Good Day Guam!
As I’ve promised, I am writing the story of “Manong by the Road.” I’m not very good at writing stories or at writing anything at all.. so please bare with me. :)
Hubby prepared some batchoy for lunch.. I decided to bring some for Manong to eat. We ran out of plastic spoons and forks, so we just decide to give him one of our spoons.. We can live without one spoon.. Hubby makes a “Pinoy Lunchbox” where you prepare your ulam in a tupperware and put utensils on top of it, with drinks of course.. This time it was Pepsi.
I head on over to Manong’s spot to meet with him, and from a distance, I can already see him standing at the ITC island.. I park my car at the Coast 360 place and walk on over to get some shots of Manong on the road.. He notices me and gives me a pose. :) I wave to him and he greets me with a very warm and surprised, “OH! Hi!!” I believe he wasn’t expecting me to show up for our date. After all, I was late because we were searching our kitchen for tupperwares and spoons.
I ask him to come over and he looks out for incoming traffic.. This truck passes by and I ask him to stop so I can help Manong cross the street, but he laughs and shakes his head instead. :( So anyways, instead of me helping him cross the street, he scolded me not to cross over because he knew better, and that it was dangerous. But later told me, “Oh, my daughter.. I love you so much!” Totally warmed my heart.. He was asking me if I was the one that came by yesterday and told him, “Yes, of course! You said we had a date right??” He laughs and we walk arm in arm to cross the next street.
I offered to press the traffic button so that we could cross safely, but he said, “Nevermind, my dear! I’ll take you across the street!” :) So we cross to the next island… Still holding my hand, like a father would to his child.. He said, “Its safe now, Lets go?” and we crossed the street to where I parked my car, and gave him the batchoy hubby prepared. He was gracing me again with kind words, very many thanks and I ask him if he’s had anything to eat today.. He rubs his stomach and tells me that he has not had anything yet and can’t wait to try the food I brought for him.. :)
We have a seat outside the dress shop next to Coast 360 and he tells me.. “Hey its too hot for you here, Are you sure you want to sit on the ground?” Siggghhh.. Such a caring man.. Here I am, all clean and dressed, dying from the heat.. (Like he hasn’t been standing in the heat all day) and all he is concerned about is me.. SOOOO anyways.. We have a seat by the curb and I tell him to go ahead and have some lunch.. As I pull out my camera and take pictures, he looks at me and says, “What are you doing???” Hahaha.. So then I told him about me sharing his story on facebook about him. He asks me if it will be published.. I tell him only on my facebook! and he gives me that look, :/ “Facebook?”
I explain everything about my post yesterday.. and he says, “You are God’s gift to me! I am blessed!” Aiii… and again, he gave me a really big warm smile.. then continued to eat..
As soon as I explained what I was going to do, he interrupts me and says, “Here is my story.. “
His name is Salvador V. Bulao Sr., 76 Years old. He can’t remember if he’s exactly 76 or only turning 76. His birthday is in June 22, 1935 or 1936. He is originally from Roxas City, Capiz. He’s lived on Guam for 17 years. He was a Banker in the Philippines for several years. One of his daughters told him and her mother that she had met a man from Guam. And this is how he was brought here. He came here in 1994 to work.. He’s been a Security Guard, and then his longest job.. A Janitor at Payless Dededo, working the graveyard shift.. He and his wife moved here, hoping for a better life.. then tragically in 1999 or 2000, his wife was diagnosed with cancer. So he filed for leave at Payless to take his wife home for treatment. At the same time, his daughter was planning their move to North Carolina.. and she left May 16, 2000. The same day, his wife passed away.. He was too heartbroken to stay in the Philippines, so he decided to come back to Guam by himself and tried to just get used to being without her. Years pass.. and he files for another medical leave in February 2011. Leaves all his belongings and vehicle to a friend on island. Some things didn’t work out well while he was back home and when he returned to Guam on September 2011, he found out that he was terminated from Payless. He had no one, and all he had was his car with all his stuff in it.. He left it with a friend in Barrigada, and when he went to get his car back, they told him it was stolen. He said that he just turned around and tried his best to accept all the unfortunate events that has been happening.. He sucked it up, got himself a safety jacket, an old water gallon and wrote this on his cardboard sign,
” HELP AM 76 YEARS OLD.
