Chasing Pa

Pa's perspective drawing of his original plan for our house.   A friend reminded me that I proudly showed these drawing plans to them when we were in high school.

I wrote about Pa's passing two months ago in "Losing Part of My Home".

The past 10 years have been a race to spend time with my father and hopes of getting to really know him better.  The race accelerated even faster during the most recent 3 years when his body was falling ever faster.  I could not step on the breaks of his life inasmuch as I could not slow down the pace of my own life and responsibilities.  The race ended two months ago but the quest has hardly been wrapped up.

Everything I know about my father are bits of second hand information passed on by my mother when Pa could have shared them himself if only he was willing or able to:  that he was an architecture student in Manila, that he won painting contests/awards, that he won singing contests, that he was even heard singing Kundiman songs in a Bicol radio station, etc.

These would all be mere hearsay for me except that I publish below some items he left but did not talk about.  However, a few years ago he did blurt out a single sentence, that as a college student he was one of those who assisted Philippine National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco in one of the great artist's murals.  I wasn't able to ask which mural because Pa characteristically ended the conversation just as abruptly as he started it by standing from his chair to evade further questions.

Trained to trust only primary sources as much as possible I could not simply believe everything my mother said so a day after Pa's interment I opened his scrap book and fading photo albums.  I also revisited his dusty scroll of our house's architectural drawings and and his two only surviving paintings.

Pa is the only one in our family without a college diploma but his architectural drawings of our house shows skills that he could not have acquired without formal education.  His paintings partly supports what I heard about him shifting from fine arts because grandfather told him to shift courses.  His photo and his ID tell me went to Manila and matriculated.  His drawings and paintings tell me he learned.

I and my siblings are prints of our father's life.  The images below are prints of his skills, desires and what he could have been.

I guess his greatness lie not in the evidence of his artistic hands and lips but more importantly by how he made his personal desires secondary to the need to take on any job (from insurance agent, to municipal employee, to a mining tailings worker, to an overseas construction worker, to a small town farmer) in order to feed, clothe and send his children to school.

Floor and section plans of our house.  The furniture in the drawings were copies of real items we had at the time such as chairs and cabinets that Pa fabricated and carved himself.

Pa's only existing paintings dated in his scrap book as a work from 1957 during his college years. Oil on wood panel.   He was a carpenter and furniture maker so I always assumed he also made the frames. 

Pa in white pants with friends in front of the UST main building.  One of only three photos I found from his college years.  He fell one year short of graduating with a degree in architecture.

One of many photos of Pa singing with a member of his group they called the "Kayumanggi Trio". This photo shows him with Ma at a company outing.

The next time I get an opportunity to write about Pa will be on his failure to finish college, some related sad stuff and life lessons I learned out of these.

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