By Ana de Villa Singson

My dad, at 87, is still and always will be one of the handsomest men I know. When I showed my son Dad’s picture in his 20’s, my son said: “He looks like he stepped straight out of a black and white movie!”  Very apt, since dad was a onetime producer and owner of VVV Films, the first Filipino film outfit to shoot a movie abroad,  “Pedro Goes to Tokyo” , and the first Filipino producer of an international film “Once Before I Die” which featured Ursula Andres and John Derek (of Tarzan fame and husband of Bo Derek).   Ronald Raegan, many years before he became a US President,  also featured in one of Dad’s films. 

My favorite picture of Dad. Milan 1966
My son said “(Daddy Bing) looks like he stepped straight out of a black and white movie!”

I learned many things from Dad. He had a daily mantra: “ Everyday, in every way, I grow better and better.”  That lesson, deeply ingrained, gives me stamina and  curiosity and thirst  for learning new things.  As a young student, my habit of flipping my long hair had schoolmates saying snide remarks about me; they even called me Ana de Bombs. Dad then taught me that “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” That taught me to laugh at the snide remarks and those people who teased me?  Some of them became my very best friends and Ana de Bombs became a term more of endearment than ridicule.  At an early age, Dad  also made me memorize a short poem that he framed and hung in his library.  It was called  “Don’t You Quit”.  To this day, I have learned to pick myself up when I make a mistake.  I have learned grit and resilience from early lessons from Dad. The lines in that poem “When things go wrong as they always will, when the road you travel seems all uphill….Rest if you must, but don’t you quit” are lessons I try to pass on to my sons, Manuel and Gaby.

Dad produced the first movie featuring international stars Ursula Andres and John Derek. That’s him during filming in Baguio.
With Dad, Mom, Lolo, Lola in the Batangas homestead. That’s me, the chubby girl in front with curly tendrils!

Daddy is generous to a fault.  Once , when I was already working and fiercely independent, he bought me a heart – shaped diamond.  When I asked him what it was for, he said “Does a father need a reason to give his daughter a gift?” Loyal to a fault, he will give a friend  the last shirt on his back if he needs it.  Trusting quickly and completely, he will take your word and handshake over the  strongest most binding contract. And in a world where people see evil everywhere, my Dad chooses to see good in everyone. He also has a wellspring of faith, believing completely in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart after whom one of his companies, a mining company, Olasahar, was named.  Generosity, Loyalty, Trust and Faith.  These are life lessons that Dad has gifted me and  my sisters and brothers with.

2 of my favorite pictures with dad” taken during one of my teenage Christmases and the traditional father and daughter dance during the Assumption senior prom!

Dad is 87. His hair is silver and he stoops a bit.  But he is still a giant among men.  At 87, he still writes my mom love letters which he slips under the door.  He still rocks his killer smile and has faith that weathers all storms and sees the “silver lining in any cloud of doubt.”  He still calls me “Ana Baby”, forever the doting dad looking out for his youngest daughter. 

Daddy, I thank God that of all the people in the world, he made you my dad and me your daughter!   
Love you, Daddy!  Thank you for everything!  I pray that God keeps you and Mom cradled safely always in the palms of His hands.  Happy Father’s Day!

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