Tag Archive: tatay


Our Singapore Decision

It all came as a surprise to most people who know us. My profession is not generally a good job for someone who wants to work or migrate abroad but I thought I’d give it a try.

It was not an easy decision to make. In fact, it was by far one of the hardest I had to do in my life. I was a patriot in my own little way and leaving the Philippines never brushed through my thoughts. I have always categorically said that I will never leave the Philippines other than for a vacation. I sort of reconsidered after watching the Lord of the Rings that I will only leave the Philippines to live in the beautiful New Zealand, period.

But when you start a family, your priorities and decisions change. Your ideals remain in the past and they are simply left with your youth…something you can just happily look back on.

My very good friend Greys (spelling was intentionally altered by her when we were in college) works in Dubai and I have marvelled at the things she could buy and how she has changed in all aspects. We remained close despite distance and maintain an online friendship through (almost) everyday email. She mentioned in passing that her beau has a co-worker who has a lawyer wife in the Philippines who is now working in Singapore. I quizzically raised my eyebrows asking Greys how could that be. She said the lawyer went directly to Singapore to look for a job. The idea sparked a lot of lightbulbs in my brain but it did not go any further than that.

There came an officemate who suddenly disappeared from our office and after some rumors being confirmed, we found out that she was working in Singapore and her salary is probably more than  four times the amount she was receiving before.

I then started making researches and have abandoned my Farmville life and chose to spend nights focusing on my research. Just when I was so engrossed in my research, Greys again informed me that we have a classmate back in college who now lives in Australia where he is likewise a lawyer. I liked the idea better because my brother is due to leave for Australia last year (which he did by end of November 2010). If I would migrate, I wanted it to be in a place where I know some people and I happen to have some friends in Australia.

So my research went from Singapore to Australia. After some mulling over, we realized that we did not have the funds yet to immigrate to Australia. Singapore is nearer, fare is cheaper, and we did not need a visa before leaving. I then went back to my Singapore research and I found out that it is very much possible for me to bring Ira along with me if I get any pass higher than S-Pass. That fact made me more eager to pursue our decision. 

Hubby and I discussed it and we agreed to give it a try after settling some things in the Philippines. We agreed to wait for the right time and to properly tie some loose ends in the Philippines first before jumping into such decision. We knew it was not an easy one.

Then came my father’s stroke.

Lots of things changed and we had to deal with these changes swiftly. We had to decide for my father to come home from the States because no one would take care of him. Expectedly, we had to shoulder additional expenses at home for his medications and therapy. Personally, I knew this was something I owe to my father after years of sacrifice for us. 

To cut the very long story short, hubby and I tried our luck  in Singapore and after literally shedding sweat, blood and tears, we are here now…together. That is the bottomline of our decision. Even if it is in the richest country in the world, but we would have to live apart, we would not go for that. I was raised with one parent working away and I did not like it. I do not want to subject Ira to that kind of life.

In my research, I found out that there are many Filipinos working here in Singapore. Some of the best IT people here are Filipinos and they are earning a lot for it. Though it is a foreign country, not a day goes by that I do not bump into another Filipino. It makes me feel at home.

It was indeed a difficult decision. But when we were heading out for this life, I asked God to lead me to where He wants me to be. I knew that if I was not meant to live this life, God with all His might can stop me. But without me knowing it, God helped me in my decision and He is still carrying me through it all.

I am still adjusting to everything around here. It is not too difficult to adjust to some things because they actually make life ergonomically easier around here. From the transportation system to the way we wash clothes. But of course, I will always love my country…even from afar. I will continue to be sad about the bad things that are happening there and I will still marvel about the people and things that make the country proud, like that little girl Maria Aragon.

I am still unsure as to how long we are going to stay here. We are living each day as it comes. We have made enough planning last year that I want to take a rest in making further plans this year. But one thing is definite, Philippines is just a three-hour plane ride away…and we will surely visit as often as budget and time will allow us.  😉

It has been nineteen years. Yes. Nineteen Long Years. My father hasn’t been home that long and finally, he is coming home.

