“Back in the early ’80s, we usually watch movies in Delta Theatre and we would ride the jeep to get there. I was the chubbiest among my three siblings and I had to sit on my dad’s lap because I was too heavy for my mom. I fondly remember embracing him and falling asleep during the ride. Even when I woke up, I would pretend to be asleep so he would carry me until we reach the cinema. I no longer remember all the movies we watched in Delta. What I remember the most are the jeepney rides and me sitting on my dad’s lap.”
—Megi Garcia, daughter of Den Garcia
“When my older brothers and I were young, we would ask our daddy where he got his scar. He would tell us a story of how he helped a woman who got crushed by a jeep. He lifted the jeep so the woman beneath the vehicle could get out but he got wounded in the process. We really believed this story because we were so young. We thought of him as a superhero with super strength. I also loved the time he made toys for me and my brothers using barbecue sticks.”
—Mercedes Cabral, daughter of Dindo Cabral
“My tatay’s a very hard working and loving man. When he would come home late from work, he would come into our rooms and kiss us on our forehead and tell us, “I love you, anak.” I would do the same nowadays. No matter how late I arrive from work, I would go to my parents’ room to say ‘I’m here’ and kiss them good night. My tatay doesn’t know that I picked this up from him. He taught me that at the end of a very busy day, we should find time to honor and express our love to people who matter to us.”
—Cynthia Helenna Matias, daughter of Joselito Matias
“My father is a pastor. I remember waking him up while he was sleeping just to tell him about what we learned in Sunday School. He would always answer without getting mad. He is the most accommodating person I know when it comes to my needs and wants. There was a time when I wanted an expensive bag. He bought it for me even when he was short on cash. He bought it for me just to see me smile. It’s the little things he does that make me see him as one of God’s precious blessings to me.”
—Giullana Apuzen Daughter of Ptr. Vernon Apuzen
“I remember how my dad and I spent our weekends reading various books and volumes of encyclopedia. We would also play human stilts. We did this by me stepping on his feet and he would walk around. He would carry me this way around the garage. Fun times.”
—Francis Abcede, son of Isidro Abcede Jr.
“During the ’90s, SM Megamall was THE shopping mall in the country. On my first birthday, my dad took me there so I can experience those colorful kiddie rides, arcade machines, and the only transport facility you can’t find in the province—the escalator. When the first shopping mall in Lipa, Batangas, was built, my father and I would always hang out right outside. Why? Hand-painted giant movie posters were still a thing back then and he saw how fascinated I was with that particular form of art. That’s when I discovered my love for paintings and motion picture. My first time watching a movie on the big screen was also with my father. We watched the Dolphy-Vandolph classic, “Tataynic.” He also introduced me to our hometown’s pride, lomi. I grew up eating lomi, every after Sunday mass. My father would take us to the oldest lomi house in Lipa, the Panciteria. Until now, Panciteria is still running, and everytime I go there, it’s like revisiting my childhood.”
—Dexter Balita, son of Dennis Balita
“When I was young, my dad would often travel across the country for work. One time, he finally let me join in one of his travels to Baguio. Unfortunately, I got sick on the way there so we were just in the hotel throughout our stay. The following year, he brought me again and we had a more fun and enjoyable stay. Thanks to him, I am still fond of visiting Baguio until now.”
—Anne Marie Albino, daughter of Edgardo Albino
“My favorite childhood memory with my Dad is when we light up fireworks during New Year’s Eve. As a little kid, I always thought it was so magical and amazing. Now that I’ve grown up, I may not light up fireworks with my Dad during New Year’s Eve but he manages to light my day up every day.”
—Gelo Arucan, son of Lot Arucan
“My favorite memory is playing basketball with my Papa in school. I couldn’t beat him but he let me win one time. I fell in love with the game of basketball because my father introduced me to it. He was also the one who taught me how to play. My mom used to buy vintage NBA CDs for Papa and she would send it to him on the ship. When he’d come home, we’d watch them together. My father is so knowledgable when it comes to basketball. I’m so glad my father introduced me to the game I love.”
