Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!

I love you, Tatay, for your fatherhood

Arcadio1 (1)Reflections by U.S. expatriate Arcadio Morada Jr. now 62, about his namesake  and late father who passed away 22 years later.

TATAY, I never really had you appreciated as a Father when you were alive. And even in 22 years since you were gone, I never really gave much thought about you as a Father. Let me regretfully and lovingly make up for this now. I am doing this with lumps in my throat, butterflies in my stomach and tears in my eyes.

First of all, I’m your namesake. I don’t know if you ever questioned your own dad’s giving you this name, but in my case, there were a few times in the past when I asked myself whether our name was a boon or a bane. Ang bantot ng ngalan mo [your name stinks], one friend in college summed it all. Alas, he didn’t know classic, he didn’t know dignity, he didn’t know any better. Our name is of Grecian origin and means “of Arcadia”—which was a place in the Greece of old. As for our surname, a Spanish origin and a service-oriented meaning (“inn, dwelling, residence”) are enough to eternally boost my ego and spirit. And in Texas, where they call me Mr. Purple, I tell them I’m not morado. But they insist according me that regal color nonetheless.

There was nothing regal in your beginnings. Just like Nanay, you were born in the boondocks of Albay, you didn’t even know your exact birthdate, and you barely knew school. You could only sign up, recognize and write numbers, and count and measure—which were basically what you would need to be a successful tailor. An unschooled tailor you would have also wanted me to be, but you were bent to send me and my siblings to school. Though I learned how to sew alright, you enabled me on purpose to learn much more beyond sewing machines and threads and needles. Because for you education was the priority, education was the only way you saw possible to break the bonds of penury and lowliness.

For you learning never stops, nor is it ever outmoded or outdated. I remember the time you asked me to teach you how to figure out the board feet of the lumber we would oftentimes cut from our pristine ancestral hinterland. To do it you had to learn how to multiply, so you strove to memorize by rote the multiplication tables. And of course you felt you needed to learn how to divide numbers as an offshoot of multiplication. And so on and so forth. On some occasions, I would feel irritated by your insistence to learn even the most elementary concepts, but later on I realized, wasn’t this what I was studying as a teacher for? I can now fondly look back and smile knowing that this insistence to learn somehow drove me to become what I have become all my life – a teacher.

You loved to sing, though not in front of a big audience. You played musical instruments too, though not as a virtuoso! Along with Nanay, unwittingly you saw the need for music in our home and in our lives. For from whom would I inherit this love for music that I have if not from you? One of the songs you ingrained in me in my youth was Nenang.



Nagtios an buhay ko, nagtios

Dahilan sa imo.

Nenang, minadulok sa atubangan mo,

 Lilingya nin herak, lilingya nin herak

An pobreng buhay ko!


(Roughly translated:

My love,

Must I always have to be faraway

Far from your heart’s beating?

Am I meant forever by your heart forsaken?

Ray a bit of your sun,

Ray a bit of your sun

Before my life is done!)


The germ of music that emanated from you is now transfused into the person of Carmela, your granddaughter who, not surprisingly, is into the Arts. You and I have no idea how far-reaching that germ will influence lives further. For this I will be forever grateful.

Unlike the song Nenang, you were not a very demonstrative person. You were not a very thoughtful person. You were not a very outspoken person. But it did not mean your feelings were not there, your thoughts were not there, or your desire to communicate was not there. It’s just that since as far back as I can remember, you were a very reserved and restrained husband. Nanay could attest to this if she were alive. In the same manner, your daughter-in-law who is my dear wife Carmen, can strongly say

I and you are peas in a pod: I am so reserved and restrained, so silent and uncommunicative, so carefree and numb that at times she describes me as uncaring, unromantic, boring, thoughtless, iritating and worse, manhid [unfeeling]. Well, all I can say is—no, we’re more than peas in a pod. I am your son, you are my father.

You were an epitome of patience and self-control. Not once had I seen you in aggressive confrontations with others. In my conscious years I had never seen you in violent domestic altercations with Nanay. You didn’t have any derogatory vice, nor bad habits, not that I knew of. Perhaps you were so adept at hiding them from view so as not to inflict harm on us, your family. (Any bad side of you that comes to my attention, any secret from your closet, can’t hurt me now!) Being secretive was your way of life. Later in life, when your health began to fail, when you could hardly talk because of stroke, reserved and restrained became an understatement. Secretive was the way to go.

I never actually saw you go. You never actually told me what you wanted me to do to ease your sufferings. I guess you never really wanted us to be burdened by your condition. I was faraway when you breathed your last. I never knew how you felt at the moment, whether you were in pain or in painless suffering, or if you were looking for me and my other siblings who were not by your deathbed. But I’m sure it did not mean you loved me—or us altogether—less.

Never had you verbalized to us the words “I love you!” True to your nature of being a man of restraint, not words. And  remember, we are peas in a pod – not once have I told you the words “I love you” either! But at long last, this Father’s Day, I say to you with all my heart and soul, I LOVE YOU, TATAY! Wherever you are now, I thank God for your fatherhood. Without you and Nanay, there is no Dely, Rudy, Nilda, Piping, Jun, Ote, Merl, or Frid. Without you, there is no I. I am, because you are. I LOVE YOU.