This week it’s going to be slightly different. Up until now, you have heard stories about my Lola, but I haven’t shined a spotlight on my Lolo. Lolo translated from Filipino means grandfather. Granted, even if I turned the spotlight on him, he is the type of man who would shake his head, say no and turn the spotlight onto someone else. Not because he is embarassed, but because he is a man who tends to be quiet and his success to be heard. Growing up, he was a man who enjoyed the simplicity of life. When I look back, my memories are full of him playing the piano and drums without sheet music, enjoying being gathered with family, and taking his apos out for day trips. Apos in Filipino means grandchildren and yes I’m not the only apo, there’s two of us. Yet, he always knew that in this lifetime you must work hard to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It is easier said than done, but he is the epitamy for the term of working hard.
If he was here sitting next to me as I’m writing this he would say, “No, you don’t need to write about me,” but I do feel that it’s time for his success and legacy to be heard (or read). We could all learn a lot from him. Looking at the photo, you wouldn’t believe beyond that smile, the amount of work he has done. In the Philippines, he worked his way up the ladder. After graduating from his university in a degree in finance, he worked in accounts payable in his alma mater. Throughout the years, he slowly worked his way into becoming the treasurer of the university. He was actually treasurer for 35 years and Lola actually worked at the same university as well, but as the Director of Libraries. They’re practically the Beyonce and Jay-z of their time. When they left the Philippines life became different. The titles they have earned didn’t convert.When my Lola and Lolo came to the states, all my Lolo wanted to do was work. Anything he could find he was fine with and he ended up with a job in a nursing home, cleaning. A man who had the nice corner office as treasurer becomes the janitor. No matter what job title he had, he was humble, put in 100% of his energy into anything, and came to work on time even when the weather was horrible. If you ever watched the show Undercover Boss, he is that show, but lived it out beyond a week. Just like the saying goes, “treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO.” To be honest with you, sitting here typing this made me shed a tear. It made me really think that the days I complain about work and labeled them as my worst days, my worst day are his better days. A part of him being puncutual can be credited to him wearing a watch at all time. Lola and Lolo actually gave me watch as a Christmas gift one year. I tend to think that this is one of the watches that sparked the beginning of my watch collection. If anyone knew me in college, I always wore a watch and had a collection of them stored in jewelry holders. To tell you the truth, wearing a watch really does make a difference.
After that long winded story it all goes back to today’s recipe: sapin-sapin. Sapin-sapin is a dessert and translated into English it means layer-layer. That is because this dish shows different layers. Each layer can have different flavors sometimes they are all one flavor. Each layer is colored purple, white and yellow. This is a dessert that consist of a lot of steam and patience. Let’s just say for each layer that is steamed ,your pores will benefit and will thank you. So how does this really connect to my Lolo and his watch? Well, I had an ephany as I was making sapin-sapin. I realized the way Lolo worked is like layers in sapin. We cannot assume right after college we’re going to land our dream jobs. To get to that stage you’re going to have to go through several levels. Just like steaming your layers in sapin. It’s going to take a lot sweat from the steam, but the end product turns out to be amazing. Even though time is factor we all fight against, the amount of blood, sweat and tears we put into our careers, time will reflect that all on its own. This theory is proven because till this day people do not remember my Lola and Lolo based on the amount of money they have made, but the impact they had on the lives of others. Just as a rough overview, let’s just say their work impacted an entire province. If that’s not considered a legacy, I don’t know what is.
Until the conclusion….