The combination of perseverance and determination are the keys to success for a mother from Coron, Palawan. She never lost hope as she believes that challenges will always come along your way. For her, if one will stay steadfast and firm, no hindrance will be bigger than the willingness to succeed. Thus instead of losing courage, challenges have further strengthened her as a woman, wife, and most of all, as a mother.
Rowena Mangalino, 47, works as a cashier in a fish stall in Coron, Palawan. Her income is just enough for the needs of her four children. Her husband Reynaldo, on the other hand, gives a hand at a vulcanizing shop owned by her mother-in-law where he gets a small amount of cut. Since they both do not have a regular job to rely on, it was hard for them to cover everyday food on their table. Realizing the fact that the needs of their four children continously grow, Rowena and Reynaldo were determined to work even harder.
However, the odds are testing Rowena. In 2011, she got into an accident. She fell inside a 15-meter well (balon) while on a visit to her mother. Because of the mishap, Rowena can no longer continue working in the fish stall. “Sa dati naming lumang bahay noon na yari sa sawali at kahoy, nasa upuang parang tumba-tumba lang ako. Hindi ako makatayo, makalakad. Ni makakilos para mapakain ko ang sarili ko, hindi ko magawa.”
Igniting her desire to succeed
But for Rowena, the tragedy only took her ability to walk but not her desire to provide for her family. With the support from Reynaldo, the mother of four looked for other ways to help her husband while waiting for her feet to heal. “Dahil sa kagustuhan kong makatulong sa aking asawa habang nakaupo at nagpapagaling, gumagawa ako ng mga kuwintas na yari sa buto ng mga punong kahoy. Tapos ibinibenta ko sa Tourism Office. Ginagamit nila ‘yun na pangsalubong sa mga bumibisita noon sa munisipyo.”
For her to immediately heal, Rowena’s children, Karmille Anne (24), Kent Aldwin (22), Kim Angela (19), and Kenneth Rey (14), bring their mother to different medical missions within Coron. While her husband works extra for their family, their children look after Rowena. Many months later, she can already walk and move. But Rowena is indeed unstoppable. For her, no day shall be wasted because she believes that looking at her children getting hungry is more sickening. “Noong medyo gumaling na po ako, nag-trabaho po ako sa Sunz en Coron Resort. Nag-aasikaso po ako ng business permit, taga-bayad ng SSS, Pag Ibig, at Philhealth. Pumapasok po ako ng 3 hanggang 4 na beses lang sa isang buwan. May Php 3,000.00 po akong sweldo kada buwan”.
While she dedicates some of her days in a week working in the resort, Rowena has continued making handmade souvenir items that she supplies to the Municipal Hall of Coron. “Hindi pa rin ako tumigil na maghanap ng paraan upang kumita dahil hindi kaya kung ang asawa ko lang po ang aasahan. May lumang makina po ang aking biyenan. Hiniram ko po iyon at nagsimula akong mag-repair ng mga damit”. According to her, she always makes sure that everyday will be as productive as possible. Aside from working as a runner in the resort, she also repairs clothes. She also mentioned that sometimes she even tried doing hilot (massage) service to the elders, teachers, and other business owners in their barangay.
Facing life challenges
Indeed, Rowena got many ways to earn a living for her family, especially her four children. Not even an accident stopped her from dreaming of a better future for her children. “Napakabait ng Diyos palagi kahit hirap na hirap kami ay patuloy niya kaming binibigyan ng biyaya sa iba’t ibang paraan”. Apart from being a runner, sewer, hilot (masseuse), Rowena also accepted the job to be a secretary in their barangay.
“E, may honorarya po kasing Php 2,500 kada buwan. Kaya hindi na po ako nag-dalawang isip na tanggapin iyon. Kahit halos wala akong alam sa mga gawaing may kaugnayan doon. Nagtiwala po ako sa Diyos. Siya na po ang bahala”. Rowena also mentioned that through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Family Development Sessions (FDS), she was able to gain different skills that are relevant to her duties as the barangay secretary.
Just like a boat that sails in calm water, the life ride for the Mangalino Family went well because of Rowena’s perseverance. But it seems that the odds are not yet in their favor. “Siguro po dahil na rin sa stress at sobrang pagod, nagkaroon po ako ng leukemia. Nasa lahi po namin. Naka-survive po ako sa awa ng Diyos. Kaso nagkaroon po ako ng Nephrotic Syndrome. Side effect po ng gamutan ko. Kailangan po ng regular na check-up kada-tatlong buwan”. Rowena’s health condition has required her to give up some of her sources of income. She then focused on working at the resort in Coron. Her dedication at work was observed by the resort owners, hence she was promoted as a full-time Human Resource Officer. She facilitates the resort’s payroll to employees where she gets Php 15,000.00 income in a month.
The Mangalino family started to invest in real estate. With the commission from offering several properties, Rowena and Reynaldo were able to finally build a concrete house of their own. They have also purchased a motorcycle which will be used by her husband in his new job at the airport. But mishaps are testing Rowena’s strength as a mother and wife. This time, it was Reynaldo who got into a motor accident.
Rising from the ashes
Now providing alone for her family, Rowena has to work harder while she waits for her husband to heal from the accident. And here goes another test of resiliency to Rowena. In 2017, the house they built from hard work was burned down. “Nasayang lahat ng aming mga naipong gamit dahil sa isang sakuna, nasunugan ang aming lugar at isa kami sa halos walumpung kabahayan na natupok ng apoy. Wala kaming nailigtas na gamit kahit isa, maliban sa isang bag na dala-dala ko mula sa trabaho at sa mga saplot namin sa katawan.”
But for a mother who has been already formed and strengthened by all the challenges she faced in the past, this fire incident was just another test that their family must survive. After all the trials she went through in life, no battle may seem to put Rowena’s courageous heart down. This character of Rowena was admired by their relatives, friends, and most of all, the owners of the resort where she works. “Napakaraming tumulong sa amin, mga kaibigan, kamag-anak na nagbigay ng gamit, damit, pagkain at pinansyal na suporta. At ang pinakamalaking surpresa po ay ipinagpatayo po kami ng konkretong bahay ng aking mga amo”.
Indeed despite the many challenges Rowena faced in her life, her determination has further fueled her desire to provide a better future for her children. “Patuloy po ang maganda kong trabaho sa resort. Nagpaplano na rin kami na boluntaryong mag-exit sa 4Ps dahil alam ko po na may mas higit na nangangailangan kaysa sa amin.” She may have lost the house they have constructed out of hard work, but she was able to build a persona that everyone admires – determined and courageous. She is a woman, a wife, and a mother that got many reasons to succeed in life. ###
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