Category: Family

My Dad, an early OFW

Clarita & Eligio Wamil, 1950's

Clarita & Eligio Wamil, 1950’s

Eligio Wamil, Guam in the 50s

Eligio Wamil, Guam in the 50s

My Dad, an early OFW

15 November 2015

My first thought upon waking this morning was my Dad.  It was his birthday today. He would have been 81 years old today had he not die at the age of 49 whilst working as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) in Saudi Arabia.

My Dad, I think, was born too soon and died sooner.  He would have loved the current technology we enjoy today.

He wanted us to be technology savvy.  He would patiently show us how machine worked.  He would not mind us taking gadgets apart to see the mechanics of it.

In his short life, he lived a fruitful one.  He was mega intelligent.  He finished high-school at a very young age because he was academically accelerated.

He was a handsome man, a bit of a lad. After romancing most of the young ladies, he had to leave his little barrio to see the world.

The problem was that he was only 14 years old.  He needed to be at least 16 to be able to work abroad.  Somehow he was able to get a birth certificate making him to be16 years old.  His new birthdate was 15 February.

He went to Guam, where he thrived.  He was popular and got taken into the care of an American family which send him to college and study engineering.

While in Guam, he started a friendship with my mother through penpal.  After four years of writing, they became engaged.  My father sent my mother a Sears catalogue where she can choose any ring she wanted.  She chosed an eternity ring with 5 diamonds.  I thought the ring is beautiful but my mother said she was disappointed when it arrived.  The diamonds were not so big, not like in the catalogue picture. 🙂

My father became a BalikBayan (country returnee) and went to see my mother.

She’s beautiful, he was handsome and their chemistry was blazingly on fire.  But like every great love stories, it was not always smooth sailing.  My beloved grandfather (mom’s dad) was not enamoured of my father, who had become rather americanised.

My Lolo (grandfather) had a touch of xenophobia.  When he was only 16, he too tried his luck working abroad.  He became a deckhand.  When he arrived in America, he said some Americans started shouting at the Filipinos, calling them little monkeys.  My Lolo did not even bother to disembark from the ship.  He was returning back home.  He said he used to tutor American boys of his own age in Maths in school.  He refused to be belittled by them!  Too right too, LOLO (RIP).

Anyway, as my Lolo refused to consent to a wedding, my mother and father got married in secret (wedding photo above) a day before my father had to go back to Guam.

It was several years before he finally decided to make Philippines as his permanent base.  With him he brought home a massive collection of books, records, cameras and other gizmos.

After living together as man and wife for more than a year, babies were not forthcoming.  So they decided to go to Obando in Bulacan to dance the fertility rite of Santa Clara.

It worked too well because nine months later, I arrived, and then a year after my arrival, my sister Marilou arrived, closely followed by my brother William.  My mother said perhaps they danced too well.  (They should do, because I remember that my mother and father used to go dancing all the time.  They had date nights; very progressive.)  She’s a good Catholic girl but three children in three years was too much.  She took the pill for a while.  As soon as she stopped, she got pregnant again and we had our baby of the family, Jonathan.  My mother decided to have a tubal ligation, very forward thinking in a Catholic country in the 60s, 70s.

We lived in Marag, we had the prettiest house.  We had a library with my father’s books.  We had Long-Playing (LP/ 33rpm) records played on battery operated record player, connected to a huge gramophone, booming delightful Merry Widow Waltz,  Blue Danube and the likes.

My father was the Barrio Captain, in our barrio (duh).  He was well respected because of his experience, his sophistication, his intelligence and brawn as well.  He had a black belt in Judo.  He once tackled the bully boy of the town using his judo!  My mother would proudly tell us this as we were too young to remember.

My mother and father lived a very happy and contented life.  He was devoted to her and she to him.

Though we had a very happy house full of laughter and joy, we never said “I love you” to each other.  We know, we just knew we were loved!  I still find it strange saying “I love you” now. I am more action rather than mere words.  I grew up that way.

My father was into learning in a big way.  He wanted us to be always reading and talking about what we read.

He wanted us reading real books not the extremely popular Pilipino Komiks, weekly magazine with illustrated drawings.

