July 2, 2016

Tatang Doro and President Rodrigo Duterte's “Put**g i*a mo!”

Whenever Duterte curses, he’s just like Tatang Doro, my foul-mouthed grandfather.

Teodoro’s favorite curse word was “P****g i*a mo! (You son of a b*tch!)”. I heard him say it all the time while I was growing up.
“Tatang, pahingi naman ng lima,” he’d say, “P****g i*a mo!”
“Tatang, isama mo naman ako sa bukid,” he’d say, “’P****g i*a mo!”
“Tatang, puwede bang samahan mo ako?,” he’d say, “P****g i*a mo!”
He never was a bastion of eloquence, to say the least.

[NOTE: I wrote this article in mid-2016, a day after PRRD entered Malacañang]

Tatang, the epitome of not-special

My Tatang was born before the Second World War in San Rafael, a small town in northern Bulacan. He grew up with a bunch of siblings, just like most Filipinos back then. His parents were farmers, just like most Filipinos back then. Their family of eight lived in a small house for three, just like most Filipinos back then.

He only managed to finish 2nd grade, not because they were dirt poor, but because he’d rather hang out in the rice paddies than learn his ABCs. He never learned how to read and write. Up to now, I wonder how he managed to finish 1st grade when he cannot read in the first place.

In his late teens, Tatang Doro married Inang Doray and they had three children. Tatang continued farming, mainly because he knew nothing else. For years, he tilled the land day and night until his soles cracked and his back broke.

And all the while, he muttered “P****g i*a mo!” to the sun, to the moon, and to the stars.

Anyone who doesn’t know him will say that there wasn’t really anything special about him.

Tatang and I

Years passed and his cursing never stopped. I was born and he still cursed like there’s no tomorrow. I grew up alongside him and he still cursed like it’s the end of the world.

“Tatang, pahingi naman ng lima.” (Tatang, can you give me 5 bucks?)

He’d say, “’T*ng i** mo,” then he would reach for his coin purse and hand me a wrinkled 10-peso bill. “Heto sampu, kasya na ba ‘yan? (Here’s ten, is that enough?)”

“Tatang, isama mo naman ako sa bukid.” (Tatang, can I go with you to the rice fields?)

He’d say, “’T*ng ina mo,” then he would lift me up so I can sit on his shoulders for a better view of the long walk to the rice fields. He would say, “Hawak ka ng mabuti.” (Hold on tight.)

Tatang would say, "P*t*ng i** mo!", then he would lift me up so I can sit on his shoulders for a better view of the long walk to the rice fields. He would say, “Hawak ka ng mabuti.”

“Tatang, puwede bang samahan mo ako?” (Tatang, please sleep beside me?)

He’d say, “’T*ng ina mo, napaka-matatakutin mo naman. (you get frightened too easily)” then he would lie on the bed beside me. Minutes later, he would tell me, “Huwag ka na kasing matakot. Katabi mo na ako. (Don’t be scared. I’m already here.)”

Despite all the cursing and the grinding poverty, he was able to make sure that his kids got everything they need. My dad and two aunts wore simple but decent clothes. They ate three square meals a day. Tatang was even able to send all of his three kids to college, an extreme luxury at that time. His children grew up to be loving and caring human beings.

Tatang was also legendary for helping other people. Whenever somebody’s roof flew off, they’d call him. Whenever somebody’s karitela broke down, they’d call him. Whenever somebody needed something, they’d call him.

He cursed at everyone, but everyone had nothing but good things to say about him. Why? It’s because beneath all that cursing is a good, honest, and caring man. He may not be the most refined person around, but he was a human being that had a heart for those in need.

The Year 2003

I was 17, in college, when I got a call. Tatang was confined in the Bulacan Provincial Hospital. My aunt said he was dying, and he was waiting for me.

I arrived at the hospital a few hours later. I saw the family gathered around Teodoro, the poster boy for “P****g i*a mo”. I went over to his side.

I asked Tatang, “Kumusta na po kayo? (Grandpa, how are you?)”.

Tatang smiled. He can’t speak anymore. But in his eyes, I understood everything that he wanted to say.

“P****g i*a mo. Mahal na mahal kita, apo. (Grandson, I love you very much. You son of a b*tch!)”

As he closed his eyes, I bade my Tatang goodbye. That was me last goodbye to the foul-mouthed Tatang who loved me.

And 13 years later, here came this foul-mouthed Davaoeno who’s just like Tatang.

Putang ina, Tatang, nanalo po tayo. (TP)