Dear Dad... | A Father's Day Special 2014

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Two individuals who’ve lost their father's decide to celebrate Father's Day in a form of a letter dedicated to the man that they will always love.

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Dear Dad… | A Father’s Day Special 2014

For those who have lost their father, Father’s Day could either mark a day of celebration and warm memories or could trigger a flood of emotions and renew a process of mourning, whichever category one falls under, we can deduce that their father played a significant role in their lives. Here we have Elaine Gatbonton and James Dinglasan, individuals who’ve decided to celebrate their father’s memory and have done so in a form of a letter. Read on and try not to tear up.

Click “next page” to read Elaine Gatbonton’s letter…

Last April 26, 2013, Rolando Gatbonton was diagnosed with liver cancer. Despite the doctor’s optimistic report that Rolando would survive the ordeal, Rolando began to complain of a severe stomach ache which prompted his confinement in the ICU. Rolando’s organs then began to shut down one by one and he eventually passed Tuesday morning, April 30, 2013.

Rolando’s youngest daughter Elaine, who’s debut they had celebrated just weeks earlier, writes a letter recalling the incident and thanks her father for the lessons that he had left behind.

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Rolando and Elaine Gatbonton

APRIL 30, 2013: The most life-changing event in my life happened.

I was awakened by the sound of my mom and sister hurriedly getting ready to go down to the ICU where my father was, in response to a phone call from the nurse downstairs. On our way down, I was trying to be optimistic but at the same time preparing myself for the worst. And just as the ICU door burst open, the sight of a group of doctors and nurses surrounding and pumping my father’s chest welcomed us. In no time, my mom and sister broke down beside me, crying helplessly on the floor. I, on the other hand, was still confused, refusing to believe this was happening to THE strongest man I know. The medical team was still going at it, just waiting for us to make them stop. Eventually, my sister had to make the tough call. And we had to let Papa go.

When the doctors left and Papa was alone in the room, I went to him and poked him incessantly, begging him to come back to life. The thing in his chest that used to support his breathing still made it look like he was actually breathing. So it gave off the illusion of hope. So I poked and begged and prayed this was all a dream. However, his cold, bloated body (not to mention those monitors around him) made me believe otherwise.

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Gatbonton Family

Yes, this happened a little over a year ago but every time I recall this and everything that lead to it, I still can’t help crying. Understandably, crying became something usual in the household but of course, we didn’t go about our lives post-April 30 crying incessantly. I am actually proud of my family for being super strong and for continuing to grow despite this tremendous loss. We really tried and still do try to move on. Yes we find ourselves down on the floor (metaphorically) every now and then but we manage to push ourselves back up again.

Papa was always one to teach us lessons in the hopes of making us better persons. Most of the time, he prefers to make us learn the hard way and even in his demise, he still lived up to this reputation. Thank you Pops for teaching us to be strong in the face of challenges and to pick ourselves back up whenever we struggle and stumble. We miss you everyday. And even if I personally question why everything happened the way or the time it did, I know that this is what is best for us. After all, lesson #2 here is acceptance. Thank you Pops for teaching us to accept God’s will, the things that are beyond us and things we cannot change.

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I love and miss you so much Papa – our greatest mentor, tagapagtanggol, life peg, hero and father. You are now our year-old angel and backer in heaven!


Click “next page” for James Dinglasan’s letter…

On May 5, 2014, Dominador Dinglasan was robbed and killed in Calatagan, Batangas. His two assailants remain unidentified and are still at large. His son, James, a fourth year university student writes a letter thanking his father for the life lessons he’s learned before and after his passing. 

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Dominador and James Dinglasan

Dear Dad,

Father’s day is just around the corner and I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the many things you taught me about life even though we may had faced some rough roads along the way. First, I want to thank you for teaching me how to live life with a lively disposition. You were never the type who would always be serious about problems in life; you would often have that “YOLO” outlook even though, at times, things are getting rough. Second, to stand firm by one’s principles and beliefs. You were always firm in your decisions and you always did things as perfectly as you could. Third, I thank you for making us feel that you care. Even though you may not be the expressive type and it was hard for you to be a “sweet” type of dad; I’m thankful because I know that deep inside you truly are.

After your passing, you continued to be a teacher and taught me a thing or two as well. I learned that there’s such a thing as “too late”. People often tell us to take our time on certain matters but, in reality, everything has its “time’s up”. I wish I could have told you the things I wanted to tell you but I was often hesitant to express them because you were never transparent with what you feel so I couldn’t tell if what I will tell you may strike a chord. But then again, I should have tried. I should have been brave.

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Dinglasan Family

Second, the importance of commitment. Reflecting on your life has made me realize how commitment can make a great impact in one’s life in work, family, and many more. Last, the essence of love. Love is never about you, but always about others and a slight tinge of self will only prove that you’re selfish. I also got this from you, well, from your life. How you lived your life made me want to love more through my choices, dealings with others, and how I go about my life in the future.

To end my letter, I just want to sing this song for you (the song you always sing to us when we were kids)

“I love you forever, I love you for always. As long as I’m living, my daddy you’ll be”. 

Please watch over us and pray for us. I love you very much dad and I miss you. Thank you for everything and forgive me for the many things I’ve done that hurt you.

Your loving son,

Capt. James “Tiberius” Kirk Dinglasan



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