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Written by Jeannie Javelosa
If there was any man who supported women’s empowerment, it was my father. I say was, because it’s been less than a year since he passed on and he left four strong daughters whose lives he formed quietly, steadily through the principles and integrity he lived by.
Of the four daughters, I tested my father’s patience the most. Poor dad. I was the artist, the one who broke the rules, who followed her own drummer, who argued, challenged, fought and rocked the Rock. I am not sure I am proud of this but that was the relationship. And yet, it was with dad I would have intelligent conversations with, I mean, real deep conversations with during our times of truce. Our styles were just different but he was always there to remind, constantly remind about securing oneself financially (no wonder I got into the women’s economic empowerment direction of GREAT Women), live simply with no fanfare, how he stood by natural medicine, healthy eating and lifestyle which ECHOstore is all about.
Dad, the tax lawyer and businessman, couldn’t understand my forays into social entrepreneurship, arguing many times over about profitability versus the social impact work me and my business partners were doing. Yet, he was a number one fan with buying Christmas gifts at ECHOstore and his favorite honey, and surprise me immensely towards the end of his life, when already sick, he showed up unexpected in the blessing of the GREAT Women showroom.
Whenever I think of how he touched our lives, these three words come to mind: patience, integrity, stability. The quiet rock… that’s what he was. Dad had five women in his life and he provided for us so comfortably. And to these four lucky daughters he was Dad, dependable, solid, responsible and the wind beneath our wings.
Dad's journey of life led him from Jaro, Iloilo to high school adventures in Ateneo de Cagayan, college in Ateneo de Manila, law school at UP College of Law and his cherished experience of earning a Masters of Law at Yale University. He and mom went on to build their life in Manila and he never looked back. He took pride, so much pride in his accomplishments including solid professional years with his legal work in Esso-Exxon, Mobil, Petron and San Miguel.
We admire him for the KIND of father he was. He instilled in us the values of decency, diligence, hard work, honesty and prayer. Though he said the words “I love you” to me like only twice in my whole life, there never was any doubt about his love. It was there in every act of generosity, in every time he foot the bill for me (and when I could get my pride down to ask for help), in every inquiry on how things are, in every indulgent answer. My uncles and his friends, who knew my relationship with dad always told me how much dad loved me, and how all he did was talk about my accomplishments with them and how proud he was of me.
I remember how many times during socials I would meet people who found out that I was the daughter of my father, and proceeded to tell me how exceptional my dad was and how much he was respected. This has happened many, many times over the years in different variations to me and my three sisters whenever people knew dad was our father.
In the last year of his life, nothing also gave him greater joy than being with his grand children, doting over the younger girls, gently trying to guide the boys. On those last years of his life, I so cherished the bi-monthly dinner dates he and I would have in Tsukiji Japanese Restaurant owned by one of his best friends.
He was charitable and helped people with no need for fanfare. His religious practices of daily mass, daily bible reading and saying the rosary was the foundation from which a deep spirituality surfaced. My father was a man of faith who walked through life so intimately entwined with God. This was so apparent when he found out he had cancer and went about preparing his spirit for his eventual passing on. He gave me the ultimate gift of being present alone with him when he breathed his last breath and moved on. As the oldest daughter whose relationship with Dad could be described as rebellious, often tumultuous, I truly realized the nobility of his spirit. In the furnace of his patience, in the person he was, he instilled in me solid values for living.
Happy Father’s Day Dad. I write this in tears because I miss you.