I miss you papa, Tito Daza
The author’s father Tito Daza with her daughter Gabbie Planas

I miss you papa, Tito Daza

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza (The Philippine Star) - October 5, 2020 - 12:00am

Yesterday, Oct. 4, would have been my papa’s 79th birthday if he were still alive today. He passed away on Christmas Eve of 2005, 15 years ago.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my papa, Tito Daza, wondering what he would be like as a lolo. My son Paolo was only a month old when my dad died, and he often says how sad he is that he doesn’t have a grandfather. Paolo’s dad, Mike Planas, has been an orphan since the ‘80s when his parents passed away. This is why Paolo doesn’t have a lolo on either side. My daughter Gabbie was a bit luckier since she was four years old when her lolo Tito passed away. She was the first granddaughter and as expected, lolo doted on her. He visited her often, bringing her cute outfits that he proudly chose. He loved to carry Gabbie and kiss her all over and carried pictures of her in his wallet that he proudly showed off to anyone who wanted to see them.

My papa was the disciplinarian as I grew up. He grounded me whenever I broke my curfew or caught me using the telephone until the wee hours of the morning on a school night. When grounded, I wasn’t allowed to leave the house, not even to visit my cousins’ house next door; nor was I allowed to use the telephone. For me, this was absolute torture! I would write him love letters to say sorry so he would lift my grounding. Sometimes he’d give in on the condition that I scratch his back for an hour while he was watching television. I would readily agree to this punishment, but often times I’d fall asleep while scratching his back and my grounding would not be lifted. But despite this, he was actually very “cool.” When I was in college in UP Diliman, he liked to chat with my friends when they came over to the house to hang out. He would even sometimes join the conversation while the boys were having beer and cracking jokes.

My papa enjoyed staying at home and bonding with his children. He taught us to play card games like gin rummy, black jack, pekwa and old maid, not to mention mahjong and game of the generals! And on Friday and Saturday nights after dinner, there was nothing he enjoyed more than watching television with us. Our favorite programs were Little House on the Prairie, Starsky & Hutch, CHiPs, The Streets of San Francisco, Three’s Company, The Golden Girls and many more. At around 9 p.m., we’d get in the car and drive to our favorite fast food places for a “midnight” snack. The choices were invariably hamburgers from Tropical Hut, Jack’s (along P. Tuazon and EDSA), to McDonald’s newly-opened Cubao branch. If we weren’t in the mood for burgers, we’d buy roast beef sandwiches from Burger Machine or chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken. One thing my papa had to have with every meal was Coke. Whenever he entered a restaurant, he’d ask if they served Coke. When it wasn’t available, we’d leave and go elsewhere.

I miss you, papa. How I wish you could see how Gabbie’s grown from the fat little ball you used to carry to the pretty young lady she is today. You’d also be so proud to know that she’s a freshman in UP Diliman taking Business Economics. Meanwhile, Paolo is already taller than me (5’7”), and a handsome grade 10 charmer in Ateneo, your alma mater. I hope you had a fun birthday celebration in Heaven and will continue to watch over your children and grandchildren.

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