Waves of hope: The story of a fisherman’s daughter

It was early in the morning and Jillian, 13, was already awake. She went to the sea shore with her parents to watch them prepare their boat for sailing. That morning, her father will then again catch fish to sell so that their family will have money to spend for their needs.

As she watched how her father braved the waves to start sailing, a dream popped into her mind – a dream where she does not worry about her father going out the shore; a dream where her parents live a comfortable life as she and her brother have finished their studies.

After a while, Jilian and her mother went back to their small, wooden abode to prepare for school. She becomes more motivated to study hard so she can start weaving her dreams with the hope to bring them to life.


Sailing through life

Jilian Vianca P. Evora, or Jilian as what most people call her, is a Grade 8 student from Rufino M. Asi Pulangtubig National High School. She is the eldest among the two children of Virgilio, 41, and Jenifer, 35. Her younger brother is named James Vien, 4 years old, and is already studying in a day care center.

Since her parents tied the knot in 2005, her father catches fish to earn a living while her mother takes care of the house and looks after her and her brother. They live in Brgy. Pulantubig which is one of the coastal barangays in Baco, Oriental Mindoro.

Mahirap po ang trabaho ni Papa. Madalas ay mangingisda sya ng madaling araw pagkatapos ay uuwi sa tanghali pagkatapos po ay mangingisda ulit sa gabi,” Jilian said. Due to their financial difficulties, Jilian learned the importance of saving and spending less for a purchase. According to her, her allowance for the day depends on the catch of her father but she still makes sure to save money from it. “’Yung 50% po ng baon ko ay para sa pagkain pagkatapos po ay 25% naman po para sa mga gastos sa school at 25% sa savings ko po” she shared. Jilian wants to save money so that she does not need to ask for money to her mother if she wants to buy anything. “Ang pinakamalaki ko pong naging ipon ay P2,000.00 na ibinigay ko po noon kay Mama kasi po pinambili ng gamot ng kapatid ko po,” Jilian said.

As a daughter, she imbibed the faith of her parents wherein she starts and ends her day with a prayer. She also helps her mother in doing household chores after school and also takes care of her younger sibling.

Jilian knows the struggles of their parents just to provide them their needs. Hence, she studies hard to

give back to her parents’ sacrifices and efforts. Since elementary, she is a consistent honor student who always tops her classes. Seeing their life situation, it motivates her to always do her best in everything she does.

According to Jilian, often times her mother gets rice and food to eat in the sari-sari store of her grandmother which they will pay once her father already sells fish. “Kung ‘di rin po dahil sa tulong ng mga kamag-anak namin ay hindi rin po kami makaraos,” she said.  To help lessen their food expenses, she and her mother plant vegetables in her grandmother’s house since they do not have enough space to grow food.

Hindi naman po kasi araw-araw ay pare-pareho ang kinikita ni Papa dahil depende po iyon sa huli ni Papa. Kaya madalas ay hirap pa rin po talaga kami lalo pa at doon lang po kami kumukuha ng panggastos sa araw-araw,” Jilian narrated. For their everyday living, her parents only focus on providing their needs to get through the day. “Kapag po may biglaang sakit kaming magkapatid, mas lalo pong hirap sila Mama at Papa kaya nanghihingi na lang po muna kami ng tulong sa mga tito at tita para mapagamot tapos ay babayaran na lang kapag kumita na po si Papa,” Jilian shared. “Kaya po sa totoo lang ay maswerte pa rin po kami at naging benepisyaryo po kami ng 4Ps,” she added.

Jilian’s family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2011. According to her, through the program, her family became more invested in the health of their family. It does not only help them in financing their needs in education but it also helps them buy vitamins and nutritious food for the family to keep them healthy. “Mas natuunan po namin ng pansin ang kalusugan ng mga bata at makaiwas na sa sakit,” she said.

Dahil sa programa, mas panatag po ako na makakapagtapos ako ng pag-aaral dahil alam ko pong may tumutulong sa amin,” Jilian said. “Malaking katulungan po ang 4Ps para makamit ko ang pangarap ko,” she added. Jilian vows to continue working hard to finish her studies so that she can prove that their family is worthy of receiving benefits from the government.


Love for the ocean

Knowing that their family depends on the bounty of the ocean for their livelihood, she has a great love for it and exerts efforts in taking care of it.

Importante po sa buhay namin ang dagat dahil dyan ay nakakapag-aral po kami, kaya gusto ko pong tumulong sa pag-aalaga po ng environment natin,” she said. According to her, not only does the sea help them financially but it also binds their family together since their family spends quality time at the beach making sand castles and swimming.

Hence, as an environmental advocate, Jilian actively participates in different coastal clean-up and mangrove planting activities in school and in their community. As a member of the Supreme Student Government (SSG) she initiates projects on proper waste disposal and clean-ups. She also actively joins different youth and eco camps to know more about taking care of the environment.

Lahat po ng natutunan ko sa mga sinasalihan kong camps ay sinasabuhay ko po talaga,” she said. In their home, they practice waste segregation and even teaches her younger brother to dispose his garbage properly.

Jilian believes that through her small actions, she can encourage other youths to do something to protect their environment. “Sa pamamagitan po nito, mapoprotektahan ko rin po ang tanging kinabubuhay ng aming pamilya,” she said.


Dreaming by the sea

The long stretch of the shore resembles Jilian and her family’s long journey amidst poverty. But it never became a hindrance for her to continue dreaming.

As a typical youth, she loves watching Korean dramas and listening to Korean pop songs. Jilian dreams of going to Korea to see her idols.

She likes reading books about astronomy and dreams of becoming an astronaut someday. 

She also wants to become a doctor so that she can be able to treat sick poor people who do not have enough money to pay for their hospital bills.

With her love for the environment, Jilian also dreams to become an environmentalist and educate people

on how to take care of it.

Jilian is an achiever, a dreamer, and an advocate of change. With hard work, perseverance, and determination, she is determined to learn to sail with the waves of life to achieve her dreams. ###

(Jilian was awarded as the champion in the 2019 Regional Search for Exemplary Children conducted in Metro Manila on October 11, 2019.)

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- who has written 72 posts on DSWD Field Office IV Mimaropa Official Website.

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