Image: the author with her father, Charles. (

My dad has always been a chill dad – the kind that enjoys being at home sitting on his poofy recliner, watching Steven Seagal movies while eating chips and drinking no-sugar soda. He isn’t much for serious talks either, as half the time he delivers his corny jokes and tells the strangest stories which gullible I always believes. (Once, he told me that the Ford F150’s name was read as “Ford FISO,”and thought it was true.)

However, interspersed with his puns are bits of wisdom that have actually helped me with this so-called “adulting” They’re simple and practical, and I think when the time comes that I have a kid of my own, I’ll teach them to her.

1. “Inguso mo.”
My father is a great, calm driver, but when things get a bit heated on the road, he doesn’t back down when he knows he’s right. “Inguso mo” was what he would tell me back when I was learning how to drive. He would say it when I was too afraid to join in the fast vehicles of QC Circle, or when I would allow annoying cars to overtake me during traffic jams. “Inguso mo” meant adding a bit if confidence into the fray, and it has definitely helped beyond driving. It’s both a challenge and a battle cry, and I think of it every time I’m scared of doing something that I know will actually be worth the risk.

2. “Kain lang ng kain!”
A happy eater himself, my dad has always enjoyed treating us to good meals. He doesn’t mind the expenses as long as we’re all busog.

I personally worry about cash often, and I always wonder how my dad’s generation managed to be stable by their 30s. Sometimes, I think too much about being matipid (overly so) that I forget to enjoy life. When he says “kain lang ng kain”, for me it doesn’t only pertain to food. It’s indulging in the good things that I know I’ve worked hard for. After all, treating yourself once in a while is important.

And since we’re on the discussion of food…

3. “Find a guy who can feed you steak every day.”
At first, I thought he meant it literally – well, he says he does – but it’s actually a metaphor for finding someone who can be a capable support, and not someone who will only be content in basking in a woman’s personal glories. A healthy amount of ambition is a must in every guy, and I’m sure all fathers believe that their girls deserve only the best.

4. “Take care of your name.”
“You only have one name,” my father once told me. “Take care of it.” And it’s true. Although his father used to be a respected person in media decades ago, he forged his own way and made a name for himself. Today, my dad is a well-loved boss at a company he has been with for more than thirty years, and his team only has nice things to say about him and his work ethics.

5. “Be nice.”
Though often said when I’m being masungit, be nice” is something that surpasses those moments. In one of his rare, serious talks, he told me that it’s always important to be kind to people and to be sincere with how I treat them. If they don’t reciprocate, there’s such a thing called karma after all. “Remember that time when So-and-So insulted me?” he asked. “Hindi ko pinatulan, and later on I learned that a buko fell on the hood of his car.” Well, that’s that.

6. “Ikain mo na lang ‘yan.”
Everything goes back to good food. With a matching “’sus” and “wala ‘yan”, my dad would tell me not to make mountains out of molehills and just focus on my blessings (oftentimes, that meant food). I worry about so many things that I often forget that I really need to let the little things pass. After all, when the time comes and I’m just about my dad’s age, I want to look back and say, that “Yeah, I did okay. It’s been great.”

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