As part of Filipino tradition, godfathers (ninong) are very in-demand every Christmas here in the Philippines. Apparently, there are some ‘ninongs’ who tend to hide from their godchildren (inaanak) because they have no Christmas gifts for them. But in the awkward but inspiring love story below, a ‘inaanak’ and her ‘ninong’ fall in love with each other so deeply.
Abigail send to us her unconventional love story with Mike, her ninong who used to be a good friend of his father Celso. According to her email, Celso, her mother, Lilian and Mike were classmates in high school. She said her parents did not enter college, but Mike finished an engineering course. They lost contact in the mid-90s and she met her Ninong Mike late 2014.
“One day, someone added me as friend on Facebook. I don’t recognize his face but his name rings a bell. He didn’t send me a PM (Private Message) so I didn’t accept his Friend Request. Around a week later, I approved his request after I realized that he was my ninong. I remember my father used to tell me stories about him being his good friend.” Abigail wrote.
“As our communication became consistent, he told me he was the one who suggested to my parents to choose Abigail as my name. Ninong Mike also told me he has been working as OFW in Dubai for 8 years. At the age of 43, he said he is separated from his Filipina wife for 6 years and they have no children. I’m now 26, single and a call center agent.” She added.
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Abigail admitted she was hesitant at first to share her life to her ninong, considering that she only met him once, when she was 6 years old. That time, Mike and her father became ‘kumpare’ again to one of their classmates. Her father told her that her Ninong Mike was not present during her Christening because that was on Christmas Day and he is with his family.
Abigail said she later learned about the truth. When she was 23, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Before Lilian died, she confessed to Abigail that she really didn’t love Celso, and that she only married him because he got her pregnant during their high school days. And although Celso has been a wonderful husband, deep inside her mother loves another man.
“I didn’t tell Ninong Mike what I know, but I sensed that my father knows about it ever since because I don’t see my parents being romantic to each other, and I’m their only child for 25 years. After the burial, my father confessed to me about everything, including the reason why Ninong Mike was absent during my Christening – he couldn’t take it.” Abigail explained.
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“This is the reason why I couldn’t tell my father that me and Ninong Mike are communicating with each other. My father has no social media account, and he didn’t marry again. He has no permanent job, but sometimes he works as a latero (tinsmith) in our neighborhood. I still live with him, along my lola and lola (my father’s parents).” Abigail explains further.
Abigail said that as months went by, Ninong Mike seems to impress her. She describes her as intelligent and witty. He shares to her his happy high school moments with my father; the same stories that her parents told her. Sometimes, he mentions a few things about her mother but Abigail noticed that her ninong tries to avoid mentioning her name.
In December 2014, Ninong Mike returned to the Philippines. Abigail said they met in a mall but she didn’t tell it to his father. She described their first face-to-face meeting as fun and interesting. “Bumabawi si Ninong sa dami ng atraso nya sakin!” (Ninong is making up with his debt to me!), she wrote, adding that she feels like a child longing for his long lost godfather.
Abigail said she felt something good inside but she didn’t know what it is. All she knows that her Ninong Mike makes her happy. Besides Facebook and texting, their meeting became frequent. Sometimes, he told her hands while crossing the street and getting off a passenger jeep. Mike’s three-month stay in the country seems to be too short for her, Abigail admits.
One time, Abigail was surprised when Ninong Mike told her he doesn’t want to work abroad anymore. He said he plans to start a small business here in Quezon City and stay here for good. He’s temporarily staying with his cousins but he said he plans to rent an apartment. His parents are in Naga City, while his two younger siblings have a family of their own in Canada.
Ninong Mike told Abigail that he is used to living alone, and that his wife is now living with another man and they already have two kids. They communicate sometimes as they talked about filing a legal separation. Abigail said she’s wondering why her ninong is vocal about almost everything, except about her mother. “Maybe, he’s still in love with her.” She asks.
Come September 2015, Abigail noticed that something mysterious is happening between her and her ninong. Mike started to stare her face differently, and tells her that she really looks very similar to her mother. Their conversation started to get awkward, and their meet ups are getting seldom. When she asks Mike, he just tells her he’s busy with his business start-up.
A month later, Abigail started to feel confused and feels lonely when Ninong Mike doesn’t call or text him. She said she remembers the date, Saturday, October 24, 2015, she made a surprise visit to Mike but she herself was surprised what she saw. Her ninong was packing up his things and there was no business that he says there is. Ninong Mike plans to leave again.
To add the surprise, Ninong Mike doesn’t even want to talk to her. Instead, he told her to go home and not to communicate with her ever again. That time, Abigail said she realized something, she’s in love with her ninong and she will not allow him to leave without an explanation. But instead of simply asking, she made sure her questions will hit the target.
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“Bakit ka aalis, Ninong? Tatakasan mo naman ba uli ang sarili tulad nung ginawa mo kay Mama dahil ayaw mong sumama ang loob ni Papa? Pano naman yung mga nagmamahal sa’yo?” (Why will you leave, Ninong? Will you escape from yourself again because you don’t want my father to be upset? How about the people who love you?) Abigail asked Mike.
But instead of answering her questions, Ninong Mike hugged Abigail and cried. He can’t believe she already knows about the past, and reacted almost the same as her mother 27 years ago. However, he didn’t tell Abigail that her mother asked him to be his escort in their JS prom night but he declined to give way for Celso. Lilian never told Celso about it.
“Wala akong pakialam kung nagmahalan kayo ni Mama nung araw pero ikaw ang umiwas una pa lang, at si Papa ang nagpursigi na maging sila. Pero wala ring pakialam si Papa kung tayo naman ang magmamahalan. Kung hindi ka pinaglaban ni Mama, ako handang ipaglaban ka kahit kanino. Pero kung magiging duwag ka pa rin, wala na akong magagawa.”
(I don’t care if you and my mother fell in love but you left right from the start while Papa pursued her. But Papa should not interfere if we are in love. If my mother didn’t fight for you, I’m ready for fight for you against anyone. But if you continue to be coward, I cannot do anything.)
The next day, Mike and Abigail decided to tell Abner about their relationship. But to their surprise, Celso welcomed them with open arms. In fact, he apologized to Mike for being selfish all these years. He said he knows Lilian loves Mike until her last breath. “Me and Lilian suffered a lot when we were together, I don’t want you to repeat our mistake,” Celso said.
As of posting, Mike is working out the legal separation papers from his ex-wife. He did not leave the country, and pursued his business with the help of Celso and Abigail. The couple is now living as husband and wife but don’t have plans yet of having a baby. For Celso, his only problem is that we what the couple should call him once they get married – Papa or Ninong. 🙂 🙂 🙂