‘Dad’s my hero’

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L-R: Mr. Ileto (father of 1st Place Winner), Enrico Ileto – the 1st Place Winner, and Ms. Reggie Santos, Store Manager at Robinsons Supermarket Galleria.

MANILA, Philippines – In a nation of heroes, there are a lot of people to look up to. Only earlier this week, the “heroes” who responded during the onslaught of southwest monsoon and the search and retrieval operations for the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo were awarded by the government. But for most of us, our first hero is our dad, daddy, papa, father or itay.

For 11-year-old Vaughn Ileto of Cavite, having a dad in the military service is hard and challenging.

His photo with his dad, Enrico, donning white duck uniform, won first place at “Dad’s My Hero” photo contest sponsored by Robinson’s Retail Group and Inquirer Interactive Inc.

The photo was taken during his father’s church wedding in 2010.

“Having a father in the military service is challenging for me as a kid. Being in the service means that he may be deployed at some distant place for some time when called upon. In some important days of my life, I have spent it without him. That is why I really treasure every moment that I am with my dad. It is my simple way of thanking him for the sacrifices that he has made for the nation and for us, his family. U may not be with him all the time like most of my friends and classmates but I know him being away has made the country safer and more peaceful each day,” the caption of the photo contest entry read.

His father is currently a spokesman of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based in Capiz.

“Maraming salamat po for making this photo the winning entry. The soldier will forever be inspired by the people they serve and their family members,” Enrico posted in Facebook when the winners were announced by INQUIRER.net.

Conrad and Clifford Tan, 2nd Place Winner of Dad’s My Hero Photo Contest, photo taken at Robinsons Department Store Galleria

Meanwhile, a pure Chinese father and son in superhero outfit won second place in the contest.

“Hi, I’m Conrad! I am very active and energetic boy. One time when I was around one year old, I got bored sitting on my high chair and decided to stand on it instead. As I was just learning how to balance at that time, I lost my footing but just when I was about to hit the floor, my papa caught me and wrapped his arms around me tightly. I cried loudly at first but my papa comforted me and assured me that everything around me was ok. I felt safe and secure being in my hero’s arms. I thank God for surviving the incident without any injury and for empowering my papa to rescue me in the nick of time. I love you Papa Clifford! By the way, my name and my papa’s name start with the letter “C” that’s why there’s a letter “C” on our shirts,” the caption entry read.

Third place was Kimberly Calub Sombrito of Novaliches, Caloocan City.

“It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes ‘fathers and kids’. His conscious choice to be a hands-on father and commitment to deepen our connection by making us his top priority makes him my hero. Undoubtedly sacrifices his own passion and thrills in racing dirt bike was an exceptional choice. I’m hands down to him; he is dedicated to caring for us, unselfishly sacrifices his sleep just to put me and my sister to sleep, even when he has work the following day. His energy is almost limitless; always ready to play and bond with us even after a days work. Seeing the world through his eyes, experiencing our milestones together brings genuine happiness. Seeing how he flourished from a fearless racer to a loving and caring father was truly promising. That’s us, Father and son – a relationship where perfection can never be won but the love & worth of small things is immeasurable,” the entry said.

Robinson’s and Inquirer aimed to recognize fathers as heroes in its Dad’s My Hero contest that was held in the middle of this year.

It called for entries with father and child wearing “well-coordinated or matching” clothes.

The entries were judged based on photo and caption by selected representatives from the Robinson’s and Inquirer.

The winners received P10,000, P7,500 and P5,000 worth of Robinson’s gift certificates respectively.

Eleven participants also received P500-worth of gift certificates as consolation prizes.

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