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To Every Gay Man's Father: Thank You for Being Our Backbone!

Ket-eng is his Igorot name.

A laborer from Bauko in the western side of Mountain Province, Ket-eng never reached college. He was one of the Igorot men who spent their younger days in Cainta working in construction sites riprapping walls.

Most folks in the Igorot village would find my father’s name familiar as they know very clearly. In Cainta, Ket-eng would meet his other half who hails from Sagada.

Before I started schooling, he was surviving my mother and his four children as a logger. He would sleep in the far mountains with little information about his young family.

But every time I was rushed in the hospital for severe fever, he would reach Sagada before the night time falls. He would attend to me, making sure there were enough hot water for my meals.

My father would leave in the morning while my mother would arrive to check on me. When I was hospitalized in Besao for a month, it was impossible for him to be with me every night so he skipped some nights.

Ket-eng was some mysterious man, aside from the fact that he was my father. Every person who has the same accent with him was introduced to us as his sibling.

In college when I got to know a cousin whose mother is my father’s sibling, I was able to figure out his family tree.

After quitting his logging activities, Ket-eng became a jeepney driver. I was aware that he did not go to college.

Unlike many, he never experienced working in the corporate world or even set foot abroad for leisure or work. But that is just one angle of him.

Ket-eng understood one complicated reality that even the most educated father could not digest.

How come he never confronted one of his sons despite the world seeing his son as a sinful, dirty, less human because he was different?

All that this uneducated man saw was a beautiful and brilliant person carrying his surname.
If carrying his surname was a curse to him, I would be the happiest to drop it anyway. But he believed otherwise. He was happy.

Ket-eng passed away years ago knowing I was strong enough to be on my own against the crowd.

Happy Father's Day to all dads who endured the pain of having a gay son but never gave up their love for their fragile princesses!

Christian is a Marketing Communications practitioner in Quezon City. He is an Igorot from Sagada, Mountain Province. To get in touch with him, please shoot an email to christianaligonow@gmail.com.

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