Remembering My First Teachers (A Daughter’s Memoirs) #MondayMemoirs #atozchallenge2017

Note: It was supposed to be a simple Facebook post about Teachers’ Day/Month, but their memories inspired me. The first is the English translation, followed by the original, which I admit is better. I realized it would be great to use it as my “M” word for the A to Z Challenge I was finishing since I’ve had “memoirs” in my head for a long while now.
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“Respect the teachers that awaken minds, for while we owe our lives to our parents, we owe our humanity to our teachers.” (Gregoria de Jesus) — Just my translation. Credits go to Project Saysay

I had teachers for parents. I never knew of anything else they did for work except be educators. Teaching had always been their profession long before I was born. My father only had to stop teaching when he suffered a mild stroke. It affected his brain, causing the short-term memory loss. He became more temperamental, yet he could be jolly and quite the joker as well. He became more expressive. He could be difficult, too, his maturity having somewhat returned to the level of a younger man’s. There came a point when it seemed I gained a teenage brother that I had to often reprimand for being annoying and difficult.

Despite that, my father still knew who was the parent and who was the child, especially when I had to be reminded that I was still the child. His brows would meet and he’d sternly say my name as a warning. That was the father I knew: just one look and my sister and I would sit and shut up.

My mother had to stop teaching much later due to her ailments — she decided to file for an early retirement. She had always been sickly even when I was little. I remember a time that I, being a child, unintentionally hurt her feelings. Having learned a big word, I said that she was just being a hypochondriac. This really hurt her feelings and I immediately felt bad and regretted it. I could not say sorry at all.

From then on, however, I did not look at her ailments as simply nothing. And it made me admire her more for despite everything that she was going through, my mother was still able to work hard and guide her students, including other people around her.

They taught and helped so many.

A lot of my father’s students got along well with him, some became his friends, and many learned how to plant/garden, build stuff (I only remember that the subject was called “Shop”), and be good at sports, particularly in volleyball.

I will never forget the almost-weekly volleyball games at our barangay school every Saturday or Sunday. He would simply dribble the ball on the still-newly cemented road and its sounds would echo. Soon, those who wanted to join would arrive one by one, be they current students or past students, whatever the age.

Meanwhile, my mother had so many children, those she helped not just in learning math (geometry, trigonometry) but in their personal lives. There were those who found the right path again through her after getting lost. We heard of these stories from the various former students who went to pay their last respects during her wake. She would sometimes give money to kids who had no allowance. Other times, she would visit the parents of kids with school problems or who were usually absent. On many Saturdays, too, she chose to be at the school to prepare various things for the days ahead.

They said she was strict, but she was also a joy and a dear friend. I knew that, I saw that, I felt that. And while I felt somewhat jealous of them, I didn’t harbor ill feelings because even then, I knew of how good a person she was.

…My apologies. I felt like sharing these memories with you since this is the time to pay tribute to our teachers. I would like to salute the two people who were my first teachers. They were not perfect, but they were the first to teach me what it means to be human. I have not yet surpassed or achieved what they did, but they will serve as my inspiration. Most of all, they are the reason that I’m alive and why I am here.

This also pays tribute to them whose leaving has been a real loss to those of us that they loved and that love them still.

A SALUTE TO ALL OUR BELOVED TEACHERS!!!

Now, the Facebook post:

Naging guro ang mga magulang ko. Lumaki akong walang ibang alam kundi guro sila. Ipinanganak ako na iyon na ang kanilang hanap-buhay.

Natigil lamang ang aking ama sa pagtuturo noong siya’y magka-mild stroke. Naapektuhan nito ang utak niya, na naging sanhi ng kanyang short-term memory loss. Naging mas madaling uminit ang ulo, pero mas masayahin at maloko rin. Mas ‘expressive’. Mas matigas din ang ulo, sapagka’t mistula siyang bumalik sa panahong siya’y binata o binatilyo. Dumating ang panahon na tila nagkaroon ako ng lalaking kapatid na madalas pagsabihan sa kakulitan at katigasan ng ulo.

Gayunpaman, alam pa rin niya kung sino ang magulang at sino ang anak, lalo na kapag nakakalimutan kong anak pa rin nga pala ako. Titingin siya ng nakakunot-noo at mariing sasabihin ang pangalan ko bilang babala. Ganoon ang dating ama na kilala ko: isang tingin pa lamang ay tumatahimik na ako at ang ate ko.

