Monday, March 30, 2009

Papa's Girl

Last Sunday, my Papa celebrated his 51st birthday. I thought he was only 45 and he didn't bother to correct me. Well, he kept asserting he was just 28 which would mean he was 3 years old when he got married. Fat chance! :)

And since we weren't there to celebrate his birthday with him, I came up with this blog tribute for the most special man in my life, my papa - Pastor Manlangit.

What's in a name?
There were several times when I'd get curious questions from strangers.
Iha, anong religion niyo?
Sagot naman ako, Catholic po. Bakit po?
Eh bakit pastor ang tatay mo?
Eh kasi po, pinanganak siya nung March 29 at ayon sa Almanaqui (bisaya word for the Book of Names), Pastor daw dapat ang ipangalan sa kanya. OA naman po kung pastor pa siya. Eh di, Pastor Pastor Manlangit na ang name niya. Baka umabot na siya sa 7th Heaven.
(you can laugh now :))

Early years
Papa is the eldest of 6 siblings. They were born and raised in a small town in Bohol. When we were younger, he loved to regale us with stories of his youth and we would listen in awe like he was narrating the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There were stories about how he would sell kangkong in the wee hours of the morning in order to have some baon and walk for miles just to be able to go to school. There was also a time when he was beaten by my lolo because he targeted my lola with a pintik (slingshot). When we visited his hometown, he showed us the river where they used to swim, the house where they used to live, even the place where he used to hide just so his father wouldn't be able to find him and beat him. (Apparently, corporal punishment was the norm back then.)

Who's your daddy?

I have very fond memories of my dad. I do consider myself as my Papa's girl because I'm the eldest and I was the only daughter for 4 years before my younger siblings were born one after the other.(read: ala do-re-mi) Kumbaga, nagexperiment muna sila for 4 years at nung na-assess nila na okay pala ang may baby, ayun dinagdagan na nila.

Since he was always assigned in some other remote region, he was not always around when I was growing up. I think he only went home once a month but that's good enough for me. I look forward to his coming home because that would mean many things - pasalubong! his favorite dishes! new bedsheet! (hehe)I even think I was spoiled back then because I always get what I wanted - walkman, roller skates, bike, even a Nancy Drew pocketbook.

But there's one painful experience in Grade 4 which I could not forget. We had a serious talk about my grades because I did not make it to the top ten (petty issue, right?). You see, I was not really an achiever. I was contented with just getting by and I didn't feel the need to excel. Before the confrontation, I already knew that I would get the flak. So I did the only thing which I thought would get me off the hook - I cried. Correction: I bawled to the best of my ability. But to no avail. He seemed set on what he's about to do. He made me sign a contract. Yep, a written contract governed by Art. 1305 of the Civil Code, which is a meeting of the minds between two persons whereby one binds himself, with respect to the other, to give something or to render some service. If I remember correctly, the contract went like this...

I, Donna Patricia Manlangit, promise my father that I will make it to the top ten or else I would be transferred to Requina Elementary School (which is a public school across our house).

Signed by me and my papa.

Now, how traumatic can that be for a 10 year old child? What would my friends say? I was more concerned with my "honor". Fueled by this fear, I always made sure that I made it to the top ten (in class lang ha, di ko kaya yung batch level). So I guess his method was effective. I think he also did it to my younger siblings. Wala din silang kawala. Fair enough :)

You think that's the end of the story? Not yet. Last year, as I was talking to my lolo, he mentioned that he also did that contract signing ritual to my papa. Huli ka! Wala palang originality ang papa ko. He also got the same treatment from his father. It has become a family tradition. Hmm, maybe I'll also do it to my future children complete with notary seal and all. hehehe.

What to say?

Pa, thank you so much for everything you've done for our family.
For all your sacrifices
For all the lessons
For all the adventures
For all the stories
I will treasure these memories forever.
You may not be perfect but you are the best Papa in the world.
I love you pa.


dana batnag said...

contract signing, ha? and you said i was harsh...:)

(",) said...

haha! yeah, you might want to try it on your kid. it works! :)