April 2, 2023

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate Feb. 14 because I am loveless. It’s the day of hearts. For businesses engaged in the hotel or motel industry, it is the busiest day of the month. For flower shops, jewelry stores, restaurants, and other food establishments, this is quite a profitable day.
I do have my fair share of Valentine’s dates (and I plan to spend it this year too with my significant other) but those were not as meaningful as going home and celebrating it for my mother’s birthday.
For a long time, she sent me to school, away from her, yet, I did not disappoint her. Her youngest child is now stronger and ready to help her in her forthcoming retirement.
I learned how to read and write because I would often see her read the newspapers. As early as seven years old, I was told to read editorials, columns, and magazines that were brought home. I witness her prepare lesson plans, visual aids, and school reports. I often see her check students’ submissions, compute grades late at night, and prepare early in the morning for her usual 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. class, not to mention that she has to wake us up while making our breakfast.
She taught me to think outside the box. She explained to me the plunder during the dictator’s regime, the despotic rule of that guy, and to not be afraid to criticize the government. An Iskolar ng Bayan as she was during her student days at the University of the Philippines, I truly saw that she gave importance to social involvement and critical thinking.
This is why I love teaching History to my students. Yes, like my mother, I am a proud teacher. Teaching is my vocation, just like I saw how my mom’s eyes would sparkle every time her students would greet her in the market, grocery, or elsewhere.
She taught me to be thrifty, responsible, and accountable. She taught me to take studies seriously because we do not have substantial material wealth to inherit.
Fast forward to 2022, she would witness me in my oath taking and roll-signing as a lawyer. She is happy that I am helping numerous public-school teachers who fell prey to syndicated estafa in our province.
My brother and I learned to fight back at evil relatives because we do not like seeing our mom get bullied by brainless people. My brother and I are glad that we are mom’s children, much as my mother is now happy that she will be abuela soon, a well-deserved gift for my brother who got the news on his birthday last Feb. 5.
Every Feb. 14, I would usually greet mom with a birthday card and a hug, but having been exposed to newspaper media since as far as I can remember, I am now writing on this platform to feature her.
This is for you, mom.