Title: The Life Story of Michael: A Beneficiary of HAPI Homes
By Edmar Toisa Traje
April 28, 2019
Valladolid, Negros Occidental
Michael Magallanes is one of beneficiaries of Build a Climate Change Resilient Decent Shelter Project or HAPI HOMES. He goes by the name of Mike.
Mike was born in the Island of Molocaboc, some three hours away North of Bacolod. A son of a fisherman and his mother is a plain housewife. He was not able to finish primary education and was forced to go to Manila to work as a construction worker at the tender age of 18 years old. He got married at the age of 19 years old and got 2 children, which tells us right away of his sorry state- poor family planning- which is quite common here in the Philippines. To make both ends meet, he also worked as a helper in a junk shop because his work as construction worker was not that stable. He has mouths top feed, one big family at that, but then no stable job. He can’t go anywhere away from his family to find for a greener pasture. Sometime in 2012, his former boss in a construction firm where he used to work offered him to work as a timekeeper in Boracay Island. Sounds promising, so without second thoughts he immediately accepted the offer and went to Boracay leaving his family in Bulacan.
Their project was finally finished after seven months of working in Boracay. He then decided to go back to Manila to reunite with his family. Now here’s the sad part. He called his boss to inform him about his plan, and asked money for his fare, as it was initially agreed that everything will be reimbursed, including his fare going back to Manila. No response. So he waited for the money, and little did he know that the supposed fare allowance was already sent it to the foreman. His boss gave it all to the foreman to be distributed among the other workers, but the foreman ran away with the money. So that left him penniless in Boracay, and on his own to find means to go home.
To his rescue, one co-worker contacted him for a construction job opportunity in Negros Island. This gave him hope somehow, to get himself out of that mess. His co-worker left for Negros on the very next day, he was tagged along.
Then came another bad news, when they arrived at Brgy. La Granja , La Carlota City: no available work waiting for them. The contractor had already hired people for the project. This left Mike with no other option but to work as a sacada or sugarcane farmworker. The role of a sacada is no joke, you have to toil for more than 8 hours, from sunrise to sundown and only get paid for over 1 USD per day. Too much workload for Mike that after a month of working under the heat of the sun, his weakend body gave up on him. He got sick so bad to the point that he almost died.
A good hearted fellow, Mr. Felino Hermano, took care of him until he recuperated and healthy again. Mr. and Mrs. Hermano stood as his foster parents for six years. Everything went well, made himself ready for the comeback. What seemed like he’s back on the track was short-lived. He learned that his wife had already been living with another man. Devastating news that was, so he aborted his plan in going back to Manila and he chose to remain in Brgy. Antipolo, Pontevedra, hopeless.
He joined EEGCI as a member and work as a sugarcane helper earning 160PHP a day, that’s 3 USD- at least there’s a salary raise. During off season, he plants vegetables, but still, his earnings cannot suffice to repair his broken home nor build a new one.
Building him a decent shelter will definitely boost his self esteem and somehow bring back his long lost dignity. HAPI donated money and the EEGCI volunteer carpenters rolled-up their sleeves to build Mike his new house .
Mike wants to extend his big thanks to HAPI http://www.hapihumanist.org and EEGCI volunteers for making this possible. More HAPI homes to come!