Gratitude, struggle, and father's day. For Manong Joe Padre.

Gratitude, struggle, and father's day.

OF THE many people I have had the chance to work with in the struggle for a better world, I had the pleasure of working closely with Manong Elpidio Padre, or Joe Padre.

Even in the stillness, even in that place and time and condition where he is right at this time, he comes to me in whispers, and reminding me to go on and not let go of the moral obligation to fight it out.

In all my personal dark hours, in all the moments of doubt, and in all those days of disappointments and distractions, he came to me, reminding to go on, to be brave, to be bold, to be daring.

Day in and day out, he pestered me, even pushing me against the wall, and telling me nice things about myself to coax me into taking up the fight, The Fight.

Our paths crossed a long time ago.

When I came to Honolulu from Los Angeles, I got a note from him, telling me that he had known of his writings when I was still in that city and editing the Weekly Inquirer, the newspaper that catered to many things including immigrant rights, one paper that demanded so many of us our sweat and blood. [I would like to include here those who worked with me closely: Tony Igcalinos, who headed our Philippine bureau; Armine Soberano-Igcalinos, who wrote a column; and Linda Lingbaoan Bulong; who also wrote a column on women's issues.]

Today, we are faced with this challenge in our struggle for the MTB-MLE and I remember Manong Joe. Today, it is father's day, and I think of him as a father in this struggle.

I think of his daring and boldness and kindness and generosity of heart.

The last act we did together was the drawing up a Petition Letter to ask for the head of an enemy of Philippine freedom and justice.

I try to put order to my things at the university. My office, as usual, has served as my shrine and like any place worthy of being a shrine, I try to catalog things, put order to books that keep on piling each time, and notes that grow by the banker's boxes.

And then I see these: 10 CD records of the Joe Padre collection of his music!

One CD has 1200+ songs in it--and this is my first time to even realize that he exerted all the efforts to leave me a record of the songs he remembered and sang, or sang and remembered.

Now, I am listening to Record Number 9 with almost 700 songs, all soundtrack.

Manong Joe--he hated me calling him 'apo' Joe!--thank you, Sire!


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