Ang aking ina naman ay tumigil dahilan sa kanyang mga sakit — nagpasya siyang mag-retiro nang mas maaga. Bata pa ako ay sakitin na siya. Naroong bilang bata, nasaktan ko ang damdamin niya. Minsan, palibhasa ay natuto ng isang salitang malalim, nasambit ko na ‘hypochondriac’ lang siya. Dinamdam niya ito nang labis at pagkatapos na pagkatapos ay pinagsisihan ko ito. Hindi ko nagawang humingi ng tawad.

Nguni’t mula noon, hindi ko na ipinagwalang-bahala ang kanyang mga karamdaman. Kaya’t ako’y napahanga rin niya sapagka’t bagama’t may mga karamdamang dinadala, nagawa pa rin niyang maging masipag at umalalay sa kanyang mga mag-aaral, pati na rin sa ibang tao sa paligid.

Marami silang naturuan at natulungan.

Marami sa mga mag-aaral ng aking ama ang kanyang naging kabiruan, mayroong ibang naging kaibigan, at marami ang natutong magtanim, bumuo ng mga bagay (“Shop” lang ang alam kong tawag sa asignaturang ‘yon noon), at maging magaling sa larangan ng palakasan, partikular na sa volleyball.

Di ko malilimutan ang halos linggo-linggong paglalaro nila ng volleyball sa paaralan ng barangay tuwing Sabado o Linggo. Patatalbugin lamang ang bola sa noo’y bago pa ring sementadong daan at aalingawngaw ang tunog nito. Maya-maya ay magsisidating ang nais makisali, mga kasalukuyang mag-aaral man o dating mag-aaral, anuman ang edad.

Ang aking ina naman ay maraming naging anak, mga natulungan di lang sa pag-aaral ng matematika (geometry, trigonometry) kundi sa personal na buhay. May ilan na natutong bumalik mula sa lumihis na daan. Nalaman namin ito mula sa maraming dumalaw upang makiramay sa kanyang paglisan. Naroong bigyan niya ng perang baon ang mag-aaral niya. Naroong puntahan ang mga magulang ng ibang nagka-suliranin sa pag-aaral o kaya’y madalas lumiban sa klase. Naroong kahit Sabado ay pinili niyang pumasok upang gumawa ng mga dapat ihanda para sa mga susunod na araw.

Sabi nila, kahit siya ay naging istrikto, naging masayahin at kaibigan nila siya. Alam ko iyon, nakita ko, nadama ko. At kahit na may lihim akong tampo dala ng selos, di ko ito itinanim sa sarili ko sapagka’t noon pa man, batid ko ang kanyang kabutihan ng loob.

…Pasensya na. Naisip ko lang ibahagi ang mga ito sapagka’t ngayon ay panahon ng pagpupugay para sa mga guro. Nagpupugay din ako sa dalawang una kong naging mga guro. Bagama’t di perpekto, sila and unang nagturo sa akin ng pagpapakatao. Hindi ko pa nahihigitan o naaabot man lamang ang nagawa nila, pero sila ang magsisilbing inspirasyon ko. Higit sa lahat, sila ang dahilan ng aking pagiging tao at kung bakit ako naririto.

Ibinahagi ko na rin ito bilang pagpupugay sa kanila na ang paglisan ay tunay na kawalan sa aming kanilang minahal at sa kanila’y nagmamahal.

PAGPUPUGAY PARA SA LAHAT NG MAHAL NATING MGA GURO!!!

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Have you thanked your teachers yet?

M is for “Memoirs”

This piece serves as my Letter M post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.

For my previous posts, kindly visit my A to Z Challenge 2017 page.

For YOU Who Were Most Special

It’s the love month and I decided to write about stuff that I love or has to do with love for the whole month. So I had an idea and was looking for an audio from my computer archive. For some reason, it wasn’t working the way it used to. I also came to this page because I was going to check how I was able to post videos before. Then I realized that this should be my first post in relation to Valentine’s. I had decided on a theme last week: love in various forms. Now I realize this is exactly the correct way to start.

It’s a reblog, but I still want to pay tribute to my parents who loved me and my sister. I still cannot believe that it’s almost two years. I still remember them like they’re in front of me. But I am happy in the sense that they do not anymore have to suffer and that, even through the hardships we are facing in this world, they are guiding us. Maybe some people who know them and would be able to read this would just mock this tribute, but we cannot do anything about that. We cannot change people. We can only change ourselves…

To Mame and Dade, Happy Valentine’s!!!

