The cats of BGC has a protector and his name is Mr. Ochi. You might have seen him around High Street in BGC, feeding the homeless cats, cleaning their eyes, giving them names, and talking about the cats’ personalities to anyone who’d care to listen. As far as I can tell, he is there with the cats, every day, rain or shine.
I first came to know about him through Blair Villanueva of Forurbanwomen.com, who reached out to us through When in Manila Pets. She shared her experience of the encounter with Mr. Ochi. He was recently made jobless and homeless. When he encountered the stray cats of BGC, he felt the responsibility to take care of them, feeling that they shared a similar situation.
According to Blair, during the day, he leaves his belonging at the mall and tries to find a job. At night, he returns to BGC and feeds the cats. He relies on the good hearts of the BGC people for food for him and the cats. A kind-hearted Australian woman working in BGC became a benefactor for the cats and gave Mr. Ochi his nickname.
You can view Blair’s complete story about Mr. Ochi here.
The Cats of BGC
If you will remember, WhenInManila.com teamed up last October with the Philippine Pet Birth Control Center to spay/neuter as many cats of BGC as we can. I was part of the mission and I got to know the cats of BGC. They even have a Facebook Page dedicated to them. I learned that these adorable cats are much loved by visitors and store owners. They have become a BGC attraction in their own right.
However, there is always the risk that the city or building admins will have the beloved cats of BGC impounded. As cute as the cats are, they are still strays. The cats that visitors often see are the healthiest ones; the sickly ones tend to hide, giving the impression that the cats of BGC are spoiled–that they are safe. This is not true, as volunteers have told me, as Mr. Ochi himself shared with me when I finally met him.
How to help Mr. Ochi
This story is about Mr. Ochi so I will just include links to stories about the cats of BGC in this article for you to read later.
I did run into Mr. Ochi eventually. I will not disclose his name out of respect for his privacy. But he has agreed to reveal his contact numbers. Right now, he needs a job and a place to stay badly. A series of unfortunate events, so to speak, led to his present situation but I will not detail those here.
Mr. Ochi is incredibly articulate. He seems very smart, knowledgeable about engineering matters and IT systems. He is clean and presentable despite his predicament. He told me he used to work in the BPO industry. If given a choice he would prefer to work with animals, maybe at a vet clinic. But he is open to any job. He can work in sales, marketing, or administration. He seems to have the intelligence to quickly pick up on new ideas.
If you have an opening in your company or know of any job opportunities for Mr. Ochi, please do get in touch with him. His only condition is that the workplace will be close enough to BGC so he can continue to take care of his beloved cats.
Photo credit: Blair Villanueva