ON MY 30th year on this earth, a young boy came into my life. Among all the pictures of him that exist in early childhood, there are around one or two that show him crying, but otherwise all the rest, scores and scores, show him flashing his famous brilliant smile, radiating warmth and charm three hundred sixty degrees around, and twenty-four seven. Yes, From the very start, there was something special about him.
He’s always had the easiest time with words and phrases, better than average with graphs and figures, and creative as anyone with a brush, mouse or pen. Early on, he showed a remarkable ease being with children and adults much older than him, but was likewise able to bond with children his age and much younger. His gift was in expressing himself, in understanding the world around him, and as a logical consequence, in relating to all sorts of people. Almost everytime, he would leave you feeling that there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do, anything he set his mind to, and he had the rest of his young life to do it. Such was this young boy as I saw him.
It is as I continue to see him, despite all the challenges and obstacles that he has run into, perhaps because of all these same challenges and obstacles. The past year has seen milestone after milestone that he has declared for himself : first job, first term in an NZ university, first participation in a uni varsity team, first stint as a class representative, and so on and so forth. That he has produced above average academic results while doing all those firsts shows that he is thriving in the whirlwind, and that he is a natural under pressure. From babyhood till today, the eve of his 19th birthday, he continues to amaze his awestruck father.
These small tributes are of course natural from an admiring parent, so I temper it with a token enumeration of his adolescent faults : he burns both ends of the candle, he is an unabashed admirer of looks and cleverness in people, usually his own, and unsurprisingly suffers from intervals of overconfidence. But look at yourself in the mirror Noel, and pay yourself a hundred pesos for every fault of his that you didn’t have at his age. That’s right, better start looking for those pesos elsewhere.
The day he came into my life will be exactly 19 years ago tomorrow, but he still gives me the same gift, besides the honor of being a proud father. And that gift is the ever brightening hope of a kinder, smarter and gentler generation that comes after mine.
From Papa and all the rest of us, happy birthday Bunso, and thank you for being in my life. As always, you make me proud.