We love you!!!!

The End Justifies the Journey

It would have been a given if I wrote about them already. As a writer, it would have been natural, normal, and expected that as a form of tribute, I shared my feelings or thoughts then, maybe my feelings or thoughts now, or maybe talked about how they had been as parents. That had been my intention for weeks, trying to find the right way, the right words so that I could give them the best tribute I could.

But very honestly, losing my parents recently — one followed the other after only a span of two months — writing such a great tribute would be something of a feat for me as of the moment. Not because they don’t deserve it but because I might never finish writing with the tears clouding my eyes. Grief does that to people. Yes, I know the Five Stages of Grief, and yes…

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For YOU Who Were Most Special

It would have been a given if I wrote about them already. As a writer, it would have been natural, normal, and expected that as a form of tribute, I shared my feelings or thoughts then, maybe my feelings or thoughts now, or maybe talked about how they had been as parents. That had been my intention for weeks, trying to find the right way, the right words so that I could give them the best tribute I could.

But very honestly, losing my parents recently — one followed the other after only a span of two months — writing such a great tribute would be something of a feat for me as of the moment. Not because they don’t deserve it but because I might never finish writing with the tears clouding my eyes. Grief does that to people. Yes, I know the Five Stages of Grief, and yes, I did more research on them, and yes, regardless of the surprisingly strong person I seemed to friends, it still does hurt me till now. I’ve asked once when people’s  feelings of grief go away and others who have been there provided the answer: THEY DON’T, NOT REALLY. But what we do is move on. Not really forget, just move on. In a way, to not forget also offers some kind of relief. Loved ones are too special to forget.

Going back to writing, I think I have found the best way to pay tribute to these two noble teachers with this short piece I wrote years ago. It is funny in a sad way that most often, we only learn to appreciate, understand and get to know our loved ones more when they are gone…

WE LOVE YOU, MAME AND DADE

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The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder –

a waif, a nothing, a no man.”

(Thomas Carlyle)

            Many of us go through life wading in the water, creating only the smallest of ripples, afraid to go even farther and deeper lest we drown. We are so much afraid of taking risks only to find ourselves failing. Therefore, we are contented just being safe – too safe – that we do not leave our comfort zones to find and explore what it is that God has laid out for us. We are men without direction, without purpose, without living. We simply exist.

            Fortunately, there are still a few good men (and women) among us who dare to defy the norm. More fortunately, there are those who dare to do more than defy the norm. They change the world for the better, living not only for themselves but for others as well.

            Truly, heroes are those who first think with their hearts. They are made for a mission after all and that is to save lives. Rick Warren’s (The Purpose Driven Life) words seem to reflect what their purpose in this world is all along: “It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness.”

            So what sets a man above the rest? Instead of ripples, he creates the waves that get him to his destination. For all of it is heart. You see, it’s the heart that makes the man.

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A few videos from YouTube, especially for those who lost their parents as well (the last is in Filipino / Tagalog and shows no lyrics so I am sharing an English translation I made years ago as well):

The song Ugoy ng Duyan, literally translated to “the swaying of the hammock”, was composed by Lucio San Pedro and the lyrics were by Levi Celerio. Versions have already been recorded in the past by Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez and Aiza Seguerra.

LULLING CRADLE

Those good old days, I pray won’t fade
When I was young and in Mother’s care
Oh, to hear dear Mother’s lullaby again
The song of love as she rocked my cradle.

In my deep and peaceful slumber
The stars watch over me in vigil
Life was like heaven in the arms of Mother
Now my heart longs for the lulling cradle.

Those good old days, I pray won’t fade
When I was young and in Mother’s care
Oh, to hear dear Mother’s lullaby again
The song of love as she rocked my cradle.

Lull me, Mother, in my dear old cradle
Oh, Mother.

 

Translation Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

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DISCLAIMER: The translation above should not, in any way, be taken as an official translation. It is only a translation I made so that people would understand the lyrics. However, please do not just copy off and not give credit or link here. Also, I am mentioning this as I am finding out that my version has been copied and being mistaken as the official translation. It is not and is probably not even the best translation. To not confuse you, I used to own a Multiply account using the ID “lildovefeather”. Many of those who shared this translation do give a link to the page, but the problem now is it’s not existent anymore. They can either link to this page, or to THIS…Thanks for understanding.