[Father’s Day] Passion and persistence

Karen Alparce-Villanueva
A proud daughter writes about her trailblazer father

WANTED: DAD'S QUIRKINESS. Karen misses having discussions with her passionate father. Photo from Karen Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines – My dad was some sort of character.

Whether you ask our neighbors, relatives and even his officemates, he was undoubtedly one of a kind.

To start with, he cultivated a lot of interests and was passionate about them. He loved music and made sure that he constructed a little music room which was unique and distinctive. Our music room had cork for the walls, heavy dark drapes and an orange-crates ceiling — the better to ensure excellent acoustics. He hung around audiophiles before it was cool. He made sure to have one of the best tube sound systems all the way from the U.S. and loved to invite his friends over to listen to music. He had a wide collection of vinyl records and I remember his music reels. It was his way of unwinding and he retreated to his man cave every night.  

Next, he went into photography (again, way before everyone who had a camera became avid shooters). When he started this hobby, the medium was slides, so we had carousels full of slides at home. He even taught us how to develop black and white photographs. Friends and family came to know him as the person who would faithfully document all activities.

He also developed a keen interest in motorcycles, earning the monicker “Chips” when he suddenly bought one, complete with saddle bags and a CB antenna. He would proudly ride his motorcycle as he went about his activities in our subdivision.

My dad was also passionate about air pollution in the subdivision where we lived. Because Merville Park was very close to the airports, he started an advocacy which he called “Stop Air Noise” because he himself was a victim of this, along with the children in the public schools near the airport. He persistently badgered the Air Transport Office, the Congress and whoever would listen to him from the media to present his case. He even spent his own money to raise awareness on the dangers of air pollution. Again, way before environmental issues were top of mind.

What did all his passions teach me?

They taught me that it’s okay to be different and that one’s life should be multi-faceted rather than one-dimensional. A person has family, work, personal interests, community interests and national interests — “makialam at makilahok.”

He hated apathy and indifference. Had he lived to see the political ongoings, he would have engaged me in a lively discussion to share his views and thoughts.

I miss those exchanges. I miss how excited he would be, debating and arguing. I miss my Dad’s quirkiness. – Rappler.com   

(See you guys on Sunday, June 17, 3 PM, for a live Father’s Day Tweet convo @rapplerdotcom #loveyoudad)

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