Moms and Dads

Michelle Concepcion Reyes: A Letter of Love to My Dearest Dad, Joecon

Fondly remembering the times spent and the memories cherished, Michelle Concepcion Reyes pens a heartfelt letter to her dad, Jose Santos “Joecon” Concepcion Jr.

Industrialist, activist, and politician. These are just some of the many roles that Jose Santos Concepcion Jr. plays. Known by many as Joecon, his notable achievements include the co-founding of the election watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), serving as the Secretary of Trade and Industry from 1986 to 1991, and taking on the role of President and COO of RFM Corporation from 1965 to 1986.

But beyond his many responsibilities and accolades, he is also the eldest of four children, which included his twin, Raul. He is also a husband to Maria Victoria Araneta, a father of 8 kids, and a grandfather to 31 grandchildren.

Joecon and Marivic Araneta Concepcion with their children
Joecon and Marivic Araneta Concepcion with their children

His passing, however, on March 6, 2024, at the age of 92, deeply affected his family, friends, and loved ones. And while many fondly look back on memories and the good times shared, his daughter Michelle pens a heartfelt letter to bid farewell to her dad on the 40th day since his passing.

Michelle is Joecon’s youngest daughter, the wife of former PBA player Eric Reyes, and a mother of 5 children: Kayla, Miguel, Gabriel, Francesco, and Stella. She is an entrepreneur who is currently serving as the President of Conrey Specialty Foods Inc.—the company behind Michelle’s Homemade Putong Ube and Filipino Delicacies.

Jose Santos "Joecon" Concepcion Jr. with daughter Michelle Concepcion Reyes
Jose Santos “Joecon” Concepcion Jr. with daughter Michelle Concepcion Reyes

Michelle Concepcion Reyes’ Letter to Her Dad


Being the youngest in the family, I may have been the FAVORITE baby. 

I would always be excited to receive all the toys and latest gadgets you would buy for me as pasalubong such as a toy cash register, Barbie doll house, and the monkey toy that makes funny sounds. You were childlike and loved candies and lollipops—thrilled to ride with us on Disney’s It’s a Small World multiple times.

Daddy, just recently, Mom and I with our youngest daughter Stella and son Francesco had so much fun riding the It’s a Small World at Hong Kong Disneyland and singing along.

Despite your busy schedule, you would be present in my school activities. You entered Colegio San Agustin like a ROCKSTAR with all my teachers taking photos with you.  As soon as you come home from a busy day at work, you smother me with kisses on my cheeks full of saliva that I get annoyed and quickly wipe them away.  

Michelle Concepcion Reyes with dad Jose Santos "Joecon" Concepcion Jr. during their younger days
Michelle Concepcion Reyes with dad Jose Santos “Joecon” Concepcion Jr. during their younger days

Heartfelt sentiments

Daddy, I miss the love notes you would place around my desk, reminders that said I LOVE YOU, and other sweet messages.  I stumbled upon your note to me that read:

“TO MY FAVORITE BABY, shower with love daily your poppy while he is still with you. When RIP, too late. ONE FAMILY.” 

Another note was to my friend dedicating the JOECON JOURNEY BOOK and you wrote:

“May this book challenge you to dream the impossible. Michelle, was one of those who challenge me to do, in moments of surrender.”

Imagine that Daddy’s office at home had a secret passageway to my room. We lived right next to each other. I miss you dropping by our room to check on us, playing basketball with Gab, and hugging my daughter Kayla and sons Miguel and Francesco. You will not go to sleep until you lay and tuck our kids to bed.

Michelle with her parents, her husband Eric and their kids
Michelle with her parents, her husband Eric, and their kids

Daddy, I know you always wanted me to sleep in between you and Mom. I did so till the night before I got married. When I told you that I was going to marry Eric, I recall you asked for one thing, that I live with you until you dieDaddy, I fulfilled your promise.

Till this day, the closeness I have with Daddy has deepened and transcended to my 5 kids and Eric. I wished my youngest one-year-old daughter, Stella had more time with him whom she calls PAPA.

Your passion was to be a traffic enforcer

You would always have a whistle in your pocket.  On our way to the church for my wedding, you wanted to go down the car and direct traffic,  I had to stop and beg you “Please… Daddy, pls just not today, do not direct traffic on my wedding day!” I wish you were here to walk me down the aisle as we celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary this November.

Thank you Daddy for making me part of all your key decision-making such as when you ran for senator, you would always ask my opinion on everything even if I was the youngest. Perhaps that was your way of training me to be sharper in making decisions when I got older.

Jose Santos "Joecon" Concepcion Jr. with daughter Michelle Concepcion Reyes

And in the last few years of your life, I was handling your daily routine and medical affairs. From the “minute” details such as what you eat, and wear, arranging activities with your physical therapist and piano music therapy, nurses, and all the doctors’ coordination. It was a gift to do that service to you.

Daddy, you are a PRIEST BY YOUR ACTION.

You are very devout to Mama Mary always had Our Lady of Lourdes image and cross your pocket.  You would receive the holy communion but would hold it and intensely talk to Jesus through the Eucharist. 

Daddy, now that you are no longer a prisoner of Alzheimer’s, your spirit is now free to soar up in heaven and what you will see will give you so much pride and joy as you can now see clearly how his children and grandchildren continue his legacy in their own way of service to the country and making it a better place.

Joecon, Michelle and Kayla
Joecon, Michelle, and Kayla

I am who I am today because of you, Daddy. You always have an effective way of motivating and rallying everyone. Keep thinking positive, ISIP Aguila, think like an eagle, dream big, and dream the impossible. You made a difference in society by being that light in the darkness. 

I promise to make you proud

I promise to continue to make you proud, Daddy, by leading by your example. I will continue to teach my 5 children the values of integrity, loving unconditionally, and ensuring that our family will continue to be prayerful just like how you are close to Mama Mary and Jesus. A Man of Integrity, Honor, and love for our Country, my hero, my dad. Thank you for showing us the way to live like Christ. I am blessed to have you. Daddy’s girl forever.

Michelle Concepcion Reyes with dad Jose Santos "Joecon" Concepcion Jr.

Daddy, you would always sing this to me and your grandchildren. I now sing it back to you.

“You are my sunshine my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey, you never know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.”


Michelle Concepcion Reyes

Read more heartfelt letters here!

Dingdong Dantes’ Letter to His Daughter Pulls On Heartstrings

Ruffa Gutierrez Pens Heartwarming Letter to Daughter Lorin Bektas Who Turned 20

Erik Santos Shares Letter to Parents on 20th Anniversary Concert

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