Father was talking to his Son, “Son, I don’t feel your concern on your future.”
Son Josh answered, “I do, but not much, Father”.
“I hope you’ll think of it before it’s too late, son. Regret may come to you, it will, and I pray I am around to help you.”
My fellow immigration officer Jun said further, “Time waits for no one, time that passed by will never pass your way again. Do something productive, don’t let Fate decide your future.”
This conversation happened when I picked up my fellow immigration officer at his home on our way to work at NAIA Terminal 2.
Josh, the son, was married at twenty, has a one year and 6-month old daughter. The wife worked at the nearby SM. Jun, my friend from Isabela, was concerned about many things, uppermost to him our coming retirement. Josh and Marielle will have another child within four months, compounding his worries and concern for Josh, for he is not thinking of the futur . Jun has two more children yet to finish college and a wife who opted for early retirement because of a debilitating disease. What must a father do? As a friend who is concerned for their plight, what advice can I offer to help them out of their predicament?
Driving under heavy traffic, I reached for my crucifix above my head, at the center of my old Toyota Revo. Silently, I begged for help from Lord Jesus Christ. Without further ado, I said, “Jun, have Josh go to Tesda and take short courses.” Ah, the supervisor in me is finally talking.
Months before our recent vacation to Buyo, Virac, Catanduanes, last October 15, 2020, Jun called me to announce happy news. Josh had put up a repair and vulcanizing shop with a growing number of customers and the wife taught special children. Amazing what five years can do to people and a friend’s concern to someone’s future!
Senior citizens are restricted to their homes pursuant to Covid-19/B1.17 health protocols. Wives and children control fathers for fear of transmission from Covid-19, forgetting that without the above control system, senior citizens will stay at home for reason of self-preservation.
Fear of death has been the sword of Damocles hanging above senior citizens’ heads since time immemorial. Thinking of death is aggravated by the pandemic. We seniors are concerned with a few things: what to leave our children so they could live a better life, how our name would be remembered for generations, and a grandchild to inherit our name, looks and talent.
A growing number of Catandunganons are concerned with having enough food for three square meals a day. I pray and hope our public officials are ready with their plans in case relief operations fizzle out and finally stopped. We must look forward and work together towards the philosophy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.
My good kumpadre, Secgen Lino Trinidad of Puso Catandungan, keeps drumming into my ears his dual concern for hunger and farming. Two contrasting subjects: first, the problem, and, second the solution. In return, I told Secgen Lino of a project with long term benefits: that of training and preparing children for entrance exams on scholarship programs offered by our universities and colleges as well as by big private companies here and abroad. I was enamored by the idea when I was alternate signatory for student visa, a requirement for foreign students intending to study in the Philippines. Though it’s a long term solution, the benefits will be for a lifetime.
I was present, in spite of my being kidney transplant patient, when requested by the group of Salve Carmela Poche of Baras from ‘Bayanihan sa Catanduanes’ when they conducted relief operations at barangay Buyo. They started with food for the children, followed by distribution of goods and clothing. The group profusely thanked Buyoans who helped them with the task, especially the unwavering Barangay Chairman Daniel Tria Jr. We re-echoed their gratitude with utmost sincerity. Amor con amor se paga.
God is very much around during this difficult time, protecting us from possible mental problem caused by being idle and thinking too much of problems, not solutions.
Be wise, start it now, “sow that someday you may reap.”
Be prepared for an answer to Saint Peter’s question at the gate: What have you done to God’s people who have less in life? Remember what lies beyond those shining stars? QUO VADIS?
Payback time: Let me continue expressing my gratitude to those people who touched my life. In the elementary grades, a million thanks to all my teachers. Topping the list are Ma’am Teresita Sarmiento, younger sister of Vice Mayor Titong Sarmiento, who had given me extra lessons on singing and dancing. Her comment on my Report Card when I was in Grade V was: “possesses strong retentive memory.” I still feel, emote and act on it up to now.
Another one is the late Ma’am Evangelina O. Araojo of San Pablo, wife of former Municipal Secretary of Virac, Porferio Araojo, under Mayor Jorge Arcilla. Her being strict made me learn and behave in her class. Also the late Mr. David Ubalde, who had a home near Catanduanes Midtown hotel, an industrious model teacher who taught us gardening.