Daddy (non)issues | Inquirer Opinion

Daddy (non)issues

I have no dad. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Jayson Tatum had no fathers and they’re NBA superstars. I’m no NBA superstar. I feel like I drew the short end of the stick with this one. That’s why Nikola Jokić is my greatest of all time. Seeing other NBA superstars with single moms do great in the league really taps into my inferiority complex. For the same reason, I don’t read Stephen King books.

I have no dad. I tell people I meet on my travels that my real dad is Anthony Bourdain. “No, really.” I’ll let them know with a straight face. Another “no, really” in case they don’t believe me the first time. ”Yeah, Tony, I mean dad has always had a thing for mom since their first meeting. I wouldn’t say mom was the reason they shot an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s ‘No Reservations’ and ‘Parts Unknown’ in the Philippines but it’s basically like that.” I’d say with a sly smile enough to make them question whether I’m being sarcastic or I’m delusional. “The only reason I have a passion for traveling is that my dad was a huge advocate for it,” I’d say in a rehearsed tone. “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” I’d quote Anthony Bourdain as I roll up my sleeve to strike my coup de grâce, an Anthony Bourdain-inspired tattoo on my right arm.

I have no dad. No, he’s not dead. He just has another family—which is the same thing.

I have no dad. I’ve rarely longed for the presence of one. Apart from some days when I wish somebody had taught me how to fix my follow through on my jump shot, how to shave, and how to pick up women. Granted, I did learn those eventually—so you might say I’m my own father. To be fair, a lot of my parenting comes with the help of my co-parent. The internet. I wasn’t even searching for these things to begin with. Instagram reels and targeted content have become eerily intrusive to recommending me basketball coaching, self-help, confidence coaching, and ASMR beard-shaving reels. Somewhere, in the Meta office, someone out there is looking out for us fatherless children, handpicking “be-your-own-father” content.


I have no dad. On Father’s Day, we celebrate my mom. “Happy Father’s Day to my mom who cried in the bathroom when I was on the plane from Manila to Madrid,” I write in a Facebook post with a picture of us. I guess my mom did a good job of making us feel the love of two parents on her own. There was one summer I worked as a camp counselor. As a counselor, I’m responsible for my small group of 10 children. Three kids decided to go to the river and go spelunking, while I calmed down three little girls who missed their moms, while the angsty teenage clique (too cool to listen to any authority figure) left for god knows where. On my first night in the camp, I called my mom and told her how hard it was for me to take care of 10 children and how it must be for her mom to raise her and 11 other siblings. Mom said she had neighbors, yayas, Lola’s friends to take care of her whenever Lola couldn’t. “This is my atonement, for all the years I was a difficult child,” I told my mom.

I have no dad. A “cereal packet family” is overrated if you ask me. A “broken” family is where it’s at. You can’t be anxious about a parent’s absenteeism if they’ve never been there. It’s all about consistency, see, some fathers show up at some moments and then be absent at key moments. Mine just doesn’t. Therapists would lose at least 30 percent of their income if parental absenteeism didn’t exist. Don’t get me started on families that are “happy.” I know you, the conflict-avoidant family who’s a symptom of a divorce-less country—always on the tipping point—one fight away from irreconcilable differences but choose not to address it because we’re told to work our way through it and we have no other option but to do so.

I have no dad. On Christmas day he called me on Messenger, “Hello son, how are you? Are you celebrating with your brother?” he asked.

“Yes, he’s coming over later. I’m outside to pick up some friends,” I replied.


Another face popped into the screen.

“Look. It’s your brother,” he said to the person next to him.


She was younger than me—this is the first time I’d seen any of my stepsiblings.

“Where is he?” she asked.


“I want to go there, hopefully, I will.”

I nodded my head. “I’ll go ahead. My friends are here. Enjoy your Christmas and the rest of your holidays!” I meant the pleasantries.

I feel like a side character in a Hallmark movie. While the main character finds love in a small town during Christmas. I, as the side character, find inner peace during the holiday.

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Conrad delos Reyes, 27, was born in Isabela but is an adopted child of Baguio. He plays video games or reads a book in a no-frill cafe somewhere during his idle time.

TAGS: Young Blood

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