—Franz Deroca, son of Franciz Deroca
“From a glass of milk, hot pandesal with coco jam, French fries, ice-cold Coke, Chinese food, chocolate chip cookies, Becky’s crinkles, ice cream, chocolates, movie marathons, late night conversations, Elvis Presley’s songs, driving around Makati, vintage cars, airplanes, arts and crafts, shopping, swimming, loving chicken…to everything he taught me. I am who I am today because of him, how he raised me and the values he brought me up with.”
—Jookie Radoc, daughter of Romeo O. Radoc
“My favorite memory of my Dad from childhood is when we would bike with my siblings in the village every Saturday. We looked forward to every weekend as my Dad would bring us to Club Filipino or McDonalds after and would order hamburgers and French fries, a special treat for us kids.”
—Maureen Disini, daughter of Jesus Purisima Disini
“My fondest memory is seeing my father convert cartoon characters and superheroes from ‘teks’ or play cards to T-shirt designs—manually! This was when most artists (and a lot of people) didn’t own computers yet. It took him hours to sketch, draw, and color Mojacko, X-Men, Avengers, and Transformers creatures, to name a few. While we didn’t have a sporty bonding, the image of him concentrating on his art in the corner table surely made an impact on our creativity as children and now, as adults.”
—Ross Manicad, son of Roberto “Bong” Manicad
“That time he tried teaching me how to play “Leaving On a Jetplane” when I was 12, brought me to my first Wolfgang gig in Club Dredd when I was 13, and in 70s Bistro a few months after. But there’s this one memory that still makes me smile and headbang to this day. I was eight years old, seated in the back of my Papa’s car. The radio was on, tuned in to a radio station playing rock music that I never heard playing in any of my playmates’ houses. So I asked “Why do you listen to that station so much? None of my friends’ parents listen to that kind of music.” The car slowed down and my father turned to me, saying, “Because, anak, once a rocker…”
“…always a rocker,” he and my mother said in unison.
I owe my taste in music and appreciation for live gigs and concerts to my Papa, among other things.”
—Jill Tan Radovan, daughter of Wilson Tan
“My favorite memory of Papa would be the random nights he used to surprise us kids with his special, delicious midnight snacks. On random nights, he would whip up something in the kitchen, usually a big bowl of steak rice, chorizo rice, or a fun, interesting pasta. He brings the food up to the bedroom, wakes us all up, and within minutes we wipe the bowl clean. It wasn’t the healthiest practice, but definitely made for a happy family, as well as tummy!”
—Tobi Gancayco, daughter of Bo Gancayco
“Before, my Dad used to go with us to auditions for singing competitions. He’s always been supportive of our goals and dreams. My favorite memory with him was when I auditioned for a singing competition on TV and got rejected. When they didn’t mention my name for the next level of audition, I wasn’t able to contain myself and I cried. He knows how bad I wanted it so he hugged me tight and told me that I shouldn’t give up on my dreams, that it wasn’t the end of everything. He also added, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.” Every time I’m on the verge of giving up, I always think of these words. Thanks to my Dad for teaching me to be strong and not to easily give up.”
—Myka Basco, daughter of Herminio Basco Jr.
“My dad taught me how to ride the bike. Maybe that was the greatest memory that I could remember. Because of that, with just the riding of the bike, I learned that learning new things is a step-by-step process, along with having patience and perseverance.”
—Josh Tolentino, son of Noel Tolentino
“My favorite childhood memory was when my dad cried in front of me. He shed tears because my angsty teenage self never responded every time he said ‘I love you, anak’ to show his affection.
This instance isn’t specifically happy, but it made me realize that he genuinely meant it every time he said it, and I felt so terrible for having disregarded his gestures. Now, I’m his most affectionate child and I’m like a huge koala hugging him every time I’m around him.”
—Doms Leones, son of Bong Leones
“While my father had simple ways of making his children feel loved, on our birthdays, he almost always had a grand gesture just to ensure we’ll feel special. On my eighth birthday, daddy wanted me to have a party but didn’t have much cash to have one in my favorite fast food restaurant.
