do people ever change?

They say despite our best efforts, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes our fathers did. It’s crazy how I shudder at this thought. It’s New Year’s Day, a holiday most people spend with their families and yet here I am, alone in a café with my laptop and a Caramel Americano for company.

It started simply enough. My sister is home from Japan for the holidays and for weeks, we’ve been playing house ala Hallmark channel. There are several big elephants in the room, each one brighter and bigger than the last but no one wants to talk about them. No one ever wants to talk about them.

“Paalis na rin naman ate mo. Hayaan mo na,” my mom said just as I was about to leave. You see my sister and I don’t really get along that well but while I am a master of hiding this fact, my father is a completely different story. He’s been quiet since the day he picked her up at the airport.

My parents don’t really approve of my sister’s boyfriend. You could say it’s because he’s not very well educated. You could say it’s because he isn’t very well off and has a dead end job. You could blame it on five million different reasons but the truth is, my parents do not approve of him because of one simple reason- my father thinks my sister’s boyfriend is a pervert.

For the longest time, my sister kept him from my parents. I suppose at the back of her head, she knew what they would say. She knew that that man could never support her but what could she do? Love is anything but rational. For many months, she lied repetitively to my parents- a project here, a late night dinner there. Anything to spend a little time with him. She did it really well until she let her conscience get in the way. While I have no problems about lying to my parents, my sister does. She felt guilty that she was deceiving them and figured it had to end soon.

She arranged to meet with her boyfriend with the intention of breaking up with him. From Las Piñas, he commuted all the way to Mandaluyong not knowing that he was about to get his heart broken. My sister had been crying in her room all day. She did not want to say goodbye but the Christian in her told her that she had to. When her boyfriend arrived, the maid escorted him to my sister’s room. He was dizzy from the long commute and decided to sit on the bed for a little bit. That was their first mistake. My father was clear that visitors could only stay in the living room. I suppose because of the circumstances, my sister wasn’t really thinking straight.

“I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep lying to my parents,” she began. “You know I love you but if that means I have to break a commandment, I just can’t do it anymore.” She was crying at this point and her boyfriend, realizing he went all that way to get his heart broken, began crying too.

When you’re young, you don’t realize how your actions affect other people. My sister soon realized this. I suppose she expected he would take it maturely but her boyfriend was practically inconsolable. Just as things went from bad to worse, my sister had a bright idea.

“Let’s pray,” she offered. “Let’s offer our relationship to God. He’ll tell us what to do.” Despite their differences in religion, her boyfriend agreed. Isn’t it funny how many things we agree to when love is challenged? With eyes closed, they began to pray- my sister, knees bent beside the bed and her boyfriend lying face up. It was very sweet and heartbreaking. How unfortunate that my father just happened to arrive.

He saw red. It didn’t matter that my sister’s boyfriend was on the bed because he was tired or that my sister was on her knees because they were praying. It didn’t matter that they were breaking up anyway. My father saw what he saw- a strange man on my sister’s bed and my sister on her knees with tears in her eyes. He nearly exploded with the millions of sexual positions he imagined to explain their circumstances. He nearly killed my sister’s boyfriend that day and within weeks, passport in hand, my sister was sent to a different country.

That’s how we deal with things in our house. If you can’t deal with it, send it away. As for my sister and her boyfriend, the shared trauma and the miles apart only strengthened their relationship. And though they were about to break up that fateful day, they are still together as I write this. With my sister coming home for the holidays, I actually thought my father had forgiven her and her imagined transgressions. I actually thought he could change.

As Shirley Templo* once said, you can’t teach an old dog some tricks. Apparently, my father is a better actor than I gave him credit for. He is a dormant volcano disguised as a mountain. This morning, my sister asked permission to leave the house. I don’t know why she did that. Most of us just leave but she wanted to do it properly. A firm believer in the concept of desensitization, she wanted him to know that she was going to spend the day with her boyfriend. At first, my father was quiet but just as my sister was about to leave, he released a litany of words that would put most rappers to shame. My father did not talk about the big elephant in the room. He just took a shotgun and blew it to pieces.

