It was back in June 2015 when someone snapped a photo of Daniel Cabrera as he studied outside McDonald’s, diligently doing his assignments under the light of the lamp outside the store. The post had gone viral, with the kid gaining praise for his determination.
The photo was taken by Joyce Torrefranca, a student at Cebu Doctors’ University (CDU), Mandaue City Campus. The spot at the McDonald’s outlet at the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City had been a regular place for the kid to study because he and his family don’t have a home.
Photo credit: Joyce Torrefranca / PhilStar
With three kids to care for, Daniel’s widow mom Maria Cristina Espinosa admitted that life was difficult for the family. She only earns Php60 a day as ‘caretaker’ of a food stall across the CDU during evenings while she works as laundrywoman during the day.
“It’s tough to have no husband. In one day, we only get to eat twice. Sometimes, I wait for someone who wants their laundry done by me,” she told Cebu Daily News.
She admitted that the family did not have a home. She would only put flattened out boxes underneath the tables of the food stall so she and the kids can have a place to sleep. To protect themselves from stray animals, she would put the chairs as ‘fence’ around her children.
The McDonald’s outlet was near the food stall, making it ideal for Daniel to study his lessons there. At the time, he was still a Grade 3 student at Subangdaku Elementary School. He actually had to walk about 4 km to reach the school, but the young boy did not mind because he was determined to go to school and become a policeman someday.
After his photo went viral, help poured in for Daniel and his family. A police official has reportedly promised to shoulder his college education.
More importantly, Daniel no longer had to study at McDonald’s or sleep under the tables of a food stall. Through kindhearted netizens who gave various donations in cash and in kind, the family was able to start anew.
For instance, Fr. Carmelo Diola of the Dilaab Foundation Inc. gave the family Php3,000; Maria Cristina used the money to pay for the downpayment of a room where they are still staying now. Thanks to a sari-sari store netizens also helped her open, she no longer has to work at the food stall or as laundrywoman to support the kids. They also have a steady source of income for their daily needs.
Daniel’s 20-year-old elder brother also has job now and is helping with the family’s expenses.
Photo credit: Cebu Daily News
Recently, the McDonald’s North Reclamation Area branch had given him a congratulatory party for his graduation from elementary. But unknown to many, the store had actually been supporting Daniel since his story went viral!
He receives Php1,500 as monthly allowance from the management, something that he is set to receive until he finishes high school.
In return for all the help he received, Daniel made sure he focuses on his studies. He never misses a day in school because he wants to make sure he learns all the lessons.
The 13-year-old Daniel will be in junior high school this June. He hopes to take up BS Criminology in college so he could become a policeman as this was his dad’s dream…
Badjao Girl Who Used to Dive for Coins at Pier, Now a Teacher and Master’s Degree Holder
A half-Badjao girl who used to dive for coins at the pier is celebrating her success now that she has become a teacher and a master’s degree holder. Who would have thought that she used to do that in her younger days, huh?
Badjao Girl Earns Master’s Degree
Life was difficult for half-Badjao Arlene Eje Alex while she was growing up. Despite being poor, her father refused to let her dive for coins at the pier or beg for money in the streets like other Badjao children.
But her father got sick while she was still young; so, she did those things so they can have some food. They lost their dad when she was just 12 years old.
“Eight years old po nag-start na akong manisid sa pier para lang po maka-survive sa araw-araw at may panustos sa pag-aaral,” she explained.
“Hindi ko naman po pinagsisihan kasi natuto po ako sa buhay na hindi ganoon kadali ang kumayod sa araw-araw sa murang kaisipan. Kailangan mong mabuhay, pero kailangan mong paghirapan.”
Life was difficult but she also knew that if she doesn’t go to school, she’d be stuck in the streets or the pier for the rest of her life. So, she found ways to send herself to school.
“Hindi pupuwede na hanggang dito na lang ako. Babalik na naman ako sa lansangan. Parang ang hirap mabuhay na nakadepende ako sa tao. Kaya kailangan kong mag-aral kahit hindi na ako makauwi, basta makatapos ako,” she said with determination.
Through hard work and determination, she was finally able to complete her degree in Education. But she didn’t stop there. She continued to work harder and study more – and has now become a Master’s degree holder.
“Ang dating maninisid ng barya sa pier noon, Master’s degree graduate na ngayon,” she proudly wrote in her graduation photos.
