New lawyer honors taho vendor who was her honorary dad in UP

In life, we meet a lot of people from all walks of life – and many of these people make an impact in our lives.

For Alex Castro, a lawyer, her life in the University of the Philippines (UP) - Diliman was made extra special by the people she met there. One of these people is a taho vendor who became her honorary dad throughout her stay in that school – for a total of 8 years.

The young lawyer narrated in a now-viral Facebook post how this taho vendor had picked her up as a daughter when he learned that she often goes to school without breakfast. This was back when she was still in first year college.

After learning about this, the taho vendor would always wait for her each day to ensure she gets to eat taho. He made sure that she didn’t go hungry. One day, when she came to school shivering because she didn’t have a jacket, the taho vendor made sure to wash his only jacket and gave it to this poor student he treated as his daughter.

Castro was eventually able to return the favor, giving him a new jacket – and he would proudly tell the other students that the jacket came from ‘his daughter’. The young student felt special about being this taho vendor’s ‘adopted’ daughter, and he became her honorary dad.

Throughout the years, the taho vendor took care of Castro as his daughter, supporting her in all her endeavors. As she graduated and became a lawyer, she went back to UP to see him again – and their reunion was so sweet as he ran towards her, giving her a big hug.

New lawyer honors taho vendor who was her honorary dad in UP
Photo credit: Facebook / Alex Castro

Ah! Wouldn’t it be great if all people were like this Tatay Dong, the big-hearted taho vendor in UP?

Here’s Castro’s heartwarming message for Tatay Dong:

“‘Tay, may abogado ka na.”

I imagined myself saying those words to you as I was driving along the University Avenue this morning. Coming home to UP always meant coming home to everything I loved and cherished for eight years, including you. So as I drove around campus, I kept throwing glances at large crowds, or the places you used to frequent, searching for the great mantataho — my Tatay Dong.

I met you when I was a wide-eyed freshie. We’d see each other at 7am every day, because you were stationed at the building I had my morning class in. We’d chat every morning over taho. Eventually, you found out that I’d always go to school with an empty stomach. So you made it a point to wait for me in the morning, rain or shine, with a fresh cup of taho, every single day for four years, until I finished my undergrad degree.

I was just a daughter you picked up along the way, but you were so protective of me. One rainy day in December of 2009, I went to school without a jacket. I remember you were so concerned. So the following morning, you handed me a package along with my taho. When I opened it, it was your jacket. The one you were wearing the previous morning, and all the mornings before that. Your ~only~ jacket. You wouldn’t take it back, and the only thing you said to me when I tried to give it back for the last time is, “Nilaban ko na ‘yan, ‘Nak. Iyo na ‘yan.”

Eventually, I was able to return the favor. I got you a new jacket for you to wear. You wore it with so much pride and such a huge smile the morning after, and all the mornings after that. Whenever your friends asked about it, you’d always say, “Bigay ng anak ko ‘yan.”

You were such a huge part of my UP experience. In fact, I can’t think about UP without thinking about you. I love you so much, ‘Tay. Thank you for taking care of me during all my years in UP. Thank you for always supporting me, whether it be in sports, campus politics, or law school. Thank you for always being there.

Fortunately, earlier today, word got to you that I was in UP. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw you rushing to the Sunken Garden from afar. When you saw me, you immediately embraced me and exclaimed, “I missed you!” It truly felt like a homecoming. You held me so tight, and finally, I was able to tell you the words you said you’d wait to hear from me — “‘Tay, may abogado ka na.”

I hope I made you proud, ‘Tay. You deserve all the love in the world.

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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