Elephant debris lay splattered in the house. It painted the curtains red and left the newly reupholstered sofa bloody. I got my things and was out the door posthaste. I figured I didn’t really want to pick up the pieces of their emotional a-bomb. I have my own shit to deal with and all this drama just wasn’t for me. Now that I have time to think though, I just can’t help but wonder- are we really capable of change? I really thought my father had forgiven my sister. I thought that in a few years’ time, we would all be one big happy family. I was wrong. Will my father ever forgive my sister’s boyfriend? Probably not. Will he ever forgive my sister? I really don’t know. It’s just ironic that on the day that the whole world is filled to the brim with the exciting prospect of change, my father showed me that no one ever changes. Most of us just pretend.

On the day that my father will learn of my transgressions, I wonder what fate awaits me. Right now, he sees me as the quiet, obedient son. When he learns I am anything but his idea of me, I don’t really know what will happen. I suppose I should take a hint from my sister and begin praying now. Lord, help my father understand what took me years to accept. Lord, help my father change.

Family Portrait



  1. it will takes 21 days of training to alter a habit or pwede mo din intayin ang tinatwag na tipping point, kung saan ang isang event ay nagpopropel na sa ibang direksyon.

    you also have to learn to accept your father too, and not because of what he is suppose to be.

    I'm wishing you courage and wisdom.

  2. i read about that once from a rehab pamphlet. kaso sa kanila nadagdagan ng 1 week. 28 days daw. if a month is all it takes for us to understand each other, ibibigay ko talaga. kaso alam mo naman ang mga tao. pag ugali na ang pinaguusapan, taon ang binibilang nyan.

    i never really realized i needed to accept him too. tanggap ko siya, oo. may sarili pa ngang blog post yun. haha kaso di ko minsan tanggap yung mga ginagawa nya.

    thanks for the well wishes. happy new year, dave! :D

  3. children typically carry the shadow and unlived lives of their parents. ironically, the boyfriend also sounds like a shadow character of their own story.

  4. i used to have this theory that may dad saw himself in my sister's boyfriend, hence the negativity. my dad was a bit of a womanizer when he was younger so i guess he was afraid my sister was with one too. haha i never really got to prove or disprove my theory. boo.

    shadow character? hmm.. he's pretty dark. character in the shadow? haha

  5. citybuoy:
    this one made me really think ...

    hey, new start! Happy New beginnings... lets start this decade with something for real ;O) regards to marc

  6. uhm..may katabi akong dictionary at naka-open ang wiki habang binabasa ko to.

    we are capable of change. yun nga lang, madalas nagsi-stay na lang tayo sa mga nakasanayan natin maybe because it'll ruin everything.

  7. @aik ~ hey there! happy new year to you. we will totally start (or end, depends on what year you started counting) this decade right.

    i'll say hi to marc when i see him but i usually just catch him on FB. how do u guys know each other pala?

    @caloy ~ kailangan may online references? haha ang tanong ko lang, bakit masisira ang lahat pag magbago? lahat ba ng change nakakasama?

  8. Oh, wow, this really hits home, Nyl. My father strenuously disapproves of my sister's beau, as well. And apparently, "Disapproval of Significant Others" was the theme of that grand family reunion I missed and rightfully dreaded, with my uncles and aunts roundly castigating the life partner choices my cousins have made.

    This will become a whole blog post if I go on so let me just say I know how you must feel. And that, even though it may not seem likely at this point, people can and do change.

    Even our fathers.

  9. now i understand that post about your sister. as for family reunions... ahh relatives. can't live with them. can't kill them without causing suspicion. haha just kidding.

    they disapprove of my sister's boyfriend now. wait till they see what i got. haha

    as for my father changing, i really hope that's true. it seems like a long shot at this point but i sincerely hope its true. i'm still hoping for that hallmark family picture. how i can get us from here to there is anyone's guess.

  10. alam mo citybuoy I grew up wishing na hindi ako maging katulad ng dad ko, na mga kapatid ko lalaki na d rin maging kaulad niya. there were a lot of times when I caught myself doing the same things my father do naasar ako sa sarili ko kase yun nga iniiwasan ko pero nagagawa ko pa din.

    sabi nga nila a leopard can't change its skin kaya ganun na siguro talaga dad mo. siguro acceptance na lang sa part niyo and try to deal with it, i know how hard that could be pero some people just doesn't change at all.

    since 'yan ang pinipray mo sana magbago dad mo kahit papano and will learn to accept na may kanya kanya din kayong buhay

  11. i'm sorry pero natawa talaga ako friend... ang malas lang ng sisteret mo at jowa niya na datnan sila sa ganung itsura....

    pero para gumaan na ang samahan ng tatay at sister mo, ipakilala mo na si **** sa tatay mo.... para malaman mo na rin kung ano ang magiging reaksiyon niya, wag ng patagalin yan... malay mo, yun ang makapagpabago sa tatay mo... :)


  12. maybe he never really changed. you only thought he did. i could only imagine how a father would think walking in on his only daughter in a position that a father wouldn't want to see.

