all of this shining achievements. There will always be that part of me that stays and feels the same. The girl who had dreams and had so much passion for everything.

I was 22 when I had my first international flight. I was given one time opportunity to come to Europe. After I finished my bachelor’s degree and worked for some time in a design company, I told myself this is not gonna work for me. Pilipinas, I am so sorry, but I had so many high hopes since I was a little girl, but I cannot keep a job with a minimum salary working 8.00-17.00 daily. I just knew that my dad got “diabetes” and how will this go for my other young siblings and me? I cannot afford to send him for treatment. My parents both work still it was tough. I am not sure about myself being smart, or will I make it out there at all? I was dealing with so several negative feelings at the same time, it was difficult to describe. I am the only hope of my family, I cannot face them crying and confuse. I would lie and tell them I am brave if I could.  

I will never forget that day, I stood in Hongkong Airport waiting if the damn flight personnel will let me board my plane. I had the passport and the right visa. I wasn’t trying to do illegal. I felt pity at myself, I felt so small. The desperate me begging for a little chance. I swear to the heavens above, I will do whatever it takes. I already sold the bed I bought. Now I am standing in line waiting for a Go signal. I felt so scared, but I have to live. I have nothing to lose. The small Asian girl who came from the unknown small town trying to enter the big fancy continent of Europe. 

It is a simple thought that many of us have to accept that you have to work far like “nomads” no fix home and address. We always wish to survive, and if there is no source of income at home, then you find it anywhere else.

First, we educate ourselves and later on choose a job that could hopefully fill up our basic needs. In the Philippines, like many people, experienced it. No work is easy to find. No salary is enough to pay and support your needs. You are in debts already before you even receive your first paycheck. In addition, your family is your responsibility.

You spend endless nights being threatened and worried. How can you survive for the next 6 months without enough means (money) to support yourself and family. People think about money, only a lot of money. How about passion and interest?

Money can only buy “Convenience.” “Convenience” is a form of achievement which comes from hard work. Having it convenient is good. It’s confusing to know what really matters the most.

If you are a man, you’d be most likely become an engineer or a seaman. When you are a woman, you’ll study caregiving course or nursing travel and move to Canada or the USA. It seems like society expects one should leave the country.

Life is full of terror. Terror, Terrorist, Terrorista!

This is Ann (Ann-e) coming home year 2017 after almost a decade, fantastic and fiercely exhausting years of being away.

This is like “Fifty Shades of Grey” just with a twist that Ann-a (Anastasia Steele) come to a realization “I’d kinda like it rough.” Despite the Abu Sayaff terror threats, I decided to fly home according to plan. I just completely lost my sense of fear. What actually bothered me that time, is that how will I survive as a person for the next two-three months. I still have plans and responsibilities.

I achieved most of my goals for my family. My brothers already finished their education and got jobs. My mother got a permanent teaching job at the local elementary school. I got married and recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I almost had it all and done it right as best as I possibly could.

My dad passed away just like that, and now everything is a mess.

Oh my, I realized I kinda missed a lot. I have been away consistently. I forgot how it feels to feel at home. I was only able to sleep 4-5 hrs daily. I am catching naps during the day, so I won’t collapse. I am always tired, irritated, I hated my own schedule. I consumed 3-4 cups of black coffee already at 9.00 in the morning. I felt like everybody is putting so much pressure on me and more and more things for me to do and fix.

I was burned out! Great! I was so excited about these terror threats. I booked my plane ticket and hotel one night I was still awake around 1.30 in the morning. I needed another strong feeling aside from feeling so anxious.

“The problem is that I couldn’t grieve the exact time and the exact place.” Thinking about my father, who died about four months ago, was hard. I didn’t fly home when he was sick, I never held his hands and said goodbye to him. This is it! This is where and when I mean, I can’t take it anymore!

It was like when I was a little girl. Everybody expected me to sing and dance and put a great show. People only expect the best performance, but the audience failed to see the real person behind the curtain. The person who wants to entertain everybody but was always anxious, nervous, and alone. I should be celebrating when I know in the back of my head. I have made it through, ten years of rough and challenging years of being away. Those times I’ve been wild and unstoppable. I always expect that I can win anything with flying colors, every single negative/positive challenges in my life. I was patient, rigid, and so psyched to conquer it all. I am still am, but now actually feeling so tired! I don’t like it when I can’t do and give my best.

“If it happened that I was Snow White, without resist, take the apple with poison from the Evil Queen. Then I will sleep freely for a thousand year.”

Continue reading