A boy I will never ever forget

I heard a sad news that Multiply will no longer function as a social networking site, thus on December 1, if you didn’t save your files it will just be gone with the wind. Multiply documented my entire college life, and there are some important things I posted there that I want to save, like this one. This is rather a long post, but I want to share it, and I hope you’ll be inspired.

Posted March 10, 2009

When I was on my way home this afternoon, I saw him again. I saw his one big smile. I was supposed to ride a SM North Edsa jeep, but I perceived a great competition at the shed so I just planned to transfer at Philcoa.



One day, inside the UP-Katipunan jeepney, I saw one of the most beautiful smiles ever. A street kid went inside the jeep. He didn’t hand any envelope to the passengers; he didn’t even wipe our shoes. He just sat, and asked the driver to drop him off somewhere (medyo close sila ano). He was smiling to everyone. But he gave his biggest smile to a school child sitting beside her mother.

I had the second encounter with this kid in my college building. I asked him “Babae ka ba?” ‘Cause he really looked like one. He ran away, got a cap from a friend and returned “Ayan mukha na ba akong lalaki?” Then I got to know that his name is Joseph (probably you have met him around the UP campus). He didn’t fail to give that one big smile.

*back to reality

A familiar 9-year old boy went inside the jeepney. I wondered why the driver didn’t shoo him off. So he sat again and talked to the lady beside her. “Uy ate ikaw pala yan.” Then he asked for money. He received nothing from the girl. “Kala ko pa naman mabait ka”. Then manong driver-na-wala-naman-masyado-magandang-maidudulot-sa-buhay commented, “Di na uso ang mabait ngayon.” I wanted to tell the driver right away “Thanks for the inspiring words.” 

After knowing he’ll get nothing from his “friend”, the boy sat beside me and asked “Ate marunong ka mag-plus?” Then I realized this kid must have attended Dean A’s Rhetoric class for knowing what persuasion is all about. He also knows what it means to ENGAGE. Sabay banat sa napakahinang tono, “Ate pengeng pera.” I seldom give money to beggars. What I really want to give is food. Eh at that time I didn’t have any baon on my bag, so I just said “Sama ka sa akin sa Philcoa, ililbre kita”. He nodded and went on story telling. When we passed the Shopping Center (SC), he shouted “Para!” and said “Eto na SC”. Out of the way niya daw niya ang Philcoa. We went to SC,  and guess where he wanted to eat – Rodic’s. At ang gusto niya—Tapsilog. Haha. Natawa talaga ako nun and was thinking (ako nga minsan lang kung mag-Rodics, pero minsan ko lang din gagawin ‘to, go na). Then he started eating. My treat. :p

All the time I was thinking this kid will just ask money from me, as he usually does to others (but he keeps them as friends).  In that short moment I spent with this kid, I learned a lot. I learned that behind his sweet smile is an aching heart.

 I am not saying I am a kind person, a compassionate who feeds the needy. I am not trying to be the Mother Theresa here, huh. I didn’t gave him big bucks because I still wanted to make sure that what I give is beneficial, in it’s simple way. I wanted to keep this experience  by myself, pero hindi ako makaget-over sa experience.

I am sharing some of the conversations that we had that time:

While he was eating, I was interrogating Joseph.

“So kumain ka na?”
“Hindi pa nga eh.”
“Aanhin mo ba ang P45?”
“Pambili ng ulam P20, bigas P25.”
“Anong mangyayari pag di ka nakadala ng pera?”
“Edi di makakapasok sa bahay.”
“Asan ang nanay mo?”
“Sa bahay.”
“Ang tatay mo?”
“Asa Cubao.”
“O akala ko sa Caloocan ka, bakit nasa Cubao tatay mo?”
“Patay na pala si Francis M. no.”
(Yun ang tinatawag na segway)

“Bakit kelangan ikaw ang bumili ng pagkain?”
Wala lang.
Di pwede wala lang.
Eh ako naman ang may kasalanan nito. (I want this answered though sayang di ko masyado natanong pa.)
Matagal tagal ko din nakausap yung bata. Ito ang ilan sa aking mga natutunan 🙂

Kaya pala una niyang tinanong sa akin  eh “Ate 22+23?”, kasi that  day. All he needs is P45. P20 ulam and P25 bigas. Up to now I don’t know if he was just screwing me up. He already has P22 pesos that time, so all he needs is P23. Simple Math. 🙂

As I said I don’t want to give him money. So eto ang nagyari:

Mitch: Tara bili tayo ng isang kilong bigas.
Joseph: Doon na sa amin, P25 lang.”
Mitch: Weh? Di nga. (Sinusubukan kung mabubuking ko siya)
Joseph: Bakit ka ganiyan, wala ka na alam sabihin kung di “Weh?”

