Today, September 10, is my father’s birthday. If he were still here, he would be 73. I would probably be home and he, my mother and I would be eating something special together at the dinner table. If not tonight, I would make sure to be home this weekend to spend the special day with the family.
He would have complete rein over the TV…Well, maybe not complete; it would not be realistic if we didn’t fight over it a bit . Maybe we’d playfully spar a little, too (I was his “alternative son”, anyway), or I’d kiss him so hard on the cheek that would make him cry out, or I’d tickle his belly that would send him laughing hysterically and my mother would shout at me to stop it. Of course, my sister and her family would most definitely be calling from Surigao to greet him, and he would be so happy hearing from his grandchild whom he didn’t remember most of the time but she was always in his heart.
I would be gifting him with a jacket or a baseball cap or even food that would be just specially for him. Since he became home-bound, it was not easy to think of other kinds of gifts for someone like him anymore. But you know what? He was always glad to receive and he would wear the clothes or cap as proudly as he wore jackets and caps back when he was still Sir Federizo, the P.E. teacher who taught most of the barrio kids how to play excellent volleyball and brought them to athletic meets — the glory days that seemed just years ago to him. If it’s food, he would be teasing my mother, taunting her because I gave it to him and she had none, then he would laugh his happy laugh like he pulled a funny trick on you.
If his birthday happened to be on a Saturday, for sure, we would be watching Maalaala Mo Kaya. My mother and I would wait till end credits. The theme song would start and there would be a sudden sparkle in his eyes like he remembered a lovely memory, but before he could say something, I’d blurt out without pause, “Dade, you sang that song in a choir when you were fourteen, right, because your teacher made you all sing, but you didn’t really sing and just moved your mouth and your group won second place anyway!” He would give an amused or astonished look wondering how in the world I knew, then laugh scratching his head after my telling him how. Every time we watched it in many years, he would always proudly tell the story like it was the first time.
Well I miss that. And that was why even though some probably thought it corny, it was one of the songs I requested that be played as we laid him to rest on May 27, 2012. Of course, I cried. And for a long time I refrained from watching the show. if only to avoid the song. But I miss his face, his voice, his laughter, his stories. So today, I would like to send this special gift to him, one that I know he will hear.
I love you, Dade, and I miss you, and yes, palagi kitang maaalala, narito ka sa puso ko (I will always remember you, you are here in my heart).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DADE KONG MAKULIT
The song above was sung by Dulce and is the most-played (I think) and best (my opinion) version. Lyrics below. First in Filipino, then my English translation, although I’d rather call it interpretation because I did my own take on it a bit:
MAALAALA MO KAYA
Written and Composed by Constancio de Guzman
Maalaala mo kaya ang sumpa mo sa akin
Na ang pag-ibig mo ay sadyang di magmamaliw?
Kung nais mong matanto, buksan ang aking puso
At tanging larawan mo ang doo’y nakatago
“Di ka kaya magbago sa iyong pagmamahal?”
Hinding-hindi giliw ko hanggang sa libingan
O kay sarap mabuhay, lalo na’t may lambingan
Ligaya sa puso ko ay di na mapaparam
WOULD YOU STILL REMEMBER
Would you still remember a promise made
That your love for me would never ever fade?
Look inside my heart, should you wish to see
And you shall find only an image of you in me
“Could you possibly have a change of heart?”
No, never, my darling, till death do us part
Oh, what wonderful life, to share love so tender
My happy heart will stay with you forever
PLEASE TAKE NOTE: The translation above should not, in any way, be taken as an official translation. It is only a translation I made so that people will understand. However, doesn’t mean you can just copy off and not give credit or link here….Thanks for understanding.