A seminarian – this is the identity to which I was born the very moment I stepped in the holy grounds of the Carreño House of Formation. With this identity I am most happy to share with you a piece of my life, beautifully twined with untold stories of two great souls.
9 June 2005 marks the day when I realize my dream of becoming a seminarian – an expedition towards knowing myself and my journey along the road less traveled began. On this blessed day, I also embarked on a soulful recollection and pondered upon the lives of two persons whose love, care, support and understanding has translated into my life the divine virtues – the air with which my soul breathes.
I was only 2 when Mount Pinatubo erupted 16 years ago. I was with my Tita Fila and was playing with a friend when the earth suddenly trembled. I didn’t know then what really was happening but I do know that everyone was beleaguered and was in panic. Amidst the surrounding tremor and fear, shouts and shrieks, a brave and unwavering voice of a woman called out my name. My Tita brought me out of the place where we were hiding and handed me to the ever so tender and loving arms of the woman – barefoot and pregnant – at once I felt secured.
When I was 5, I remember being close to a man whose face is well-accented with lines portraying the torments he had faced and conquered yet wears an aura that is so calm. His arms are so strong; his voice is deep and powerful; yet his touch is as gentle as a mother’s lullaby – a genuine comfort to my sleep. And his voice was the one who taught me my first prayer.
Obvious enough these two great persons whose lives are braided with mine are my parents – Romeo and Juliet. Indeed their names where from the classic play of Shakespeare. But unlike Shakespeare’s our life isn’t a tragedy nor did it revolve on pure drama. My life with them is simply bliss – although there has been sharp bends and we have shared some of life’s chasms, these just magnified every joyful moment we partook. God is indeed generous enough for bequeathing me with the greatest parents of all time.
I am a witness to the magnificently quiet sacrifices my Mama and Papa are doing. Mama forgot about getting promotions and salaries. I know that 16 May 1988 is truly a memorable event for her. Aside from being my natal day, it is also the fateful day that she let go of her job at NFA in order to take care and look after me – and, later on, of my sister – all day, all night. I can also attest to the deep love, unmoved fidelity and genuine concern of Papa for our family. Apart from being a good provider – sending me and my sister to great schools and is able to sustain the financial needs of our family – he did not forget that, more than anything else, he is our father and his fatherly love and guidance is what we truly need. Thus, never did he miss any opportunity of spending time with us. I have also seen how Papa gave up the idea of having a million-peso bank account – leaving the greener pasture abroad just to be with us; just to see us, his children, grow; and to be assured that his family is safe.
Despite all the sacrifices that they have undergone for my sake, they still had faced yet another ordeal. At the time of my birth, Papa saw me as a physician while Mama wanted me to be a successful family man. Unfortunately, our dreams never met. But in spite of their disapproval, I am here in the seminary – a seminarian – and they continually support me and my future endeavors no matter what it may be, as Papa puts it “suportahan ta ‘ka!”. I know that my decision was, for them, a bitter pill to swallow so much so that I am truly grateful for them for despite of its bitterness they gladly took it. More so, I am ever grateful to God for giving them the courage and strength to do so.
Mama and Papa are such great souls for they have done tremendous sacrifices – a profession of their exceeding and unconditional love for me. At this moment, let me assure them – so as not to proliferate my prior failures, failure to express and substantiate the deep love and gratitude that has been wanting to be free from the fringes of my heart – that I truly and deeply love them and that I am PROUD of them, not just because they are my parents but because they have been great souls for an undeserving son. It is just but fitting and proper for me to enshrine them – let all the peoples know how they have shared the warmth and glow of the same love Jesus revealed on the cross – to be proud of them, for they are just worthy of such laud and appreciation.
For Mama and Papa.