Category Archives: Filipino

“Your grandfather is gone…”

I received this text message from my mom while I was in the office and was then having an orientation in a conference room.  This kind of expression was usually being used as a joke here in the Philippines (using the Filipino word for grandfather as a gag- “lolo”).  It is funny if you know that it is just a joke.  But I didn’t realize how different it was if it is real.

I was dazed to have read this.  I suddenly told my seatmates about it and their reactions were not that serious.  Swiftly, my mood changed to sadness.  I wanted to conceal it but I can’t stop it.  Since the orientation is still ongoing for the last speaker, I forced myself to keep my composure.  After the orientation, tears already fell from my eyes while moving the chairs to the board room.  I was trying not to cry but tears really want to fall.  Until my colleagues had noticed that my eyes are already red and crying silently.

They sent me home so I can go to my grandfather’s.  The truth is I didn’t know what to do.  If I will go there right away or I will eat first.  I thought for a long time before I decided to take a different direction first and find a place to eat so I can think clearly.

One thing I had thought of, another loved one of mine died.  At first, it was my best friend.  Now, it was my grandfather who was close to me.  In our last conversations when he can still talk then, he was telling me that he was praying for me to have a new job by then.

I wasn’t able to tell him that I already have a job since 2 weeks ago.  I wanted to tell him that I was already enjoying my work and even if I was having a hard time at first, I am doing my best. I wanted to tell him that his prayer was already answered.

I didn’t think of it before.  Only now that he’s gone.  I thought I can still talk to him after work because I plan to visit him and tell him all these.  It was too late.

In my mind, what is the message of this?  It was a long time that I didn’t get to visit my grandfather who was always praying for me that I get a new work.  Maybe he was saying, it is enough that I get to be busy again and got a job.  And that he doesn’t have to worry about anything anymore.

I was happy, on the other hand, that he already “let go.”  He was already living for 97 years and he is already old.  He cannot walk anymore and unable to eat.

It still feels different when you’ve lost someone who gives you unconditional love.  One who doesn’t demand anything in return but just to see you happy.   I admire his steadfastness because even if he is always lying down and really just have to be taken care of and that he misses our grandmother so much who is already in heaven, he still showed his determination to wake up and rise if he could everyday so that we can still have a grandfather who is the reason why we do family gatherings.  He was happy whenever he sees the whole family and relatives gathering for an occasion.  It is from my grandfather and grandmother that I learned this culture of Filipinos.  In these gatherings, everybody learns about the woes and needs of each one.  In this way, everybody can help and give support to whoever needs it, be it a moral support or financial support.  This is the Filipino family.  In this way, there is “bayanihan.”

Our clan is pure Tagalog from the province of Mindoro Oriental.  I grew up in a setting wherein the whole clan will have gatherings and in these occasions, my grandfather gives a speech.  He gives an honorable talk to all the people present.

This scenery is slowly degenerating.  Many are having a hard time speaking in pure tagalog (which is usually misinterpreted as the Filipino language).  I don’t intend to speak in pure tagalog always either but since this is the language I grew up with, I can speak in this language fluently.  I am happy to have been bestowed with this heritage by my grandfather.  He is not rich with material things but he is rich in things that show he had lived a decent life.

Thank you lolo.  You gave us a good heritage.  This is a treasure etched so to speak in our lineage—the Filipino lineage.

“Ang Lolo mo wala na…”

Natanggap ko ang text message na ito ng aking ina habang ako ay nasa opisina na kasalukuyan noong nasa orientation sa isang conference room.  Ang mga ganitong “expression” ay madalas na ginagamit na biro dito sa Pilipinas.  Nakakatawa siya kung alam mong biro ito.  Pero iba pala kapag alam mong seryoso.

Nagulat ako ng mabasa ko ito.  Bigla ko itong nasabi sa aking mga katabi at ang reaksyon nila ay hindi ganun kaseryoso.  Nalungkot na ako kaagad.  Gusto kong itago pero di ko na mapigilan.  Dahil ongoing pa ang orientation ng huling speaker pinilit kong i-compose ang aking sarili.  Pagkatapos ng orientation ay napaluha na ako habang nagliligpit ng mga upuan sa board room.  Pinipigilan ko ngunit gusto ng lumabas ng aking luha.  Hanggang sa napansin na ng aking mga kasamahan na mapula na ang aking mga mata at umiiyak na ng tahimik.

