The best father

By Alex P. Vidal

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”—Alexander the Great

THE best father is one who continues to adore and love his wife even if she has gained weight, wrinkles, and is “no longer sexually attractive.” He is best who, despite having cavorted with a 20-something nymphet, does not abandon his children and obligation to his family.

It’s much better, of course, if he doesn’t have that 20-something skeleton in the closet.

A “good father” should also be a “good husband.” As much as possible, no man should claim that “l may be a bad husband, but I am a good father.” Meaning he (admitted to having) betrayed his wife but was never remiss of his duties and obligations to his children.

It should be, “I am doing my best to be both a good husband and a good father.”

Relationship with our family isn’t a 5-6; it’s not an eat-all-you-can meal; not a study-now-pay-later plan; not a chicken and egg debate; not a choice between wholesale and retail.

Family is a home, the altar of concrete union and fountain of unconditional love, not a plate of pizza that can be sliced according to our appetite.

Happy Father’s Day.


RP’S FIRST AND ONLY CHESS FEMALE NATIONAL MASTER. In a report recently shared to this writer by US Master Marlon Bernardino, a young chess prodigy named Nika Juris Nicolas from Pasig City was granted the title of National Master by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) on June 9, 2023.

“Despite being the only female participant in the Boys Under 11 Division of the National Youth and Schools Chess Championships Grand Finals, held in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte from June 2 to 9, Nika managed to win medals in all categories, including a silver in Standard, a silver in Blitz, and a bronze in Rapid,” Bernardino, who also dabbles as coach of Filipino international chessers.

“This is not the first time Nika has achieved remarkable success in chess. Previously, she emerged as the champion in the Under 11 Boys Division of the NCFP National Eliminations for the same event held in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental from March 24 to 27, 2023,” added Bernardino.

“Her exceptional performance in the boys’ division is truly noteworthy, and she has now secured her place in Philippine chess history as the country’s first and only National Master who is female.”

He added: “It is quite uncommon for women to compete in Open Divisions since it is usually preferred that they join the separate division for women. In fact, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) maintains separate titles for boys/open categories, such as Grandmaster, International Master, FIDE Master, and Candidate Master, all of which require higher FIDE rating thresholds compared to their female equivalents.”

Bernardino stressed that “these facts expose the existing gender disparities in the field of chess.  Nika’s historic accomplishment as the first and only female National Master in the Philippines breaks societal  barriers and challenges the notion of male dominance in chess.”

She is also set to compete in the ASEAN Age Group Chess Championships in Bangkok, Thailand on June 17-27,2023.

Bernardino considers Nika Juris Nicolas as “the brightest future of Philippine chess.”

“The fact she demonstrated her talent with amazing performances in her several achievements, then the country can hope for a world class athlete if not a would be renowned and astounding Chess Grandmaster in the making,” added Bernardino.

Nika Juris will also lead the VCIS- Homeschool Global Chess Team to the 1st Professional Chess Association of the Philippines National Inter School Championship to be held July 8, 9, 15 and 16.

Apart from Nika Juris, the team was made up of Woman National Master Antonella Berthe Racasa, Gabriel Ryan Paradero, Andrew and Aron Toledo. Team coach is Robert Racasa.

Atty. Nikki De Vega and Atty. Krisanto Karlo Nicolas is proud of these latest achievements of their daughter.

“Thank you to our growing village of supporters and prayer warriors, Nika’s coaches Lourecel Ecot, Raul Damuy, MJ Ladrona, Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence led by GM Jayson Gonzales and WGM Janelle Frayna, Pasig City Government, NCFP and the chess parents,” said proud mother Atty. Nikki De Vega, who is also the NCFP’s legal counsel.


In one of my most recent trips to Washington DC, the first imposing monument that greeted me from the Union Station was the newly refurbished golden U.S. Capitol Dome.

I used to only see from afar the fifty-two miles of metal scaffolding pipe like a wiry cage surrounding the dome’s interior with functional but symmetrical lighting.

A five-layer doughnut made of rope and fabric was also installed in the Rotunda to catch any falling debris during the repair in 2017. It was not a good sight for tourists.

The historic landmark was back to its former glory before President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, or after two years of meticulous repairs led by Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers, FIFA, along with architect-of-record Hoffman Architects.

The ellipsoidal cast-iron edifice, completed in 1866, had undergone serious deterioration and suffered from water infiltration through pin holes in the Statue of Freedom.

Its exposure to rain, snow, sleet and sun reportedly caused damage to it exterior shell including: the tholos balustrade, the base of the cupola and the boilerplate balcony level.

Its last significant renovation occurred more than half a century ago and the project had improved the quality of the Capitol Dome and provided protection from the elements for the next 50 years to preserve one of the United States’ most iconic structures.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)