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  • Jesse Robredo Signed Letters to Daughter Aika With 'Labs Parati!' or 'Labs na Labs, Pops'

    In this collection of letters, Jessie Robredo tried to be as honest and practical with wisdom.
    by SmartParenting Staff .
  • Jesse Robredo served as Naga City’s mayor for 19 years before his appointment as secretary of Interior and Local Government in 2010. Robredo, who died in a plane crash in 2012, would have turned 61 last May 27, 2019.

    Robredo is survived by his three daughters (Aika, Tricia, Jillian) and his wife Leni, the current vice president of the Philippines.

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    Below are a collection of letters Robredo wrote to his firstborn, Aika. Based on the dates and the content of the letters, he was trying to help Aika decide on her next steps after graduating from Ateneo de Manila University in 2008. Aika worked eventually for four years in corporate before taking on a government post at the Department of National Defense. She left the job in 2015 when she worked with the vice presidential campaign team of her mother.

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    In May 2018, 19 years after his father graduated from the same institution, Aika graduated from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government as an Edward S. Mason Fellow under the Mid-Career Master in Public Administration program.

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    Decisions, decisions

    Subject: [Untitled]

    Date: December 4, 2007, 4:55 PM

    Hi Aiks,

    I was trying to call. Baka nasa class ka na. There is a paid lounge here. Matagal pa hintay, so I took time out kahit na Php560 ang bayad.

    You have not written for quite awhile kaya ako na lang. While we are worried that you might lose your momentum if you join Jesuit Volunteers Philippines (or if you do not immediately work after you graduate), do not worry. Palagay ko, you have earned the right to decide for yourself. Okay ka naman.

    Pops

    Subject: Sulat pa rin

    Date: April 2, 2008, 8:58 PM

    Hi Aiks,

    I was waiting for your letter, but it never came. Hahaha! Anyway, I got to go. Pahabol pa rin. We are very, very proud of you. I am sure you can be much, much better than us. Konting pasensiya at konting pagbibigay sa iba. You will surely go a long way.

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    Labs,

    Pops

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    Subject: Mga pangarap

    Date: April 28, 2008, 12:54 PM

    Hi Aiks,

    We did not have the chance to talk. I am glad we were able to go to the University of Pennsylvania. That is the kind of exposure that might help you work on what you want to do. Do not worry, ipapang-utang ko naman ang pang-aral. Mag-umpisa tayo doon sa nakuha ko sa Ramon Magsaysay award ko.

    You are fortunate because you have the option to choose what you want to do so plan it well. Excel. Work hard. Kahit hindi mo gusto yung ginagawa mo, you are still expected to work hard and excel. I just hope that when you work, you will be more enabling.

    There is little future in production, Aiks, unless you discover and produce the product yourself or you are the brains of the idea like Apple and Microsoft. The safer way is marketing and finance. As they say, the best business is money. You might not have liked it so much when you were still in school, but anyway, that is a must learn in MBA.

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    As I have told you, you might want to look at Singapore. In fact, you might want to look at schools where your current employer has a nearby office or division so you can establish contacts and work from there.

    While I believe you owe it to where you came from to make a contribution, you will get there more comfortably if you succeed in your own career first. You cannot give what you do not have (unless you want to run for mayor. Hehehe!).

    Labs,

    Papa

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    Subject: Pampatulog

    Date: September 30, 2008, 12:02 AM

    Hi Aiks,

    I have around 21 months left before I end my term as mayor. I need to find something to do. Parang ikaw but in a different and limited way. If I can find work in Manila, palagay ko mas mabuti siguro.

    Magkakasama uli tayo. Tricia will be in college by then. I need to be able to move on from Naga and sort of put it behind me — lahat ng bagay, problema, sama ng loob, kasiyahan, tsaka intriga na rin. I’ve always loved Naga pero parang mahirap na nandito right after I finish my term. Baka lumabas na ang natural (hahaha!).

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    Seriously, I do not think I will be happy with that setup (kahit temporary). I am even considering leaving the country. Of course together with all of you. Kapag mag-aaral ka na, it would be the best time to do so. Medyo mahirap lang maghanap ng gagawin, but at least tahimik na buhay at tahimik na isip na rin.

    Looking back, mahirap din pala na naitulak ka lang ng unos sa ginagawa mo. In a way, you are fortunate that you are seeking what you want to be this early. Mahirap iyong walang benefit ang talent mo. Not so many choices, so you take what is given you. Yan ang buhay ko. Masuwerte na rin. Overachieving (depending on who is giving the assessment) pero parang may kulang.

    I intend to write something on what would have been para huwag mong gayahin, pero actually kumpleto na rin naman lahat. It is 11:59 p.m. Lahat tulog na. Magpapagising daw si Jillian ng 6 a.m. Bye na ako. Baka mapagalitan ako kapag ’di ko siya nagising. Do not read between the lines. I just whiled away the time para antukin ako. At tsaka para naman ma-feel mo na normal yung mga problema mo.

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    Labs parati!

    Pops

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    Kaya mo, eto, anak

    Subject: Gising na

    Date: September 30, 2008, 7:38 AM

    Aiks, 

    Office na ako. Woke Jill at 6 a.m. Getting old na.

    I hope you get accepted sa Chevron. Do not worry. Wala namang nag-uumpisa na alam talaga ang gusto. Ang iba, sweldo lang. Ang iba, significance. Ang iba, bahala na. Ako, I just took the first opportunity that was made available. Kaya eto, matanda na. Still looking for what is right. I look forward to the day I will be stepping out of office. I dread it at the same time kasi maghahanap na ako ng gagawin. Sometimes, work allows you to keep your sanity (of course the children always do), pero pagod na rin. No more big mountains to conquer, only molehills that seem like mountains. 

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    Have to go. Will be there on Thursday. Speaking at Adamson and AIM. We can have a late dinner.

    Labs na labs,

    Pops

    Subject: Balak sa buhay

    Date: November 18, 2008, 1:28 AM

    Hi Aiks, 

    Mama left a few hours ago for the airport. Paalis na. Tapos na vacation namin. Thanks for coming home to babysit. I hope you can do it more often. 

    Last week, Mama submitted our résumé to test if we can qualify to move to Canada. It seems that we do. Just one of the things I am considering for my retirement. Anyway, I am no Barat Obaba. I am just like most na naghahanap ng tahimik na buhay.

    This is not why I wrote to you. I was reading an article in Fortune magazine on the most critical element for success. First, it is not talent. Many people who have more talent than others did not succeed. Your father did not have much (hahaha!). Second, it is not education. Sample niya yung dalawang regular students from Harvard and Dartmouth who became COO of Microsoft and GE. Ordinary students lang sila like Obama and Bush (kagaya ng tatay mo).

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    Ang sagot niya, it is desire and perseverance and being good at things that you do not want to do. The article coined the term “deliberate practice,” meaning working to be skillful at things that are difficult and unpleasant to do. Deliberate practice on things you do not want to do before doing what you want to do. This is what distinguishes the ordinary from the extraordinary.

    Anyway, my Christmas gift to you is a one-year subscription to Fortune magazine. Malay natin, it might inspire you to build your own fortune. Hahaha! Barat nga! Tulog na ako!

    Labs,

    Pops

    These letters were originally published in the book Letters to My Children, a compilation of heartwarming notes penned by public figures and celebrities for their kids. The book is published by Summit Books.

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