One more for the road

by Evans Yonson

(Note: This blog is a response to my earlier blog about The war in Facebook. I received a very personal comment that prompted me to write this item on 5 April 2009, two days after the first one came out.)

Barcelona – One of the comments that I received for writing my note, Facebook and Family, was from my brother, Oliver. Most of you who knew me from my youth would be wondering who Oliver is. He’s not Oliver Patino (my very good friend from college). He is our youngest brother. He is younger than Vya. Nothing has been said or written about Oliver since he is my brother by my father.

Who is Oliver?

I heard about him many years ago. Nanay kept a closed ears about his existence. We didn’t really know Oliver then. It was only on Tatay’s funeral that I had a first glance of him. He was just a young kid then. Innocent but never clueless that on that day we were burying our father. Our neighbors knew about Oliver because they knew Oliver’s grandparents and they informed Oliver about Tatay’s demise. After burying Tatay, it became apparent that he is really our brother. My father’s officemates (who eventually became my officemates, too) told me then how Oliver would come and visit Tatay for his weekly allowance. I left Cagayan de Oro in 1992, Oliver became a blur to me. While my siblings took it upon themselves to communicate constantly with Oliver without Nanay’s knowledge. I don’t have any idea how my brothers’ and sister’s relationship with Oliver developed through the years because I never asked them and it was taboo to be talking about him infront of Nanay.

My father was the only son by my grandfather’s frst marriage. When my grandfather remarried, Tatay turned rebellious and he longed for a woman’s attention, probably a motherly care. Handsome and athletic as he was, he became a headturner and women were all over him. He went to Cagayan de Oro sometime in the late 50s when he was 18 years old. He married my Nanay when he was 28 years old and she was 25. After having Vya in 1974, Tatay came back in the late 80s after his tour-of-duty in Maguindanao. It was during this time that my parents’ relationship turned shaky and Tatay had turned to other women to satisfy his carnal desires. These acts made me hate my father even more. All the more when we found out that he sired a woman and bore a child. All these things influenced on how I saw my father as a person. But when I left Cagayan de Oro in 1990, I realized that my father’s acts were not worthy enough for me to hate him as a person and as a human being. I wrote Tatay a three page letter asking for his forgiveness, understanding and love for all the hurts that I may have caused him. I don’t harbor any ill feelings against my father anymore. I have always believe that Oliver deserves all the love he deserves from all of us, his siblings.

Oliver (second from the right) with our family. Christmas 2009. Philippines.

Oliver with Vya and Coycoy during his visit to Cagayan de Oro in 2009.

With my siblings. Oliver should be standing on the right beside Vya. Soon.

When I went back to Cagayan de Oro in 2007, after more than 15 years of being away, I stayed longer than expected. Vya (my dear sister) constantly updated me about Oliver. He has struggled all these years and has survived all his trials. I can never claim that we are close as siblings and I would love to really get to know him even more when I get the chance. I heard that he has been doing good in Cebu and that he has made a name for himself in his job. I am proud that he has done very well with his life now. Tatay must be very proud of his youngest son as we all are now. Any Yonson kid is a fighter. We always stand proud of our failures and successes because we are Yonsons. We may have grown apart but our blood will never deny the fact that we are indeed, a family.

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