  13. citybuoy: i know marc from Cebu pa, i knew him way back through a close friend... will see you around

  14. @thecurioscat~ yup, acceptance nalang. mahirap naman hingin sa kanya na tanggapin ako tapos siya, di ko tatanggapin, diba? salamat sa pakikiwish with me. :D

    @yj ~ i know right! haha as for ****, hamuna. may panahon din yan. asa pa akong magbababagosi papa dun. haha baka magbago lang eh yung numero ng mga anak nya kasi itatakwil nya ako. haha

    @engel ~ i guess i understand why he's so angry. i just wish he would listen to reason.

    @aik ~ yup yup see u around!

  15. Happy You Year! Manigong "sana kumpleto pa ang mga daliri nyo" sa inyong lahat!

  16. shadow just in the sense of being the part of the personality that, for a variety of reasons, has been repressed from conscious awareness. if the split is too intense, it can become autonomous and "evil"... but shadow only in the sense that when facing the "light" we do not see our own shadow, yet have one.

  17. Sadness.
    Hindi ko naman masisi ang father mo dahil a parent always wants the best for his child. But anyway, hope your sister and dad will meet halfway. I'll pray for your family.

  18. napaka fitting nung song, "in our family portrait, we look pretty happy, let's play pretend, act like it comes naturally".

    you know how fathers are, righteous and prideful just as they are supposed to. but i'd like to believe that inside that hard and stiff exterior lies a heart of a parent. a parent that would only want the best for his offspring. maybe, behind all this thing he has for his sister is this major concern for her as well. it's just that they are not meeting halfway.

    in time. maybe not now.

    with regards to your question on what awaits you, i'm with you in prayers. :) let's hope that everything will be alright.

    best of luck CB and hahabol lang ako, hehehe, happy new year!

  19. @mga epal ~ salamat sa pagbisita! oo, kumpleto pa sila. di ka naman ata pwede maputukan kung kumain ka lang at natulog diba? haha

    @lof ~ i guess my father figured if my sister was hiding him, he must be worth hiding or something. i get it now.

    @chyng ~ napakabait mo naman. salamat sa prayers. in all fairness, medyo civil na sila today.

    @max ~ yun talaga yung naririnig kong song as i left the house. haha naka ost ang buhay ko eh.

    naisip ko nga, mas mabuti na yung nagagalit sila sa ate ko. at least alam namin na they still care about her. sana lang may better, less violent way of showing it. haha

    napakarami namang madasalin. salamat din sa prayers. at happy new year narin sayo! :D

  20. The thing about people changing is that they can always change their mind anytime they like.

    I wonder though, who really does the forgiving? The parents or their children?

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. ideally it's the children, methinks. that's the downfall of this entire blogpost.

  23. first, happy new year.

    this post brought me to thinking... is there something wrong about doing the right thing? or is being a good son equates to being untrue to oneself?

    i am in the same situation as you right now. I'll join you in praying.

  24. nabigatan ako...
    what a post for a new year atmosphere!
    pero truelalu!
    magbago man ang taon at lahat lahat na...
    there are things that just not... :(
    siguro time lang...
    more time.
    maayos din yan!
    i love the part of giving trust to a prayer...
    He will never let us down.
    hintay lang natin ang timing nya sa mga bagay bagay...
    never lose hope!
    go cb!

