Roundup: Things our parents gave us

There’s something about being a grownup that mystifies younger people. Remember those times when your parents put powder or their favorite jewelry on? You totally felt like you’re seeing them transform into a more mature human. It’s like a reverse Clark Kent. At that time, it seemed like all it takes to be a functional grownup is to get that one magical item.   

This week, we asked our contributors to share some items that their parents passed on to them. Whether or not these items hold some sort of magical powers (see: horcrux) to help them become a grownup, we’ll never really know. But one thing’s for sure, the memories these items hold definitely inspire us to keep on going.


This heart-shaped diamond ring has been handed down from my great-nanay, to my grandmama, to my mom, and now to me, as a form of “kontra-usog.” I come from a long line of superstitious women who believed a dalaga could ward off the evil eye by wearing diamonds! I don’t know if I believe that, but I like to wear this ring to honor my mothers, and hey: if it looks cute and keeps away the haters, I’ll take it! — Gaby Serrano, artist


My dad used to travel a lot when I was growing up. I saw him for about two months twice a year but he always had amazing stories to make up for it. My parents were pretty strict about me going out, but he gave me these binoculars if only to remind me that I’ll have my own adventures someday. My seven-year-old self didn’t believe him, but I took them anyway if only to show off to my friends. It ain’t from Toy Kingdom, fam. — Tin Sartorio, assistant editor


In our garage lies a sewing machine Nanay and Tatay used to build a life for us. It sits quietly in a corner, retired after decades of turning cotton and sweat into gold. — Bernard Gatus, illustrator


When mother first gave me the cardigan, she said it was to keep me from the cold. I didn’t think much of it at first since we always shared clothes. But eventually, it meant a little more — a reminder of her, of home while I was away. ­— Pam Musni, writer


My mom gave me this bag back when I was in high school, and it’s still one of the only bags I use now. The bag is the first gift my dad ever gave her back when they started dating, which makes it pretty special. — Gaby Gloria, columnist


My dad used to DJ at house parties when he was my age because he wanted a sustainable means to keep buying records. Fast forward to three decades later with me getting my own vinyl player. I sifted through his old stash at my grandma’s house and found Deodato’s “Love Island.” Pure instrumental, but so good. I like to imagine what my dad felt when he heard it for the first time. — Marga Buenaventura, editor


My dad knew I was into photography since I was in high school but he never told me he took photos too when he was younger. I discovered his camera equipment in our stockroom four years after and asked him “Why didn’t you tell me you had all of these, Pa?” He literally said, “Wala lang,” and then walked away. Guess it’s mine then? — Ina Jacobe, art director


My dad left me this floral button-down from his younger days. People always say that I look like him but I never realized it until I saw an old ID photo of him wearing the same shirt, and I thought the guy in the photo was me. — Neal P. Corpus, editorial assistant


Growing up, I used to watch my mom get ready and eye my grandmother’s rings whenever she’d put them on. I thought that they were the most glamorous treasures in the world. She was everything I wished I could be and it felt really momentous when she gave me her rings when I turned 18. — Jao San Pedro, collage artist

#family #self

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