First, I would like to thank you all for attending my father Joel Pulongbarit Magpayo’s life celebration. For those that don’t know me, my name is Origen, or as dad called me, “Glen”. I’m the second youngest of five children.
Dad was born on the 17th of May 1941 in Malolos Bulacan in the Philippines. At the ripe age of 24, he married the love of his life, my beautiful 19-year-old mother Erlinda Bernabe Magpayo. Then followed by his five children, Mylene, Marie, Joel JR, myself and the youngest Jemima.
As many of you all probably know, Dad was a man of few words, but when he opened up and made a comment, it was always something quite profound. His words of wisdom truly reflected a believer, a follower and a man of God. He never shied away from sharing his faith in God to anyone. He even served as a head Deacon for many years.
Dad was an observer and a great listener. He always allowed others to share their opinions before he shared his. This, to me, was a representation of a man of true humility, love and respect to all that surrounded him.
Dad worked as a full time artist, and what an artist he was. The BEST. His work resonates to so many. While many knew him as “The Artist”, we simply knew him as Dad. He’s a pillar of strength, support and discipline. He worked endless hours on his craft and oftentimes, thankless.
As an artist, Dad was a very talented and gifted man, and his paintbrush was his wound. He would turn a blank canvas into a novel. He found his God-given gift at an early stage of his life, and that was ART. From simple beginnings as a 16-year-old freelance comic artist, Dad worked through and had a long successful career as a full-time artist by 24 years of age, the year he married mum. He will be remembered by his amazing work. Dad’s paintings and murals are captivating and reveal many stories. His paintings truly speak for themselves, and behind the great art was a great man with a supportive, encouraging wife, who made sure that everything he did was a success.
Dad exhibited in many Rotary Art shows and won many awards for his work one after another. After a while, we stopped asking if he had won, as we knew he did. His art work was exhibited in private art shows around Australia and abroad…. I clearly recall being the proud son when the Victorian Premier of Australia at that time, Mr. Jeff Kennett awarded and acknowledged Dad for his supreme work. What an experience and accolade for Dad and our family that was. We are not only blessed that he is our Dad, we are also graced with the presence of his art work in our homes, which we will forever cherish; his last pieces being that of his much-loved granddaughters.
READ MORE: Goodbye, Ka Joel
Dad’s life with Mum
I could not talk about dad without talking about that which he loved most, “MUM”. Mum and Dad had an amazing relationship. I know this because I witness this with my own eyes. They were inseparable. A true example to their 55-year vows of love, honour, cherish and respect, right to the very end, Mum sat beside Dad with all her love and support. She was his biggest champion.
Dad would humbly and constantly remind us all “His success is attributed to Mum. Without Mum’s strength, persistence, love and support, he could not have achieved the pinnacle of his career”. He was always grateful to God for giving him such a beautiful supportive wife that inspired him, supported his ideas and made sure his path led to success.
Dad only asked one request of his children, and that was to ‘Look after Mum”. Dad, we will not let you down. We are proud to be the products of your relationship.
Dad the Father
Dad wasn’t only a great husband, but an exceptional father. Being the second youngest of five, it was difficult to get Dad’s attention when competing with four other beautiful souls. Dad always found a way to divide his time equally, regardless of what cheeky mischief we would try to pull off to get some extra time and attention.
An everlasting childhood memory that will always resonate in my heart was the way Dad congregated his children for “Bible Story Time” every night after dinner without fail. I would rush through dinner so I could run into the lounge room to sit front row as Dad began to tell us stories. I hung onto every word he spoke, mouth and eyes wide open when there would be a sudden outburst of hysterical giggles and laughter from my older siblings. I clearly knew then, that part of the story was not in the Bible, but I would still ask Dad, was that in the Bible? Dad had a fun sense of humour and knew how and what makes his children smile, by changing up the story to simply see the joy on our faces and to check if we are all listening.
There were also late-night drives over the Westgate Bridge to go stargazing. We were so excited, loud and noisy. I’m surprised he didn’t throw us over. But that was Dad. He could see beauty in the stars and in nature, which explained all these long trips to the country. He taught us to stop and look around to appreciate life. After all, life and family were his inspiration.
READ MORE: Living, loving, leaving a legacy
As a grandfather of 12 and great grandfather of three, Dad was the proudest grandfather in the world. He loved every single one of his grandchildren and often referred to them as ‘the fruits of his labor”.
As babies, he would hold every single one of them in his arm for hours, while he watched them peacefully sleeping. Nono had such an amazing soothing, relaxed demina the children loved so much. Lindon and Jamie Magpayo, you hold onto your Nono’s namesake. Continue his legacy as a humble loving soul your Nono was, and as Nono would say “Be fruitful and multiply” No pressure!
There are no words to express Dad’s influence in my life. It’s through examples I learned to be a father and husband that I am today. You will forever be my hero. It broke my heart to lose you. I miss you and love you. God loved you and you are now home. Till I see you again. Love you, Dad. Thank You.
– Origen Magpayo