MY MOM Polly and Dad Pilo celebrate their 60th anniversary today.
During our clan celebration in a resort in San Juan a few weeks ago, my parents told us about how it was when they first got started.
My dad, born in Sison, Pangasinan, was orphaned at 7 and was shuttled between relatives who raised him. He recalls spending his youth bringing a cow to pasture, grinding corn for one whole day and being being paid one meal for his efforts, and how he almost died one time when he fell off a tree.
My mom, from San Fabian, recalls how she she always made the best sales among her relatives when they used to sell kalamansi together. Her products were always the first to get sold out.
They both migrated to Baguio and met when my mom was 16. It was love at first sight, particularly for my dad.
My mom told us that their secret to longevity was that while they did have arguments, they always talked. And that my dad was always there to comfort her.
Like the first time she went to a government dentist because of a tooth-ache. The fee for a private dentist then was 5 php, only 3 php for the government.
So she went, the nurse injected her with anesthesia, but then the dentist left. When he came back, the anesthesia had worn off. She cried out in pain when the dentist tested her tooth. Angrily, the dentist put down his tools, left without a word to her, leaving her in the dentist chair. When she couldn't wait anymore, she went to the nurse who said the dentist had gone home already. She went home crying, not just about her aching tooth, but the amount she paid to the dentist.
Another time, she needed to go to a doctor for the renewal of her business permit. After her physical examination, she was given a prescription that could clear her condition in a month. The doctor told her: "there is this medicine that is more effective and will work faster, but I will not give it to you because you can not afford it."
She went home crying again. This was not the first time a doctor told that to her. The first was when their first son (our supposed to be eldest) died because they could not afford to buy his medicine.
Their big break began when they were granted a stall in the city market. They had been applying for 3 years already, but on that day, they were with my brother Jun who was was crying and creating a fuss. My parents surmise that it was probably all the noise my brother made that prompted the City Council to award the stall quicker.
Some years later, my dad decided to study again and decided to take up Law. At 42, he passed the bar exams on his first take. His first case was against a multinational company. He won, but he said he did not know how to collect from his client, or from his subsequent clients, so he worked with the Public Attorney's Office.
One of my parent's proudest moments was when my older brother Jun passed the bar. During the dinner celebration with the college deans and other successful bar passers, my brother said: "Behind every successful man is a woman, and that woman is my mother."
True, we are all successes today because of my Mom and my Dad. Because of their efforts, we are where we are. Their experiences have made them strong, they refused to be cowed their background, or to let poverty stop them from pursuing their goals. Our lives--their children--have been shaped by the way they dreamt their dreams and how they faced their challenges head-on.
Of my Mom and Dad's 8 children, 4 are medical doctors, one is a dentist, one is a lawyer, one is a college professor with her transient home, and there is me--Crystal Specialist, LOA Facilitator, Angel Intuitive, Feng Shui Consultant.
My dad said among us all, my dentist sister is the most courageous, and I was the most rebellious. My mom mentioned one of us as the "pinakamagaling", but of course I will not say who.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 17, 2016.
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