My Father’s Wisdom and the Significance of Malate Church

Being a Catholic-dominated country, there’s this tradition of Bisita Iglesia where you visit a certain number of churches on one of the days during Holy Week. Interestingly enough, Holy Week is this week and it was started by today’s ritualistic reenactment of Palm Sunday.

Malate Church
Malate Church

One thing I’ll never forget growing up whenever my family would go on this “Bisita Iglesia” would be Malate church (the one by Aristocrat in Roxas blvd.). It is a staple church we have to go to on this holiday practice. Attached with it is an unforgettable story my father would tell me that he attributes getting accepted to his first (and last) ever job because he went to pray on this church. The day before his interview, he went here and wished for it and, as expected,  he got accepted.

Being that this is my first interview since college and since my OJT I found it fitting that I ask him and my mom to go there. It’s Palm Sunday anyway and they wanted to get that palm thing. It’d be symbolic and at the same time sentimental, I thought. My father says he hasn’t been there in a decade. It would be a great experience for him to reminisce and at the same time a great opportunity for him to pass on some of his wisdom to me. I rarely see him nowadays, actually. Everything seemed to have fallen into place: my father randomly arrives this morning, I tell them I have a job interview, it’s palm Sunday, I suggest we go to Malate. Confirmation bias tells me that this is destined to happen and that all roads lead here.

Inside Malate church
Inside Malate Church

I wouldn’t really consider my dad an overly religious guy. I mean, he wasn’t really as big on the ritualistic and organized aspect of it as compared to my other relatives. And the fact that he is such makes the story even more compelling and inspiring. It shows that this is a very significant part of his life that he really treasures. He finds it unforgettable that even when he was already a successful entrepreneur, he loved returning to this place perhaps to give thanks or maybe to remind him of his humble beginnings. I’m not entirely sure of the reasons but what I’m sure of is that it’s special to him and that it is inspiring to me.

I’m not religious myself. I’d consider myself a pantheist, at the very least. And to expound on that would probably be somewhat of a taboo. This doesn’t mean I have no spirituality of sorts. I do believe in prayer, not in a typical talking sense, but more of on the power of the mind. Prayer is a powerful form of meditation, I believe. Regardless of my beliefs or probably even more so cause of my beliefs, I am inspired by his story. And now that I’m having my first ever job interview, I’m glad I did the same and I’m glad I shared it with him and with my mom.

Aristocrat Restaurant Manila Philippines
Aristocrat Restaurant

My father has an amazing “rags to riches” story, from selling peanuts in a public market at the age of 14 to eventually becoming a successful entrepreneur. I’ve somehow talked about his story several times in some of my other blogs. This experience and wisdom he has earned gives him the typical Kiyosaki-esque Rich Dad, Poor Dad rhetoric that inevitably influences me a lot. He would always choose entrepreneurship over employment.

“if you’re satisfied with a fixed income, you only succeed at getting older”,  “you can earn in a day what others earn in a month”,  “work with your head and not with your hands”, “if you want employment then go abroad, if you want a business then stay here”. These are just some of the quotable quotes he has repeatedly endorsed to me. When he tells his stories, it’s like he naturally has the 48 laws of power in his brain even without having read the book. It’s crazy. Imagine, he used to sell peanuts in a public market then later on becomes president of Alabang Counry Club (just one of his many achievements). That’s some serious Henry Sy or Villar shit yo! I actually wished I listened more when I was younger or at least taken notes. I was stubborn and rebellious. We do have our differences in beliefs and opinions but he is much wiser and he has earned so much and here I am with nothing to brag except a few hundred dollar bills from time to time from Google.

And so the inevitable happens. It sinks in to him that I’m super excited about a job interview that can give me a chance at making a living for writing about food. At first he finds it silly, and later on as he digests the idea, he goes beyond that and he’s already on the disappointed side. I mean, I’m sure both my parents had “bigger” dreams for me. It’s ridiculous to them that I’m excited about this. And it discourages me because I’m not even accepted and they’re already leaning towards feeling negative about it. I know they mean well. I understand. I have to understand.

I go on to say that I have other ambitions like changing the world through my writings or writing a book or something, making films and taking videos of the world, making music, etc. Again, they are being tough but I know they are just being realistic. They want me to have a stable future. Again, they mean well, I know. But as we sat in Aristocrat, one of the most classic restaurants in Manila, I am reminded of how people would say that you have to look for something you love or enjoy and as I looked at the barbecue chicken and java rice in front of me, I saw it: something  I loved and enjoyed.

At the end of it all, I owe so much to my parents. I do want to make them proud. I am constantly compelled to think of ways to be “successful” and never give up on it. I’ve talked about Edison a lot, with his “merely discovering a thousand ways of not how to make a light bulb” blurb. I am already past the quarter of my life, statistically, I think. I feel I have achieved too little for my age. I do take their advice into consideration, of course. I understand. But most importantly: I do hope that I am prepared for the interview and that somehow the mystical interventions brought about by the Malate trip works in my favor.

Unfortunately, it didn’t. I didn’t get the job. I take it as a sign to move forward.

 faber est suae quisque fortunae.



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