By James R. Tekiko
It was not easy growing up in the 80s in Tandang Sora, Quezon City with just my mother because my dad was away most of the time working in Sydney, Australia. Although my father was sending money then, we were not living luxurious lives. We were just comfortable.
We were able to eat three times a day, go to private school, and do shopping once a month if lucky. We would do our groceries once a week on a tight budget. My mom was never dependent on the money being sent by dad. Instead, she became very entrepreneurial, long before the word was fashionable. She steered the family into small to medium-scale businesses to augment the family’s financial resources.
She was an empowered woman. I remembered being my mom’s right-hand man. I was probably 13 or 14 then when we would go to Makati and procure Imarflex and other electronic devices ranging from electric fans, rice cookers to flat irons, etc. We would carry these boxes and load them up into the bus, then to the jeep, then into the tricycle before finally reaching home. By the time we arrived at our place, the neighbours would already be queuing up for the goods that they pre ordered. By not depending on my father’s overseas earnings, mom became self-reliant – a self-made entrepreneur.
I and the rest of our siblings look up to her. It made us realise at an early age to work hard and to be self-sufficient. We were not your usual OFW family, that spends money like there is no tomorrow. There were times when we also had our own convenience store, Avon product sales, biscuit business, laundry powder repackaging business and transport business ranging from taxis, jeepneys and tricycles. Furthermore, we were also into animal farming, raising and selling pigs and chickens. Apart from instilling in us early on the value of hard work and discipline, my mom gave us remuneration for all the work we did in all our businesses. She was a generous boss.
Mom also treated us to movies at least once or twice a fortnight. We would eat out for lunch or dinner. We’d go to the zoo, carnivals, planetarium and museums. Although we have a maid, she doesn’t depend on her. Even with her very busy schedule, she still managed to cook for us and help us with our school work. She cleans some parts of the house, wash, and iron delicate fabrics and cook special food, especially during birthdays and events.
If there is one thing that I will be forever grateful for to my mom, is that she made it possible for me to have a good relationship with God. We have had our own chapel since I was born. I grew up in the world of Catechism, Bible studies, Weekly Masses, Santacruzan, Passion Reading, and Misa de Gallo. Ever since I was a young boy, I have always felt the guiding hands of the Lord in my life. I never had major issues with health, romantic relationship or even employment.
Thanks to my mom, Emy Tekiko for nurturing me to be the best person that I can be. Her influence has always left an indelible imprint in the fabric of my existence. I love you more than you will ever know. Happy, happy Mother’s Day. And may God give you the best of health and happiness you richly deserve!