Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stand Up

It's Father's Day today. And speaking of fathers, there is one advice that Daddy gave me that has always helped me in life. It's simple, and maybe even common, but so difficult to actually do. But it has kept me going, and has kept Komikasi alive. This was what he said:

"When you fall, stand up."

My Dad's not a very emotional or mushy person. And when I would whine and cry about late client payments and disappointing relationships, he'd sit beside me, say his one-line advice and leave. I'm very spoiled with my Dad, though. And more often than not, he would be the one who would help me get up, even at the expense of his own finances. (I guess it's only the relationship area that he doesn't touch much. He doesn't seem to know what to do with me when it comes to matters of the heart. Last time I told him of a problem I was having with a friend, he goes, "I told you about him a long time ago! But, no, you wouldn't listen. It's your fault for giving him wrong signals!" Then he walks out. "Wrong signals?! I didn't even know what he felt. Daaaaad! Come back!" Basically, that's how it went.)

My Dad has been through a lot. We've been up, we've been down. And the reason why I can follow his advice is because he, himself, follows it. When we were young, and we lost our house to debt back in Davao, instead of feeling sorry for himself, he picked himself up, found opportunities in Manila and brought the whole family here. We had a time of plenty. Then the Asian Crisis hit. By a strange turn of events, we lost everything literally overnight (the value of the Peso changed from P25 to P30 in just one day, then to P50 a few days after that). Then the bank account officer who handled our savings chose this time to run off with it. Then Dad had a stroke. And my siblings and I were all studying in schools that were not exactly cheap. And Mom had been a housewife for most of her life. I guess, when it rains, it really pours. But instead of wallowing in self-pity and dying, my Dad fought. My Dad stood up again.

It certainly paid to have a strong and determined superwoman of a wife by his side. My Mom worked while Dad recovered. But my Dad recovered. He worked hard to recover from his stroke. And he stood up and looked for opportunities again. And I admire my parents for that. It wasn't smooth sailing, mind you. My parents fought a lot during that time. It was hard for my Mom to be the sole breadwinner of a family of seven AND have to take care of a sick husband who wouldn't allow anybody else to take care of him and wanted her by his side all the time. It was hard for Dad's pride to accept that he was helpless. He hated having to accept help from others, especially his in-laws. I could understand where both of them were coming from. And I'm very glad they pressed on. They picked themselves up and continued.

Now, they're all over each other ("Get a room, parents," you'd hear my sisters say nowadays).

I've encountered a lot of obstacles in trying to reach my dreams. But thanks to Dad's advice and how I've seen him live it, I pressed on. Do I fall? Oh, a lot. A whole lot. Do I cry? I'm not as strong as I thought I was. I need to cry. I'm not as wise as I thought I was. I often find myself at a loss for what to do, especially when it comes to relationships. The obstacles I encounter sometimes overwhelms me. I sometimes even find myself just hiding in the office restroom because of the enormity of the monster before me. Even now, the problems don't seem to cease. But thanks to my Dad, I will press on. I will hide and whine and cry, but I will not stay down. No matter how many times I fall, I will stand up.

Thanks, Dad. Love you!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Ruins

As some of you may know, I have just recently visited the city of Bacolod for the Soroptimist conference. One of our dinners was held in a place outside of the city, in Talisay, called "The Ruins." And it certainly caught my attention.

According to what I've read about the place, the Ruins used to be a mansion owned by sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson in the 1900s. Some people say Don Mariano had it built for his Portuguese wife, and his unmarried children lived there. It is said that one of his daughters was in charge of the garden, and that they employed a Japanese gardener just for it. During World War II, however, it was burned by the United States Armed Forces of the Fareast to prevent the Japanese from using it as headquarters. The gardener turned out to be an informant.

Today, the structure stands in ruins, thus the name. But thanks to grade-A building materials and Don Mariano's son's supervision of the building of the mansion, the stone facade is still more or less intact despite the fire. It's now a tourist attraction in Talisay, Bacolod. You can eat there. They made a small eating area inside. It's beautiful at sunset. It certainly makes your imagination run. It is a popular wedding venue in the region, and I can certainly understand why given its romantic history and picturesque gardens. But over its physical beauty, what caught me were the possible stories a place like this could hold.

Would anyone know more about the history of the place? I mean, I've read what the pamphlets and the tourist guides say, but I'd like to know some little known facts about the place, its past, and its owners. If you know any interesting tidbits or rumors about the place, do let me know.