Naglalakad papuntang Area 2 (I was looking for a Sari-Sari store to buy for him)
Joseph: Wala diyan. Ayaw mo maniwala.
Mitch: Meron yan tignan natin….
(after a while)
Mitch: Wala nga.
Joseph: Sabi ko sayo eh.

Joseph: Alam mo ba may nasaksak ako ng stick.
Mitch: Talaga? Ano nagyari?
Joseph: Ayun na-ospital.
Mitch: Ano ginawa sa’yo ng nanay nung bata?
Joseph: Sinigawan ako “Manang-mana ka sa Tatay mo!!!!”

Joseph: Pag yumaman ka ‘te, wag mo ko kalimutan.
Mitch: Pag yumaman ka ah, wag mo ako kalimutan.
Joseph: Oo. Pupuntahan kita.
Mitch: Eh paano mo ako mahahanap.
Joseph: Sa mukha mo.

Joseph: Pag ako yumaman, bibili ano..ano..lalagay ko dun sa  bangko. Ano nga tawag dun, yung nilalagay sa bangko?
Mitch: Savings.
Jospeh. Pag yumaman ako, magsasavings ako, tapos maglalagay ako 10M. Tapos bibili ko nung ano, yung nasa probinsya ano yun?
Mitch: Mansyon?
Joseph. Oo yung mansyon.

Joseph: Pag nagkapera ako, tapos magkaanak ako bibilhan ko siya ng bike*. Tapos pag nagka-asawa ako, sasabihin niya “Bili ka naman ng pagkain”. Bibilhan ko siya ng pagkain.

(gusto ko maiyak sa moment na ‘to)

*Dun sa jeep, sabi niya gusto daw niya bumili ng bike na P2,000. Nag-canvass pa kasi alam ang presyo. May pinaghuhugutan.

Joseph: Ate sige na penge pambili bigas.
Mitch: Bibili nga tayo.
Joseph: Sabi mo yan ah. Tapos hindi na ako kakain kasi kumain na ako ngayon eh. Sila na lang.
Mitch: Di mo na ba maubos?
Joseph: OO. Uuwi ko nalang kay Mama.

Joseph: Patay na pala si Francis M.
Mitch: Paano mo naman nalaman?
Joseph: Sabi niya (pointing upward)
Mitch: Sino?
Joseph: Papa Jesus.
Mitch: Bakit si Santino* ka ba?
He laughed.

After sometime…

Mitch: Sabi mo kanina kilala mo si Papa Jesus.
Joseph: OO!
Mitch: San mo nakilala?
Joseph: Dun o sa simbahan.
Mitch:  (smiling, thinking that the priests or the volunteers at the church taught him) So ano ang sabi niya?
Joseph: Maraming salamat!
Mitch: (LOL). Nakaputi? Pari yun.

After sharing that Francis M is dead…
Joseph: Kung mamatay kaya ako, iiyak ang nanay ko?
Mitch: Oo naman. Tapos baka pagalitan ka niya sige ka. Kasi iniwan mo siya.
Joseph: Pag namatay siya, mamatay na din ako.
Mitch: Bakit?
Joseph: Basta inutos niya, susundin ko. Siya naman lagi ang nasusunod eh.


Di ako maniniwala na inimbento niya lahat yan. At kung inimbento man niya ang summary ng buhay niya, bakit hindi happy ending?
He always smiles. That’s all I remember.

“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”

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2 Thoughts on “A boy I will never ever forget

  1. HI Mitch! I really enjoyed and learned a lot from this post. I think I also met this young”man.” My dear friend was also hooked by his wit. Also, thanks for the last line–the quote, on wearing a continuous smile. It makes me realized that I’ve been frowning lately. hehehe

    • Hi Ayne! Thanks for reading! Yes this boy is such a smart one! So sad nawala ko yung photo namin together. Hopefully makita ko siya ulit sa UP. Keep smiling! 😉

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