Today is Father’s day. However, I do not usually buy these holidays. Why do we even need to have a special day for parents, when it should be every day of the year, right? On the other side, isn’t it a slap in the face of those who have none?
Nonetheless, to conform to the social norm, let me share you one of the most bizarre, yet heart-warming stories that I knew.
While most of us celebrate Father’s day, there are also many people who do not have to celebrate. With this, I tell you the story of Samuel Nisperos, and his family.
On October 17, 1996, a man named Samuel Nisperos left a very comfortable life in Laguna to go to Manila, with only P100.00 cash on hand, and a promise to be back immediately the following day. But, that is the last thing the family saw him alive.
Right then it made me think, what could the family have had done if they only knew that it would be the last time they would see a loved one alive. Hugs, and kisses, perhaps? A heartfelt “I love you”? Or of course, most of us would simply not let our loved one go.
Let us ponder for a moment, shall we? Let’s think about the cruel trick time has been playing to us ever since. It is inevitable for regret to prevail, even if we know it would lead us nowhere. It is terrifying.
Samuel Nisperos has been gone for seven years. Seven years. That is a very long time, come to think that a lot of events could happen in a day, even in an hour. Where did that seven years go? What have the family missed during those seven years?
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For one, seven Father’s day celebrations. Whereas most of us get to have outdoor recreational activities such as picnics or visits at theme parks, or perhaps if you are sporty, you get to bike or hike together, or if on the other hand you enjoy the usual tradition of home celebrations, you get to have variety of food from cakes to homemade pies, and with your father’s favorite dish at the table of course—- the Nisperos grieve over a fading memory, a lost part of life. This in much painful in every birthdays, Christmas, New years, and academic achievement recognitions as well. It is as much as painful too, in other life’s events from haircuts, visits to the doctors, and the sometimes-fun, sometimes-awful, confusing stages of growing up.
Somehow I can relate to them. I also grew up without a father by my side. It is tough to go to school and see your classmates have their dads with them. It is sad to attend family days and other psycho-social school-related events with a missing member of the family. When I was little, there were times when I felt sad that I do not have a father to go home to and show my achievements at school.
I also remember that when I was little, whenever I see an airplane, I will tell people that “There’s my dad,” and they would laugh and tell me how cute I am. They dwell on the funny idea that a little child thinks that her father is in every plane, as she associates it with the memory of walking his father to the airport. But in my heart, the feeling of missing my father, with the self-assurance that he is just somewhere out there is genuine. A heart wants what it wants, after all.
But, I and the Nisperos’ siblings have a big difference. Yes, my father is not by my side but I know where he is, and what he does. I know that he is working to provide us an opportunity for a well future. Most importantly, I do know he is a live and that he would return soon enough.
Their Father, Others’ Hero
Again, let us take time to think, do we really know our fathers? What memory do we have of them? Well, there are people who would enjoy the walk down at the memory lane. But how about those who do not?
For the Nisperos family, their father’s life for the past seven years remain a mystery. They were left with so many questions with vague, if no answer at all.
The family has found out upon his death that for the past seven years, that Samuel has lived a very different life far from who he used to be. One might find it hard to understand how a promising professor at the premiere university of the country, with various opportunities on hand would live a lowly life as a leader of a conspiracy.
When in Manila, Samuel fronted himself as Tatay Victor and lived most days of his new life as a bedspacer in an old boarding house. According to the testimonies of the caretaker of the boarding house, as well as his housemates and newly-found friends, he was if one thing at all, a kind man.
But little did they know that Samuel, whom they have known as Tatay Victor, has another different persona. He is also known as “Supremo,” as he was the leader of an organization named Stone of Sacrifice, which believes that there is a hidden treasure somewhere that if found, would bring prosperity to the Philippines which has been suffering from extreme poverty for a long time.
If you are in his children’s shoes, what would you feel if you found out about this? Well, I would like to believe that his children did not feel shame. I believe that every child, despite how bizarre things are, would be happy to know something about his father, something to hold on to, and something to remind him or her that he was real.
Samuel Nisperos’ life has been a mystery since his disappearance. Until now, there are so many events that remain unexplained and unsolved, not to mention that there were sighting claims from relatives and friends all throughout the years. But maybe he really wanted to be alone.
Despite his unknown personal reasons for his actions, I believe that he did not forget his family. If there is an unconditional love in the face of the earth, it would be the love of a parent to his or her child. It was manifested by narrations from his friends that Tatay Victor becomes emotional every time the topic on the table is family.
Although I am aware I am not in a fit position, and I am pretty sure that they already know about this, but I would just like to tell his children that as they suffer, their father also did.
Let us also think how Samuel must have felt all through out those seven years. What did he feel whenever he sees a father and his children? What did he think during his children’s birthdays? How did he survive the cold nights and the misery of spending the holidays, such as Father’s days, alone? It must be a lot more painful for him too. It must be tough to become a Supremo and carry the burden of saving a poverty-driven country with a heavy heart longing from the old comfort of life.
To others, Samuel Nisperos is many things—a good friend, a kind man, a savior. But to his children, he is, and would always be, their father.
His last precious gift
He might have failed in finding the treasure to save our country, through his death he had given his children something more valuable than material wealth—family.
RM, a child of Samuel, know that he has other siblings from his father’s side. With the help of technology, specifically Crusade Hero, his children have found each other.
The inconsolable grief over the loss of a father brings forth new found hope and love, and a promise of a new chapter of life with new members of family found. It seems like Samuel wanted to make it up from his mistakes to his children by serving as a bridge for them.
I would like to think that one of the last things he had in mind before his death is that he hoped for the betterment of his family that he had abandoned. I sincerely hope that if ever there is really a second life, Samuel has found contentment that it was accomplished.
I also hope that soon, the other siblings would soon appear, so they too could experience Samuel’s last precious gift.
The process of establishing relationships with newly found family might be hard at first, but there is always the comfort of a happier tomorrow—when we have learned to let go of our past, accept the things as they were and as they are and mend our broken hearts and fill them with more love for themselves and more importantly, toward others.
Even if they have little, if no memory of their father at all I know that his children would make a lot of memories together. After all, life goes on.
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Everyday Father’s Day
To us that still have their fathers, let us hesitate to show our deep love for them. To us who don’t, may we always remember that we would not be where we are today if not because of them. Let us not wait once a year to celebrate love and togetherness.
Our time is limited, but our love for our family should not be.
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