Monday, October 4, 2010

Quo Vadis?

Pietro: Quo Vadis?
              (Lord, whither goest Thou?)
Iesu: Eo Romam iterum crucifigi! 
             (I am going to Rome to be again crucified! )

A Christian tradition states that Peter, as he tries leaving Rome to escape the wraths of Roman leaders, met Jesus which prompt the conversation above. This helps Peter gain the courage to continue his ministry. As a result, he was crucified upside-down where he met his death.

I found her at the far corner of that shelter home. Her bed is sitting next to a wall right next to a communal restroom. On the side is a small cabinet about waist height, functioning as bedside table as well. It was a humid afternoon, so she was gently waving an abaniko while appearing to be staring into nothingness through the window near her spot. But no, she's actually not. And she could not possibly do so. Lola Valentina is already blind.

She felt my presence. And so I sat next to her, held her delicate hands, then begun listening to her story.

Life started early for Lola Tina. At a young age of 14, she was already thinking of pulling away from the claws of poverty. Much to the disappointment of her father and with nothing but hopes in their pockets, together with few friends, Lola Tina braved leaving her hometown Leyte to find that much coveted greener pasture in a jungle that is Manila.

First step into the metro felt like baptism, a portal to a world filled with promises of brighter future, a road to gloriousness far from the lazy impoverished life they were cursed off back in their barrio.

But life in the city is not so kind. While she was taken in as a house helper at first attempt, after a year, the family she was serving decided to transfer in Cebu. She didn't want to go with them so she looked for another family to serve. Little did she know of the worse fate she'll have to endure with her next employer.  The agreed 20 peso monthly salary never met Lola Tina's craving hands. "Niloko nila 'ko...inabuso." So at the first chance she got, she hurriedly left.

In the next 42 years of her life, Lola Tina has given up everything, even the chance of getting a family of her own, all for the love and gratitude towards a family who took her after, whom she served in every possible way she can. Lola Tina's face glowed as she recounts how she watched the kids at home grow. "Mga anak ko na sila." 

Four decades were spent doing the laundry, cooking, washing the dishes, tidying the house and taking care of the children --a sentinel servant. But above the mounting chores, she never felt tired and all used up. "Masaya akong pagsilbihan sila."

Years went by quickly. Age has taken its toll. Lola Tina was not the same 30 year old house helper anymore. She couldn't do the dishes like she used to. She couldn't run anymore to the nearest store whenever there's a need to buy certain things. Her hands were already giving up with the years of doing the laundry. Her body is weakened. Finally, she turned blind. That time, she knew, she must plan a graceful exit.

By the end of June 2003, she pleaded for the family to lend her some money for the last time so she could just go back in her hometown in Leyte. "Pagod na ko. Gusto ko na magpahinga. Dun sa bayan namin." Her employer said not to worry and agreed to drive her the next day to the bus terminal. Lola Tina was excited. "Sa wakas, makakauwi na ko."

Monday, July 1, 2003, the son of her employer brought her -- not to the bus terminal -- but to a home for the abandoned elderlies.

"Alam ko na. Naramdaman ko kahit bulag ako. Hindi nila 'ko dadalhin sa terminal."

It was difficult at first, the idea of living in a shelter full of fellow "unwanted". Lola Tina longs to spend the remaining years of her life back in her hometown. But as days go by, once and for all, she found not only a home, but a haven in this cruel world. "Yung mga kamay at paa ko, nakapahinga na."

From time to time Lola Tina would get lucky and get visited by friends of her last employer. She would savor these moments, relishing the old days when she was still on her prime. These thoughts always brought smile and tears to Lola Tina's ancient face. But just so you know, she never regretted a single day of them

I asked her if she still wants to go back in Leyte. "Hindi na siguro. Masaya na ako. Dito na siguro ako mag-aantay, hanggang kunin ako ng Diyos at dalhin sa tunay kong tahanan."

Dedicated to my lolos and lolas at the Anawim Home for the Abandoned Elderlies in Montalban, Rizal. 
Also in memory of Tita Nena, Lolo Rudy, Lolo Policarpio and my very own beloved Lolo Martin

19 reaction(s):

PILYO said...

oooops ayaw ko muna mag-emo, lunes eh.

kailangan nating mag-ipon ng maraming pera para pag tanda natin, sa medyo komportableng Home for The Aged tayo mapunta. Haaaaay.

Pero gusto ko kahit uugod-ugod na ko, mga twinks ang nagsisilbi saken hehehe, taga-masahe at taga bigay pa rin aliw. hahahaha.

Mr. Brightside said...

I really appreciate this post... may kirot tlga sa puso ko mga elderly people, especially those who have been ignored by their own families

Mr. Brightside said...

...or those who have no one to turn to

Nimmy said...

naiyak ako dito DB. haaaaaay.

mahal na mahal ko lola ko. kung may option lang na ibigay ko sa kanya half ng life years ko, i'll do it.

Kane said...

Désolé Boy,

Hay, I guess there is a point in time when we look more into the past than the future.

I am glad she has found peace.

Naisip ko yung naramdanam niya na iiwan siya sa isang nursing home, she must have felt betrayed.

But I guess we have to manage, no matter what life throws at us.


Mu[g]en said...

excellent way to cap-up my day! Thank you for this entry. You too, you're a very prolific writer. You've proven that in this post.

Nicos said...

I should've read this first thign in the morning kanina..:) sayang!

DB!namiss kita..wahahaha

my-so-called-Quest said...

aw DB. this is so touching. kaya gusto ko lagi makita at makausap yung 2 kong lola.

all they need is someone to talk to.
share their life stories. and make them feel they're not worthless.

hope someday i can visit that home for the elderlies. :)

Guyrony said...

Even without the need for fancy words and vocabularies, this post, this wonderfully written post, is something that made my day.

The emotions one must have been through after all that had been done to serve the best that she could offer.

Thank you, Desole Boy.

red the mod said...

I have this fear. Of waking up one day, my life laid to waist in servitude of others. Of supporting those who needed me, so they could realize their dreams. And in the end, losing sight of my own.

I fear this because it is a very plausible fate for me. How my plight to remain useful, needed, may leave me at the end alone, neglected, and overused.

imsonotconio said...

this post made me hug my mommy (as in lola)

Ronnie said...


And now, I feel sad.

shenanigans said...

awwwww... it moved me

toffer said...

this post made me miss my lola..:((

i love her more than my parents. lam mo yung sa sobrang busy nung parents mo iiwan ka nila sa lola mo. pagnagrerequest ako ng kahit ano, binibigay niya, and she sings to me before going to bed. lola's boy and yaya's boy yata ako eh..haha

Soltero said...

ayoko rin mag emo, kaya nga i put off reading this ...hayystt...

anyway, nasan na ba kasi yang fountain of youth! kalanan mahanap na agad..

nice one again, Des..:P

orally said...

now this made me sad...and scared too. hayyy contemplating the future.

jc said...

i may not have a soft heart for kids, but the elderlies usually get me. ang ganda ng post na 'to DB.

engel said...


fox said...

nice entry desole boy...

medyo mabigat nga lang basahin.. but somehow made me realize how lucky i am to have still my parents.. kahit 71 yo na sila pareho.. they are still with us.. malakas and healthy pa din..


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