Celebrations & Occasions Others The GOppets


These stairways (and the hallway leading to the pair) are as familiar to me as the back of my hand. I grew up gallivanting among these halls & going up and down those stairs. Every weekend, my mom, my brother & I would drive down south to visit my Dad. He lived & breathed business so it was but natural that he would stay confined in the 4 corners of his empire 24/7. Walang weekend pahinga at ganap sa kanya. Tuloy-tuloy ang trabaho.

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It may not look scary now. But imagine it dark. Very very dark mala-gabi ng lagim with skeletons literally in the closet! :P

He lived on the 5th floor & I’m telling you, a giant empty building is a scary place to be at night when you’re young and seeping with an active imagination. Actually, even when you’re old. Heck I’m still scared now to go off alone day or night & I’m way past my prime. So I’d close my eyes as tight as possible & let my mom hold my hand and lead me up the stairs past the dark, hallow classrooms to my dad’s gloomy, quiet penthouse filled with dark paintings, antiques & collectibles.

40 years. 40 years I’ve been attending the anniversary of the business built from my dad’s blood, sweat, tears, and life. If there was anything that took him away from us, this was one big chunk of it. 40 years I sat on the same front pew with my dad, my mom, and my brother pretending we were a solid, happy family. To the guests, we certainly looked it. My dad in his dapper barong, my mom in her Imeldific gown with the filipiniana puffed sleeves. And 2 lucky, well-bred kids born with silver spoons.



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Sitting there listening to whoever was the guest speaker, I’d often imagine that we were the ideal family. I’d daydream amidst the boring speech & trick my mind into thinking that I’d just come “home” from school. Kiss my dad on the cheek like any ordinary day in the life of. Then he’d ask if I want some meryenda, or if I want to go up na to my room to rest, or if I had any homework he can help me with. Sadly, my one & only fond memory of him was the pat on the head I got one time we were in Baguio. I laughed out loud at a TV spiel. It must have been the first time he heard me be my natural self & laugh with real glee that he gave me a pat. Briefly. With as much emotion as he could muster. Sad, I know.

And now 40 years later on the fateful day of his pride & joy’s ruby anniversary, I am seated on the front pew again, but this time with my own family. My happy family, no need for pretensions. And how serendipitous that on this particular day, my Babyson followed suit from school & he kissed me on the cheek upon arriving. And I thoughtfully asked him “Anak gutom ka ba? Ano ang gusto mong meryenda” with matching haplos ng pagmamahal to the back. Like any mother would do to her child.

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40 years & here we still are, the trinity. My mother, my brother, and I. A little bit older, a little bit wiser. But now I have my own happy family in tow. <3 Time has definitely changed for the better.

My life has come full circle. Yung pinangarap ko na magandang buhay, I am actually living it, but as a parent this time around.

40 years. It took 40 years for me to have the life I’ve only dreamt of. So I am celebrating not only the 40th anniversary & the culmination of my dad’s dream & legacy, but also of my secret dream. My dream of happiness & the ideal family.





In the car on our way to the venue, the girls asked me what I was feeling about the end of an era, the closing of a chapter. I replied: a mixture of happy, sad, scared, and excited. All of the above. I don’t know what the future lies. But I know that whatever it is and come what may, I have my family, supporting me & loving me every step of the way. We are all in this together.

Life begins at forty. And I believe that. ;) God is good. Here’s to bigger & better things to come for the Goppets. <3

And Daddy, wherever you are. You have toiled & sowed -giving it your best and your all with nothing much left for us. But now it’s harvest time. If only for that, if only for securing the kids’ future, I am thankful. And after 40 years, yes I am finally forgiving you. It really is time to move on.



We give thanks, we give praise. For we know that all things work together for our good. We give thanks, we give praise. For by faith we know Your grace will see us through. Thank you God. Dugo, pawis, at buhay ni Father. Thank you Daddy, be at peace, we are ok now. Happy 40th!

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