NO HOME / NO CAR
NO RELATIVES (HERE ON ISLAND)
NO GOVERNMENT AID
ONLY GOOD PEOPLE OF GUAM CAN HELP
He roams Tamuning and Tumon for places to sleep, but sometimes he is afraid of some drunk local people that play tricks on him.. So he keeps walking around.. He sleeps wherever he can till the Police chase him out.. Once in a while, people offer him their home but he does not want to be a burden. (Breaks my heart.. :( )
He kept insisting that he is not ashamed of what he is, and how he is now. He is not ashamed or afraid to be known as a homeless person. Because he says,
“I’m not a bad person.. I’m not stealing.. I’m not lying to anyone.. I’m not hurting anyone… Whatever the good people decide to give me, is their own choice.. and I am grateful for their help. No one else can help me but God and his good people.”
He does this everyday that he can.. during the busiest traffic hours of the day. He says, “Your .05 cents or your .10 cents will help.. I will take any help you can give.. “
Then he asks me, “Do you work? What about your husband?”
I tell him that I don’t have a full time job, but that my husband works a part time job.
He says, “I will not take anything from you anymore. I want you to help yourself first.. “
Such a humble man.. All he kept telling me is God sent me to him.. to have some sort of family.. so that he won’t be lonely anymore. That I am his daughter/sister in Christ.. that he is blessed to have someone care for him that doesn’t even know him.
I always found myself speechless.. I was so amazed at how strong he was spiritually and emotionally. I don’t know if I could ever survive losing my spouse, losing my job, my car, my life.. basically everything you need to survive. He lost all of that but tells me God will not desert you. These things happen for a reason. I cannot fight it. I am old, no one will take me for a job, so this is what I have to do to survive. And thank the Lord that he made me a strong man.
Which.. lead me to asking him how he is able to stand the scorching heat everyday.. He has had people tell him that he will have a heat stroke.. But he replied with..
“When I feel like I am about to be sick, or feel a pain at night.. I pray to God to take it away.. ” that he cannot afford to be sick because he needs to wake up another day.. If he comes across people who are drunk and might cause him harm, he prays even harder for God to keep him safe, and before he knows it, its sunrise and he is still alive. He made it a point that the reason why he has survived for so long with nothing, is because he has all he ever needed.. which is God.
He was offered by a kind American woman a roundtrip ticket to the Philippines. He wants to visit his family and hopefully will tell them how he has been living here. They do not know his condition and that he is a homeless man.. BUT! He says, “I am not ashamed!” I am alive today because God wants him to be.. and he has no shame in what he does. His ticket is covered and he will hope to return to the Philippines in March 2012. All he is doing now is saving for pocket money. He has about 20 grand and great grand children that he cannot wait to meet.
Here is where we the people can come in and help. $1, $3, $5.. or even .50cents.. Whatever you have and are willing to donate.. Please let me know. I have promised that I will visit him once a week so he can have someone to talk to. If there is anything you’d like to donate.. please let me know.
This man does not have anything to eat most days.. and as you can imagine, is always dehydrated from the heat. If you happen to have some food, or drinks when you pass by him.. please don’t hesitate to share it with him. I would never want my own parents or grandparents to go through what he has.. Have a heart. Spare him a dollar, he even said your nickels and dimes are still money.. Don’t just drive by him..
Again, I apologize for my really bad story telling.. I just hope that this reaches you all and touches your hearts.
This man has made me soften my heart.. To not complain about material things I cannot afford.. This man has NOTHING.. but is so thankful to just be able to get up each day. So always remember that, when you’re going through a tough time.. Try not to be so down.. there are people who have it worse.
Share the love.. Be more giving.. God see’s everything.. He does not sleep. This little good deed of mine is a blessing to him, and a blessing for me as well.. I know there are more of you out there that want to reach out. Don’t hesitate! <3
Speaking on behalf of Mr. Salvador V. Bulao Sr., A.K.A. Manong by the Road..
God Bless you all!!! <3 <3 <3