MANILA, Philippines - If adventure were a man, I’m pretty sure that I would be his daughter because he would definitely have to be my father, Larry.
In the same way that an adventure is full of mysteries, so is Tatay.
On the surface, he seems uptight and old-fashioned, what with his decade-old leather shoes in pristine condition and his signature look of perfectly ironed short-sleeved polo shirt tucked into straight-cut blue jeans. Of course, a leather belt is the cherry to the cake.
But also imagine that same man donning an old loose shirt, cargo shorts and a cap, scaling rocks as big as houses and swimming across a pool the size of a lake. He is an adventure to those who know what is beneath the surface.
Photo from Keisha Halili
I would never have been a lover of adventures if it were not for my Tatay.
The earliest memory I have with him was when he took my mom and I to his hometown in Bulacan when I was 2 years old. My first adventure was riding an airplane. I don’t remember much of the flight but it must have been a pleasant experience because, ever since, I’ve become fond of riding planes.
His job as a metallurgical engineer meant that he was away most of the time as I was growing up. He was away for weeks or months but his every return was always a promise of adventure. He would take the whole family (my mother, my younger brother and I) to Davao City which was 2 hours away by bus from our house. The city was still begging to be explored, and my father was an eager explorer.
He led us as we roamed the first malls of the city, rode the Ferris wheel inside the mall for a hundred times until my head spun, ate food that we never get to eat at home and let my brother and I check out the toy section even just to look at the toys and never buy them. He never spoiled us with too much toys, which ensured the trip to the toy section to always be an adventure.
It has also been a tradition for us to watch movies together, something that continues until now. Then before the day ends, we pick a hotel to stay in for the night, each weekend a new one, until at some point, I was convinced that we had stayed in every major hotel and inn in the city.
Photo from Keisha Halili
We are not a rich family. Tatay always reminded us of that. My mother would then ask, “Saan tayo mayaman? (What are we rich in?)" To which my brother and I would cheesily reply, “Sa pagmamahal. (In love)."
I do feel that love in our adventures.
My father taught all of us, his 3 children, how to ride a bike. Later, he allowed me to drive the family car while he was in the passenger’s seat. No one in the family liked riding when I was driving but my father was a brave one. I hate to admit that I’m a terrible driver.
Good thing that he is far from being a terrible father. He taught us basketball by building a small court at the back of our house. From shooting hoops, my love for sports sprouted from there. My brothers are basketball fans to this day.
Photo from Keisha Halili
When he bought our first second-hand van when I was in 6th grade, a new set of adventures began.
We often went to nearby beaches which we could rarely do before. There, we spent early mornings eating hot pandesal with coffee or, sometimes, take-out from Jollibee. We waddled in the lukewarm water and pretended like we owned the sea, at least for a couple of hours before the sun was hot enough to scorch our skins.
Soon after, Tatay bought a new SUV and this one took us to lots of farther places. But the SUV was merely a vehicle (pun not intended) for bringing out the adventurer in him, and in all of us as well.
Because of Tatay, I knew how to be amazed at the majesty of waterfalls, to be high on the adrenaline rush of white-water rafting, to swim for an hour and a half because your life literally depended on it, to walk the entire length of the San Juanico Bridge and to travel a dangerous and upward terrain for hours only to find out that the destination is heavily guarded by devil dogs.
Au naturel! Photo from Keisha Halili
Sometimes, our adventures happen inside the comfort of our home. My father cracked jokes a lot. Humor was abundant in the family. He also taught us how to have fun with computer games. We raced cars, shot hoops, bounced Mario, built armies and killed each other… in cyberspace.
And of course, how can we miss the great adventure of eating. Tatay, being a Bulaceño, loves home-cooked Pinoy food. But I love how he sometimes gives in when I want Japanese, or Korean. We all do agree on chocolates and ice cream, though. When Tatay is around, the refrigerator overflows with both.
Thank you for everything! Photo from Keisha Halili
Call this a cliché, but the greatest adventure of all is simply having him for a father. He may not always be physically around for us, but when he is, boy, does he make up for it.
I can never repay him enough for making my life so much fun to live. I can only love him, and make sure he knows that. - Rappler.com
(More Father's Day stories until the month ends. Let us celebrate our fathers not just on this day but every day!
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