Geraldine hails from Iloilo City. A city known for its rich culture and heritage, the hometown of some of the richest Filipinos. But in some parts of this city lies the many communities who have to work tirelessly to survive and live a decent life.
Geraldine is part of such a community where she spent most of her childhood working in fields and learned the painful reality of life.
“I worked in rice farms at a young age. We also cut nippa and weaved them together. This was how people in my area supported their children to finish school,“ said Geraldine.
She eventually moved to Manila after finishing high school, and she was 16 then. She worked in a garment factory for eight years. It was where she met her husband Wilfredo, who was working in a construction company. Years later, they moved back to Wilfredo’s hometown in Silay City, in the northern part of Negros Occidental, to settle and start their own family.
They were blessed with three lovely children. Her eldest, Kier, is currently in his first year at the Technological University of the Philippines-Visayas, a well-known state college in Negros, and the other two, Christine and Aleah, are in junior and senior high school in Silay City, Negros Occidental, respectively.
Every parent is after their child’s well-being. Geraldine is like any other parent out there who has continued to look after her children, “I don’t want them to experience what we had experienced before,“ she added.
But life is full of surprises, “My husband suffered from a pulmonary disease, in one instance, he told me to take care of our children, I didn’t know it that serious until the doctor even told us that he’d got two years to live at most,“ an emotional Geraldine shared as tears welled up in her eyes.
Geraldine arranges her sari-sari store.
She convinced her husband to allow her to join Dungganon so she can start a business and help them make ends meet. Starting with a small loan, she put up a sari-sari store and raised hogs. She also invested in her husband’s equipment for his work as a foreman and kept it to still have something to use when he recovered.
It must have been through Geraldine’s sincere prayers that her husband Wilfredo recovered; “Thankfully, it’s been 13 years since then, and he is still with us and is healthy,“ she said.
Wilfredo commissions work from time to time and raises fighting cocks to provide for his family. Both he and Geraldine work hand in hand in making sure their children’s education and daily needs are taken care of.
“Now that they have online classes, they need gadgets for school. Every time our fattening pigs get sold, I would buy a gadget for one of my children. If I sold another pig, then the next one would get her own gadget,“ said Geraldine. This shows her determination to provide for her children’s educational needs.
Geraldine admits that if not for the people who trusted and supported them, life would have been more difficult for them. She shares how the emotional and financial support from her family and institutions like Dungganon helped them in overcoming their problems.
“We enjoy the benefits Dungganon gives, and it is really helpful to us. Through their medical missions, the doctor’s consultation is made free, and we can even avail free medicine. This way, we can save a lot,“ shared Geraldine.
Geraldine with one of her child.
She adds, “my relatives would always be there for us when we really need their help.“
Now that her husband is in relatively good health, she plans on maintaining and growing her business until all of her children finish school.
“It is my dream to see them graduate from college,“ said Geraldine while beaming up a hopeful smile.
Geraldine believes that education is the greatest gift she can give her children. She repeatedly reminds them, “Even though we are poor, I want all of you to focus on your education because that is the only thing I can leave behind for all of you.“
Geraldine, the strong pillar of her family, so rich in love and care for her family. A mother whose only dream is not for herself but for her children.