Happy Father's Day: A Tribute to my Father

“Tatay”, “Papa”, “Dad,” "Itang" or whatever way you call your father or who acted as a father figure in your life whether as stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, or “Big Brothers,” Father's day is for all of them!

In most countries, June 19 (Sunday) is Fathers’ day celebration.  In the Philippines, it is not an official holiday but widely observed to honor fathers (which is being commercialized too).  This is an annual festivity to respect fathers and to commemorate fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society.  Plus a complement for Mother’s day.

In Thailand, they celebrate it on their king’s birthday.  The current king is Bhumibol Adulyadej and his birthday happened to be my birthday too!

Remembering my Father

Julian H. Zapanta, my loving Tatay
For us, family bonding is an important gesture to keep the relationship growing.  We always had weekly or sometimes daily activities at home or in the park usually in Luneta Park, Manila Zoo or any free parks. 

At home, singing with my father or listening with his songs and pluck of his guitar were so fascinating and entertaining sessions our family would loved to reminisce.  My father valued family relationship high that we missed him so much!
In my early childhood, the first song my father taught me was “Moon River” and “Maliliit na isda, may gintong palikpik (or small fishes, with golden fins- I really don’t know the title but fully remembered the lyrics, melody and beautiful family memories that went with it).   “It’s the singer, not the song,” was his favorite statement whenever he taught us how to sing with emotions.  

Chess was father’s table game.   He taught me the basic moves and how it impacts life.  He told us chess improves our reasoning ability.

Basketball was his favorite ball game.  Tatay was a great player and top shooter in Severino Reyes St.‘s basketball court.  He said to my brothers to practice, practice, and more practice to make it perfect!

He was a good player of bowling too!  I remembered cheering for him with my brother Jon and mother to win over Paeng Nepomuceno and Tito Sotto then in Celebrity Sports Plaza and  Magallanes Bowling Center.

He imbued education as our important weapon in hunger or poverty. He said, finishing our courses will be his heritage.

Tatay was a versatile person at home.  He was a wide reader and he motivated us to read more and to interact with people with knowledge and wisdom.   We considered him the engineer, the lawyer, the writer, the accountant, the cook and most of all, the loving father to us and a dear husband to our Nanay.

The last photo together with siblings in San Pablo, Laguna, 2005: My father with his sisters (Odette Z. Pilongo, Estee Z. Jaojoco and Cezar Zapanta)

He esteemed the adage: “Charity begins at home.”  He was strict and disciplinarian but we knew it’s all because of love.  He wanted us to be good children to be good parents too!

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.  For my father it was his sense of humor (our family laughs) and on taking life lightly were his best weapon for us to stay stress free.  He was composed and always has a knack to crack a joke and make us laugh.

When Tatay passed away, he left us a legacy, a great memory more precious than any other inheritance - his being a loving father to us and husband to our mother (“mabuting ama sa amin at mapagmahal na asawa sa aming ina”), passing great values and habits to us will remain more than diamonds!  Tatay, you will be remembered as long as we live!

Salamat po Tatay (Thank you very much Father!), you will truly be missed!


We welcome you to drop a message to share your thoughts with your father’s memories