Why Badjaos Dive for Money in Pier
Badjaos live in the waters, originally in the Sulu Sea. But various problems forced many of them to travel to other places in the Philippines, diving the pier waters for coins that people toss.
It’s unknown how exactly this practice started but it’s common in many piers across the Philippines.
Badjaos are known to have the ability to hold their breath for minutes, making these dives particularly interesting.
Dad Who Returned Phone He Found in Jeep: “I Want to Be a Role Model for My Kids”
One dad who’s struggling financially and has a special-needs child didn’t feel tempted to keep or sell a phone he found in a jeep. He said that he immediately thought of his kids when he found the phone and wanted to do the right thing as a role model for his children!
Guy Goes Viral for Returning Phone He Found in Jeep
Some netizens argue that good deeds like returning money or a cellphone you found somewhere should not be something that should be in the news. After all, returning something you don’t own is one thing that people should do!
But with so many people taking advantage of others, and a lot of people losing valuable stuff and never getting them back, it’s really still impressive to hear stories of the honest ones who return items that aren’t theirs – especially valuables.
Christian Baluyot, 22, is a dad to two kids, one of whom is a special-needs 3-year-old child. Working as a merchandiser, Christian doesn’t earn much, but when he found a cellphone in a jeep, he wasn’t tempted to keep it.
Immediately after finding the phone (an iPhone), he made attempts to find the owner by posting about it on his Facebook account.
The owner, Patricia Tawat, didn’t see his post but was surprised when Christian answered the phone when she called it.
“‘Wag ka mag-alala, ate. Ibabalik ko po cellphone mo. Hindi ko po kayang gumawa ng masama,” the young man told her after picking up on the second ring.
Impressed, Patricia posted about the experience, praising Christian for being honest.
After the post went viral, Christian explained that he didn’t think it was a big deal and that he was only doing something that he thought was right. When he found the phone, his only thoughts were his children – and how he wants to be their role model.
“Ang turo po ng magulang ko sa’kin, kahit na po maghirap, basta ‘wag lang gumawa ng masama,” he explained. “Inisip ko po agad na may anak ako. Ayoko po kasi magaya anak ko sa masasamang tao.”
Inspired by this honest young man, Patricia wrote:
“Sa panahon ngayon, meron pa ring mga taong kahit hirap at gipit sa buhay, hindi pa rin sasagi sa isip nila gumawa ng masama mas pipiliin paring maging mabuti.
Saludo ako sa’yo kuya. Sobrang swerte ng mga anak mo sa’yo.”
Characteristics of a Role Model
The following are some characteristics of a role model:
- Honesty and integrity
- Self-awareness and self-focus
- Empathy and kindness
Teen Who Risked Life to Saved Drowning Dog from River Receives Scholarship, Other Rewards
He risked his life to save a dog from the river – and it wasn’t even theirs! For that, a teen received praise from netizens and got rewarded with a senior high school scholarship, smartphone, and groceries. Wow.
Teen Handsomely Rewarded After Saving a Drowning Dog
Margole Miko Ilagan recently shared a video of the heart-stopping rescue mission that a teen did at the river to save a drowning dog. Netizens were impressed that the teen, identified as Angelo Diolata Flores, risked his life to save the poor creature.
In the clip, Angelo could be seen rushing to the dog’s aid by swiftly moving towards the creature from the side of the sloping dike. It was a difficult feat because there was nothing much for him to hold on to, yet this young man did not mind.
It was also clear from the shouts of encouragement and warning from the people taking the video that the dog wasn’t even theirs. They warned him to be extra careful because the frightened dog might bite him.
But the dog must have sensed that this human wasn’t there to harm it but to save its life. It appears to be whimpering as Angelo tried to gain its trust.
Then, the young man had to face another challenge as he tried to bring the dog out of the river and up the dike. Thankfully, there was a wire he could hold on to in that part of the river. He used that to keep his balance as he pushed the dog up. The mission was a success!
For his heroic deed, Angelo was hailed as Animal Kingdom Foundation’s Young Hero. He also received scholarship for senior high school, smartphone, and grocery items from the Animal Kingdom Foundation.
Watch the video here:
What’s the Animal Kingdom Foundation?
Also known simply as the AFK, the Animal Kingdom Foundation is a non-profit animal welfare organization in the Philippines. The non-profit organization (NGO) is based in Tarlac and aims to improve the living and welfare conditions of animals.