We did take to reading like ducks to water but it was still a bit disappointing to our very well read Dad.  We were reading Mills & Boons and Barbara Cartland.  In fact we were addicted. My sister and I as well as my mother were reading 3 books a day each, much to my Dad weary consternation and silent disapproval. LOL

My father used to get a daily newspaper.  Again he was different from most Filipinos.  He read the broadsheets rather than the more salacious tabloids.  He would expect us to read the newspaper and discuss the news over dinner.  I was a teen-ager by then and so was my sister.  We did not do news unless it was about American singers/band/celebrities.  But the glare of my father was enough to turn anyone to a  pillar of salt.  No one argues with my father, unless one was prepared for a long tortuous and laborious debate.  (Did I say my father could have given Nietzsche and Voltaire a run for their money?!!!) He would ask us for our opinion and we had to give one.  Thinking about that now, I think it was actually rather brilliant way to promote family growth.  We talked over dinner.

As we are all growing and needed more money to fund university and college, my father once again had to go abroad to earn a decent living.  He said what he earned in the Philippines for a year can be earned abroad in a month.

We missed him so much.  There was no happier time than when he comes home and no saddest time than when we had to see him off to the airport except when we had to meet his repatriated body back to the Philippines.  He died from complications of diabetes while in Saudi Arabia.

In his luggage we found a dozen of Mills & Boons! From the grave my father telling us we can read what we like!

And the most mysterious thing is that he actually died on 15 February, the date he chosed for his new “Birth Certificate”

Anyway, this blog is getting too long.

There are too much more to say but probably later.

Anyway, Daddy, YOU have been gone a long time from us but you are always in MY Heart, OUR Hearts.

I always think that you would have loved both James (my son) and Nathan (my grandson) because I can see you in them especially in James.  I look at him and think, my Dad would be so proud of him!  He does not say much, the quiet type but he can put his mind into most things.  He is a ‘sorter’ like you.  Methodical!  And like you, most of his knowlege are self-taught!


Peter and I chose your birthday to get wed 29 years ago to honour your memory.

I have never said this before but I DO LOVE YOU, DADDY!  WHEREVER YOU ARE!


1001: Family

Peter and I love this little drawing of our beloved Nat-nat of his ‘Family Morton’. He’s five and learning to write and read. I am so impressed with his skill and talent. I think we are going to have a boy genius here.

I saw the film, Imitation Game, which is about Alan Turing, a mathematics genius, whose war accomplishment is said to have shorten the second world war,WWII, by two years and saved 14 million people from becoming casualties of war. The young brilliant Alan Turing used to painstakingly separate his peas from his carrots which reminds me of our little Nat-nat, who is rather pernickety with his food.

He likes his food, don’t get me wrong, but he wants his dinner served according to his predilection or in a certain way. He doesn’t want things touching each other. 😉 He wants his peas in one corner, his chicken nuggets in another corner and his chips at another side and not to mention his tomato sauce pooled in the middle, not drizzled in the chips or chicken, otherwise he would refuse to eat. Poor Stacey, his mother, had to take all these into consideration when preparing our little angel’s din-dins

This is family.  Looking after each other, for better or for worst.  Blood is thicker than water.  Proverbs and sayings have been coined for thousands of years with regards to families.

Nathan, age 5, family Photo by PH Morton

Nathan, age 5, family
Photo by PH Morton

Mind you, family can also be a source of so much grief, a la Romeo and Juliet or the late Diana, Princess of Wales with her relations with the Windsor Family so much so that the Queen, herself, grimly admitted in November of 1994 that it was annus horribilis for her. 🙁

1001: Family

You see much more of our children once they leave home.
– Lucille Ball

Dancing with a naked man to Lady in Red


We got married in November 1986 and the most popular song during that month on that year was Lady In Red. It was played over and over during our wedding! Everyone was dancing. Thus it became our theme song (how corny!).

By the way thank you for the dance. Nothing could be better than dancing with a naked man while Lady in Red is playing at 1:30 in the morning.

Happy Anniversary to you, Dearest. I wish for many, many, many more years together.

