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Lawyer Goes Back to UP to Visit Honorary Dad: A Taho Vendor Who Helped Her in College

Back in college when Alex Castro goes to school without breakfast, it was a taho vendor who made sure she gets something to eat every single day. He would wait for her every morning, even when it was raining hard. Now that she’s a lawyer, she goes back to UP to visit her honorary dad – and they had a wonderful reunion!

“‘Tay, may abogado ka na.’ I imagined myself saying those words to you as I was driving along the University Avenue this morning. Coming home to UP always meant coming home to everything I loved and cherished for eight years, including you. So as I drove around campus, I kept throwing glances at large crowds, or the places you used to frequent, searching for the great mantataho — my Tatay Dong,” Castro wrote in a Facebook post.

She narrated the hardships she faced in college and how it was this taho vendor who helped her out; he gave her food, he gave her his only jacket when she was cold, and he proudly announced that she is his ‘daughter’.

I met you when I was a wide-eyed freshie. We’d see each other at 7am every day, because you were stationed at the building I had my morning class in. We’d chat every morning over taho. Eventually, you found out that I’d always go to school with an empty stomach. So you made it a point to wait for me in the morning, rain or shine, with a fresh cup of taho, every single day for four years, until I finished my undergrad degree,” Castro wrote.

It was wonderful for a poor student to have found an ally, an honorary dad in this taho vendor.

Photo credit: Alex Castro / Facebook

I was just a daughter you picked up along the way, but you were so protective of me. One rainy day in December of 2009, I went to school without a jacket. I remember you were so concerned. So the following morning, you handed me a package along with my taho. When I opened it, it was your jacket. The one you were wearing the previous morning, and all the mornings before that. Your ~only~ jacket. You wouldn’t take it back, and the only thing you said to me when I tried to give it back for the last time is, “Nilaban ko na ‘yan, ‘Nak. Iyo na ‘yan.”

Eventually, I was able to return the favor. I got you a new jacket for you to wear. You wore it with so much pride and such a huge smile the morning after, and all the mornings after that. Whenever your friends asked about it, you’d always say, “Bigay ng anak ko ‘yan.”

Now that she’s a lawyer, Castro went back to her alma mater to visit the man who had helped her through college, the taho vendor who was more than just a person selling taho but a second father who didn’t hesitate to help a student in need.

Fortunately, earlier today, word got to you that I was in UP. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw you rushing to the Sunken Garden from afar. When you saw me, you immediately embraced me and exclaimed, “I missed you!” It truly felt like a homecoming. You held me so tight, and finally, I was able to tell you the words you said you’d wait to hear from me — “‘Tay, may abogado ka na.

I hope I made you proud, ‘Tay. You deserve all the love in the world.

Isn’t that inspiring? What a beautiful story of love and family, even if these two aren’t related by blood…

Inspiring

Syrian Vlogger Goes Viral for Buying Sacks of Rice Directly from a Farmer, to Donate in Mindanao

A famous Syrian vlogger living in the Philippines recently went viral again after he traveled all the way to Pampanga to buy sacks of rice directly from a farmer, for the purpose of donating these items to Mindanao.

The Hungry Syrian Wanderer named Basel has been living in the Philippines after falling in love with the place. He owns some businesses in the country but has earned admiration for his big heart to the people, sometimes randomly giving money to some locals who are in dire need of help.

Photo credit: News5 Features – PhilRice / The Hungry Syrian Wanderer

As people, charity groups, and local government units (LGUs) scramble to donate to the people of Mindanao affected by the earthquake, The Hungry Syrian Wanderer also wanted to do his share. But instead of simply sending money to the affected areas or buying relief goods from the nearest mall, he chose to travel to Pampanga to directly buy from the farmers.

Photo credit: News5 Features – PhilRice / The Hungry Syrian Wanderer

With farmers having trouble selling their goods because the prices are too low, no thanks to the rice tariffication law, many have chosen to sell sacks of rice by the roadside instead of giving their products to a middleman, the rice traders.

With the decision to buy rice directly from the farmers, The Hungry Syrian Wanderer is not just helping the people in Mindanao who would be the recipient of his donation, he is also helping these farmers earn a fair price for their products. Thanks to his efforts, Basel of The Hungry Syrian Wanderer has gained praise from many netizens.

Photo credit: News5 Features – PhilRice / The Hungry Syrian Wanderer

But there are still those who have something negative to say with what he did.

I laud your efforts sir but the shipping costs will eat a lot also, could have bought more if you have bought in Davao City,” a netizen wrote.

While the netizen was correct, of course, many pointed out that Basel is not just helping the people of Mindanao but also the farmers. Considering he made an effort to travel all the way to Pampanga just to buy the rice, money is not the main concern here – he simply wants to help more people! Kudos!