  25. @bunwich ~ salamat sa pagbisita! welcome sa blog ko.

    i guess it doesn't always equate to not being true to yourself. in certain cases, like the ones we're in, it may be true. thanks for the prayers. i pray our fathers will accept all of us. :D

    @gege ~ actually iniisip ko nga kung ipagpapaliban ko muna kasi first post na first post. kaso ayun, ayaw huminto nung daliri ko sa kakatype. salamat sa well wishes. sana nga all in time. :D

  26. o kaya; lord, help my father understand and accept the things that he has no control of.

    i almost spent my new year in the same way. nung binabasa ko to, sabi shemay, hindi lang pala ako. if you follow my story, there is this brother and father of mine yadda yadda. nagdadalawang isip tuloy ako kung isusulat ko ang mga parehas na bagay. :/

    haha. jokeness aside, akala ko talaga ako ang nagkkwento ng mga sinulat mo.

    the future is friendly, sabi nga ng telus. ^^

    mapagpalayang bagong taon sayo.

    *@kuya Nyl:
    sweet? thanks kuya! try mong kausapin kunwari (mag-baliwbaliwan) and sarili mo one year ago. matutuwa ka din. lol

    oo nga, andami kong utang. :/

  27. Change is relative. I know I'd end up being beaten by my dad and older brother once I'm outed, but I have to hope that their homophobia will change.

    Buti na lang non-practicing ako hehe.

  28. @yas ~ parang yung prayer lang for AA. serenity ba yun or serendipity. something like that.

    isulat mo na! i'd love to read about it. malay mo, ikaw pala nagkkwento nito. haha

    sana nga friendly ang future. friendly naman ako sa kanya. maligayang bagong taon sayo. :D

    @eternal wanderer ~ pano ako naging 90210? i'm confused. haha as for melrose place? which version ka? hehe

    @red ~ i think at this point, that's all we can do- hope for a future where acceptance gives way to understanding (that's so manilabitch of me. peram yj ha)

  29. wow. this is better, nyl. good thing you decided to move.

    have a nice day.

  30. thanks! you don't know how much you've reassured me.

    now i just have to figure out the repercussions of my actions. or maybe i can worry about it tomorrow.

  31. Mahirap talaga ang mga sitwasyon na ganyan. May ibat ibang values kasi tayo at may pride. Basta ang mahalaga we are family.

    Happy and Prosperous 2010!

  32. that's very short but it hits the spot. i think we play house sometimes because we want to prove that we *can* be a happy family and a lot of it has to do with pride.

    maraming salamat sa pagbisita at sa pagbasa. :D

  33. Ang sad naman. D:
    Sometimes people can be stubborn and can't admit their mistakes. Haay.

    I hope your Dad will understand both you and your sister's situations.

    If not, adopt kita. Hehehe. :D

  34. i wish i could give a sound reflection about this post.

    im in the same situation (but far worse than yours)

    and i don't want to be one sided

  35. @ruby ~ seryoso yan? haha malakas ako kumain ha. baka di mo ko kayanin.

    kidding aside, thanks for the well wishes. :D

    @anteros ~ hope u sort it out.

  36. i hope your father would be able to learn to accept things, or something like that.
    hasn't he realized that what he was thinking is something that's otherwise the opposite? or maybe he knows it already i don't know. anyway i wanna know more about this...
    tara! let's go this weekend!

  37. go ako diyan! medyo mahirap ka kasi hagilapin. hehe

    as for whether or not he knows, i'm not really sure. alamin natin. hehe

  38. Yeah, people changed. It is either good or bad changes. When we talked about good change it may lead us to prosper, if it is bad of course would be bad. What you sow is always what you reap to mention.

  39. sigh. i just hope we keep changing for the better.

  40. wow...thats quite a read...i could relate i am not close to my dad and we are having this big wall between us...

    but our only difference is, my dad already knew about me...and he cant do anything about it already...

  41. saya naman. kakainggit. not na may wall kayo but na he knows and he has no impulses to pull out your teeth one by one with a pair of rusty pliers. haha sorry ang graphic ba?

  42. Great post! I think I'll be visiting your blog more often. Happy New Year by the way. :)

  43. thanks andy. i just tweeted about you. you're my 100th follower. haha you should prolly get a prize or something. haha

  44. wow! did i hear that right? i just won something for being your 100th follower? how and when do i claim my prize? maski free dinner lang. :D

  45. free dinner sa jolly jeep. i'll email you the details. haha pwede rin sa aristoback. i hope you can excuse my poverty. haha

  46. sure! puwede ring cash if you want. (hint, hint) haha

  47. cash ba kamo? ah eh... pwede friendship nalang. sama ka samin nina victor magkape one of these days. hehe

  48. nyl, that was heavy reading. i hope you're okay.

    don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.


