02 May 2011

Past and Present

In the back of our house lies our neighbor's malunggay (moringa) plant. It grows tall and if left unchecked, can grow up to twenty feet or more. I was told that this lowly local plant is one of the best source of calcium, protein, iron and possibly of alternative fuel by using the pods or seeds sprouting from it. Yet, very few people take advantage of its many healthy and productive uses.

I was also told that the leaves of this plant easily absorbs the pollution in the air which is why, if you want to eat and absorb its nutrients, the leaves must be harvested fresh daily, to be used as tea perhaps, or simply added to chicken soup or sauteed mongo dish which I love and which we have every week. A cup of malunggay, they say, is equivalent to a cup of milk! A perfect alternative for people with lactose intolerance like me and provides a cheap and healthy alternative source for milk.
But what I love most about this plant is its delicate and beautiful flowers that resembles the local sampaguita although not as fragrant. Oh I love how this plant can be so resilient (almost zero maintenance!), aesthetically pleasing, nutritious and healthy!

I share these with Lisa of

Today is also my late father's death anniversary. People wondered why I don't write about him considering we were very close. I always write about my Mama and missed out on my Papa!

My father Joe or Pepe came from a large family of 12 siblings while my Mama had only a brother. Joe worked for the government for 15 years, served the war as a guerilla and missed out on veteran benefits because he got busy on the field doing postwar operations. He became one of the US scholars after the war and trained on air traffic management in Oklahoma, Washington and in Japan. He came home and became one of the early airport personnels in Manila. This happened before I was born but I know most of his achievements because I would write and recite it for him! I am always proud of my parents!

I was my Papa's girl. We were always together. I went to Sunday masses with him until he grew old and can no longer go to church anymore. I was born when my Papa has already retired and my Mama was menopausal which is why my Papa decided to add victory (Victoria) to my name! From my Papa I learned to harness my creativity, to share and be generous, to believe in myself, to pray always and be respectful of people. At a young age I made my own toys using old newspapers and bottles and learned recycling at pre-school age. My parents provided us with lots of paper, pencils and crayons which is why I started drawing and painting before I entered school.

My Papa rarely got sick which is why when he suddenly lost weight and soon his memory (we never knew about Alzhemiers) it was heartbreaking to see him struggle with it. Papa lost his memory but somehow he never forgot who I am: "ay, Isa, you are back!" (3 years after, I had the same experience with the father of my good friend Patrick who had the same condition.) I can go on and on but words are not enough to encapsulate all the wonderful memories I had with such a great man. Papa was my ultimate hero! Indeed, we relive our cherished parents to the present by living our inspired versions of them . . .

When Papa was dying my Mama woke us up in the morning to say goodbye to him. I rushed to his bedside and told him tearfully to go on and not to worry about us. I held his hand and kissed him for the last time praying for angels to fetch him. Papa died smiling. My Mama followed him two years after. They said great lovers and friends, which my parents are to each other, would always seek each other even beyond death. I'd like to think they are together again.

For Joe
February 4, 1915 - May 2, 1992
Always remembered and cherished forever!

. . . softly, as i leave you, softly. . . long before your arms can make me stay for one more hour, for one more day . . . - from Papa's favorite Frank Sinatra's song.


Linda Makiej said...

Beautiful photos in your blog... and this is a very wonderful remembrance... Lovely...

lisa said...

What an interesting plant Lui, and a beautiful tribute to your Papa. He sounds like he was a wonderful man, and I am sure he is looking down on you now, and smiling.

Thank you so much for sharing this today at The Creative Exchange.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!


Ankush Samant said...

A lovely and sad post. It was touching to know how you saw your father passing by in a helpless situation. May he have a peace and joy forever!

I also saw your comment on my post regarding natural toys for children. I agree with all of it. But, still the request is to those who throw away unwanted toys. At least they can donate their toys for someone else to play with, specially someone who has never seen a teddy bear, or a toy train or the sorts..

I loved your house and your buddies (your pets) too...Will surely like to visit your place if I happen to go to Philippines :)

Pat said...

What a wonderful tribute to your father, Lui!

Kristy said...

I love your leaves macro!

Pat said...

Dear Lui,

What a beautiful post. The malunggay plant is amazing. Your memories of your father brought a tear to my eye. My parents both died as a result of Alzheimer's disease - it is a nasty thing!

You mentioned Drawing Day in your email to me. What is that?


Anonymous said...

Hi Lui. I read about your father and i know what Alzheimer do with people. You ask about the flowers. It is a tree Prunus padus, sweet scented, small black berrys. Swedish name Hägg.

LV said...

Enjoyed visiting your blog and learning more about you and family. Very interesting. Thanks for your nice comment. I love art work, but never found I had a talent to do it.

Self Sagacity said...

the post touched my heart as I remembered when my dad died. I also like to believe your parents re-united, and the process of the two finding each other...Does it matter what kind of death? I think it would be different with an accident, because the person isn't yet ready to go. Any thoughts, wisdom?

♥~Judy~♥ said...

My father passed in 2007 from Alzheimer's. It was when his health began failing that my passion for alternative health started burning stronger. Our parents will always be with us.

Bless you. Your post is touching.

Lui said...

Thank you everyone! You are all so special. I made this tribute to my father so I will not forget. Now, with all of you sharing in, you made it memorable.

I will share other special moments with them soon.