Tag Archives: Col. Aningat

Dad by Mario Aningat


He is known by many names: Marianito, Nitoy, Brod, Lolo, Tatay, Uncle, but I knew him as “Dad” and I share the privilege of addressing him as such with of course my four siblings.

     Dad referred to himself as “the boy from the barrio,” but he said this with pride as he recounted tales of his youth to us and later on, his grandchildren to give us a glimpse of his origins, as well as impart valuable lessons in life. He came into existence during the time when patriarchy was strongly emphasized even in the smallest households, and his family was no exception. He was also the eldest son, and thus was compelled to take on responsibilities at an early age.

One of the most unforgettable things he taught me was the importance of education, hard work, and perseverance. He used to walk 5 miles a day just to get to school, and even rode a carabao despite the uncomfortable seat it provided because he wanted to be educated, and become the best he can be later on in life. To my mind, he succeeded.

Theboy from the barrio got his college education from the premier state university, became a member of two of the most prestigious fraternities in UP, became the District Collector of the Port of Manila when he was still with the Bureau of Customs. These are only some of the remarkable feats he achieved during challenging times, and in spite of the limited resources available to him. But he was more than the sum of his parts.

He was also a loving husband and father, even if he was a strict disciplinarian. He was a harsh critic but he did instill the value of becoming the best version of one’s self.  He was not the vocal/expressive parent but he saw to it that each of us, his children, got what we needed. He loved nature, plants and even raised chickens at our home in Marikina at some point simply because he missed life at the barrio.

He taught me to be generous especially to the less fortunate, as this somehow multiplied one’s blessings a thousandfold.

I have met many who will readily attest to the kindness of his heart despite the occasional colorful language. He actually loved music, despite his denials in the past, and during his penultimate night I even had the pleasure of singing with him while we were in the hospital.

He raised the bar very high that I will be more than happy to achieve even a fraction of what he managed despite adverse conditions.

Until we meet again I will continue to strive to be the best I can be, just as he taught me.

He was a lot of things to a lot of people but he was my hero, and for me he will always be “Dad.”

A tribute from the Vanguard Fraternity

Growing Old

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My parents

When I was 5, I wanted to grow up. So many rides, too many height requirements. I  was impatient about growing old.

When I was 10, I wanted to be 15 because I had a crush who was 18.

When I turned 18, I felt like an adult, but  not yet capable of paying my bills.

When I turned 22, someone broke my heart and I wished I was 18 again.

When I turned 29, I fell in love again, only to have my heart broken again and again and again.

When I reached 35,  I worried about the additional pounds gained.

When I reached 40, worried some more about getting old or dying young.

Talked to my father who is 82 years old, who never thought he would reach 80.

He drank too many beers and smoked too much cigars, survived Vietnam war and crashed on a post when he was 53.

He said,”You see, too many familiar names in the obituary. I don’t think I would be happy to live a few more years until I reach a point that you have to wipe me with a tissue.”

“Life is short Anak, let go of the hurt and remember only the love and good times.”

He said his life is filled with regret that he did not meet up with his friends only to find out that they already died.

He always said that if only he could apologize for the wrong things said or wrong things done to his kids when they were young he would do so. He was also busy growing up during that time.

Nobody could have said it better than a man who drank a lot of beers, smoked a lot and crashed on a post.

So enjoy the little things with your kids, because when you grow up, the little things turn out to be the big things.

The Army Navy Club

This is a picture of what the drop off at the Army Navy Club looks like in the 1990s. Photo courtesy of Daphne.ph

In 2011, three years after the typhoon Ondoy, I was determined to make my boys powerful swimmers like me. Considering that my first born Ruben Guinolbay II (RG), was already a good swimmer who could out swim any average 6 year old, I decided to go back to the place where I learned how to swim, for the benefit of my second son, Miguel Guinolbay (MM).

Long before the fast food chain, there was a historical place called the Army Navy Club. The Army Navy Club was built between 1900 and 1911 and was a glamorous place until around the 1930s.

In the 1980s, my siblings and I became members of the Army Navy Club swimming team under Coach Liwanag “Wawag” Gonzales. My dad was a member of the Club.  A lot of people visit the Manila Bay to view its famous sunset but my family and I always enjoyed an unobstructed view of Manila Bay daily.

My dad, Col. NItoy Aningat witha colleague.
My dad, Col. Nitoy Aningat (wearing dark blue) with a colleague.
mom at anc
My mom. Atty. Julita  Aningat, (wearing pink), Uncle Benjie, Auntie Aurora , Mario and Lola Puring enjoying an afternoon merienda at ANC bayside.
Siblings and fellow teamates Kuya Luis, Ate Bubot, with Uncle Benjie, Lola Puring , Auntie Aurora and my mom, enjoying a late afternoon merienda at the ANC bayside.

However, when I brought the boys (RG and MM Guinolbay)  to my old home-ANC, instead of an average public pool, I was saddened by the Club’s appearance which is in its highly dilapidated state. The lifeguard even prevented me and the boys from entering  the pool and to quote what he said: Ma’am di po pwede kutis ng mga anak niyo dito! 

I cannot help but wish that  had I been a lawyer already at the height of the Club’s controversy in 1997, I would have volunteered to defend its case pro bono.  It was practically my second home, the place where I first learned how to swim, played tennis, hunted my first Easter egg and belted Smokey Mountain songs in its piano bar.

After entrance
After the main entrance, one will be met by this nostalgic lobby. Photo courtesy of  Daphne.ph

It is noteworthy that this Club had a piano bar and a grand ballroom which looks like a smaller version of the  Manila Hotel’s ballroom. This is not a surprise considering  both are American colonial structures. My memories of the Club’s ballroom is incomplete without mentioning  the wooden signs which hung on the ballroom’s posts stating: To All Ye Ghosts of this Room…. Little did I know that my particular interest in this wooden sign addressed to the ghosts of dead soldiers would haunt me and inspire me to make Halloween a tradition in my workplace and in the street where I live.

In closing, its just welcoming that there are developments being undertaken in the area to restore the club to its old glory. I am so excited and could hardly wait for it to finish considering that Army Navy Club is a national treasure and definitely part of the Filipino Cultural Heritage.

Me and Atty. May Bella, likewise a member of the ANC swimming team. This picture was taken at the ANC piano bar, during my 18th birthday .
Me and Atty. May Bella, likewise a member of the ANC swimming team. This picture was taken at the ANC piano bar, during my 18th birthday .