As the world honors all the fathers today, there are some people who get sad for having no dad to celebrate Father’s Day with. One of them is Jefferson Escalada, 18, whose yearly wish is to celebrate the next Dad’s Day with his father – the father he never met.
“Honestly, I envy them [people who has a father]. I want to be like them, to have a complete and normal family…. Dream kong sana sa susunod na Father’s Day may sasabihan na ako ng ‘Happy Father’s Day,’” Jefferson said in an interview.
Jefferson, a student from Capiz, was raised by her mom, Rosemarie Escalada, and her relatives. He had never seen his biological father, even in pictures, and they do not really discuss matters about him. All he knows is that his father did not know that his mother was pregnant when they decided to go on separate ways.
“By the time na sasabihin na sa kanya ng nanay ko ay wala na siya. Pumunta na raw sa abroad. Sabi ng nanay ko taga Mandaluyong daw siya…. Mula no’ng umalis siya, wala na silang communication [By the time my mother was about to tell him that she was pregnant, he was no longer in the country. They said he went abroad. My mom said he was from Mandaluyong. Since he left, the two of them has no communication],” he shared.
Jefferson’s father left no trace in his life and all he has been keeping all these years was a copy of his baptismal certificate where his dad’s name was written. Despite being erased using correction fluid, one can still read the name: Ruben Reyes.
“Ayan po, kahit nilagyan nila ng white out, nakikita pa rin,” he said; adding that he has always been puzzled over the intention of the one who tried to cover Ruben’s name.
“Nagtanong ako sa isang tiyahin ko, sabi niya hindi n’ya daw alam kung sino ‘yon. Pero alam ko na parang iniiba niya agad ang usapan. ‘Yon ang first at last akong nagtanong,” he added.
Absence of a dad
Despite receiving so much love and care from his mother and her relatives, Jefferson still feels that no one could ever replete the void left by his father.
“Masakit sa akin lumaki na walang ama sa tabi mo, sila ang sinasabing haligi ng tahanan, sila ang siyang matibay na pundasyon sa pamilya (It hurts to grow up without a father on your side, the one who is fondly referred to as the ‘haligi ng tahanan’; the ones who give a strong foundation to a home),” he expressed.
He tried to look for his father in social media but Ruben’s name is too common. Also, he has know idea about how he looks since he never saw him even in pictures.
Father’s Day without a father
Every Father’s Day, aside from wishing to find his father, Jefferson also envies the ones who have a loving and caring father.
“Every Father’s Day naiingit ako sa iba, ‘yong nagpo-post sa FB sa mga Papa nila, ‘yong mga palabas at ads sa TV na hindi ako maka-relate, at wala akong pagsasabihan ng ‘Happy Father’s Day,” he expressed.
Still, Jefferson is not giving up on finding his dad. He said he is studying well as he believes that after he finishes his studies, he would finally have the means to find him.
But that will still take a long time. For now, he just want to tell his dad: “Lahat ginagawa ko, pinilit kong pagbutihin ang aking pag aaral kahit na wala ka sapagkat gusto kung maging proud ka , sa akin bilang anak mo kahit na siguro’y may pamilya ka nang iba [I am doing everything, I study hard even if you’re not here because I want you to be proud of me, your child, even if you might have a family of your own now].”
(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.)