My Tatay, as all of us siblings call him, has lived and worked for the last nineteen years in New Jersey. We survived such time and distance apart with the help of phone calls, letters, text messages, and just recently, Yahoo Messenger and Skype. He enjoyed the latter immensely as he was able to see us everyday, as if we were just an hour apart. He was able to see Ira grow from the day she was born until the day she learned how to walk.

Prior to his decision to work in the U.S., Tatay has worked in Saudi since I can’t remember when. All I know is I grew up with my Ima only around, waiting for remittances of Tatay and waiting for his yearly vacations. My Ima often recalls that time when I went hiding upon seeing my Tatay because I got scared of his mustache. To put it plainly, I grew up with an absentee father.

But I don’t think my father and I lost the line as far as love and respect are concerned. I admit that in the start, I was just elated by the fact that my Tatay would send U.S. goodies to us and that we were able to have everything we wanted. After studying in a public school, Ima finally allowed us to study in private schools. Back in high school, my classmates would notice my signature backpacks and other things. Even at a young age, I always knew that he was there so we can get all the things we wanted and needed.

When I went into college, that’s when I realized all the sacrifices he was doing. He gave us all we wanted and more. But he never complained. He gave me a bashful 18th birthday celebration because he said I was his only girl. He used to call me his Beautiful Ampang (the latter being my nickname at home). When I graduated from college, he was so delighted, he almost gave me the world. Of course that is exaggeration, but that is how my dad loves me.

Imagine his delight when I entered into law school. He felt very proud for every unit I earned in law school. When I wanted to be a working student, he strongly opposed because he wanted me to concentrate with my studies. My Tatay was right all along.

He was overly supportive when I took the Bar Exams. He made sure I have everything I needed. I was able to choose a hotel nearer La Salle although it was more pricey than the hotel my other classmates stayed in. He gladly paid for the food all the four Sundays of Bar for all my org-mates in Law School with my Mom’s cooking.

I know he must have been saddened when I broke the news to him that I was getting married. After all, I was his baby and it was hard for him to accept that someone else is taking me away. But being the understanding father that he is, he gave me his blessing.

When I had Ira, I felt that he loved her more than he loves me. Friends say its because Ira is mine thats why he loves her that much. After years of giving up on sending us packages, he sent boxes for Ira’s goodies. The packages contained unbelievably too many things for Ira. The clothes he bought her could even last until she reaches five years old. He would refuse to miss a night of Skype with Ira and I to the point of Ira knowing him through the webcam.

On the eve of my hubby’s birthday weeks ago, he called me up on the phone. That seldom happens because we do Skype every night. I felt his voice was different and asked if he was sick. He said he probably ate too much pork and feels numbness in his feet that he has to go to the doctor. I prodded him to make sure that he goes and asked him to update me about it.

It turned out it was a mild stroke for my Tatay. My uncle and other relatives would update me but I never really knew his status until I saw him. Since he can’t stay on his own yet, he had to stay with my ever-kind Uncle Medel. When he first saw me, my Tatay cried like there was no tomorrow. It was like when a child got lost in the park and he saw his mother. We were both crying and my heart melted away with his pain.

I didn’t sleep that night. My mind was racing with thoughts on how to get him there and how to take care of him. I just cried myself and wallowed myself in the helplessness of not being able to help the one man who was always there for me.

Before he had a stroke, hubby and I were already making plans for the future. Because Tatay wanted to spend time with us before such plans happen, he abruptly decided to go home. Just this Saturday, he called and informed us that he will be arriving on June 2.

My heart raced with glee with such news, coupled with the fact that we have to fix a lot of things around the house so we can accommodate his physical restraints.

We had to buy a sofa bed because he will temporary stay downstairs. We are also on the hunt for a good bed in his room once he is able to walk up the stairs. We are also looking for ways on how to install an AC unit in the living room, especially with the heat!

All in all, I am just glad that he is coming home. I hope I will be able to repay all his love for us by being able to take care of him now that he needs us.

I pray that he gets better soon also so that we can roam around the city to show him other places.

This is definitely going to be one of the best birthdays for the both of us and we will surely celebrate it with love and happiness! Thank you God! 🙂