“It was God’s plan so I could provide education to the children. Because if we were living together, I might have gotten sick – I might not even be here by now (Plano rin ‘yon ni Lord para mapag-aral ko ang mga bata. Kasi kung magkasama kami, baka nagkasakit na ako – baka wala na rin ako ngayon).” This is how Babylyn Robiso-Ribot, a solo parent from Bgy. Poblacion, Magdiwang Romblon, perceives the dreadful event that had happened in her life.
It was in 1989 when she got married to her husband, Eduardo R. Ribot, whose livelihood is carpentry. She had several years of dealing with the stress of an unhealthy relationship with his husband, not until they got separated off the back of a devastating scene during New Year’s Eve of 2007.
Babylyn, together with her children, attended the New Year’s Eve mass in 2007. As they went home, they found the pillar of the house intoxicated under the influence of alcohol. “Papa was very drunk. After we attended the mass, he threw away all our prepared foods. He drove us out of our house and since then, he has not supported us (Lasing na lasing si Papa. Pagkatapos namin magsimba, pinagtatapon [niya] yung handa namin. Pinalayas kami at simula noon, hindi na siya nagsustento sa amin),” Mary Grace, the third child, cried.
After that incident, Babylyn and her children spent that midnight in her mother’s house. “We did not let that quite affect us, but rather we made that as an inspiration for us to be strong as our mother’s children (Hindi ‘yon dahilan para makaapekto talaga sa amin kasi inspirasyon ‘yon para maging matatag kami bilang mga anak ng nanay namin),” Neuressel, the fourth child, added.
Overcoming the challenges of solo parenting
Babylyn was blessed with five children who are now all adults. The eldest, Edryan, is an Aircon Technician and already has his own family while the second, Eddie, is a Heavy Equipment Operator. They both finished a TechVoc course at the Dualtech Training Center Foundation Inc. On the other hand, the third child, Mary Grace, is a single mother with two little ones – a grade 9 and a preparatory student, and the fourth is Neuressel Jane, a masseuse and staff in a Motor Dealer. They were not able to graduate in college yet but rather prioritized attending courses in TESDA where they have learned various skills that they are now using for their living. Meanwhile, the youngest, Angeline, is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) this A.Y. 2022-2023.
To get a grip on the obstacles of flying solo, Babylyn pursued to obtain a Massage and Wellness Therapy National Certificate II through TESDA, which she used for a living. Because she was just an elementary graduate, she cleverly continued her education through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) and graduated last 2010. It became her stepping stone to pursue communal practices and accomplish several achievements.
When Babylyn’s household was registered in the program, she avidly became one of the performing Parent Leaders (PLs) in the municipality of Magdiwang as she stands as a role model who inspires other program beneficiaries. She is also a Barangay Health Worker (BHW) who bravely devotes herself to the people of Magdiwang, especially during the time of pandemic when she was one of the front liners that regularly monitored the health condition of the infected people in the facilities. She more so spends most of her time in their church performing her duties as an active choir member and a lector/commentator where her discipline was shaped even more. It thus served as a guide for her and her children to live a righteous life. Moreover, as the spirit of volunteerism has long been ingrained in Babylyn, she is a volunteer worker as well of some of the KALAHI projects in their town.
“We help each other. We endure to make it through the night just to earn a living. Then during the day, there is a bunch of work in the church and the community (Tulungan kami ng mga anak ko. Nagtitiyaga kaming abutin ng gabi sa paghahanapbuhay. Tapos sa araw, puno rin ng gawain sa simbahan at sa komunidad),” Babylyn shared.
4Ps greatly help them to have additional purchasing power for their needs, like food and other school supplies. They were able to buy new shoes, uniforms, bags, and other necessities for the children for the opening of classes and important school events. Although it was difficult to support and discipline five children alone, the lessons she learned in the church and her experience became her weapon to be even more successful in being a mother.
Putting herself second
Gratefully, as their church administration saw Babylyn’s hardships and sacrifices, a small part of its land has been leased to her for just Php 250.00 a month since 2010. And through her double effort, she was able to earn enough money to buy some housing materials to build a simple home for her family. In return, aside from doing massage, she cooks, cleans, and does the laundry for the convent.
“Oftentimes, Mama spends the night massaging clients, that’s why we usually stayed over at the house of her last client. We always tell her to take care of herself first because she won’t be able to help others if she puts others before herself (Madalas inaabot si Mama nang gabi sa pagmamasahe kaya nakikitulog na lang kami sa bahay ng huli niyang kliyente. Sinasabihan namin siya na alagaan niya sarili niya dahil lalong hindi siya makakatulong sa kapwa niya kapag inuuna niya ang iba kesa sa sarili niya),” Neuressel said. This caused her therefore to inherit his mother’s talent. “When I was studying in high school, I always budget my P150 allowance for a week. I just massage my teachers in order to get by and save money so I would not ask Mama for money (Noong nag-aaral ako sa hayskul, papagkasyahin ko ‘yong P150 sa isang linggo. Minamasahe ko na lang ‘yong mga teachers ko para makaraos at makaipon para hindi na ako hihingi kay Mama),” she also noted.
Generosity in tough times
Babylyn is filled with gratitude for the program because of its considerable aid in raising and supporting her children. With the assistance of her first two children, they worked together to finance Angeline’s college education who has built her dream and positive disposition in life. With her family’s full support, at a young age, she founded the charity foundation called “Sharing Hope By Giving Love”. Since 2019, the organization has helped vulnerable community members – children, oldies, those who are sick, etc. in the municipality by providing them with basic support like food packs, slippers, clothes, school supplies, etc. It is also committed to community works like coastal clean-up, outreach activities, and such.
Its vision is to inspire the youth of today to be passionate and be an instrument of hope and love through giving, while the mission is to extend help among less fortunate families in the community and to share hope and love with everyone despite scarcity. According to Babylyn, the value that she will pass on to her children and grandchildren is the value of giving – being a giver to the needy without expecting anything in return.
What happened in their past was filled with love and understanding. Their generosity in helping others is one of their proudest treasures in life. They continue to give hope by showing love and concern to the community through the small things they can. The Ribot family is living proof that a “broken family” is not a spanner in the yields for the family members to become successful in life.