Photo credit: News5 Features – PhilRice / The Hungry Syrian Wanderer

Rice Prices in the Philippines

While it is true that rice prices vary, depending on the type and quality, the sad reality is that the farmers are earning too low these days. There is an abundance of rice supply because the rice tariffication law lifted the quantitative restrictions on rice importation. Well-milled rice prices range from Php30 to Php50 (some brands are cheaper and some are more expensive than this range).

Photo credit: News5 Features – PhilRice / The Hungry Syrian Wanderer

While this helped consumers in that there is now more rice at lower prices, the farmers are the ones greatly affected because they spend many months planting the rice, only for them to earn as low as Php12 per kilogram of palay (unmilled rice).

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Off-Duty Coast Guard Hailed a Hero for Saving Fellow Passengers in Sinking Ship

An off-duty coast guard is now being hailed a hero for saving the lives of his fellow passengers after their boat capsized due to strong waves just off the coast of Sibonga town in Cebu.

Seaman First PO3 Ralph Barajan took the boat from Loon, Bohol bound for Cebu City on Thursday, November 7, 2019. Little did he know that he would become a hero after the boat capsized due to strong waves. His bravery ensured that not one of the passengers perished in the maritime accident.

Photo credit: The Freeman / Facebook

MV Siargao Princess left Loon at 9AM but encountered big, strong waves as it set sail near Cebu island. The exact count of the passengers and crew vary in the reports, but there were over 60 passengers and crew riding on that boat when it capsized at around 11AM.

The passengers panicked when the boat began to sink at about 10:30AM, but Barajan shouted for them to keep calm. He led the passengers and crew with level-headed instructions that would save all of their lives.

Photo credit: The Freeman / Facebook

First, Barajan made sure that all the passengers and crew wore life vests. Then, he instructed everyone to tie themselves together to ensure they will stay in big groups. This would make it easier for rescuers to find them and would ensure that no one will drift away.

I wanted everyone to be saved that’s why I tried to bring us all closer. We tied ourselves together so we will not drift apart,” Barajan later explained.

Photo credit: The Freeman / Facebook

He was also the last one to jump off the sinking ship as he made sure that no one was left behind. What a hero.

Still, the off-duty coast guard admitted that he was scared the entire time but banked on his training to keep himself together to save his life and that of the boat’s passengers and crew. Thanks to Barajan, everyone was alive!

While they drifted together for 2 hours before finally getting rescued, everyone was safe. There were three passengers who got separated from the group because they jumped the moment the boat began to sink, but the three managed to swim the 9-kilometer distance to the coast of Carcar City.

Photo credit: Cebu Daily News

Proper Technique in Maritime Accidents

According to Barajan, the proper technique during maritime accidents is for everyone to stay as close together as possible. The life jackets made sure they will float while sticking together meant they have a higher chance of getting seen by the rescuers.

While swimming to shore might seem like a good idea, don’t try to do it unless you know you are a strong swimmer and have training for that sort of long-distance swim in rough waters.

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Netizens Express Admiration Over Kid Who Balances Boxes of Yakult and ‘Kakanin’ on Bike

A kid vendor has gone viral after a video of him riding a bike with boxes of yakult and ‘kakanin’ balanced on his head was uploaded by someone who greatly admired his balancing skills.

On his Facebook account, netizen Bruce Dolores shared a video and some pictures of the kid who he had seen passing by on his bike, balancing three boxes on his head!

Share ko lang to mga paps, Sobrang nabilib ako dito kaya kinunan ko ng video – kaya niya nga i balance yong kakanin at yakult niya, Relasyon niyo pa kaya? swabe! Hahaha. Galing!” Bruce wrote. “Pashare nalang po ng share, Para matulungan yong Bata salamat godbless!

Photo credit: Bruce Dolores / Facebook

While Bruce did not detail who the kid might be or where he could be found, someone commented on his post and identified the kid as “Mark”. According to the netizen, Mark lives at Kassel Residences Moonwalk located in the City of Parañaque.

Just like Bruce, many netizens were greatly impressed by the kid’s skills in balancing the three boxes on his head even as he speeded with his bike along the busy highway! This certainly involves a lot of skills and risks, considering that one wrong move could bring him and the rest of his goods tumbling to the ground.

Photo credit: Bruce Dolores / Facebook

Bruce was unable to ask the kid for details or buy from him as he sped past, but it was clear from the boxes he was carrying on his head that the boy is selling yakult inside that ice box and various kakanin inside the two clear boxes. The mountain bike could have carried the boxes safer and better if it were modified to have holders for the boxes, but the kid appears to have mastered the art of balancing the three boxes even as he moved through traffic.

Netizens still hope someone could help him have a safer option to carry his goods…

Posted by Bruce Dolores on Monday, November 4, 2019

What is Yakult?

Yakult is a popular probiotic milk beverage being manufactured and sold by Yakult Honsha, based in Tokyo, Japan. The drink is fermented using Lactobacillus paracasei Shirota, the bacteria strain first isolated from the human intestine by Japanese scientist Minoru Shirota back in 1935.

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