“MY FATHER was about to take a step which would change his life as he readied to set foot on the ship that promised him luxurious abundance, but it was also at that time he learned he was about to become a father,” shared Trixia Belga, a 20-year-old resident of Naawan as she recalled that turning point of his father’s life.

Trixia adores her father Rolando so much for his commitment and principles in life and salutes him for choosing the life he shares with them now.

"Without any second thought, he packed his bags and went home to where his heart belongs. He decided to be a hands-on father and embraced the pros and cons that came with it. He could have worked and given his family a luxurious life, but he decided to live simply and enjoy the little things that mattered most," she said.

Instead of enjoying a luxurious life, Trixia’s father preferred to sing them lullabies, change diapers and prepare milk.

"I can say that my father’s self-esteem was boosted by the happiness in raising and seeing his children grow without missing important milestones," she said.

When her father taught her how to drive a motorcycle, it meant to her to be independent. “He wanted to make sure that I can do things by myself when the time comes that he won't be able to take me to places anymore.”

Bernie Caibigan Jamaca, a resident in Cagayan de Oro, admires and cherishes his father, Agustin Sr., for raising 11 children. He could not imagine how his father raised and sent them all to school.

"I remember him as one tough practical teacher. He didn’t want me to go home crying because of childhood fights."

Agustin was Bernie’s first dojo instructor which helped him become physically and spiritually strong.

Bernie is grateful to have his father’s music skill.

“He was my first music teacher in life, and for that, I won many singing contests too, wow!”

Being able to fight for what he believes in is the most precious lesson that Bernie learned from his father.

Bernie, who is now a top officer of a regional transport organization, owes his success to his father.

Agustin died just a month ago, and Bernie promised that he is going to teach his kids the same way his father raised and loved them.

"He left this world just more than a month ago, but his memories still linger in my mind. I love him so much. I’m a father now, and am going to teach my kids the same way he did to us, his children. May God bless him in heaven. Today, (June 21) is my birthday, and I'm honoring you on my birthday, Papa Osting!"

"My dad is everything to me. He is the only man in my life right now, my first love. And just by thinking of losing him, breaks me into pieces. If dad won’t be around, it would feel like something is missing. Life is much different with Daddy around," Ara Lincona, 20, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

For Vergie Baran, 32, she will not know what life would be like without her husband. "I love my husband so much. Even if I don't have a job right now, he sees to it that he takes care of the family and he is such a good father to our three children. One day, he told me not worry because we are all in this together, and it made me cry, he understands. Without Ernesto, I don't know what life is. Happy father's day Pang! I will love you every day."

(Losing fathers)

Life’s duality brings experiences that would etch beautiful and ugly memories, and not a single person has come to this world without roots – without fathers and mothers.

For Krystel Grace Calderon, 22 and a resident of Cebu City, losing her father while she was in first year college left her much pain.

"I lost my father last February 2012, I was still a college student by then and everything felt like walls were torn down," said Krystel.

Krystel regrets that she didn’t have the chance to show how much she adored her father.

"He was sick for many years, he suffered from stroke, his speech and walking were impaired," she recalled.

She always longs to having a good time with her dad and envies it whenever she sees a father and daughter enjoying each other’s company.

On her 18th birthday, it broke her heart that she didn’t have the chance to have that dance with her father on her debut and the chance to have those heart-to-heart talks.

"Everything he is, is just simple, and I could not ask for more. He is the best in his simplest way of expressing his love to me."

Growing up without a father was tough for Christelle, a 20 year-old resident of Surigao City.

"They always say, fathers teach us how to be tough in difficult situations. Yes, he taught me to be one but by way of leaving me," she said.

Christelle's father left them to work abroad, but he found love in another woman’s arms.

"It's hard, being the eldest with four siblings, you have to support your mom, you have to somehow take or fill the empty spot that your father left," Christelle shared.

Her father still supports them though, but "a hands-on father is different from a father who just sends you money and just like that."

Today, we honor our Papa, Daddy, Dad, Dada, Erpat, Tatay, or whatever names they are called.

It is this time of the year again that perhaps to pause a while, take a moment, look back and appreciate the man who held children’s hands from the moment they were born until they learned to walk and face the cruel world.