So a day before the big day, we went to Harrison Plaza and bought party goods, so I can have a small celebration with friends at home instead. My memory of him drenched in sweat while clad in a short-sleeved polo in a tiny jeepney on the way to the mall is probably one of my favorites. He was never the guy who used public transport since he always had a driver to take him around. But his car was busted then, so we had to make do. He wasn’t exactly the guy you’d call to organize a children’s party either. Still, he did his best just so he can ensure I’ll have the party I want the next day. The whole thing sounds mundane and trivial but it’s a memory that still warms my heart.”
—Elyssa Lopez, daughter of Eleazar Lopez
“Dread and eagerness punctuate my favorite memory of Papa. We have a ritual that would conclude our clan’s early morning swims. This practice occurred just before the sunlight burnt the skin.
Kids would arrange ourselves single-file facing the sea, waiting for our turn. Papa would be in knee-deep waters and he would wrap one arm across the chest, another around the waist. Then, he would suddenly, quickly swing us in and out of the sea, against incoming waves.
The oldies called the event “banlaw,” which would make sure that all the sand was washed off . We knew it was gonna hurt and disorient us, but it just had to be done.
To me the ritual showed how he treated everyone as equals. A wave on our beaches up North could knock the steadiest down but while it would send Papa teetering, his firm hands would assure the children in his arms: “Papa will not let go.”
—Vaughn Geuseppe Alviar, son of Rev. Fr. Gil Alviar
“When we were kids my mom would leave us under his care for when she needs me-time. My dad needs his after lunch siesta, it’s been his ritual since forever. So what he’ll do is put us in one room with him and he’ll say we’ll play a game where we can’t say the words ‘dad,’ ‘daddy’ and ‘Art’ but we can do anything we like, anything. Later on I realized it’s because he’ll sleep while supposedly watching over us and, his name being Art, if we say any of those words it’ll instantly wake him up. Parenting done right.”
—Arvin Gatdula Alvarez, daughter of Art Alvarez
“I have a million great memories with my Dad when I was growing up, but one of my favorites is how he would plaster signs all over the house to, well, encourage my brothers and I to be the best versions of ourselves. The paper signs were small and unassuming, but they were all over our house. You couldn’t miss the reminder as it was in our bedroom, in the bathroom, on our doors, in all caps: SPEAK ENGLISH, STUDY HARD, DO MORE THAN OTHERS. They stayed up until the signs faded and their corners crinkled, and the whole family would make jokes about it (“O, speak English daw!” “Daw isn’t English!”). In the end though, it was ingrained in our brains and whether we were in school or not, we would strive to communicate effectively and creatively, and produce more work than what was expected of us. It was just one of the examples that my Dad would use repetition and humor (lots and lots of humor) to teach us life lessons which we’ll take with us forever… and probably plaster all over our future children’s walls, too.”
—Monique Buensalido, daughter of Dr. Adrian Buensalido
“My dad is a geologist so I grew up listening to his stories about the earth and oceans. I remember the rotational power interruption in the ’90s, and he would sit us around the table. He gets a ball and a flashlight and demonstrates how the Earth, using a ball, rotates around the sun (flashlight). He would also take us to spontaneous nature trips so we would appreciate the environment.”
—John Ray Lucas, son of Noel Lucas
“My dad is not the expressive type but he knows how to entertain through his antics. My fondest memories of him are the moments where he would just crack jokes and make everyone laugh.”
—Janlee Dungca, daughter of Nemie Dungca
“Vernon P. Ocampo, also known as VPO. To me, his name stands for Valiant, Patient, Optimistic. My favorite memory of my dad from my childhood was when he used to bring me to school. I remember when we leave Pampanga at 5 a.m. just to bring me to Manila for school. He is very patient with us and never fails to remind us to be better persons each day. He always keeps a positive outlook in life despite the challenges he faces. He is the best dad not just to me but most especially to my brother who has autism. He does not focus on my brother’s disability but his abilities. With that, I am really grateful for my father.”