Life Lessons From My Dad

Isabel Valoria Rao Alex Valoria Dad St Lucia 2016

Me and my Dad, Saint Lucia 2016

My Dad is my hero. He is smart, supportive, hilarious, selfless, loving, tough when required, hard working and multitalented. Seriously – he can dance, sing, play instruments, the whole lot.

Joy Alex Sofia Valoria Tadeco

Dad being a ham 🙂

He is the best Dad I could ever ask for. I’ve learned so much from him, so in the spirit of Father’s Day (AND my dad’s birthday that’s always around the same time) here are just a few particularly memorable life lessons that I’d like to share with you.

Public Speaking

Alex Valoria British Chamber of Commerce

Speaking in front of the Trade Mission from the UK, brought in by the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

My Dad is one of the best public speakers I know (although he claims that his Dad takes the cake). From a young age, I was trained in the art of public speaking and clearly remember memorizing and rehearsing “The Duel” by Eugene Field with my Dad for my first ever poetry competition. He helped me with intonation like which words to accent and when to almost whisper.   He helped me with actions like when to step forward for a side note and when to step back for drama. I won 1st place at the poetry competition. This was the 2nd grade.

Have Some Class

Valoria Clan Christmas Circa 2007

The Valoria Clan being “classy” :p

I was probably in the 6th grade when it started to be “cool” to swear/cuss. I clearly remember being in the car with my Dad, driving down our neighborhood boulevard, probably going to Blockbuster to get our weekend’s worth of movie rentals. I said something to the likes of “what the hell” and my Dad was shocked. He responded, “Isabel, would you ever see the Queen of England swear?” and I thought, “Holy cow, I want to be the Queen of England!” And that, my friends, is why I hardly ever swear to this day.

Social Skills

Alex Jessica isabel Valoria Tourists

Dad, Jess and I looking “cool” in hats and shades B-)

Both my parents are quite the social butterflies. They participated in many organizations while my sister and I were growing up and they usually brought us along to their grown-up parties. This meant that it was important for my sister and I to behave and learn some social graces like how to shake hands, how to have a conversation and dining etiquette. Being cutesy or ditsy was completely unacceptable by our parents – we needed to be courteous and almost professional. My sister and I always had a good time at these events because we got to dress up and act like grown-ups, but then go back to being kids entertaining ourselves when the social obligations ended.

Work Ethic

Dad at DICT

Dad at one of his projects, the Davao International Container Terminal (DICT).

And last, but certainly not least, is work ethic. My Dad is one of the hardest working people I know. He left a nice cushy life in the Philippines and started all over in Canada so that my sister and I would have better opportunities. I saw him go from job to job to school to job to job. Funnily enough, he’s come full circle and is back working in the Philippines at the original company he was working for now as their President and CEO – and ‘killing it’ if I do say so myself. “Nothing worthwhile is ever easy” was something he’d always say to help me get through the struggles and stresses of school life. And to this day, I go back to the poem that he introduced me to whenever I feel like life had become too much and I just wanted to give up. So what better way to honour my Dad for Father’s Day and for his birthday by ending this blog with that poem. I love you, Dad. You mean the world to me. Happy Birthday and Happy (early) Father’s Day!



“The Quitter” by Robert W. Service

When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
“You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.


Alex Valoria Moving to Canada, April 2, 1997

See you in Canada!


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