“The Lady In Red”

I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight,
I’ve never seen you shine so bright,
I’ve never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance,
They’re looking for a little romance, given half a chance,
And I have never seen that dress you’re wearing,
Or the highlights in your hair that catch your eyes,
I have been blind;

The lady in red is dancing with me, cheek to cheek,
There’s nobody here, it’s just you and me,
It’s where I want to be,
But I hardly know this beauty by my side,
I’ll never forget the way you look tonight;

I’ve never seen you looking so gorgeous as you did tonight,
I’ve never seen you shine so bright, you were amazing,
I’ve never seen so many people want to be there by your side,
And when you turned to me and smiled, it took my breath away,
And I have never had such a feeling,
Such a feeling of complete and utter love, as I do tonight;

The lady in red is dancing with me, cheek to cheek,
There’s nobody here, it’s just you and me,
It’s where I want to be,
But I hardly know this beauty by my side,
I’ll never forget the way you look tonight;

I never will forget the way you look tonight…
The lady in red, the lady in red,
The lady in red, my lady in red,

I love you…

Children Are the Future

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.  For they have their own thoughts.  You may house their bodies but not their soul, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
– Khalil Gibran

Look After the Children

by lorosa Traditional Art / Paintings / People©2010-2014 lorosa

by lorosa
Traditional Art / Paintings / People©2010-2014 lorosa

Dr. Samuel Johnson once said, “Above all, accustom your children constantly to tell the truth; without varying in any circumstance.” A lady who heard him said, “Nay, this is too much, for a little variation in narrative must happen a thousand times a day, if one is not perpetually watching.” “Well, madam,” said the Doctor, “you ought to be perpetually watching.”
A man who gives his children habits of industry, provides for them better than by giving them a fortune.
A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.
Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.
—John Wilmot
Be very vigilant over thy child in the April of his understanding, lest the frost of May nip his blossoms. While he is a tender twig, straighten him; whilst he is a new vessel, season him; such as thou makest him, such commonly shalt thou find him. Let his first lesson be obedience, and his second shall be what thou wilt.
Children need roots somewhere while they are growing up, and parents might do well to choose the place where they want to raise them before they have them.
– Peace Pilgrim
Children are our most valuble resource.
– Herbert Hoover

Children are usually what their mothers were, or are.
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
– James Baldwin (1924-1987)

Children need models rather than critics.
—Joseph Joubert.
Childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day.
Could it be believed that a child should be forced to learn the rudiments of a language which he is never to use, and neglect the writing a good hand, and casting accounts?
“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.”
– Charles F. Kettering
His cares are eased with intervals of bliss:
His little children, climbing for a kiss,
Welcome their father’s late return at night.
If a boy is not trained to endure and to bear trouble, he will grow up a girl; and a boy that is a girl has all a girl’s weakness without any of her regal qualities. A woman made out of a woman is God’s noblest work; a woman made out of a man is his meanest.
If I were to choose among all gifts and qualities that which, on the whole, makes life pleasantest, I should select the love of children. No circumstance can render this world wholly a solitude to one who has this possession.—T.W. Higginson.


I never hear parents exclaim impatiently, “Children, you must not make so much noise,” that I do not think how soon the time may come when, beside the vacant chair, those parents would give all the world, could they hear once more the ringing laughter which once so disturbed them.
—A. E. Kittredge.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
– Frederick Douglass
The child’s restless observation, instead of being ignored or checked, should be diligently ministered to, and made as accurate as possible.
—Herbert Spencer.
The dutifulness of children is the foundation of all virtues.
These little shoes! How proud she was of these!
Can you forget how, sitting on your knees,
She used to prattle volubly, and raise
Her tiny feet to win your wondering praise?
—William Canton.
What the child says out of doors, he has learned indoors.
– ???
What is there in nature so dear to man as his own children?
Words of praise are almost as necessary to warm a child into a genial life as acts of kindness and affection. Judicious praise is to children what the sun is to flowers.

Your children need your presence more than your presents.
– Jesse Jackson

Dad, The Father – Celebrating Father’s Day

Whoever has not got a good father should procure one.
– Friedrich Nietzsche


Dad, The Father – Celebrating Father’s Day

Let’s hear from “Fathers” or things about fatherhood!

Better to play 15 minutes enjoyably and then say, “Now I’m going to read my paper” than to spend all day at the zoo crossly.
– Dr Benjamin Spock

Father and son are natural enemies and each is happier and more secure in keeping it that way.
– John Steinbeck

Having one child makes you a parent; having two you are a referee.
– David Frost

I did not become a father because I am fond of children.
– Thales of Miletus

I have only two rules for my newly born daughter. She will dress well; she will never have sex.
– John Malkovich

It is easy to become a father, but very difficult to be a father.
– Wilhelm Busch

It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.
– Anne Sexton

My father had a profound influence on me, he was a lunatic.
– Spike Milligan

No man can possibly know what life means, what the world means, what anything means, until he has a child and loves it.
– Lafcadio Hearn

The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war.
E.B. White

In The Garden in the May Sunshine

God did not create hurry.
– Finland

The garden is a special place for us.  It is where we frolic, we laugh, we enjoy and where stop and just chill and relax, afterall as the above Finnish proverb says, God did not create hurry.  We did.  Some of us have stopped to pause for a moment to enjoy the wonders of nature, to smell the roses.

