When I was little, I used to join a lot of contests—singing, dancing, declamation, etc. Even when the contest was not yet starting, Nanay would tell me, “You are my winner.”
My mother, Licerna “Lesing” Romerica-Abunda, passed away in 2019. She was 90 years old.
I remember every day the things she told me since I was a child. “Be the best of who you are” was one of those things she ingrained in my mind.
Ang palaging natatandaan ko hindi pa nagsisimula ang ano mang contest sasabihin na ni Nanay, “Ikaw ang panalo para sa akin.”
Ang Nanay dalawa lang ang joke, paulit-ulit. She was always telling jokes.
People would often ask me about having a partner: “Did you talk about your being gay with Nanay?” Alam mo, hindi. We’ve been together (Bong and I) for many years, longer than the universe!
Nanay and Bong loved to laugh together. They loved to share stories with one another. The moment that I will never forget was when she said, “Take good care of each other,” “Take good care of Bong, he loves you—he loves you more than you love yourself.”
This made me love myself more, made me strong, it validated my being gay.
Nanay also said this: “Take care of your friends. You do not inherit the enemies of your friends, you choose them.”
She was my compass, pushing me to go for the stars. I always say kapag may gagawin ako, ‘What would Nanay think?’
Ayaw ng Nanay ng ganoon. Kasi di ba tayong mga Pilipino minsan meron tayong attitude na yung kaaway ni ganito, dapat kaaaway mo rin kasi magkaibigan kayo. She’ll say, “You choose your enemies, you choose your friends.”
When I was young, I never had a dream. Mahirap kami mula sa Sorsogon. Tatay wanted me to be a lawyer, madaldal kasi ako. Nanay naman wanted me to be an accountant. Public school teacher si Nanay so gusto niya yung parang paglaki mo, puwede na tayong may-ari ng PNB ng bangko. Ganyan!
As a public school teacher teaching grade 1 students, she pushed me unconsciously on what career I would choose. Ganito ang Nanay, “Do what makes you happy. It will not be easy but it is something achievable”
She pushed me to go for the jo , to explore the unknown. She was and continues to be my lodestar. All this resulted in my writing a book called Make Your Nanay Proud.
She was my compass, pushing me to go for the stars. I always say kapag may gagawin ako, “What would Nanay think?”
Hindi familiar ang Nanay sa industriya na kinabibilangan ko. Ganoon ang character ni Nanay.
May isa pa akong hindi makalilimutan kay Nanay. I had an episode on Private Conversations with Boy Abunda where we talked about “anak sa labas.” Bastardo si Tatay at alam mo naman sa probinsya hindi ito pinag-uusapan.
On my show, ikinuwento ko yung tungkol kay Tatay. Nanay saw the episode. Pag-uwi ko sabi niya, “Why did you have to do it?” Sabi ko naman lahat naman tayo may skeleton in our closet. Sabi niya, “Hindi lang sa iyo ang impormasyon na yun. Hindi lahat ng totoo sinasabi.” Natameme ako.
Every day, I still cry. I miss her strength. She was our anchor. She was my life—lahat-lahat.
Banner photo courtesy of Boy Abunda