It’s really incredible where life can take us simply by not giving up. Not giving up, though, is never quite as simple. Our Bahayanihan recipients from Laguna, Eliseo Roquero, 53, and his son Genesis, 23, know this well.
From the beginning, what Eliseo Roquero wants to impart on his eldest son Genesis, after having gone through many challenges in life, is to see hope against all odds. Eliseo would work his hardest, having great faith in God and in himself, that he will get his family through despite their many hardships.
Starting from his job as a waiter in a catering service, he would seek all means to move his family away from their home along the train tracks in Makati. “Iba ang buhay sa riles,” he recalls his experience, “linggu-linggo may nagsasaksakan, naglalasingan…pero ako iba ang pananaw ko sa buhay”. Things would even take a turn for the worse when his second son, Joshua, contracts an airborne virus at 8 months old. At one point, he says, he would not get enough sleep as he shifted from his long hours at work to accompanying his son at the hospital. He and his wife took turns until their son’s death when he was five years old.
“Minsan napa-akyat ako sa bubong namin. Nagmuni-muni. Sabi ko ‘Paano ko kaya maaalis dito ang pamilya ko?’ Kinausap ko si Lord.” he says, “At hindi naman nagpabaya ang Diyos”. They got by through the kindness of their catering clients who would offer him help once in a while. Soon after Joshua’s death, he meets an owner of an agency offering him to take a job as a seaman in a luxury liner. And after two years of a gruelling application process, and not without thoughts of him giving up, he receives his most awaited call.
He would then work for years as a seaman, eventually being able to afford a house in Laguna. He now has 3 children, all of whom he is able to send to school and provide with a more comfortable home.
Fortunately, Eliseo’s teachings to his sons still prove their worth. Genesis, who is still studying in school and still unable to help out with finances, discovered OLX and started selling their unused stuff at home. “Oh ayan,” Eliseo tells his son, “may pambayad ka na ng diaper sa anak mo.” Eliseo appreciates the fact that Genesis no longer has to ask for extra cash from him. They have even recently thought of ways to turn this into a business, but are still finding their way around it.
After hearing their story, we cannot help but feel admiration for the way this dad-son duo has dealt with the challenges they have gone through. The grit they have shown made them worthy of being the second recipients of Bahayanihan, an OLX project aimed at helping them improve their bahay at buhay. Their story is one that many people truly deserve to hear.
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