Ode to Ernie Santiago by Gladys Santiago Zafra

I prepared a Spotify playlist, based on my dad’s rich iTunes Playlist. He collected over 15,000 songs and customized his own playlist on iTunes, according to genre. He would have enjoyed making playlists on Spotify. Listen here and enjoy: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4HNW2QxaQ5lETKMNf2ReOm?si=42cabde9db574b36
It’s a rolling playlist, his favorite songs will be added.

Ode To My Father: My letter to Paps
Gladys Santiago Zafra
HS 1999; College 2003

Dear Paps,

It’s been almost 10 years since you passed, and a lot has happened in my life. As I have further moved on with my life, I’m sure you see from heaven the life-changing experiences and milestones that I have gone through: Marriage and Family Life. It’s something that I am very thankful, each day, every day. How I wish you are with me and my family, to be in this journey together, as a grandfather or a lolo. I’m sure you will be one fun and playful lolo, just as how you have been with me, growing up. A fun-loving father, also a promulgator of playful parenting, who built up precious memories through the years.

But then God had other plans and then 30th of December 2012 happened.

Because I am an Assumption girl, through and through, I have so many St. Marie Eugenie quotes that I super love. But there are two quotes that made me realize, you taught me this when I was growing up.

 “To see the best side of others is a great gift”. You taught me to see the best side of others and to see the world with positivity & optimism, amidst the world’s chaos, volatility, and uncertainties. Seeing things as a half-glass full is something that has become my constant point-of-view. Now that I am a parent, it is a big shoe for me to fill in what you did to me through the years and impart this kind of mindset to my children. But I’m sure you’ll be my guiding spirit to make my children’s world a bright and positive place all the days of their lives.

“I must take positive action even in my small sphere of influence”. Back in school, you know that I was just an average student, not actually academically excellent. But because you believed in me and that I can shine in other ways, it made me more confident to make a difference in other avenues. From the time I was a team captain in the HS Tennis Varsity Team Captain up to my College Student Council up to my career journey in human resources, you taught me how I should make an impact to other people, believing in them and bringing out their very own strengths. I even followed your teaching footsteps and became an adjunct professor in Assumption. I made sure that the students embraced what they can do. It may not be huge, like what you did for the nation and the industry, but I hope that these small spheres of influence that I created helped others to see their best sides of themselves.

When you taught me your 4Ls, it’s handy to me, through the years. I ensure to practice them on a day-to-day basis and embrace them as I journey my own life. Learn – Fun in learning was innate in your 55 years of existence. Learning did not stop in the four corners of school. Imparting learning experiences was inevitable; Love – Your love for us (Mama and me) was selfless. Love for your peers was remarkable. Love for the industry (as he was a stalwart of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industry) was beyond borders. Love for your country was extraordinary. Love for anything and everything the world offered to him was truly amazing; Live – Possibilities for you were endless (I was thankful that we climbed Mt. Pulag together back in 2011). You lived his life to the fullest; Leave a Legacy – You touched people’s lives because of his affirming attributes, beliefs, and values. Offering your helping hand was inspiring for so many people. I hope I am your living legacy. 

This coming Father’s Day and as you have been in heaven for ten years, let’s celebrate your life through music. A decade ago, back when music streaming was still unknown, iTunes and customizing playlist were your sanctuary. Thanks to Spotify, your musical selection will be heard by the world.

You are always remembered, Paps. I promise myself to share your wonderful stories and words of wisdom to your grandchildren. I love you, Papa! You are always in my heart.

All the best,

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