Pinauwi na nila ako para makapunta na sa aking lolo.  Ang totoo hindi ko alam kung anong gagawin ko.  Kung pupunta na ba ako kaagad doon o kakain muna ako.  Ang tagal kong nag-isip bago ako nagdesisyon na pumaiba muna ng direksyon at maghanap ng kakainan upang makaupo at makapag-isip ng maayos.

Isa sa aking mga naisip, isa nanamang mahal ko sa buhay ang nawala.  Nung una ay aking matalik na kaibigan.  Ngayon naman ay ang aking lolo na malapit sa akin.  Sa mga huli naming pag-uusap nung siya ay nakakapagsalita pa ay ikinukuwento nya sa akin na ipinagdarasal daw niya na ako’y magkatrabaho na.

Hindi ko na sa kanya naikwento na ako’y may trabaho na, 2 lingo na ang nakalilipas.  Gusto kong ikuwento sa kanya na ako’y nag-eenjoy sa aking trabaho at kahit na nahihirapan ako sa umpisa pa lang ay kinakaya ko naman at pinagbubuti.  Gusto kong sabihin sa kanya na natupad na ang kanyang dasal.

Hindi ko ito naisip noon.  Ngayon lang na wala na siya.  Akala ko ay maaabutan ko pa siya pagtapos ng aking trabaho; balak kong dumalaw sa kanya.  Di na ako nakaabot.

Sa aking isip, ano kaya ang mensahe noon?  Matagal na di ako dumalaw sa aking lolo na parating nagdarasal para sa akin na makapagtrabaho na muli.  Siguro sabi niya, sapat na iyon na naging busy na ako at nagkaroon na ako ng trabaho.  At saka wala na siyang dapat alalahanin.

Natutuwa ako sa isang banda na nag “let go” na siya.  Siya ay 97 na taon ng nabubuhay at matanda na siya.  Hindi na siya nakakatayo at di na rin makakain.

Iba pa rin na mawala ang isang taong alam mong wagas ang pagmamahal sa iyo.  Na walang hinihiling na kapalit kundi makita ka lamang at mas maganda kung ikaw ay masaya.  Hanga ako sa kanyang tatag dahil kahit na lagi na lamang siyang nakahiga at alagain na at alam naming miss na miss na niya ang lola na nasa langit na ay pinilit pa rin niyang gumising at bumangon bawat araw upang may lolo pa kami na siyang dahilan upang kami ay magtipun-tipon na kanyang pamilya.  Masaya siya kapag nakikita niya ang buong mag-anak at mga magkakamag-anak na magkakasama para sa isang okasyon.  Sa aking lolo at lola ko nalaman ang ganitong kaugalian ng mga Pilipino.  Sa mga pagtitipong ito, dito nalalaman ng isa’t isa ang mga hinaing at kailangan ng bawat isa.  Sa ganitong paraan natutulungan at nabibigyang pansin ang mga pangangailangan ng isa’t isa, mapa-moral o pinansyal na suporta.  Ito ang pamilyang Pilipino.  Sa ganitong paraan nagkakaroon ng bayanihan.

Ang aming angkan ay purong tagalog mula sa lalawigan ng Mindoro Oriental.  Lumaki akong lagi kaming nagtitipun-tipon na magkakamag-anak at sa mga okasyon na ito ay nagbibigay ng talumpati ang aking lolo.  Nagbibigay ng mga salitang marangal para sa mga taong naroroon.

Paunti-unti ang ganitong senaryo ay hindi na naipapakita.  Marami ay hirap nang magsalita sa purong tagalog.  Hindi ko rin naman ninanais na magsalita ng purong tagalog palagi ngunit dahil sa ito ang kinalakihan ko, marunong akong magsalita ng mahusay nito.  Natutuwa ako sa pamanang ito ng aking lolo.  Hindi siya mayaman sa materyal na bagay ngunit mayaman siya sa mga bagay na naipapakita na siya ay namuhay ng marangal.

Salamat lolo.  Binigyan mo kami ng magandang pamana.  Ito ay yaman na nakaukit na kung baga sa ating lahi–sa lahing Filipino.