Remembering Papa Today
My Dad's name is Alipio Salcedo Cailing Sr. He was already 47 years old when I was born and I am the eldest child of the three blood siblings in my family.
There had been adopted children before me such as Julia, who is six years older than me and also James. James was already married at the time of my birth, and accordingly, his eldest daughter, who died days after birth was only days younger than me.
Raquel is my Dad's first daughter but she is 30 years older than me. She was born when my Dad was 17 years old and a student. Raquel's mother, Dora was 25 years old, hence 8 years older than my Dad. She was my Dad's nanny, but that is another story.
My Dad's life was a very controversial one but he was the favorite son of his father and mother and lovable brother of all his three siblings, considering that he was the most good-looking, the smartest child and the first son of all four siblings in his family. He was second to the eldest who was the only girl among the siblings.
My Dad is now deceased; he passed away in April, 1983; it's been 29 years ago.
My Dad was a very fascinating person; I loved him like nobody else and his memory lingers on in me for as long as I live. My Dad had many flaws like the rest of humanity but he was the most wonderful person to me; despite our disagreement when it comes to religion.
He was a very sociable and popular person. He was 100-person-in-one; a loving and doting father, a loving husband to my Mom, a Preacher, a Theology Professor, a farmer and land-owner with 120 hectares of farmland that was cultivated by 20 tenants, a real estate owner that rented out houses in the city, a businessman who owned the 30-sitters biggest barber shop in the city, a good architect and carpenter, spoke Spanish fluently, a painter, a writer, a pioneer of Mountain View College, ...and more. But he was more popular as "The Debater". My Dad never lost a debate because he mastered the square of oppositions like it was his everyday language.
There were a lot more amazing things about my Dad, not just for me but also for all who knew him. He always had time for everything and for everybody. When he passed away in 1983 at the age of 74, my half sister Raquel, broadcasted his demise on a radio; then all his friends came and I was amazed to see such a big crowd of those who attended the vigil and the funeral; they came from many places and from various walks of life; and they were only those who heard the broadcast.
Why I remember my Dad today is because my daughter sent me a link that really surprised me. This really brought tears to my eyes as I remember my Dad.
The Seventh Day Adventist files had kept some of my Dad's writings and my son had retrieved one of those which my daughter sent me this morning. My Dad used to repeat this story to us, his children when we were kids; these are just among the hundreds of stories that he told us during our regular family devotional hours.
Reading this story now is like bringing back my Dad to life when he is already almost three decades gone. I would suppose that this story was written two decades before my birth. Here it is;
GOD HEARD MY CRY
By ALIPIO CAILING
"THE Lord sees His suffering children
when they are in the hands of their op-
oppressors. He watches over them; and when
it is for the best, He extends around them
His protecting arm.
At the time of the occupation of the
Philippines during World War II I was
plowing my field one day when suddenly
a band of enemy soldiers surrounded me
and took both me and my carabao. I sup-
posed that I was the only person in the
vicinity who had been taken, but when
they loaded me on a truck I discovered that
they had sixteen other captives.
We were all taken to Cagayan, the capi-
tal of the Province of Misamis Oriental.
We were suspected of being guerrillas. For
three days and three nights we were given
neither bread nor water. However, we did
not feel the hunger and thirst very keenly
because of the fear that gripped our hearts,
knowing that persons taken under such
circumstances were usually put to death.
I never expected to see my family again
Later we were taken to a certain place
and ordered to dig a big hole about thirty
meters square. Then we were all flogged.
The difficulty that we had in trying to
understand our oppressors' language made
the situation worse.
The enemy continued to hold us as pris-
oners. On Sabbaths I would not go out
with the prisoners to work. The guards
tried in many ways to force me to go, and
usually this kept up until they loaded me
unconscious on the truck and sent me with
the group to the place of labor.
During this experience I thought of
Peter and how he was freed by the angel
of the Lord. Having the same trust in
God's mighty arm to save, I waited for
His intervention. While waiting I prayed
to the Lord seven times each night, as I had
purposed. I sincerely believed that prayer
works mighty miracles. Hence, I earnestly
entreated the Lord to deliver me from
the terrible situation that I was in.
On the fourth evening of such prayer all
the prisoners were ordered out of the
prison camp. I was told to remain, and
was the only person left in the cell where
I was located. What a relief it was to me
after having spent so many days squeezed
with others into that small cell!
At eight o'clock the next morning the
enemy chief came and questioned me
about my religious beliefs. He asked me
why I always pleaded .that I might not
have to work on the Sabbath. The reasons
that I gave did not carry due weight with
the officer, because we could not under-
stand each other very well.
After a while the chief called for the
captain and two doctors. They tried to
find out if it were true that I was suffering
from backache, which might be the rea-
son why I could not work. After their
diagnosis they agreed to send me home,
because they could not use me any more.
One of them called for a rig, and I was
allowed to ride away in it.
While I was on the rig my eyes filled
with tears of joy because of the Lord's
providential care over me. This was the
answer to my heartfelt prayers. Right then
and there I promised God that I would
serve Him faithfully at any cost. From
that time forward I did active missionary
work among my neighbors and among the
people of near-by barrios. This I did in sun-
shine and in rain. It was a joy to return to
God my love for His. As a result of the
Spirit's blessings on my labors, a company
of believers has been organized at Liburan,
Imbatug, Bukidnon. A new chapel stands
there beside the highway as a witness to
the message of God. As I look at that little
church and on the members who attend
there every Sabbath, I am reminded of
God's love to me during the days of my imprisonment."