March 16, 1983: I can vividly recall the evening my mom arrived, pedal-to-the-metal, Mustang engines roaring a hundred decibels louder than what we had been accustomed to hear. She was crying real hard while trying to tell us the bad news: my dad, a fighter pilot, was declared missing-in-action; his plane was said to have disappeared over Palawan waters.
I didn’t cry. I was too young to understand it then. All I knew was that, in my eyes, he was my hero, and the greatest fighter pilot to ever defend Philippine skies, and I firmly believed that he would one day come back to us.
It’s been 23 years since that fateful day, and a lot has happened since. It’s one of those freak events that drastically changes and molds a person’s life. The sad part is, I used to blame my life’s miseries on this event. What a fool I’ve been, and what a shame.
After 23 years, I can still hear how other people, his family and friends, speak well of him; the praises are endless. I realize that, despite his absence, he was always there to protect me and my family, and teach us life’s ways by showing us how he lived it, thru other people’s tales of him.
I may not have heeded him then, and would have been considered by some as a disgrace.. “Sorry po daddy…”
Now that i have a son of my own, I know that emulating my dad would be the best fatherly gift that I can ever give him, and by following my dad’s footsteps, I can also be the best man for my wife.