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Tiis-Padyak for Anak

Saturnino and Vergelda Hamol-awon met at a garments factory in Manila where they were both working back in 1984. He was printing customized shirts while she was a seamstress. It was as if fate brought them together because they later learned that both of them come from the same province and the same municipality for that matter. Unfortunately, the circumstances did not allow their budding story to flourish at that time. It was their company’s policy that two employees cannot have romantic relationship to avoid personal issues in the workplace. So their love story never really crocheted until 1990.

January 31, 1990, Saturnino celebrated a double occasion on that day –it was his birthday and at the same time, it was the day that Vergelda finally entrusted her heart to him with a sweet YES.

And their inspiring story began to knit together.

March 1991 –Saturnino and Vergelda lived a simple life as a couple in the Municipality of Tukuran, Province of Zamboanga del Sur. They just got back from Manila to start their own family in their humble hometown. The establishment of a family sparked inspiration for the couple to persevere and improve the status of their living condition. With this union, God blessed them with a child that became their source of joy in each day that passed by.

Years went by and their small family started to grow. Saturnino realized that he had to double his effort to provide a comfortable life for his children. So he sold banana-cue on the street that was prepared by his wife, Vergelda. Their tandem was working to suffice the needs of a small family.

Their eldest child, Kristine Bernadette, could even recall not feeling the poverty that they were in.

Nakahinumdum ku sa una, mga 5 years old pa ku atu, wa jud ku naka-feel nga pobre mi kay gi-make sure gud sa akung ginikanan nga kumportable ang amuang kinabuhi. In fact, every afternoon, naa jud ku cup cake. (I remember when I was 5 years old, I never felt that we were poor because my parents ensured that we live a comfortable life. In fact, I had cupcake on my hand every afternoon),” Kristine Bernadette said.

Though in reality, their life was far from being comfortable. Mr. and Mrs. Hamol-awon just never wanted their children to feel troubled because of their living condition.

Saturnino used all of his resources to generate additional income for the family. He went from selling merienda on the street, to working at Shell Depot, until he decided to purchase a PEDICAB and use it as their main source of income.

Under the heat of the scorching sun, a father is willing to withstand the difficulty of juggling his responsibilities to his family bearing in mind that for every turn of the pedal is a step closer to achieving their dreams.

Every single day, Saturnino untiringly roams around the street to give passengers a ride in exchange of a few coins. This is how he was able to provide for the daily consumption of his family and school expenses of his children. The pedicab served as his way to get through difficult situations in life brought about by poverty.

In 2011, Saturnino worked as a Guard Aid with shifting schedules in the morning and at night. In between shifts, he uses his time to still drive his pedicab and earn extra.

Until eventually, his hard work paid off because they were able to purchase four (4) additional pedicab units by the year 2015. Not only that he is able to provide for his family but he is also able to help his neighbors by giving them livelihood opportunities and become better heads of households as well.

According to Mrs. Vergelda Hamol-awon, money was never an issue in the family. They have never fought over financial problem. Surely they have had financial difficulties in life but they make sure that when crises come, they face it with solution.

The grant that they receive from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program aids in their daily needs and necessities in school. The remaining amount is spent in their piggery business venture for future use. They were able to purchase 2 pigs and as of today, they already have 9 pigs in total.

Their eldest child, Kristine Bernadette, who is currently taking her doctoral degree in Physics, also helps them in their financial needs. Since she is a DOST scholar and receives monthly allowance, part of her stipend goes to her siblings for educational support.

 

EVERY MILESTONE IS A CELEBRATION

The accomplishments of the children are considered the milestones in the life of Hamol-awon family. The fact that Saturnino and Vergelda were able to deliver their children to school despite the minimal income from driving pedicab and weaving fish nets is an achievement that is commendable at all levels. It reflects the perseverance, determination and resiliency of a Filipino family.

The objective of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to create a mindset of value for education is really evident in the accomplishments of Hamol-awon family. Kristine Bernadette, seeing an opportunity in the world of Physics, continues her education by taking up Doctor of Philosophy in Physics at the Mindanao State University. Her pursuit for new learning brought her to other countries including Vietnam and Japan. Currently, she is back in Japan to present her thesis to an international audience.

Jefferson, bringing with him the gratitude that he feels for the social services that his family received, is currently a registered and a practitioner in Social Work. Benedict, 23, has finished Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. But instead of pursuing a job in the teaching profession, he answers the spiritual calling as a missionary in the Jesus The Great Shepherd Fellowship, Inc.

Kirlstine Jane, on the other hand, will soon finish Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education. While Dominic and Joshua are both performing very well as Grade 11 and Grade 4 pupils, respectively.

 

MODEL FAMILY IN THE COMMUNITY

Roles and tasks in the household are shared by every member of the family. Saturnino wakes up early in the morning to prepare their breakfast while the rest of the family members take turns in doing household chores such as sweeping inside and outside the house, watering the plants, etc.

And while Saturnino is on the street to earn money, his wife Vergelda, on the other hand, weaves fish nets at home which she will later sell to their neighbors for extra income. Vergelda says that she is assisted by their second child, Jefferson, whom she taught how to weave and now is more knowledgeable than her.

In this case, we can see that productive and reproductive roles are shared by the husband, the wife, and their children. Mr. and Mrs. Hamol-awon also inspire other couples in their community by sharing their insights about Gender and Development as Resource Speakers during Barangay Assemblies. Vergelda is also empowered as a woman because of her contribution and involvement in KALAHI-CIDDS.

During the regional search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya last July, Hamol-awon Family wore a customized statement shirt that reads “Created with a Purpose.” The family believes that they were called by the Almighty to be an instrument to fulfill His will. Their purpose includes touching other people’s lives by sharing their personal story of success.

Together with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Hamol-awon Family will continue to share their stories and many other success stories of program beneficiaries that are worth emulating and get inspiration from.

Hamol-awon Family will represent Region IX in the National Search for Pantawid Pamilya which will be held during the celebration of this year’s National Family Week.

 

This post was written by:

- who has written 91 posts on DSWD Field Office IX Official Website.


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