“Hindi mo kailangang magkaroon ng yaman para ikaw ay makatulong sa iba. Bata ka man o matanda, ang maliit na bagay na itutulong mo sa iba ay malaki ang magiging epekto sa kanila. (You don’t need to be wealthy and rich to be able to help those who are in need. Young or old, a small help you can give will have a big impact on the lives of the needy).

For Adeli D. Tan, 14 years old, from Sitio Cambarwang, Brgy. Adela, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, helping others does not require anything special since the smallest act of kindness can do a great amount of good to others. Known for her desire to help other people in need, Ada, as her friends and family fondly call her, shares that there is a positive feeling when she do things that make other people happy. This feeling inspires her more to strive hard and finish her studies so that one day, she can help more people.

During Typhoon Josie which caused flood in their neighborhood, Ada exerted effort to help families who were affected by starting a donation drive in school. Their house was also flooded but she chose to help even in a simple way.

Her family does not have much but her parents showered Ada and her little brother, with kindness and love which taught her to be more empathic towards other people. “Naiisip ko po kasi na may mga taong mas nangangailangan ng tulong, kaya lagi akong willing tumulong din sa kanila (I believe that there are other people who needs more help, that’s why I am always willing to help them),” Ada said.

At Grade 9 in Rizal National High School, Ada already knows that helping others is one way to achieve her success in life.


A farmer’s daughter

Ada’s family lives a simple life in the farm.

Her father, Adelo, 55, is a farmer but does not own a piece of land. He earns a living through tending his relative’s farm. His income is only 10% of his harvest which means that he only takes 10 sacks of rice if he harvested 100 sacks. Meanwhile, her mother, Neftali, 41, helps her father financially through selling vegetables from her backyard garden. Ada is the eldest child. She has a little brother named, Adelino, 8 years old, who is in Grade 3. Their house is far away from the main road and is muddy when it rains.

As a child, Ada already knows that life is difficult. They do not have enough money to buy material things she needs and wants. Hence, since then, she learned to be contented on what her parents can provide them.

Wala naman para sa akin kung hindi ako makabili ng materyal na bagay na gusto ko basta kahit papaano ay nakukuha ko lang ang kailangan ko kasi balang araw, makakabili din naman ako ng mga gusto ko ‘pag nakapagtapos na ako ng pag-aaral (What matters to me most is I can have essential things that I need every day because, I know that when I finish my studies I can buy whatever I want),” Ada explained.

She narrated that when she was in elementary, she goes to school with only P10.00 as her baon, which she uses to pay her tricycle fare going to school and back to their house. For lunch, her only ulam is bagoong which she pairs with rice. When she does not have any food and money to bring, she walks her way to school and back home and only eats nilagang saging during lunch so that she can tame her growling stomach.

Isang beses nung Grade 4 sya, naghahanap pa lang sana ako ng pera para ipangbaon nya kasi walang-wala kami kasi naawa naman ako sa bata na papasok na walang baon. Pero pagbalik ko, nakaalis na pala sya para pumasok sa eskwela (One time when she was in Grade 4, I was looking for money to give her because we do not have any and I feel sad if she goes to school without money. But when I get back, she had already gone to school),” narrated her mother.

After school, she does not forget her responsibilities at home as she helps her mother with the household chores and teaches her brother with his assignments.

Ada’s biggest inspiration is her father. She sees how her father works hard in order to provide for their needs. If there is no work in the farm, her father goes out in the sea to fish for their food or sell in the market.

Nararamdaman ko yung hirap ni Tatay para lang makapagbigay sa amin. Papasok ako sa umaga, madaling araw pa lang ay nasa bukid na siya tapos pagbalik ko galing eskwela, inaabot pa rin siya ng dilim at minsan naabutan pa ng masamang panahon (I am aware of how my father works hard to provide for us. When I go to school, he is already in the fields early in the morning and when I get back home, he is caught in the dark of the evening and sometimes caught in a bad weather),” Ada said.

Ada understands her family’s situation. This has helped her more to study hard in order to help her family get out of poverty. Since pre-school, she is a consistent honor student who has already received 46 medals and a lot of certificates for her academic excellence.

