Written and read on September 2, 2010.


I think that for anyone, preparing a eulogy is not easy.

How exactly do you paint a picture of the life of a man you’ve known all your life in just a few pages? What adjectives do you use to describe someone who’s been a part of your life from the day you were born? Which among the thousands of stories and anecdotes do you choose to share with everyone else, to give them an idea of what kind of father dad was?

It would be much easier to say just the usual things you’d hear in a eulogy. About how dad was such a great, caring and loving father… about how he would always pick me up when I fall… about how he always seemed to know the right words to say to make everything better…. The stereotypical things one would normally expect to hear from a daughter delivering a eulogy for her father.

But the truth is, dad was a complicated man. And in some ways, an unconventional father.

While other fathers would be the one to offer advice and words of wisdom to his children, our dad would instead be the one to often ask for OUR advice on things that bothered him.

Mom was just sharing with me the numerous conversations he had with our youngest brother Jeff whenever they’d be alone together. Dad would share this latest predicament with Jeff, and a little later on, you can expect that Jeff would be the one to deliver a long sermon to dad.

I realized that in many ways, dad was the same with me. He would talk on and on about his woes, worries and frustrations while driving me to work on some days or while chatting on the phone… from the smallest things like why Daniel Craig is the new James Bond (he says Daniel Craig is his least favorite James Bond); or why the car in front of us is going so slow while furiously blowing the horn of his car… to the bigger, more pressing things like worrying about the future, money and during these past few months, about his health and sometimes, about death.

We didn’t always get along. We’ve both had our share of disappointments and frustrations with each other. Ours was also a very complicated relationship.

But then, that’s also what made our relationship special.

And ultimately, it is also the best and most lasting legacy he has left me with.

See, in spite of everything, my dad was always there. He was always just around, his door and his heart always open for me any time of the day. Even when I was a child, he never disappeared and never left us alone to fend for ourselves. Every single school day, he would wake up early in the morning to drive us to school, and fetch us at the end of the day. Every Sunday, he would take us out so we could spend some family time together. Never fail.

And when we all grew up, he would always make himself available for us whenever we could spend time with him. He never cancelled on any plans we made, and would always be there. When we’d visit him at home, he would always wait for us no matter how late it was or how long it took us to get there. Even when he was already in the hospital, he would wait for us to battle flooded Metro Manila rush hour traffic to get there, even if he already wanted to rest for the night.

No matter the time of day, no matter how we felt about each other at that point in time, dad was always there.

Dad was also always one of my biggest champions.

I remember a couple of years back, dad visited me at my office. While we were outside the office talking, my boss, who happened to be no less than the Managing Director of my office then, came outside and joined us for awhile. To my complete embarrassment, dad actually asked my boss how I was as an employee, and if I was any good at my job! Parang Parent-Teacher Conference. Thankfully my boss’ reply was very positive otherwise it would’ve been nothing short of complete humiliation. J

But it turns out, I found out that since then, dad proudly talks to anyone and everyone about my successes at work… maybe even to strangers sometimes. And he does the same about my brothers.

A few years ago too, I had gone through a very difficult time at work. Without even hearing the complete story yet, my dad was already extremely furious at the people who had caused me pain. If he could, I think he would’ve given those people a call to say “how dare you do that to my daughter!”

On the last few hours of his life, his doctor told us that while his lungs had already failed, what kept him alive then was his heart. His heart continued to beat, solid and constant.

That’s just like dad. Solid and constant. Because he was a man with a big heart, and a giant capacity to love. He loved deeply and completely. In our family, we’ve always said with great fondness that among all of us, he was always the one who was most sentimental.

His loving heart was what got us through many things and saw us through many difficult times. No matter the circumstance, no matter what crisis we had faced as a family, no matter the disappointments and frustrations… his love for us never failed. He never stopped being proud of his family and bragging about us to anyone who would listen. He never stopped holding all of us in the highest regard. He never stopped being there for us when we needed him. He never stopped asking for us, wanting to spend time with all of us whenever we could.

He may not have been the perfect father. No one is. But he left me and my family one of the best and most enduring legacies in life; and something even better than a grand inheritance, or any life lesson.

By his example, he’s taught us what it means to love unconditionally, steadfastly and completely.

We will miss you, dad. On one of our last serious conversations, you told me “Jing, sorry ha. Ang gulo ng daddy mo.” To which I said, “But you wouldn’t be my dad if you weren’t.” And then you said  laughingly, “Oo nga naman. That’s true.”

In a funny way, maybe our lives will be a little bit simpler without you around. But it would certainly be emptier. Less complete.

But we take comfort in knowing that where you are, you’ll just be there watching over us like you always have, and still continuing to teach us that at the end of it all, it doesn’t matter what we have, what we do, what we say or don’t say… what matters is how we all love each other, enough to overcome anything.

We’ll see you again someday, dad.  I hope that up there in heaven, you’ve found your eternal peace at last.


Our Battle with Cancer. The Final Chapter.

Written on my mobile phone September 4, 2010.

On August 29, 2010 at around 3 in the afternoon, dad took his last breath while surrounded by his family, and the song “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place” playing softly in the background of the hospital room.

My uncle says that in his life, dad didn’t have many (if at all) valuable possessions. But in his dying bed, he was a rich man surrounded by those he loved best.

In the end, it was his cancer tonic and the consequent weight loss that got him. For because of the weight loss, he had to be put back on a high protein diet to help him regain his strength and the nutrition his body badly needed. Sadly, cancer cells thrive on protein. In a matter of a week and a half, his lung tumor size doubled, obstructing his major bronchial air tubes.

A few hours before he passed away, his lungs had already failed and oxygen was no longer being processed by his body anymore.

During his wake, many people had exclaimed that it all happened so fast.

That, it did.

We expected to have months with him yet.

But who knows the will of the universe?

I just hope and pray that wherever you are now, Dad, I hope you’re in a happier, more peaceful place than where we are. Please watch over us, and let us know in however way, that you’re okay…