My father was the kind of man I have always dreamed of: kind to the weak, fierce to the arrogant, generous to those who loved him and ruthless so those who will order him around.

As a whole nation of sons and daughters pause to remember their fathers, I thought of how little I really know about my own father.

You see, my first knowledge of the world about life came to me through my senses insofar as they were directed by my mother. She was the first one I saw, the first thing I felt, the first thing upon which I depended security the day I was born, when everything made me cry in a desperate wail about hunger, light, anger.

But my father, he was my first love and long after interests and attachments may have faded and changed, I still retain the vivid impression of that first love.  Indeed, that first love may have dictated the dimension of the other loves I’ve come to know.

He was a puissant guardian of the law who advocated respect for the laws of God and men. Yet when I found myself (which was often) in conflict with the world, the lawyer in him will oppose the world to defend my own.

Corollary to this, if he should happen to be guilty of an error in judgement, his confusion was caused by love. And as philosophers have taught us, maybe blind.  He was, nevertheless, almost the only dependable source of sympathy and refuge.

When I was very young, my father was the king of the universe, the handsomest man in the world, a safe harbor in time of storm. Through my years of growing — if at all, I did grow up — whenever trouble might come, I realized the ability to solve the problems of the present and facing the future unafraid was because I have known the tender security of a father’s love.

He taught me that a man who professes love to you wouldn’t give you the moon, but he will show you the moon. Then, I didn’t notice the difference. Only years later in my adult life when I realized what he meant—what people called love between a man and a woman is just a season. If at its flowering, this season is a feast of greenery and sweet blossom; at its waning, it is only a heap of rotting leaves.

He did not point a shotgun at anyone who made me afraid.   He was not a poet and did not know how to say lofty, lyrical and beautiful things the way my mother quoted poetic splendor.

Oh, how I dearly miss him! Instead, he echoed the profound and bold epics of Homer to experience the best in human thoughts and behavior, their capabilities and foibles through the mirthful satires of Aristophanes, the poignant gripping dramas of Sophocles, Euripedes and Aeschylus, the all encompassing philosophies of Plato and Aristotle and the keen histories and self criticism of Herodotus. He believed and inculcated in me that the Greeks said it first and said it well.

In my studies of Philosophy and Journalism at UST’s Facility of Philosophy and Letters, I was introduced to Socrates. This was when I realized how established my father’s nature of pure virtue was— his desire for beautiful things and the ability to provide them without being chopped into fragments, such as temperance, justice and piety.

In the eyes of every father, the childlike qualities in us remain. The world may one day know you as a self-confident adult, a civic leader, a man of destiny. But no matter how you change, no matter what time does to your face and soul, your father carries forever within his hear a clear picture of you as you were — when at one day old, laying in his arms or as you were at four, playing in the carefree sunshine of your childhood.

How father’s established the  nature of pure virtue was, the desire for beautiful things and the ability to provide them without being chopped into fragments such as temperance, justice and piety.

One sad Sunday, my father left me.

He died.


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