MANILA - Yassi Pressman smiled, laughed, and then stopped. She stared at the cake in front of her. It was what she wanted: a birthday cake for her father.
She placed it in on her lap, screeched for her dad, and then wept. A chorus of one, she sang the happy birthday song as she remembered past celebrations, past cakes, past smiles. It was the first time in her life that her father welcomed another year without her.
A small television set then sprung to life inside the hallowed walls of the infamous confession room. It showed a pale man wearing a panama hat staring at his daughter. "Daddy," said Yassi, as tears coursed down her cheeks. She offered him the cake, admitting that she didn't make it because she couldn't bake.
Of course, her father, the 87-year-old Ronald Pressman, knew that. It didn't matter to him one bit. "Baby, I am so, so happy to talk to you, to see you. I miss you," Ronald told Yassi. "The last words I spoke to you when we parted, I said how much I love you. All I can tell you is, it is possible that I love you even more."
It was perhaps a good thing none of the other housemates could hear Yassi bawl her eyes out. Their time together limited, Yassi then promised her father that she will make it up to him for missing his birthday. Her promise was made more poignant because of her father's skin cancer, hence the hat and pale skin.
"We'll celebrate double when you come back. The next time we see one another, I want to see the biggest smile and the happiest face I've ever seen," Ronald said before the screen blacked out.
For a moment, Yassi was alone.
And then she wasn't. She stepped outside the confession room, and was immediately welcomed by her fellow housemates, smiling, grinning, and laughing because of the cake she was holding.
It has been a while since they had one. "Kapag matagal ka nang hindi nakakakain nito, feeling mo ang sarap, sarap niya," quipped Juan Karlos Labajo, one of the other celebrity housemates.
Yassi just stood there as the others hurried to get a piece. She took a bite of her slice and then appeared to space out, perhaps again thinking about her promise and what cake her dad's eating for his birthday.