Since they do not have electricity at home, her family was able to spend time together more. Her parents play with them and help them with their assignments and projects. They sleep together and talk to each other before going to sleep. They make sure that they practice open communication in their family. They also value going to church together every Sunday since their family believes that faith in God should be the center of their household.

Ada has a hard life, but experiencing these difficulties has made her more appreciative of what she has and more understanding of other people’s difficulty as well.


Provider of noble service

Ada is not only known for her excellent grades in school but also through her good image in helping other people.

Mabait, mapagbigay, honest, at supportive po si Ada. Kahit pagod na pagod na siya ay handa pa rin po siyang tumulong sa iba. Kahit ako ay tinuturuan niya sa mga assignments namin (Ada is kind, generous, honest, and supportive. Even though she is tired, she is always willing to help others. She had also helped me with our assignments)”, said Gracelyn Manugay, one of her classmates.

As an active member of different organizations in their community and in school, Ada was able to reach more people in need. Being a member of the Youth for Christ in St. Peter Parish in their municipality, she was able to promote spiritual wellness among other youths. As she serves as the Grade 9 Governor in the Student Supreme Government (SSG), she becomes the voice of her fellow students, bringing their concerns to their teachers. She is also the President of the RNHS Sports Enthusiast Club where she helps in raising funds for the materials they need during their sports activities. She is also serves as a volunteer in their RNHS Student-Led Watching Team where she participates in the conduct of feeding programs to the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of their community and packs relief goods during disaster.

In many occasions, Ada has already demonstrated her kindness to others. When someone needs her help, she is always there for them.

One of the situations she recalls is when her cousin runs to her for help with her project when she was in Grade 8. The project involves typing and printing but since they have no money to go to a computer shop, Ada accompanied her cousin to her teacher so that they can finish her cousin’s project. Even though she is also working with her own assignments that night, she waited for her cousin to finish her work before going home to do hers.

She also told a story when she had helped one of the candidates during their Foundation Day in 2017. She noticed that an escort from Grade 7 was preparing by himself for the pageant and was about to cry since he was not accompanied by any of his parents or a handler.  Ada felt pity so she called her other classmates to help her in preparing and fixing his clothes.

Noong naglakad na siya sa stage nun, napaiyak po ako kasi nakita ko na umaliwalas yung mukha nya dahil sa ginawa ko. Kahit po pala yung simpleng gawain mo ay makakapagpangiti sa iba (When he walked on the stage, I cried because I saw how his face brightened after what I did. I realized that even small actions can make other people smile),Ada said tearfully as she reminisced that day.

On July 23, 2018, Occidental Mindoro was declared in a state of calamity due to Typhoon Josie. Sitio Cambarwang was affected, and Ada’s house was flooded. They needed to evacuate their house and transfer to the barangay evacuation center for a day until the flood receded. Their house is still intact but some of their things were drifted by the flood. When her mother went back to the evacuation center to check on their other relatives whose houses were destroyed by the typhoon, she discovered that most families in there do not have any clothes with them. So, her mother told Ada to look for clothes in their closet which they can bring to the families. This has led Ada to start a donation drive with her classmates so she can deliver the goods to her neighbors.

Noong July, pagkatapos ng baha, nagulat ako na may dalang damit at goods ang mga kaklase niya at napagalaman ko na siya (Ada) pala ang humingi ng tulong sa mga kaklase nya para ibigay sa mga kabarangay niya na nasalanta, initiative niya yun. Umiiyak siya nung kausap ko siya dahil kailangan daw talaga ng mga kabarangay niya, (On July, after the flooding, I was surprised to see my students brought clothes and goods in class and I came to know that she (Ada) asked her classmates for help so she can give it to her neighbors who were affected by the typhoon. It was her initiative. She was crying when I talked to her because according to her, her neighbors really need those things),” shared Precious Melody T. Norella, her classroom adviser.

