Monday, 30 August 2010

Mama's Dreams

She was 22 when my mother heard my awakening call to the world. Before she finished her college degree, she ran away with my dad on an eight-wheeler truck, a final escape from the home she hasn’t chosen to grow up in and a final goodbye to a better life she had once dreamt about.

I was 21 when I packed my bags, armed with a degree that would be my passport to a greener pasture. But when I departed, I have left a home that was my shelter from life’s injustices and my garden of youthful dreams.

During the first eight years of my existence, we lived in a farm in the outskirts of town. We didn’t have electricity or running water. We cooked our meals on a pot over three rocks and heated charcoal that took ages to light. We took our bath in an outhouse made of four poles with a big drum of water we have to fill from a pump.

But we were not poor because we had nutritious food on the table every day. On our birthdays, we had Lechon (roasted pork) and two-layered cakes with a variety of dishes courtesy of the free-range chickens and the muddy pigs in our backyard. We had everything we needed and more, we have love and security given by the people from whom we need it most.

Mama introduced me to the magical world of books which defined my outlook in life – fairy tale endings, Jane Austen leading men and American dreams. She made me memorize and recite poems in front of any audience which eventually became to my college auditorium. She nurtured my early talents in visual arts which led me to magazine lay-outing and photography. She even encouraged my non-existent talent in dance, music and theatre to both our disappointment which taught me early on to choose the battles I would fight.

When she eventually went back to college, Mama finished a degree in Elementary Education and became a teacher in the most competitive primary school in our city. She had coached almost every contest there was to be from school level to the Nationals and rarely would her students fail to bring home the bacon. Naturally, she brought her competitive streak home and we were expected to be nothing short of the best.

Mama demanded a lot from us her kids, more than she did from her students. We always aspired for the gold medal, and the more we brought home, the more was expected from us. I rebelled when I started high school, when I finally left the four corners of the school where she teaches, and eagerly pursued my own ‘averageness’. I succeeded in that I have managed to nearly fail all my subjects and lose out on the chances to join any out of school competition.

I thought I would rejoice when I saw her disappointment or snicker when I watched her beg me to sort out myself. I didn’t but by then I have already sunk too low on my own web of intricate lies and have too little confidence left to believe I could ever resurface to regain my life.

It took a serious illness to mend our broken bond, when I begun to question the purpose of my existence and found the answer in a fulfilling relationship with God. Papa became my inspiration, Mama my strength. I completely turned into a new leaf.

Surprisingly, once my parents freed me from expectations, I began to realize the best of my potentials and became my own rival. I accepted and expected nothing but the best, an attitude that brought me to highest pedestals, although occasionally it had been taken against me. My parents couldn’t have been more proud, I couldn’t have been more fulfilled.

Before I left the security of our home to venture into the macrocosm on my own, Mama told me that when she gave birth to me, she also gave birth to a dream she lived with her every breath: the dream that her children will know the life she never had. A dream I have since vowed to live with her.

So when I left my hometown to pursue a career in Makati, I was living Mama’s dream of finding myself in a world where no one knew me and discovering that I am still the same person. When I flew 48 hours across the globe to accept a job opportunity in Gibraltar, I was living Mama’s dream of earning amounts of money I have never thought I could and realizing that it could not replace the comfort and warmth of the people I love. When I boarded planes, trains and buses to places I have previously been to in my books, I was living Mama’s dream of seeing the world with more than my eyes and yet ascertaining that no there is no place on earth more beautiful than home.

Across the seas in another continent, on a trip to the Eden Project in Cornwall, I came face to face with the memories of my childhood home. I remembered the reliable nipa hut which took different forms and shapes throughout the eight years we have lived there. I remembered the bougainvillaea shrubs in the backyard which served as a pretty background in most of our photographs. I remembered the scampering chickens, the cocking roosters and the restless pigs which became our playmates and friends.

But most of all, I remembered Mama’s dreams, planted in my childhood and constantly watered with care. Dreams I am now living and am determined to let her experience when I can finally afford it.


  1. I remembered the long talk we had with your Mama at the airport...the joy in her face as she accounts all of your are really a dream come true to her!!!

    1. Aww thanks Tita Dutch. I haven't really accomplished anything much other than follow my dreams which of course wouldn't have been possible without the guidance and love of the amazing parents we have. I'm sure your Jiggz, Nikki and Patrick are as grateful to you and Tito Bong as Barbie, Dab and I are with Mama and Papa :)


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