For Mother’s Day, my family took advantage of an invitation issued by Sandee and Andrew Masigan to partake of lunch in their restaurant, XO46 in Makati.
At the end of the meal, the service staff handed me a bag of “goodies” from the magazine Good Housekeeping and a gift box from Nestlé which contained two milk cartons, one of them low-fat milk. The items were apparently part of a Mother’s Day promo to make all mothers being treated to a meal on their special day feel even more special.
On the way back, my son and his fiancée regaled us with stories of the antics of a Labrador puppy they had recently adopted, indicating to me that motherhood starts even before a woman gets pregnant and bears a child.
Afterwards, we visited Loyola Memorial Park to lay flowers on the graves of my mother and of my sister Neneng, our way of greeting them Happy Mother’s Day, too. Later, we went to the Sison home in Quezon City for our Jimenez Flores de Mayo observance. There we happily met again with Lola Elong Sison, whose daughter Mayang is married to my cousin Ruben Pascual. Despite having 13 children of her own, Lola Elong has opened her life story and her many advocacies to us Jimenez cousins, and we greeted her like a long-lost friend, or a long-missed grandmother. Together with two other cherished lolas, my Tita Chul Azarcon and Tita Ansing Jimenez, we heard Mass, said the Rosary, and lined up to offer flowers to the beloved image of Mama Mary which has been with the family for decades. The day ended with a lesson on how motherhood never ends, how maternal caring continues even beyond the grave, and how mothering can take myriad forms and a range of relations.
* * *
Indeed, Filipinos love their nanays (mothers).
A lifestyle feature in this paper on Mother’s Day introduced the mother of the redoubtable Tulfo brothers, who are well-known for their macho swagger and their daring to take on even the powerful and sinister. And though their father was an army colonel, the interview made clear from where the brothers got their gumption. When any brother proved too much to handle, Caridad Tulfo said she prayed to the Lord that the brother be taken, so much so that the youngest Raffy had trouble sleeping for fear of being carried off to heaven in his sleep as his mother threatened. Talk about nerves of steel!
But really, it takes more than just flower offerings, sumptuous lunches or milk cartons to show mothers how much we care and how valuable mothers are. (Without them, we would not have a life!)
We could, for starters, look out for the health and welfare of mothers. “A healthy mom makes for a happy family,” declared Remedios Ignacio-Rikken, herself an exemplary mother and grandmother, and chair of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).
“If the family is the basic unit of society and our goal is to build a healthy and wealthy nation, we should ensure that mothers should have the capacity to plan and decide the number and spacing of their children, have access to free or affordable maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services, and opportunities are available for women’s socio-economic well-being,” Rikken pointed out.
* * *
The PCW chair was apparently referring to the continuing troubles that the Reproductive Health bill has been facing on the road to passage and enactment. As Emmeline Verzosa, PCW executive director declared: “A mother’s health is a concern closely tied to reproductive health.”
While the RH bill, when passed, will address pressing social concerns such as maternal deaths, Verzosa says it would also protect the health of future mothers (and fathers). It would provide for age-appropriate education on responsible human sexuality so that “young people become aware of the big consequences of actions they take out of ignorance of reproductive functions, curiosity or experimentation.”
It is also true that motherhood can begin even when a mother is not prepared for it, or did not want it. Showing mothers how we care for them begins even before a young woman is ready to be a mother, and means ensuring women become mothers only when they choose to be so, and are ready to take on this vital role.
* * *
Despite the political realignments taking place and the firming up of opposing senatorial slates across the political spectrum, a leader of Lakas-CMD (full name: Lakas ng Tao-Christian Muslim Democrats) has assured that the party will continue to be a “critical partner” in national development.
While not coming right out and saying it will stand with the ruling Liberal Party in next year’s elections, Lakas president and newly elected chair of its Council of Leaders Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. said it intends to partner with the administration’s efforts to spur socio-economic development.
Revilla, unanimously chosen as chair of the council, stressed that Lakas is not seeking to form any coalition, although “definitely we will endorse any senatorial candidate who we think would be of help to our country.” They are also in the process of drawing up their own senatorial slate.
The senator also made clear that Kampi, the political party formed by Arroyo supporters to challenge the Lakas dominance in local and national politics, and which eventually joined with Lakas, is no longer affiliated with the party.
Although Lakas has obviously lost strength in recent years (“lakas” is the Tagalog word for strength), Revilla stressed that the party is far from dead, noting that the national council meeting was attended by numerous congressmen, governors, mayors and other local officials. Lakas, he said, has been tested by time and by now has racked up “an irrefutable track record.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.