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[Y-SPACE] Why I Love Samals

Back when I was in First Year High School, I was very poor. I couldn't even afford a new pair of shoes, and I was studying at one of the wealthiest schools in town. My allowance was only 10 pesos at that time, and I needed to ride the jeepney four times each day. The jeepney fare was 2.50 pesos per ride, so I had no extra cash to spare. To save money, I would "kapit" on the jeepney, so I wouldn't have to pay the fare since it used to be free.

One afternoon, with the last 2.50 pesos I had, I decided to treat myself to a coke. I had to "kapit" my way home. However, the jeepney broke down on the way, and the driver called me out. He said, "Entra nuay kay tu ali, sinta noy muchu bakante," to which I replied, "Ok lang, nong." But he stopped the jeepney and insisted that I sit down. I felt so ashamed because I didn't have any money in my pocket. The driver didn't know I didn't have much (remember, I was a big Chinese kid, so they automatically assumed I had money). With teary eyes, I apologized, saying, "Sorry, nong, nuay gad yo sen."

An old, poor Samal man paid for my fare. Just by looking at him, I could tell he was a Samal beggar. I sat beside him, and he smiled at me. I didn't say anything at that time because I was too ashamed that I couldn't pay the fare and was trying not to cry.

To make a long story short, I didn't get the chance to say thank you to Lolo Samal.


The author, now a successful young businessman in Zamboanga City, has found a way to anonymously give back to the Samal community and continues to do so through Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation. His lifelong dream is to see them empowered, educated, and in charge of their own destiny.

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