Note: This is a long post.
My father is not the ideal father any daughter would dream of. He was a drunkard and most of the money he earned from a day of driving a jeepney was spent for his vice. There were times that instead of sleeping early I would fetch him from the place of the jeepney owner he was driving just to make sure that his earning would not be wasted to beers, “Tanduay”, “Ginebra” or to “pulutan”. If I arrived late because their “session” has started, I’d wait until they were over. It was not easy to walk with a drunk man. I was always afraid that along the way, he might pick a fight. What ever left on his pocket was the family’s budget the next day.
During my childhood, it was very seldom that we have decent food in the table. Mother would buy cooked viand because it was cheaper. For only Php10, we could have something to add to our rice for meal. When budget was too low, shrimp paste (bagoong) as viand was not unusual to us. There were times that we only have congee (as in plain lugaw with asin) for dinner. I never accustomed of drinking milk because we can’t afford it. Coffee was our morning drink. Me and my siblings considered it a feast if we have fish on the table. We were jumping in joy if my mother served us with meat. Apples and grapes were considered luxury and we could only have it when we were sick 😀 We were the poorest to the poor And that is because my father was a drunkard.
My father never ceased from his bad habit even after I entered college. Thanks to SM Foundation who financed my tuition fees throughout college. Thanks to my Mother who entered as laundry woman to our neighbor to provide my daily allowance when my Father’s income was not enough. Thanks to my classmates and friends who shared their resources to me whenever we need to submit a project. They also treat me often times for a snack because my allowance was just enough for my lunch and transportation. Thanks to my dear friend who always lent me Php 10 to Php 20 when my allowance was spent for an expected contribution. Thanks for my school who allowed me to earn additional allowance through the student assistant program so I could buy books. Thanks to SM who allowed me to join their work force during summer and December breaks. This allowed me to the school supplies I need before the start of the school. My BIG Thanks to God because despite our poverty He allowed me get a degree. My life in college was a struggle because my father whose earning was not enough to meet the needs of his family chose to spend bigger part of it to entertain his friend through alcoholic beverages.
When I graduated from college and started to earn my own money, I always teased my Father when he was not drunk that if the bottles of GINEBRA, TANDUAY AND BEERS could be used to build a house, our house would be a mansion. I always threaten him that when he get sick, I would not spend a single cent for his medication. And when he dies, I’d just wrap his body in a mat and throw it in the sea. But he would just laugh out. He probably knows that I could not do it to him.
My father’s addiction to alcoholic beverages did not stopped until the last couple of years in which he was diagnosed with DIABETES. My threat never happened. My heart broke when I first saw him walking as if his drunk but not. Few weeks after, my mom called up that my Father was not feeling well. He was dizzy Buy Ambien all the time and frequently vomiting. I asked my mom to bring him to the public hospital so we would know what was wrong with him and he can be treated. I met them there. My heart was squeezed in pain when I saw the wounds on his head and his condition. Unfortunately, his condition didn’t get better after the visit to the hospital. The medicine were not taking effect.
I decided to brought to a private doctor. The medicines drained my savings. I had to loan from a friend which was my first time. After a week of medication, the expensive antibiotic had not much effect because of the HIGH BLOOD SUGAR. The doctor suggested that we brought him to a hospital for admission. My father didn’t want it. The other option was to drain his wounds on the head. The doctor warned that it would be very painful because there would be no anesthesia. My father cried. I thought he was worried about the pain. So I told him that he must bear the pain so he’d feel better. I was wrong. He cried because he felt ashamed that I was a burden to him and that I was spending too much for him. I held back my tears. I assured him that I still have enough money for the procedure and his medicine. Thank God, he recovered but until now he is still under medication.
My father was a drunkard. I believe no child would want to have a drunkard for a father. Neither am I. I thought I was very unfortunate to have a father like him because our poverty was the result of his bad habits and wrong priorities. But as I discovered the situations of the kids I am helping through the Back To School Project, I felt more blessed and thankful that I have him as a father.
Some of kids I knew were encouraged to stop from schooling to help their fathers in their works to earn money. My father maybe a drunkard but he never asked any of us, his children, to work with him to earn for the the family. He never asked to stop from schooling. As a matter of fact, he kept reminding us to study well because as he kept on telling us, “Mahirap lang ako, wala akong ipapamana sa inyo pagnamatay ako yan lang pag-aaral nyo. Kaya mag-arala kayong mabuti (I am poor I don’t have anything to leave you when I die just your education. So study well)”. He wanted us to study even if his earning was not enough to send us to college. He was a drunkard and his earnings maybe way below to meet our needs but he never forced us to work after we graduated from college. He never asked me to buy him any alcoholic drink even if he knew that I was earning more than enough for my needs. He never required me share my income with him or to shoulder the expenses in our the house. He continued driving and earning that even until now he is still driving. He does not want to depend to his children for his and my mother’s needs.
My father was a drunkard but he never beat me. He never hurt me physically. He never get mad when I fetched him from his work and teased him for his wrong doings. My father was a drunkard but when I was sicked, he would bring one apple for me.
I thank God for my father. He may not be the perfect nor the ideal father most children desire but at least he never abandoned us. He may be poor but he encouraged us to do our best for have a better future. I thank God for man who made Him my father.