Musings on Father's Day
by rudy a. arizala
19 June 2016, Santiago, Chile
Fathers Day this year falls on 19 june 2016, the birth anniversary of our “Father of the nation”, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.
I remember how my late father celebrated said anniversary when I was a growing up child of about six years old. He took me with him to participate in a civic parade in our hometown in celebration of Rizal’s birthday.
When a guest speaker at a program after the parade mentioned in his speech that the Filipino Father of the Nation was sentenced to die by musketry by Spanish authorities, I asked father why the people of our town were friendly to a Spanish businessman named “Paco” (Francisco) Garcia engaged in the business of copra and forest products. My father told me those Spaniards who opted to stay in the Philippines including those in our town after the termination of the U.S.-Spanish War, were law-abiding nationals, friendly to Filipinos, and contributed to the trade and cultural development of the country.
As a matter of fact, a sister of “Paco” Garcia in our town, Dona Isabel Garcia y Fernandez who resided in our town for many years, left a Last Will and Testament. Out of her love and admiration for the people of Infanta, from her Estate she set up a Trust Fund to be spent in the cultural development of the people of our town. Part of said amount was spent in publication of a book titled: Infanta, Passage to the Pacific.
The book was published in 2004 by the BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands) Foundation Inc., edited by Ms. Veronica Tapia Merk. It portrays the history of the “mythical” town of Infanta, its traditions and culture and economic development. Its objective according to the Foreword is “to generate the kind of partnership that brings about the best of Infanta and benefits all its people without dispoiling its natural resources or way of life.”
The Spaniards were not the only early settlers in the Philippines. Prior to Western colonial days, the Chinese have been residing in the country. They engaged in trade and business. They were also good artisans, tailors, shoemakers, and bakers, master chefs or excellent cooks. One China man named Cua Lim married an “auntie” of mine and became a Filipino citizen and adopted the name “Jose Cua”. He engaged in lumber business and in hauling logs at sea with his motor launch or boat. He later on joined his children in the United States who were either U.S. permanent residents or became naturalized American citizens. During his old age, he still reminisces about his life and business in the Philippines which enabled him to send to college or university all his children.
It is, therefore, but fitting and proper if on Fathers Day, we do not only remember and pay tribute to our respective fathers but also to Rizal, “the Father of the Nation”, as well as to foreign nationals who opted to reside in the Philippines and contributed to the cultural and economic development of our country. They are unknown and unsung “Fathers of the nation”!
As a tribute, to all of them, may I share with you the lines below.
FATHERS DAY FOR ALL
by Rudy A. Arizala
19 June 2016
Fathers day in memory
Will forever be with me
Up to my old age since birth
Me too become a father
So in my prayer to Deity
Path father blazed and travelled
Be also pathway for us
And bestowed by Almighty
As evening guiding star
And at dawn shining brightly
For all fathers this country
Without regard to his race.