Walking around Metro Manila, you would ran into a variety of people, each with their own story to tell. If you were “brave” enough to talk to a beggar or homeless man, you’d either be amazed at their story of survival or pitiful for how fate led them to where they are today.
A few days ago, Neth Bodonia posted a photo of an old man she spotted along Recto. What caught her attention is that the old man was eating TISSUE PAPER. Read her story below.
“While Waiting Kanina Sa May 711 Recto-UE. Kasi dun yung meeting place dahil gagawa kami ng project. Nakiupo lang muna ako dun, ng walang binibili na kahit ano. Habang nakaupo dumungaw ako sa bintana.
Nakita ko si tatay sa may labas na kumakain ng tissue. Tapos nagulat ako kasi, hindi naman dapat kinakain yun. Sinundan ko lang ng tingin. Sobrang nabigla ako. Nung nandun na siya sa may 711 signage, medyo parang tutumba na yata siya. Kaya lumabas ako agad tapos ay pinuntahan ko siya. Tinanong ko siya kung okay lang siya. Pero tumango lang siya. Tapos hawak niya pa rin yung tissue na kinakain niya kanina. Sabi ko papakainin ko siya sa 711. Pero ayaw niya kasi mahal daw. Pero kinulit ko siya at napapasok ko sa 711.
At dahil friday na and wala din akong dalang cash kasi nga gagawa lang kami ng project. Pandesal at Coffee lang yung na afford ko. Nung inabot ko sa kanya. Sobra sobra yung pasasalamat niya sa akin.
Tapos bago niya kainin yung pandesal, nagdasal muna siya. At ngumiti sa akin. “Iha sa panahon ngayon, kaunti na lang ang nagdadasal bago kumain. Yung iba isusubo na agad ng hindi muna nagpapasalamat”. Ngumiti lang ako.
Nung tapos na siya kumain sinabi niya sa akin. “Iha maraming salamat talaga. Ngayon lang ako ulit nakakain ng masarap na pagkain.”. Nagulat ako kasi parang normal lang naman yun na kinakain or ano. Pero sobrang laking bagay na sa kanya.
Tinanong ko kung saan siya pupunta. Pupunta daw siya ng Delpan. Galing siya ng St. Jude para magsimba. Pero lalakarin niya lang kasi nga wala siyang pamasahe.
Nalaman ko rin na iniwan daw siya ng asawa niya. At meron daw siyang 4 na anak. Na hindi na siya binalikan pa. Balita daw ni tatay na yung isa niyang anak nasa Bohol, yung isa naman nasa Laguna.
Ben daw ang pangalan niya at Puti naman daw ang tawag sa kanya. Mag-isa na lang siya sa buhay. Kung titignan, sa picture. Mukhang Okay ang suot niya, pero maraming butas yang damit niya na yan. Yung short niya tastas yung sa may hita sa bandang likuran. Tapos yung itsura ni tatay parang mestiso talaga. Pero mahahalata mo yung hirap sa buhay. Yung bag niya gawa sa parang Lona/Tarpaulin. Nung dumating yung isa kong classmate, binilhan siya ng pang lunch na niya, pero ayaw niyang tanggapin. Pero pinilit namin. Binigyan din namin ng pera. Shempre pinilit pa rin namin.
Sa huli puro words of wisdom, advice at walang sawang pasasalamat yung binigay niya sa amin. Nagulat nga kami kasi sobrang Brainy ni Tatay. Wala naman siyang problema sa isip or ano.
Ang hiling ko lang is mahanap ni Tatay Ben ang kanyang Pamilya. Sana ma share or makalat yung post ko, para matulungan si Tatay Ben. Sa mga gusto po tumulong, lagi daw po siyang nagsisimba sa St. Jude, at taga Delpan lang daw po siya. Sana matulungan natin si Tatay Ben.
God Bless Us All.”
Rough English Translation:
“While waiting near 7-eleven Recto-UE for our meeting to do our project, I took a seat inside and took a peek outside the window.
I saw this old man outside eating tissue. I was surprised as tissue is not meant to be eaten. I looked at him intently and was really shocked with what I saw. He was standing near the 7-eleven signage when I noticed he was starting to fall. I hurriedly went out and approached him. I asked if he was ok but he just leaned his head downward, still holding the tissue paper he was eating earlier. I told him I’ll feed him in 7-eleven but he refused as he said this was expensive. I bugged him to join me until he finally agreed.
Since it’s a Friday, I did not bring much cash with me as my friends and I were only supposed to meet for a project. I was only able to afford some pandesal (hot bread) and coffee. He felt very grateful and kept thanking me as soon as I handed it to him.
Before eating his meal, he first said a short prayer. He smiled at me and said, “Dear, in today’s time, only a few remember to pray before eating. Most would just immediately eat without giving thanks.” I just smiled.
When he was done eating, he told me, “Dear, my sincere gratitude. It is just now that I am able again to eat delicious food.” I was surprised because it felt like normal food to me, but it was such a big thing to him.
I asked where he was headed. He said he was on his way to Delpan, he had just come from mass in St. Jude. He was just going to walk there because he didn’t have money to commute.
I also found out that his wife left him and that he had 4 children. They never came back for him. All he knows is that one is in Bohol and the other in Laguna.
His name is Ben but friends call him Puti. He lives all alone in his house. If you look at the photo above, it looks like his clothes are okay, but they’re actually filled with holes. He’s shorts are also ripped at the back. The old man looked like he had foreign blood, but you can really tell how difficult his life is. His bag is made of old plastic/ tarpauline. When my classmate arrived, we bought him more food for lunch but he initially did not want to accept it. We also gave him some cash, which again he did not want to accept until we insisted.
In the end, he gave us a lot of words of wisdom and advice, as well as non-stop words of gratitude. We were surprised at how smart the old man was. No problem in thinking or the like.
My only wish is that Tatay Ben find his family. I hope you can share and spread this post so we can help Tatay Ben. To those who wish to help. he often goes to church in St. Jude and lives in Delpan. Hope we can all help him. “
It’s sad hearing stories like this, and we at WhenInManila.com really hope the word gets out and someone out there recognizes Tatay Ben. Let’s all try our best to help. Maybe even a prayer before going to bed…
Have you ever seen Tatay Ben? How else do you think we can help?