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The unique ‘apostolate’ of Filipino grandparents

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Trust the Filipino to give a foreign word a culturally-specific meaning. The word “apostolate,” an Old English term taken from Latin, refers to a messenger’s mission in the Christian tradition. But, in the playful jargon of the Pinoy senior citizen, the root word “apostle” is replaced by “apo” (grandchild), even as all the rich references of the biblical usage are retained. Thus, when Pinoy grandparents are asked what preoccupies them in retirement, the ready answer they give which requires no elaboration is that they are busy with their “apostolate.”

Posted: August 10th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Tres Marias’ (+1)

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“You talk about your sisters a lot.” My best friend told me that once, and even if I can’t identify the time she said it, I remember it fresh in my head. I mean, how could I not remember it when it triggered so many thoughts? And, in effect, led me to open a blank Word document and start writing?

Posted: August 5th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Remembering a day from the distant past

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I don’t know exactly how it happened, but by some strange alchemy, time and distance were spanned, and I was once again a child of seven living with my parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and grandfather under one roof (Chinese-style) in our huge house in Binondo. And seated beside my mother at breakfast, watching my Tia Mercedes, across from us, dunking her churros into a small cup of thick chocolate and hearing her voice addressing my mother: “Que dices, Ching?” (Mamang’s name was Consolacion, but her nickname was Ching) “Vamos a llevar estas criades esta tarde al Jardin Botanico?”

Posted: July 26th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

A woman who sacrifices everything for family

My mother, Teresita Balisi Tamayo, phoned me one Sunday afternoon and sadly told me that her eyesight was getting worse. She said that her right eye could not see anymore. She said she had sought the advice of an eye doctor and was told that she had to undergo a refractive surgery due to cataract. During our phone conversation, she sobbed and it was the first time my mother requested me to pray for her in earnest. She said that she dreads the day she may no longer see me and my elder bother Rogie and our respective families.

Posted: May 10th, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Lessons from Mang Felix

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I am very lucky to have known Mang Felix, from whom I learned life’s most enduring lessons. Mang Felix lost his father when he was five, then lost all his siblings shortly after. His mother became blind years later. He worked in the farm. Through sheer determination he finished his freshman year in college, and then he got married and raised a family of nine.

Posted: April 23rd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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