From sharing wise words of advice to expressing his love, this open letter by Jose E.B. Antonio sums up what it truly means to be a father.

Not many people have a way with words. It’s probably why most prefer to show their love and appreciation through actions. Whether it’s acts of service—like helping you change a flat tire or fixing your WiFi connection—or by giving gifts (your favorite snack, a new gadget, or a pet, for example), every dad’s love language is different.

On the other hand, some are blessed with the gift of gab—whether it means weaving stories with words of advice tucked in or even greeting you with positive words of affirmation. And my very dear friend Jose E.B. Antonio is a good example of that.

Ambassador Joey Antonio and I were classmates in Harvard OPM from 2001-2003. Currently, he is the Special Envoy of the President to the US and the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Century Properties Group. But beyond his illustrious career, he is also the husband of Hilda Antonio, a father to 4 sons—Jigger, Marco, Robbie, and Carlo—and a grandfather to 5 children.

All this time, I’ve seen how much of a dedicated father he is to his children. And with his permission, I’m sharing this letter that he wrote for his kids—very timely, with today being Father’s Day.

Father's Day

A Letter from a Father to his Sons, by Ambassador Joey Antonio

Dear Jigger, Marco, Robbie, and Carlo,

This letter cannot be more timely. Not only is it Father’s Day, [but] it is also this year that your Mom and I celebrate our 50 years of marriage.

How time flies so fast! We remember very vividly your growing years—when your Mom and I drove you to school and oversaw your daily lessons and assignments. [We even] accompanied you to your sports and school events in Xavier school! It was more challenging when we tried to learn Mandarin to be able to understand and guide you in the right pronunciation—at times feeling [that] we knew better than your Chinese teacher.

From your high school years to the time you all applied for college, we made sure you had a fighting chance in getting into the school of your choice. With your hard work, perseverance, and luck, you all successfully graduated (with honors), which was a very gratifying payback.

Fast forward [to now], each of you started with your own nucleus family—happy with your partners in life, our daughters-in-law.

Father's Day

There are just a few learnings that I’d like to share with you this Father’s Day:

  1. Always make your Mom happy. A happy mother makes a husband happy. [The] same is true with your own wives. Always keep them happy.
  2. There is pride in humility. Always remain humble because as they say, the more successful you are, the more humble you should be.
  3. Remember to be always together and united. The saying follows that if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, travel with a group.
  4. Remember to share your blessings. We are all here in this journey as stewards only. Do not forget to take care of the less fortunate.
  5. Families are like tree branches. They [may] grow in different directions, yet their roots remain as one.
  6. Every family is what you make of it. It is made strong, not by the number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals family members create—by the memories you share, the commitment of time, caring, and love you show one another, and by the hopes for the future [that], you have as individuals.
  7. Finally, this quote is something I will always remember and would like to share with you: “When all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family, and friends”.
  8. Thanks for all the love and happiness you have given me and your mom. Please remember [that] we are proud of you and we’ll always love you unconditionally.

Thanks for celebrating Father’s Day together.

Love, Dad

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