Sunday, 25 December 2011

Two kids from the lost generation of Mambulao


Harold C Tabornal and Royyeth 
Ricafort Llantero

WHEN ASKED to write about my two fosters sons, Harold, 22 years old, and Royyeth, 17 years old, I did not think twice accepting it, knowing that it might encourage others to help many out of school kids in our home town get back to school.

It was expected to mention something how the philanthropic gests all started, how it is going on, and most of all, it was imperative to mention something about approximate cost of sending the boys to schools that should provide valuable information to probable foster parents, donors, patrons and sponsors.

Although, I know how much is apportioned for their pocket money and how much is disbursed for monthly and yearly school dues, I’ve been totally ignorant of the big picture. For the first time, I’ve realized that I didn’t know how much I actually spend.

So, I immediately passed on to the boys the assignment to come up with a list of their monthly expenses and consequently come up with the yearly cost, inclusive of all the semestral and annual expenses.

Harold, being in the senior year in Accountancy, was rather quick and gladly assisted Royyeth with clear pointers and tips from a promising honest and rigorous Accountant.

Harold at last year’s Giant Lantern Festival
It was amusing and heart-warming to see the transformation of Harold who was once an out of school bum in Calogcog with equally minor drinking mates wantonly spending  their hard earned money after risking their lives in illegal mining, again and again, even before becoming adults.

He once told me how scared he was and his knees would tremble each time they get ready to squeeze into the dark and inadequately ventilated foxholes in the burgeoning illegal mines scatted in the mountains of Mambulao.

And now, here he is with professional and refined corporate gestures in elaborating the accounting tasks assigned to them. But of course, I was there to answer questions mostly from Harold: “Uncle, kasama ba ang clothing expenses – let’s say the new shirts and pairs of shoes for school parties?

Do we add the field trip expenses to Baguio last semester and the tree planting trip to Arayat? How about the culminating activity of our Personal Development course at Hilton last month? Shall we also add all our week-end cinema allowance with our popcorns and the snacks afterwards? How about the budget for the exchange gifts the other night?”

I said:  “Harold, I think you know exactly what to include in your computations. Please just add what you think should be considered”. He would always beam with pride each time I relinquish a part of my authority in the house.

Royyeth’s back-to-school day
Royyeth, only in first year high-school had much fewer questions but with so much humor: “Harold, kasama ba yung pagbili ng cellphone at ang pang load? Eh, yung pang vulcanize sa aking bike?” 

He knew the answers but he just love making us laugh? A big thing, considering that he was a pain in the neck for most of his teachers in JPNHS for the last four years as a consistent freshman student.

It all ended when he was expelled last year after a long series of reprimands on his on and off campus brawls. The last happened in the midst of a flag ceremony. Now, it seems he’s going to be in the second year, in spite of having violated the school policy of no mobile phone in the classroom.

Anyway, it came to my senses that the cost involved is not only in sending the kids to school, but the cost actually of raising them. And now I understand why I still can’t afford a brand new car this year, in spite of working hard the entire year. Voila, the sour grapes! ;-)

What I am trying to say now, I guess, is that the drive of MWBuzz to support the program of sponsoring kids for TESDA training does not ask one to adopt or raise foster children.

Not all of us have the time and means raising school kids. Not all of us would want to get directly involved in forming the character of drop outs.

BUT, MANY AMONG US can spare some amount that could have been easily spent in an impulsive shopping or in a sumptuous meal that our doctors might have not been too happy to know. If we listen to them, skipping such meals would make our lives healthier and longer.

Harold in pink shirt in the middle of the PRIMA-ECLARINAL family outing at Clark Picnic Park
But most of all, there is the immense joy of seeing children regain hope to become the future pillars of our community.

If our generation was blessed with good life and afforded good education because of the stable financial positions of our parents during the golden years of the Philippine Iron Mines, then we have the MORAL OBLIGATIONS to extend helping hands to the needy children of Mambulaoans today, who are in most cases, belonging to the lost generation of the hundreds of uprooted immigrant workers who flocked in to Mambualo for the hope of better lives.

Many had sold their small farms, and joined the diaspora to the “Promised Land”. Little did they know that gold nuggets and iron ore reserves are not eternal.

They have nothing to go back to. And they don’t have the blessings we used to enjoy. Their generation could have been ours. Let’s all share a little of what they’ve missed!
MY TWO foster sons were all recommended by my family in Calogcog, most especially by our beloved brother, the former Luklukan Norte Barangay Capt Romeo T Prima, who died a year ago. I remember too well when one day he arrived in Angeles with Harold. He is the eldest son of Amy Tabornal who is the barangay janitor and also does laundry job from the break of day to night fall after her janitorial chores.

Royyeth Ricafort Llantero partly grew up in Calogcog, with his paternal grandparents and with his mother in Parang, who left the four children and is now somewhere in the Middle East as a “TNT worker”. Not much news on her since then. We came to know Royyeth when he presented for the job of caretaker for our sick brother last year. My elder sisters noted, in particular, his seemingly natural ability to tenderly attend to our brother in spite of the “tough guy” reputation.

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