While many find it difficult to be close with their in-laws, some are blessed enough to be with someone whose parents will love them like their own. Years after meeting the love of his life, Yhong Samson, 33, realized that he did not only find a true love–but also the “true father” that he had been dreaming all his life.
“Si Tatay Juan po, father-in-law ko, is different from my father. How I wish my father is the same as Tatay Juan…. Never kong naramdaman ang tatay ko (Tatay Juan, my father-in-law, is different from my father. How I wish my father is the same as him. I never felt my father’s existence),” Yhong said in an interview.
Yhong had already lost his biological father few years before he married his wife, Julie Ann.
“Malaki po kasi ang age gap namin ng tatay ko. Patay na po tatay ko noong 2004 [My father and I’s age gap is really big. I lost my dad in 2004],” he said.
For 11 years now, Tatay Juan has been a father to him; with whom he can talk about anything under the sun, with whom he can confide his deepest secrets, and from whom he can seek advice when he badly needs it. He also bonds with him a lot; they eat and even sing together.
“Lahat ng katangian ni Tatay [Juan] ay wala sa tatay ko. Never ko nakausap ang tatay ko. Never siya nagtanong sa ‘kin kung kamusta na ba ko. ‘Di nga niya ko naturuan sa studies ko noong bata pa ako. Isang beses lang ako nag-birthday na kasama ko siya. Samantalang si Tatay Juan, pati damit na suot ko sinasabing bagay sa akin…. Tatay ko never kong nayakap or nayakap ako [All the characteristics of Tatay Juan is not present in my biological dad. I never had serious talks with my dad. He never asked me about how my life is going. He did not even help me in my studies when I was young. He attended my birthday celebration only once. Unlike Tatay Juan who notices everything, including the clothes wear…. I never had the chance to embrace my dad, and he never hug me, too],” Yhong said.
He said he sees him as a role model when it comes to being the head of the family. To note, amid all the hardships that he faced, Tatay Juan was able to produce a bunch of professionals.
Tatay Juan provided the needs of his family with his income as a fisherman in Quezon.
“Isa siyang mangingisda sa Quezon. Housewife naman ang mother-in-law ko. Super hirap ng buhay nila dati. Need niya mag-stay sa laot for three days, or up to one week, para maraming huling isda at iba pa. ‘Yong kikitain doon ay hahatiin sa tatlo: sa may-ari ng bangka, pambili ng gas, at ‘yong matitira hahatiin kung ilan silang mangingisda,” Yhong narrated.
“Wala daw talaga silang makain noon. Minsan, meron silang corned beef na bili sa palengke. Ginisa nila ta’s para magkasya sa buong pamilya nilagyan n’ya ng saging na saba at umaapaw sa sabaw,” he added.
When away from the sea, Tatay Juan is a simple carpenter.
Now 56 years old, Tatay Juan is already relishing the fruits of his labor – as a fisherman, as a carpenter, and most of all, as a father.
“Apat na anak niya professionals na lahat. Si Ate Bea na magna cum laude sa CEU [Centro Escolar University] sa Mendiola; sunod wife ko na si Julez na teacher na; si Ron naman ay working sa Mercury; at si Karen na bunso sa office sa Makati (All his four children are professionals now. Ate Bea, who is a magna cum laude from CEU in Mendiola; my wife, Julez, who is now a teacher; Ron who is working at Mercury; and the youngest, Karen, who works in an office in Makati City),” Yhong said.
“Sabi ni Tatay sa ‘kin, sulit daw ang hirap niya kasi napalaki n’yang magagaling mga anak n’ya. May moments si Tatay na tinititigan mga grad pic ng mga anak niya. He is so proud sa mga anak nya kasi sa kanilang magkakapatid tanging siya lang ang nagpatapos ng lahat ng anak [Tatay told me that all the hardships he endured were worth it because he was able to raise his children very well. There are moments when Tatay is looking at the graduation pictures of his children. He is so proud of them because he is the only one among his siblings who was able to send his children to college],” he added.
Despite having a prosperous life now because of the success of his children, he still goes to Quezon to go fishing and still works as a carpenter.
“Ngayon kahit ‘di na niya kailangan tumatanggap pa rin siya ng trabaho tulad ng pagkakarpintero hindi para sa pamilya n’ya kundi para sa mga kamag-anak niya sa Quezon [He still work as a carpenter, even if he no longer needs money, so he can help his relatives in Quezon],” Yhong shared.
“Aside from that, umuuwi siya ng Quezon para mangisda. Hindi na para ibenta kung ‘di para ipakain sa amin ang mga sariwang isda at alimasag [Aside from that, he still go fishing in Quezon; not to sell his catch but to serve fresh fishes and crabs for our mealtime],” he further said.
(Writer’s note: This article was first submitted to Manila Bulletin. It did not make it on the paper, though, so I just shared it here.)
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