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Gulay for Magandang Buhay

Not only that gulay (vegetable) rhymes with their surname, it also is their instrument to magandang buhay (beautiful life).

Bulay Family is a testament to the wealth of vegetable farming. Aside from the fact that it brings rich nutrition to the body, one can also be successful and use this as a means to grow out of impoverished life.

Like most farmers, they, too, lived a simple life in the province of Sindangan, Zamboanga Del Norte. Their house is mostly light materials that keep them dry during rainy season and provides cool shade during sunny days. The couple, Danilo and Annie, own a 4.2-hectare farmland which is typical in the province.

Danilo Bulay cultivates his farm land

At first, they cultivate their farmland and grow crops only for their own consumption. It eventually flourished and became the family’s main source of income. They were also lucky to be registered to the country’s conditional cash transfer program, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in 2008.

During their monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS), Bulay family learned more as they listened to lectures on gardening. Because of his knowledge in farming, Danilo, the household head, was chosen as one of the para-technicians on high value vegetable production using natural farming system technology in 2015. This paved the way for the Bulay family to be able to fixed their house as it pays quite a good amount per harvest.

The old, rustic, and light-material-house was upgraded to a more convenient and sturdier one that is made of strong materials. They also were able to acquire appliances such as a television set, refrigerator, entertainment set, washing machine, and others. Each member of the household also owns a cellular phone. Little by little, Bulay family is able to reap the fruits of their hard-work. Danilo also joined the Organic Vegetable Production program and was recognized as “East West Seed Farmer Hero” in Zamboanga Peninsula region.

ACTIVE COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

It is rather uncommon to see men during FDS as most attendees to this monthly meeting are the mothers or women of the households. But this is not the case for Bulay family. Danilo, has been showing great interest in the monthly sessions as he finds it interesting. He sometimes shares his knowledge in farming with other beneficiaries in the community as a resource speaker on topics related to his expertise.

Danilo shares his knowledge in farming with other 4Ps beneficiaries during Family Development Session

Aside from this, Danilo and his family are also active as church leaders. He was also appointed President of the Parents-Teachers Classroom Association for 5 years and Auditor of the Rubber Farmer’s Association. Truly, the community trusts the Bulay family as evident in their affiliations.

In 2017, they represented the municipality of Sindangan in the Municipal and Provincial search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya held by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Because of the confidence of the community to the Bulay family, there was a clamor for Danilo to run for local barangay elections in 2018. Needles to say, he was elected as a Barangay Councilor and was assigned to lead the Peace and Order Committee. On the same year, he was also elected as President of their association under Sustainable Livelihood Program.

EVEN MORE SUCCESS WITH THE CHILDREN

One of the greatest rewards to a parent’s life is to see their children doing well in school and achieving their little goals. Through the 4Ps program, Bulay children are monitored in school and perform quite well. All of their children are honor students in their respective education levels.

The eldest child graduated in college as a Dean’s Lister with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at Saint Joseph College of Sindangan Incorporated. The second child, on the other hand, also graduated in high school with honors while youngest child is still on his high school year.

These are the simple joys and milestones that Danilo and Annie treasure the most. For parents who have not finished their education, it is most rewarding to see that their children not only comply to school requirements but rather enjoy learning and seem to have a good time in school.

Danilo and Annie, when not in farm, mostly catch up with their children during meals. It is a must that all members of the family are present during meals so they can enjoy the bounty of their farmland and be able to check on one another as their bonding moment.

Presently, the eldest child is working at a private company in Cebu City with a monthly salary of 13,000 pesos while the second child is now on her 3rd year level in college taking up Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Negros Oriental State University in Dumaguete City. Meanwhile, the youngest child is on his last level in Junior High School at Sindangan National High School.

CHALLENGE DURING PANDEMIC

Before the pandemic hit, Annie and her daughter, Jennycel, planned to undergo surgery for their medical health condition. Jennycel was found to have a cyst at the upper part of her breast. Initially, she was scheduled for a minor operation but due to the pandemic they were not able to do so due to the stringent protocols in hospitals.

As for Annie, she suffers from goiter, a condition in which the thyroid gland grows larger than normal. She is supposed to have her operation in Cebu City however chose to delay it since Cebu is a high-risk area for Covid-19.  

Amidst the pandemic, the household is able to sustain their level of well-being through their farmland. The children help them in their vegetable gardens since they mostly stay at home. They attend school through the modular system.

The household expressed their willingness to exit from the program.

An open-letter from Bulay Family:

            “Nagpapasalamat kami sa mga ahensya na tumulong sa amin, lalo na sa kaalaman na itinuro nila lalo na sa kaalaman ng pagbabalik taba ng aming lupain na siyang pangunahing nagbibigay kabuhayan sa aming pamilya. Sa ganitong paraan din, kami ay nakakatulong sa pagpapangalaga ng kapaligiran, at ito rin ang itinuturo ko sa aming mga ana –ang magmahal sa kapaligiran, sa kapwa at sa Diyos upang sila rin ang magturo sa kanilang kapwa sa darating na panahon o sa susunod na mga henerasyon.

            Malaki rin ang aming pasasalamat sa ating pamahalaan lalo na sa programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P’s) na malaki rin ang naitulong sa mga gastusin namin lalo na sa pag-aaral ng aming mga anak. Dahil dito, kahit papaano ay may naipon rin kami para sa iba naming pangangailangan. Naipa-ayos rin namin ang aming bahay at malapit na ring matupad ang aming pangarap na mapagtapos sa pag-aaral ang aming mga anak. Kahit ano mang hirap ang maranasan namin, mawawala rin ang lahat lalo na kung makita namin ang aming mga anak na nagsusumikap rin sa pamamagitan ng pagtanggap ng mga parangal galing sa kanilang paaralan.

            Malaki rin ang aming pasasalamat sa ating panginoong Diyos sa lahat ng biyayang natatanggap namin na kahit kami ay gra-graduate na sa programang Pantawid, patuloy pa rin kaming natulungan sa programang Sustainable Livelihood Program bilang presidente ng aming asosasyon. Maraming maraming salamat.”

-DANILO L. BULAY
4Ps Beneficiary
Sindangan, Zamboanga Del Norte

This post was written by:

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