I supposed having a young child in the family makes having garden time easier.

Thank you, Nat-nat.

Peter and I are quite impressed by these photos taken by our grandson who is almost 5 years old.

He insisted in taking our photos after he was cajoled into posing for photos after photos in the garden. Our lovely Nathan is our pride and joy. A true delightful grandson.

Mommy’s Birthday

Today is my mother’s birthday and we, her London branch of the family: Peter (son-in-law), James (grandson), Stacey (granddaughter-in-law), Nathan (apo sa tuhod/great grandson) and me, are wishing her a very happy birthday.  Good health and more, more, more, moreeeeeee birthdays to come. Love you

Dad’s Rule

Dad’s Rule

To potential boyfriends, be warned. Some fathers live by these rules: 😉

But nothing to worry about, just treat a girl with respect and everything is hanky dory.

dad's rule



Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar stradivarius to a gorilla.

– Jim Bishop

Happy Mother’s Day

One day someone calls her “Mother.” That is what she remains for the rest of her life.
– Cao Xueqin

To our Mommy

Happy Mother’s Day.  You are one extraordinary, very special mother!  You did not give up when Daddy passed away. Instead you became even stronger. You did not cave in.  You are more than capable mother and father to us. You pushed us to be the best that we can be and I think you have succeeded. 😉

You are also very funny. Our house was always noisy with laughter.  I still remember when you asked William to go to the shop to get some Vetsin (monosodium glutamate) from the corner shop for your cooking.  When I said that there was something on the radio about MSG killing brain cells, you said full of humour:  “Don’t worry you have enough brain cells, a few dead ones won’t matter!” LMAO!    That is mother’s pride of her children, not a brain cells monster. LOL

You are my inspiration, my role model. I am so very, very sorry I have not said that to you. However it is the truth.  If I am faced with anything that is beyond my control, I always ask my self, “What would my mother do in this situation?”

I am not going to say that you are perfect because no one is. Your little imperfections make you so human, the best. You say what you do not want, you show what annoys you, you are so direct that sometimes it is hard to listen to what you say. I thought these were faults but I have come to realise that those were characters that made us what we are, you brought us up to be able to face the world with confidence and humour. I do not suffer fools gladly because of you. If I say so myself, I think you have created World class Filipinas and Filipinos because of who we are, how we are, what we are; what we can do and why we are,  and definitely not because we use some brand of shampoo, which strangely enough is the prerequisite to being World Class Filipinos if Creme Silk is to be believed. LOL

I hear people here in London saying so many lovely things, some admiring things about me and often wish to myself, “I hope my mother can hear these”, because I know you would have been so proud.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!

Mrs Clarita Wamil

Mrs Clarita Agpawa Wamil

Just reminding everyone that tomorrow is Mothering Sunday in the UK. The shops are still open, but it is almost 3:00pm, so better hurry. LOL

Remember, your mother carried you for nine months, and in some cases still carrying YOU. LOL

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother_and_InfantWHAT IS A MOTHER?

Mother’s Day: Motherhood 1001

A mother’s arms are made of tenderness
and children sleep soundly in them.
— Victor Hugo
My mother never gave up on me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back.
– Denzel Washington


My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw.  All I am I owe to my mother.  I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.
– George Washington
The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.
—Honore de Balzac

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness.
When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.
—Jessica Lange
Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall.
A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes

Best Friends

As part of our little family Jean & I have our precious pets.

Over the last year Diesel the dog and Bert the budgie have become best buddies.

When Jean and & are out, or at work, they keep each other company. Both have their own unique character. Bert can be a little stand-offish/aloof with us, sometimes, however, when Diesel gets near his bird-cage, Bert will leap to or climb the bars to meet him. Bert likes to gently pull at some of Diesel’s fur around his face. Diesel allows him too and likes it, he will try to lick Bert. Bert can even mimic Diesel’s whine. 😉

We smile when we see them ‘buddying up’. 🙂

Bert & Diesel

Bert & Diesel