Ada’s act of kindness to her neighborhood was recognized in their barangay led by their Barangay Captain Romeo Aguirre. “Hindi siya nagdadalawang-isip sa kung ano ang maari niyang itulong. Isa rin siyang magandang modelo sa kapwa kabataan niya at naniniwala ako na ang katulad niya ang kailangan ng lipunan upang umunlad sa tulong ng pamahalaang local at BLGU. Proud ako sa kaniya, (She did not think twice on what she can give to help. She is a good model for the youth and I believe that someone like her is needed by the community to develop with the help of the local government and BLGU. I am proud of her)”, Capt. Aguirre said.

With this, more people were impressed with Ada for her passion in helping others.

Ang naisip ko po kasi noon ay maswerte pa kami dahil hindi kami umabot sa ganoong malalang kalagayan (I thought to myself that we are still fortunate to not experience any of that),” Ada said.

Ada may have her own problems and difficulties, but she has a desire to give help especially when she is needed.

Kahit mahirap kasi ang buhay, tinutulungan ko rin po ang mga taong mas nangangailangan dahil kahit papaano ay mayroon din naman kasing tumutulong sa amin – ang programa ng 4Ps (Life is hard but I still try to help those in need because at the very least we have 4Ps to help us)”, she shared.


Recipient of help

When she was in Grade 1, Ada’s family were included as one of the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Mas narealize ko yung tulong ng programa noong Grade 4 ako dahil nakikita ko na nakakabili na ako ng mga bagay na kailangan ko sa school at may gatas na rin kami at vitamins (I appreciated the program’s help more when I was in Grade 4 because I was able to buy school supplies as well as milk and vitamins),” Ada said.

According to her, since becoming a beneficiary of the program, her family has been more prepared during disaster or if any of them becomes sick. Her father’s income cannot really finance all of their needs but with the help of the program, the grants they receive is used their household’s other expenses.

Moreover, Ada shared that before the program, her mother does not give attention to their backyard garden. But after their discussion on bio-intensive gardening, her mother uses the garden to provide them more nutritious meals as well as use it as another source of income.

According to her, “dahil sa 4Ps, mas nagkaroon ako ng pag-asa na mayroon akong masasandalan bukod sa pamilya ko (4Ps made me realize that I have a someone to rely on other than my family).”

Nabuksan isip ko na hindi porket mahirap ay mananatili kang mahirap. Maraming maaring gawin para umunlad at mayroong sangay ng gobyerno na tutulong sa aming mahihirap upang maabot ang pangarap. At masusuklian namin yun sa pag-aaral nang mabuti upang matulungan ang aming komunidad (I realized that if you were born poor, you will not be poor your entire life. There are many government agencies that will aid us to reach our dreams. And we can give back by studying hard so we can help our community),” she added.

The help from the program that she receives motivates her more to uplift not only their lives but also the lives of other people in their community through studying hard and giving her best in school.


A future thinker

Ada, like other children, is a dreamer. She dreams of having a house made of stone for her family to live in in the future. She dreams of finishing her studies and becoming a bank employee, dressing up in a corporate attire.

Ang gusto ko lang naman po ay makapagtapos ng pag-aaral para maramdaman naman ng magulang ko ang kaginhawaan sa buhay (All I want is to finish my studies so that I can provide a good life to my parents),” Ada said.

She also dreams for her community to be peaceful, free from harm and violence for the children, has a clean environment, and where all people lives harmoniously. She dreams to help other people in need as long as she can give so that everyone in her community can uplift their lives.

Hindi ko sila matutulungan ng pinansyal, pero balang-araw, kapag ako ay nakapagtapos, matutulungan ko sila. Sa ngayon, ang magagawa ko ay hikayatin ang mga kabataan na lumaban sa kahirapan para maisip nila ‘yung mangyayari sa future kapag positive lang ang ginagawa nila (I won’t be able to help them now financially, but after I graduate, I know I will be able to help them more. For now, what I can do is persuade the youth to fight against poverty so that they will realize what good they will experience in the future if they only do positive things),” she said.

Her situation in life does not hinder her to study hard and keep the fire burning to achieve her dreams.

Indeed, Ada serves as an inspiration to all. With her kindness and golden heart, everyone believes that a good future awaits her. ###

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