  49. was it heavy? sorry. i guess nadala lang ako nung emotion nung time na yun. anyway, we're all alright now. everything's peachy.

    "don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you. "

    good advice. catchy too. sounds like a tongue twister. hehe

  50. it's stuff made for the telenovelas. :)

    but i'm happy to know that things are much better now.

    take care. :)

  51. well that explains that fifty million cameras at home. haha

    that's really sweet of you. thanks, angelo!

  52. people change a lot...

    some people don't...

  53. @red ~ c'mon! let's join us!

    @boying ~ and if you're part of the latter, you run the risk of never learning.

  54. I get the point of youre entry. Papa Jesus sana po bagohin nyo na ang Dad ni Citybuoy, palambutin nyo po ang puso nya at palawakin ang pangunawa.

    Ayan... Don't worry everything will come into pass. Kung sakaling malaman ng Dad mo ang transgression mo smile ka lang and tell him you love for him will not change. Ewan ko lang kung hindi lumambot ang puso nun

  55. "Kung sakaling malaman ng Dad mo ang transgression mo smile ka lang and tell him you love for him will not change."

    edi inupakan ako nun. haha di kasi kami showy. kami ni mama medyo showy pero pag may sumpung lang. kami ni papa hindi talaga. hehe

    salamat sa pagdadasal mo. pagdadasal ko din na tumaas yung morale mo sa work. :D

    sa dami ng prayers sa post na 'to, aakalain mong may prayer meeting ang mga bloggers.

  56. I always quote Spongebob, and I always tell this to myself:

    "Everyhting will be ok in the end. If aint ok. It aint the end."

    Changes like happy endings do come true.

    Pahabol. HAPPY NEW YEAR! I missed a lot here. :)

  57. I always quote Spongebob, and I always tell this to myself:

    "Everyhting will be ok in the end. If aint ok. It aint the end."

    Changes like happy endings do come true.

    Pahabol. HAPPY NEW YEAR! I missed a lot here. :)

  58. anong song yun? gusto ko idownload. gagawin kong soundtrack.

    napaka optimistic naman ng comment mo. salamat! at happy new year din!

  59. You are strong enough to handle any situation. Eh mag-cafe americano ka ba naman. And since that Shirley character's one-liner appeals well to you, you will survive. --

  60. haha natawa naman ako sa comment mo. oo, matapang ako. ang galing lang kasi i got that trait from my dad. salamat sa pagbisita. :D

  61. Never stop believing that your dad will change... Always remember

    “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”


  62. haha that's so 'the secret' which i'm not too sold about. haha but if it'll help me and my dad, i just might give it a shot.

  63. I have this belief that people do change. Sometimes, however, they do it in a pace different from ours.

    My dad and I always fight about a lot of things before. I changed a little, he changed a little, but we still fight about a lot of things.

    I think what I really want to say is that you can only hope. We don't have any other choice.

  64. yes, hope is all i have and lately it seems to come in short supply.

  65. This comment comes a bit late, but I just discovered your blog, which I really like, so sorry in advance if my comment comes like a hair in the soup, as the French say ;)

    Personally, I do not believe that people change. However, I do think that they evolve. To me there is a difference: change implies that you become a different person, whereas to evolve in this case means that you develop something that was inside you all along, but that you did not develop until the right catalyst appeared to make you discover that part of you.
    If your father has it in him to forgive your sister (and you?), it will come with time and with the right catalyst.

    I'm aware that this comment might be very out of date, I mean the situation in your family might have evolved since last year, but I just felt like sharing this thought with you.

    Have a great day!

  66. @Beliza: What an interesting thought. I don't know how you found my little blog but I'm very grateful you did. The problems have been mostly resolved but I think I may just have understood my father a little more. I really appreciate it. Welcome to my blog!

  67. I found it by chance, going from blog to blog. Have been reading a few of your older posts since, and I have to say I really admire your writing so far.
    I haven't shared this thought with many people, because I don't think everyone gets my point. I'm glad my little comment contributed to something.
    Sending you lots of encouragement from my little corner of the world! :)

  68. @Beliza: Thanks for your kind words. I think you should share it more because it brought a lot of things to perspective. To me, at least. :)

    My office computer's a little weird today but I'm hoping to visit your corner of the cyberspace soon. :)


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