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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).

Inspiring

Couple Inspires with Savings from Ukay-Ukay and Other Businesses

How much were you able to save up, especially during the pandemic? Most of us would say “not much” or even “none”, but a couple managed to save Php154,000 from doing various businesses in 10 months. Impressive, huh?

Couple Ipon Challenge Goes Viral

Almost everyone agrees that it’s really so difficult to save money, especially because there are a lot of things that we need to pay for, plenty of bills to pay, and other needs or even wants that we spend our earnings on.

But couple Chi Kai and Jazzely Ebarom impressed netizens after they saved a lot of money despite the pandemic.

Photo credit: Chi Kai

In her inspiring post on Facebook, Chi Kai wrote that she and her partner managed to save Php154,000 from doing various businesses: selling ukay-ukay, top-grade bags, beauty products, and just about anything they could think of.

According to Chi Kai, she’s sharing this post to inspire other people to do the same, not to brag about what they were able to achieve. She added that their story can inspire others to try their best and work hard to achieve their dreams.

She also said that she’s lucky to have a partner who inspires her to work harder and also motivates her to save money.

So, how was she able to save so much money? Chi Kai said that instead of spending her earnings on luxury stuff and things that she didn’t need, she would save a portion every week. She folds the money and places it inside their shared piggy bank.

Photo credit: Chi Kai

The couple was quite surprised to see that they were able to save that much money in a small piggy bank.

While many netizens pointed out that folding the money isn’t a good idea because it could damage the paper, more were inspired about the fact that she managed to save up.

Improper Handling of Money

Saving money is great but it’s important to keep the bills from getting damaged. The penalty for “willful defacement, mutilation, tearing, burning or destruction of Philippine banknotes and coins” is a fine of not more than PHP20,000.00 and/or imprisonment of not more than five years, depending on the gravity of the offense.

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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.

Photo credit: Arlene Eje Alex

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.

Photo credit: Arlene Eje Alex

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.

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Inspiring

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.

Photo credit: Patricia Tawat / Christian Baluyot – Inquirer

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.

Photo credit: Patricia Tawat / Christian Baluyot – Inquirer

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.

Photo credit: Patricia Tawat / Christian Baluyot – Inquirer

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
  • Humility
  • Self-awareness and self-focus
  • Professionalism
  • Empathy and kindness
  • Positive-thinker
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