“DON” or “Doni”, that's what they call my father. His name is Dionesio Valcobero, born on August 10, 1963. He will be turning 50 this year. Together with my mother Jogie, they are blessed with two daughters, of course, me and Janice and their only son, Dennis.
If there is one thing I am forever grateful in this world is having a father like him. I am very blessed and lucky to have him as my father. I admire everything that he does since my dirty diapers up to now. I know that behind those frowns and pale looks when he gets home from work can be compensated just by seeing his family together. Home is where his heart is. And we are his home.
"I want to see you all succeed in your studies. I don't want you to have the same life like me. Your father is poor. I don't want you to experience the hardship and difficulties in life," he told us.
"I don't want to see you working under the heat of the sun, like me. At least when you graduate in your college degrees, you'll be working in an air-conditioned office," he added.
My father is a farmer. He works in our farm almost every day in order to support our studies. Even when he's sick, you can still find him taking care of our plantations in the mountain.
He said that taking a rest day is equivalent to no food for his family. For that, I admire him even more. He sets his goals high and accomplishes them no matter how hard or impossible they may seem.
But like we all experienced, failures also came his way and so our family. I can see it in his face how he felt when we almost lost our sources of income. During the time of my studies and my two siblings, my father used to lease our farm for us to carry on. But for some reasons, my siblings did fail him. I can still hear him as he said these words (in a very smooth but very deep manner), "I can give up everything that we have for your future. This is all for you. But I guess I can't force you to do these things that you don't want to."
That time I know he was hurt. But still, he never gave up nor discouraged. He continued to be this amazing and humble father that we know.
It was year 2014 when I get to see his face so very happy and proud. He really shines with pride that day. I can't help myself but cry when he felt so honored together with my mama and my siblings who walked along with me as I marched on my graduation day. I gave him my diploma because I will never be had it not of his perseverance, patience and never ending support.
"That is the only pamana (heritage) I can give you. Your knowledge will never be owned by anyone. That can't be stolen," he said on that very day.
My father is always humble even if other people tried to take him and my family down. But my father really deserves an award. He always gives chances to us whenever we failed in life. Like he does to my siblings, he always reminds them to continue on their studies, and that, he would still support them no matter what.
With that, I couldn’t thank my father enough. He worked so hard all his life to keep a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, education at hands, and more than we need to survive.
"Pa, you are a good father. I am very blessed to have you, mama, and the relationship I share with my siblings. You've sacrificed so many things just so I can have the life I do today. I am honored to call you my Papa. Thank you for everything you've done for me. I love you endlessly. Happy Father's Day," this I must say to him.
And to all fathers out there, Happy Father's Day. You are our hero!
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 18, 2017.