Every time he sees familiar faces passing by his humble home, Michael Magallanes never fails to greet with a big, bright smile. He would always want to make everyone feel welcome. However, that smile hasn’t always been there before, it took time before he could learn how to smile again.
Michael was born in the Island of Molocaboc in Sagay City. His father was a fisherman on this tiny island and his mother was a plain housewife.
‘Struggle’ was a word he learned early in childhood.
He was not able to finish his elementary education and he had to go to Manila to work as a construction worker at the age of 18.
A year later, Michael found love. He got married and fathers two children. Just like any father, who wishes to have their children live a stress-free life, he is prompted to juggle between two jobs. He had to work in a junk shop to earn extra income as his construction work was not stable.
It was sometime in 2012 when his former employer from the Construction Firm where he used to work, offered him a new job as a Time Keeper in Boracay Island.
Not wasting any second, he immediately accepted the offer, although it would also mean he would have to work far from his family.
But, it was an opportunity for him that could possibly alleviate his family from these challenges.
After seven months of rigorous work in Boracay, their project finally came to an end. Michael contacted his employer about his plans of returning back home and asked for his fair share of earnings from all his days of hard work. His employer agreed to send the money to his family in Bulacan. Michael waited. And waited.
This is where things even went downhill.
Michael’s employer informed him that the money was sent to his Foreman without him knowing. After hearing this, he immediately looks for his Foreman but is nowhere to be found. Left alone in Boracay, with no money and food, he was now desperate to go home.
Luckily, his co-worker will be leaving for Negros and told him about a construction work waiting for him if he wanted it. Michael agreed.
But just how the universe shone a pinch of hope, it was still snatched right off him. When he arrived, somebody already filled the position where he was supposed to work. Just to put food on his table, he looked for other options and decided to work as a sugarcane farmworker. At this point, he could not care less anymore what job he could possibly have.
Working under the intense heat of the sun, his body gave up. He got so sick to the point he almost died. And to make matters even worse, his wife had already started living with another man.
But the goodness of humanity never gave up on him. With the care of Mr. Felino Hermano, Michael found his way back on his feet again. Mr. and Ms. Hermano became Michael’s foster parents for six years and chose to stay in Brgy. Antipolo, Pontevedra. This where Michael joined as member of Eco-Entrepreneurial Green Communities, Inc. (EEGCI) who has been helping building homes for other less unfortunate Filipinos and while still working as a sugarcane worker. Although life has never been easy for him, yet he still finds new reasons boost his self-esteem and to smile every day.
Michael Magallanes is also now one of the beneficiaries of Build a Climate Change Resilient Decent Shelter Project of HAPI.