June is a month of many things, like the now perfunctory celebration of Philippine Independence and the equally now perfunctory celebration of Father’s Day.
While both are rites of memory, rites that are sacred and therefore to be always sanctified because we owe a lot to the memory of a race waging a struggle against the colonizers who came uninvited to the homeland, the Philippines, and we owe a lot as well to all the fathers that have come into our lives—yes, Virginia, not only to our biological father but to all the fathers of the world—we have yet to see the connection of these two celebrations in June.
The Philippine Independence fathered our act of freeing ourselves from those forces that spelled doom to a proud people.
The sense of fathering here is more of parenting, of gendering, and of mothering as well, and not the ‘father’ that we know of the past as a function of reproduction and biology and anatomy.
Fathering here is a metaphor, one that tells us exactly the beginning of the things that makes sense to us all.
It is not by accident therefore that in the unique Philippine experience of homeland and nation and family, these terms about our independence and fatherhood come into an intersection, a connection, a nexus.
For the metaphorical father fathers ideas, selves, concepts, redemption, independence, in short, a homeland that includes and not excludes, welcoming and wishing us well, us the children even if some of us have become fathers ourselves, in both the biological and the poetic and metaphorical sense.
But even as we celebrate Philippine Independence, in the homeland as well as in the exilic communities where our countrymen have gone on to search for the good life in strange places, in unfamiliar climes and times, we are not to rest content with the idea that all is well in the home front, that all is well in the country that we imagine in our hearts, mind, and soul.
But even as we celebrate Father’s Day and its suggestions of fecund and fertile and freeing concept of fatherhood, we need to sit down and revisit the ideas and practices of fatherhood everywhere such as the fathering of a country, such as the fathering of a family, such as the fathering of liberating and democratic ideas for ourselves, for our communities, for our peoples, and for all peoples of the world.
A Solver Agcaoili