“Tay, may abogado ka na.”
These were the words of UP College of Law graduate Alex Castro in a heartwarming and now viral Facebook post that has already been shared 25,000 times.
The “Tay” Alex was referring to was her Tatay Dong or Romeo “Dingdong” Corpuz, the taho vendor in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus whom Alex grew fond of while studying in the university.
In the post, Alex recalled how she met Tatay Dong while she was still a freshman in UP. She also shared how their chats became a daily routine, and how Tatay Dong, upon learning that she would go to her morning class with an empty stomach, would wait for her with a fresh cup of taho for her breakfast all throughout her undergraduate years.
But the story that really touched us was when Alex shared how Tatay Dong gifted her with his only jacket to keep her warm. “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.” she wrote on her post.
“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,'” Alex added.
In 2013, Alex graduated cum laude in BS Psychology and went straight to the UP College of Law. She got her degree four years later. Since then, Alex hasn’t been able to visit UP Diliman—nor has she been able to stay in contact with Tatay Dong—as she was busy preparing for the bar exams, and went straight to work after.
But even after two years of not seeing her Tatay Dong, Alex remained thankful and appreciative of her honorary father. “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,” she wrote.
Fortunately for Alex, she was able to reunite with her Tatay Dong last Saturday, February 23. “When you saw me, you immediately embraced me and exclaimed, ‘I missed you!’ Alex shared. “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.’”