Congratulations to the 22 fathers who received the Ulirang Ama Award last Sunday, June 20, at the Century Park Hotel, Manila. These annual awards are given by the National Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Foundation, Inc. in commemoration of the 2010 International Father’s Day Celebration. I am so proud that my darling husband Gonzalo “Jun” Catan, from Valencia, Or Negros, was an awardee in the field of Agriculture.

Wilfredo M. Talag, the Foundation’s President, in his Welcome Remarks commented that ‘whenever we hear the word “father,” we see the image of authority, ascendancy, and responsibility. Throughout history, great things have been discovered, and to whoever did the discovery we attribute the term “father” – i.e. father of physics, father of republicanism, father of a nation.’ He continued, ‘Even God Himself has been made to appear as the loving father to all of us.’

I was touched because I realized that not only is Jun the father of our 3 children, 12 grandchildren, and 2 apo sa tuhod (great grandchildren), as the eldest brother in his family, when his papa passed on, he became “father” of his family, too. Being the founder of the MAPECON, he is also a father figure to all the MAPECON family, composed of our 400 plus employees and joint venture partners nationwide as well as their families.

Jun might also be considered the ‘father’ of Filipino inventors. Although he was not the first Filipino inventor, he has held various leadership positions among the inventors for more than 40 years, and one of his significant accomplishments was to organize a national Federation of Filipino Inventors and inventors’ organizations. He has also received the prestigious award from DOST as the Most Outstanding Filipino Inventor several years ago. His more than 40 patents have received both national and international recognition and awards.

Talag stated the ‘we pay tribute to the fathers who have stood out and proved that being a father means more than being the biological roots of their children. We honor these men who have shown us that fatherhood transcends the walls of a home and the gates of communities. We have before us the men who make us realize that fatherhood is an institution upon which our society stands. These are the men who have brought the values of fatherhood to a whole new level in their respective fields. They will be forever a source of pride, not only among their kind, but also among all of us. Let us all be honored to be with them today, as their families have been honored to have them as the very foundation of their lives.’

Jun is among a very distinguished group of fathers this year. The Ulirang Ama Awardees 2010 include: in the area of Business and Industry – Gov. Isidro G. Garcia, Arturo R. Macapagal, and Engr. Fernando F. Pizarro; in Agriculture – Gonzalo O. Catan, Jr., and Tito E. Contado Ph.D.; in Education – Benjamin I. Espiritu Ph.D. and Dean Amado D. Valdez; in Medicine and Allied Sciences – Dr. Metodio A. Palaypay M.D. and Dr. Francisco Y. Tan, Sr; in Arts and Culture – Emmanuel B. Inumerable; in Government Services – Orlando F. Marquez Sr. and Cesar R. Padilla; in Media and Journalism – Julius Ceasar C. Babao, Roberto D. Del Rosario, and Alfonso T. Pedroche; and in Law and Judiciary – Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Renato Antonio C. Corona, Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, and Atty. Ferdinand T. Rafanan.

In the Special Awards Category, Benjamin P. Magtibay received the Ulirang Ama ng Tahanan award, Jorge L. Banal received the Ulirang Ama ng Angkan award, and the Tanyah na Ulirang Ama award was given to Rene “RJ” A. Ledesma Jr. and Dr. Francisco E. Tan Jr.

The awards were handed out by Wilfredo M. Talag, President and Over-All Chairperson, together with Honorable Secretary Angelo T. Reyes, the Honorary Chairperson of the Foundation and awardee in 2001. Ms Baby O’Brien hosted the program that followed the morning’s Holy Mass celebrated by Rev. Father Lodovico “Bogie” Tacdoro of the Society of St. Paul, Makati City.

Again, congratulations to the Foundation for recognizing the important and pivotal role that fathers play not only in our families but in the whole arena of life, business, professions, our faith life, and our journey along the road of everyday life. Certainly our fathers leave their imprint in our lives in innumerable ways, in everyday epiphanies. May their tribe increase!

P.S. I am entering a new phase of my exploration of the Web. I have begun to “blog”. My site is . Not much on it yet, but, God willing, I want to share my life and my faith with its readers.

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