TIMESMAN| He never abandons me

I CAME from a poor family that could hardly afford three meals a day in Pasay City where I was born in the early years of the Japanese Imperial Army’s four-year occupation of Manila during World War Two.

That’s why at the early age of 9, I already had to earn my keep to augment a meager income of my mother who worked as a lavandera in the neigborhood. My father had also no known permanent job and living separately with another family then.

I sold comics and magazines on the streets early dawn and late afternoon while finishing my elementary.

When I was already 20 years old, then on my second year in high school, I thought of moving away from the hardships of living in Manila and decided to find opportunities for myself in this city.

And this was where my story truly began and it changed not only my life for the better, but my soon-to-be family and children.

I joined the TIMES through fellow Pasay City born Josefina C. San Pedro (May your soul rest in peace, Ate Fina) who was then the paper’s manager and society columnist while finishing my high school at night and continued to college.

During my diamond year celebration last month at the Lantawan Hall of Royal Mandaya Hotel attended by my children now professionals and living abroad, legions of friends and associates, I properly acknowledged the big contribution of the San Pedros represented then at the party by Kuya Ading (husband of Ate Fina), now 84, to the fulfilment of my lifetime dreams for myself and family, which further explains in the book I am now writing about my struggle in life to reach this far.

Boss Willie, in his inspirational message as guest of honor and speaker in my 56 years with the TIMES and 75 years celebration of my life, properly acknowledged my 56 years of services rendered to the post war newspaper for them to be able to continue the legacy of his late father-founder-president, Atty. Guillermo E. Torres Sr. who dreamt of giving Davaoenos a respectable community newspaper.

The Boss even asked me if I can still continue writing for the paper until I reached 90.

If God’s Will, I’ll try, I answered.

My only wish then was to escape the hardships of living from where I was born. God not only gave me His right hand, but as well as His Left. He not only guided me to theright direction but He too gave me a family who was my constant inspiration.

When I was 15 years old, I was a kutsero of a horse-drawn calesa, the main transportation of common tao in Makati, then a big tract of grassy lands, to earn a living.

When I came to Davao City and joined the TIMES, I owned a bicycle and later easily acquired a light motorcycle, which did not last long as I sold it and used the money to marry my wife Virgie who passed away after our 46 years of marriage with our five children on Nov. 9, 2014.

I used to have a private second hand jitney which I replaced with a brand new Toyota Corolla XE while already living with my growing up children in our present residence in a subdivision in Matina.

On my diamond year celebration last January, my daughter Tala gifted me with a new house in a high-end residence in the city and an Innova vehicle which she bought through a local bank financing.

This is part of the book I am presently compiling to chronicle my 75 years of existence from no where to where I am now.

I am not nagbubuhat ng sariling bangko, as the Filipino saying goes. I just want to let my readers know that if we have the will to succeed in life, we must be who we are, must not be ashamed of our past and face the challenge without hurting others.

I will end this column with this simple prayer:

“Father of mankind, you have given me these children, and entrusted them to my charge, to bring them up for you and to prepare them for everlasting. Help me with your heavenly grace to fulfil this sacred duty. Teach me what to give, and what to withhold; when to improve and when to for bear. Make me gentle, yet firm; considerate and watchful, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Posted in Opinion