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Apr 01st
Home Sections Obituary-Memorial Park Lessons from My Father, Antonio B. Maynigo
Lessons from My Father, Antonio B. Maynigo PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Obituary-Memorial Park
Written by By Benjamin G. Maynigo   
Monday, 20 June 2011 13:48



By Benjamin G. Maynigo


In all my life, I have never written anything about my father. I only wrote messages on his birthday, during Christmas and on some other occasions. And yet, his lessons and thoughts permeated my whole being that I can’t help remembering them.

Our first child’s name is Antonia nicknamed Tanya. She was named after my father Antonio. Like the latter, Tanya as a child was what we call in Spanish “adelantada” or advanced. She knew her numbers and her ABC’s at age 1 and blew her birthday candle also at age1. Fortunately, my father witnessed these and was very proud before he passed away. Of course, I am sure he would have been as proud if he witnessed how “adelantado” our other two children, Traci and Raul who were born in the
United States

The son of a “kutsero” or one who drives or pilots a horse-driven carriage named “karitela”, my father was born poor and grew up poor. Shy, always smiling, humble, and very handsome, he was an exceptional child. Endowed with an almost-photographic memory, brilliant in Math and proficient in English, he finished elementary school in 5 instead of 6 years and secondary school in 3 instead of 4 years. 

Like most of our relatives, the chosen profession of my father was teaching. Having to commute from our town of
to Lingayen (Pangasinan), which is about 40 kilometers away, using a “karitela” or “kariton” or carabao-driven carriage as a means of transportation, time was always of the essence. Due to this long daily commute, he decided to complete his Education degree in 3 years instead of the regular 4.

“My Dear Aunt Sally” was the first lesson I could remember my father teaching me. Letter-writing or English composition, right? Wrong. It was about numbers: MDAS meaning Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction. Most people learned it in school. I first learned it at home. He used to tell me, life is all about numbers. Everything is always measured in numbers. So I might as well learn to love numbers. It would make it easier to learn math instead of hating it as most students did.

My father taught me shortcuts to solving math problems that made learning math fun and enjoyable. I used these shortcuts to impress my classmates and later taught them on to my children, nieces and nephews.

Compute mentally without pencil and paper:
65 x 65= 
75 x 85= 
55 x 75= 

My father was a religious man. The only vice he enjoyed was playing the slot machine. He was also the only slot player I know who closes his eyes and prays prior to pulling the handle. He was an active member of the Holy Name Society and the Knights of Columbus in our hometown Catholic parish. A member of the former is called, “Holy Namer” and a member of the latter is called a “Knight”. In one of my visits, he was telling me the story of an active member of the two organizations who was accused of some sexual misbehavior. He jokingly said the man is “Holy No More” and “Columbus of the Night”.

Lesson 2 from my father was the use of wit and humor. When writing or speaking he always said to include wit or humor to get the audience’s attention, keep them interested, and focused on you message.

“Who can I turn to?
My heart wants to know and so I must go where destiny leads me.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll get what I am after
I’ll throw off my sorrow, beg steal or borrow my own share of laughter.” – From an old hit song my father liked.

Lesson 3 was the use of the lyrics of a hit song of a given era. Be it written or oral. Be it prepared, extemporaneous or impromptu. According to my father, quoting the lyrics of a hit song in a given period is actually reflecting the noblest emotions of the generation that made it a hit. Choosing the right music with the right lyrics for the right audience is, of course, a skill that needs developing.

“Some people see things as they are, and say why?
I dream of things that never were, and say why not?” – George Bernard Shaw but popularly quoted by the late Robert F. Kennedy

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

“Hitch your wagon to a star” – Ralph Waldo Emerson quoted by F. Sionel Jose

“Those who have less in life must have more in law.” – Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, Sr.

Lesson 4 was quoting famous people in your speeches and / or your articles for certain topics. My father said, it gives more credibility and authority to what you are writing or talking about.

These are just a few lessons from my father. As a student and as a professional, they came in handy and resulted in significant successes and achievements for me. But nothing more important and of greater significance is the lesson learned by way of his example. He remains humble in the advent of his own successes as a teacher, school Principal and eventually as a school District Supervisor. But what I remember most was his unselfish love and devotion to my mother, his absolute commitment to their marriage, and both their limitless and selfless dedication to their children’s welfare and bright future. These qualities moved not only my human mind but also my human heart.

Over the years, I was lucky to have been exposed to some intellectual giants both in the
United States and in the Philippines
. I enjoyed and gained from the exposure but no other intellectual giant could ever compare to my father’s approach to knowledge transfer and management. To me, he did it with wit, wisdom, will and with much love.

On this Father’s Day, I miss him dearly!


Editor’s Note: This article will be published in a forthcoming coffee-table book called
Wisdom of our Filipino Fathers (Without Apology to Tim Russert) - MabuhayRadio

The book project will come with other stories such as:

Twenty-one Lessons from Filipino Fathers


My Father Was the Birdman and Butcher of Bulusan during the War and a Don Quixote Later in Life


Remembering Raul S. Manglapus and the Christian Democracy (also written by Atty. Ben G. Maynigo)


Ka Edong del Rosario Joins Ka Tonyang in the Great Beyond


Remembering My Dad, Hermilo V. Rodis


Remembering Raul Roco Today, Aug. 5, 2010 (1941-2005)


Senator Pimentel Remembers Henry Canoy for His Contributions to Broadcasting (By former Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr.)


Readers are invited to send in their manuscripts about lessons from their Filipino father or elder. The manuscript can be sent to Bobby M. Reyes at # # #


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Quote of the Day

Benjamin Franklin said in 1817: In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. But never in his wildest dream did he realize that by 2010, death would be synonymous with taxes~Bobby M. Reyes