Papel De Liha: A Tribute to Mom

This was the scene in my classroom, one day. My Grade One pupils were so eager to listen to a story I was about to tell them. The subject: Araling Panlipunan( Social Studies). The topic:The role of each Family Member. All the kids were crowded excitedly around me. They just love storytelling time. Its one of the highlights of our day in school. As I was reading the story, a big lump was caught in my throat. I felt like someone was smashing my chest.  I was moved to my soul, so moved that a few tears fell. I had to excuse myself from the class and wiped my face in the comfort room. My kids stared at me. Questions were written in their faces. But they didn't say much. They were not sure what happened. I wish they fully understand the story and how great a mother's love is. Yeah, Im cheesy, emotional. And yes, I'm a mother. 

The story is entitled Papel De Liha ( Sandpaper) by Ompong Remigio, published by Adarna House, Inc. - Philippines . The story is in Filipino but I looked for an English version,too. 

Please do make some time to finish the story. I included here only the most important parts. It is a great story for kids because of its catchy phrases. But it is also a great story to read for moms and those who have mothers. Any human would find it touching. I know I do.

1995 Don Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature, Short Story for Children

Ang nanay ko ang imis-imis. Kapag me duming nakadikit, kiskis dito, kiskis doon. Kapag may mantsa sa damit, kuskos dito, kuskos doon. Kapag me sebo sa kawali, kaskas dito, kaskas doon.

( My mother is so neat.If there’s something icky and sticky,She rubs here and there. If the shirt is blotch, She scrubs here and there  If the pan is greasy, She cleans here and there.) 

Isang araw dumating si Tita Maring.
Ang sabi niya: “Ano ba naman Milagring! Kaskas-kiskis-kuskos ka nang kaskas, 
kiskis-kuskos kaya kumapal at gumaspang ang mga palad mo.
Parang papel de liha na pang-isis. Hinay-hinay ka lang at magpalambot ng balat at baka hindi na hawakan ni Turing ang kamay mo.”
 Hindi na hahawakan ni Tatay ang kamay ni Nanay? Bakit? Ano ba ang papel de liha?

(One day my Aunt Maring came for a visit.
She said, “What’s wrong with you Milagring?”
You keep on scrub-sweep-scouring and scrub-sweep-scouring
Until your palms have gone rough 

and thick skinned
They’re like sandpaper! Please take a break and smoothen your skin
Or Turing may not hold your hands anymore.

Minsan nilagnat ako at napilitang mahiga. 
Si Nanay, tumabi sa akin. 
Nang tumass ang lagnat ko, 
punas dito, punas doon. 
Nang sumama ang pakiramdam ko 
lunas dito, lunas doon. 
Nang sumakit ang mga buto ko, 
himas dito, himas doon.
 Pero bakit hindi mahapdi ang himas ni Nanay? 
Bakit hindi nagasgas ang balat ko nang humimas at humaplos siya sa akin? Lalo akong guminhawa sa bawat himas ni Nanay. Mali si Tita Maring. 
Hindi papel de liha ang mga palad ni Nanay.

(One day, I was sick and need to rest. Mother laid down beside me. 
When my fever was up, she wiped me here and there.
When my body was sore and tired, she soothed me here and there. But why don’t I get scratched by her rough hands?
Instead, I felt better. No, Aunt Maring was wrong. My mother's hands were not sandpaper.)

Pumunta ako kay Nanay at humawak sa kamay niya.
Pakiramdam ko kahit kailan, ayaw ko nang bumitiw pa…

I went to my mother and held her hands. I felt like not letting go…ever.

I am getting teary-eyed again. Now, I'm gonna publish this entry, log out,then I will go home to my mom, and hold her rough, loving hands.  


  1. indeed. mom's hand is not papel de liha, instead it's like a wand that has a magic..

    1. Oh I love that sis. A mother's hand is a magic wand. ...

  2. Replies
    1. The story does make us miss our moms more. Thats why uwi agad ako sa house ng mom ko and spent the weekend there. :)

  3. It makes me cry. My mother is a really hard working woman, does not care if her hands are rough.

    1. My mom is hardworking ,too. She is a typical stay-at-home mom who does all the work at home and cares for us 4 girls. Since our dad passed away, she had been our pillar of strength. Its not mother's day but for me, everyday is. Cheers to all moms!

  4. I was about to comment na maganda tong blog entry pag Mother's Day. And then it hit me. Hindi kelangan ng okasyon para iparamdam natin sa mga nanay natin na mahal na mahal natin sila. =)

  5. Yeah, I thought of giving this book to my mom on mother's day or on her birthday. Children' book 'to sis but I know mom would appreciate this. :)

  6. sobrang touching naman ng story na to sis.lalo at nakakarelate ako dahil si mama sobrang hilig din maglinis at magligpit lagi sa bahay, tapos sobrang maalaga rin :) parang gusto ko umuwi samin para lang i-hug nanay ko. thanks sa pag-share sis!


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