Sunday, March 5, 2017

Valenzuelano of the Month: Mrs. Nora Acantilado

Women play a major role in the society and the month of March is specifically special since the country is celebrating National Women's Month to highlight their importance and give honor to them. A long delayed post, One Valenzuela is featuring Mrs. Nora Acantilado, a Gawad Marciana de Castro-Valenzuela awardee last 2016. The said award "recognizes women who have significant contributions in their fields and whose lives serve as inspiration to many" (Source: Valenzuela City Facebook page).
Photo Credit: Valenzuela City official Facebook page
Let us all learn more about Mrs. Nora Acantilado, her successes and how she overcame the many struggles that come with life: (online interview in Filipino language)
1. Ano po ang karaniwang ginagawa ninyo sa isang regular na araw?
Bilang isang ina, ako po ay maagang gumigising upang ipagluto at ipaghanda ng pagkain ang aking mga anak at asawa. Bago mag-6 a.m., hinahanda ko na po yung mga gagamitin ko sa pagwawalis. Dahil tutungo na ako sa destinado na wawalisan ko mula sa Red Cross to Chowking yung dalawang street ng Villa Theresa. Pagkatapos ko na walisan yung destinado sa akin, hihintayin ko naman yung supervisor para pumirma. Umaga at hapon yan, yung nagwawalis ako. Minsan nag-eextra ako sa mga canteen bilang dish washer, naglilinis sa mga apartment, naglalaba sa mga kinakapatid namin sa pananampalataya. Sa tuwing Sabado ng gabi, volunteer tanod sa aming compound. Higit sa lahat iniipon ko yung mga lata, diyaryo, at bote tapos ibebenta ng aking anak sa malapit na junk shop sa amin.
2. Ang buhay ay puno ng pagsubok. Maaari po bang ibahagi ninyo sa amin ang ilang mga balakid na inyong naranasan? Paano po ninyo nalagpasan ang mga ito?
Sa buhay ng isang tao, hindi talaga nawawala yung mga problema at pagsubok. Kumbaga parte ng buhay natin.Una yung, nagsarado yung factory na pinapasukan ng aking asawa. Hindi naging stable yung pamumuhay namin. Dahil may mga age limit ang pinag-aaplayan ng aking asawa. Hirap siya mkapaghanap uli ng trabaho. Yung mga dalawang buwan na, wala pa rin siyang trabaho... Gumawa na ko ng paraan hindi na ko basta isang housewife. Naghanap ako ng pang-extra para makatulong sa aking asawa. Yung naglalabada ako sa kapitbahay ko. Naranasan ko hindi pakainin ng pinaglalabhan. Tiniis ko yun para sa anak ko. Kinausap ko yung mga kapatid namin sa pananampalataya na may karinderya para pag-extrahan bilang dishwasher. Naranasan ko yung magpakatulong sa ibang tao, iwan ang aking anak. Lahat na kasi sila nasa high school na at isang taon na lang mag-kokolehiyo na yung panganay ko. Kaya kailangan dagdagan yung sipag at income.
Mrs. Nora Acantilado with her daughters. She also has a son (not picture). As of this writing, her eldest daughter (left) is already a college graduate and the rest are all studying in the tertiary level. (Photo provided by the Acantilado family)
At yung dalawang beses kami naging biktima ng sunog sa compound. Noong madaling araw ng February 19, 2013, nagising na lang ako sa ingay at kalabog ng aking mga kapitbahay. Akala ko ordinaryong away lang ng mga kabataan. Pagkatingin ko sa bintana at nakita ko yung malaking apoy na malapit sa bahay namin. Agad ko ginising yung aking anak at asawa. Umalis na kami sa bahay namin. Dahil nga light materials yung mga bahay at dikit-dikit pa. Mabilis kumalat yung apoy. Siksikan at nagtutulakan para makaalis. Muntik pa kami matrap. Pagkalabas nga namin ng compound, sabay-sabay yung pagsabog ng LPG at lalo pa lumaki yung sunog. Yung mga panahon na yun hindi namin alam yung magiging buhay namin. Buti na lang talaga mabait yung magkapatid na Gatchalian sina Mayor Sherwin at Congressman Rex. Nagbigay ng tulong pinansyal para sa pagpapatayo ng mga bahay namin. Kahit paano may nasisilungan kami. Yun nagtulong-tulong kami. Pagkatapos ng klase ng mga anak ko. Uwi agad para tulungan ako sa part time ko. Kahit paano naiiraos namin yung pang araw-araw namin.
Noong May 15, 2015, mga 3pm yata yun. Naulit na naman yung trahedya. Ilang bahay lang yung pagitan sa amin. Isa kami sa nasunugan. Noong mga panahon na yun, hindi ko na alam yung gagawin na yun. Enrolment ng mga bata lalo na yung dalawa kong anak na first year. Yung naipon namin nawala lang sa isang iglap. Lalo na graduating pa yung panganay ko. Back to zero na naman kami. Hindi namin alam kung saan kukuha ng pampapaaral sa kanila. May mga kapitbahay pa kami, pinagsasabihan kami patigilin ko muna yung dalawa kong anak para hindi gaanong mabigat. Tinatawanan lang ako, nagkakaugaga ka diyan sa pagwawalis. Mag-aasawa lang yung mga anak ko. Hindi ko sila pinapansin. Sa halip, pumunta kami ng anak ko sa opisina ng konsehal para humingi ng tulong para maging scholar ang aking anak. Kahit man lang kalahati sagutin sa tuition fee. Kahit paano mabawasan yung gastos namin. Yung iba puno na yung slot buti nakapasok si bunso. Full tuition fee yung sagot ni Coun.Charie. Yung isa na lang talaga pinoproblema namin. Pero kahit paano nagagawan namin ng paraan. Buti na lang mura yung tuition fee sa PLV kaysa sa ibang Pamantasan. Kahit paano napag-aaral namin yung mga anak ko. (As of this writing, PLV students are already benefiting from the full tuition fee subsidy.)
Base nga sa mga kinuwento ko, hindi magagawa ng isang tao lamang kung siya lang gagawa nito. Kailangan tulong-tulong tayo para malagpasan yung mga problema. Laging may positibong pananaw. Huwag kalimutan manalangin sa Ama, kapag alam nating hindi na natin kaya. Hindi mo mapapansin, mawawala din yung pinangangangambahan. May mag ginagawa pala Siya na kakasangkapanin para tulungan tayo.

Mrs. Nora Acantilado together with the rest of the awardees. Photo Credit: Valenzuela City official Facebook page.
3. Paano po ninyo pinagbubuti ang inyong ginagampanang responsibilidad bilang isang ina at lingkod bayan?
Ginagawa ko ang lahat ng aking makakaya sa aking trabaho. Basta wala akong tinatapakang tao at alam kong malinis ang konsensya ko.
4. Sa inyo pong palagay, anu-ano ang kailangang taglayin ng isang babae upang makatulong sa kanyang pamilya? Maging huwaran ng kanyang komunidad?
Yung pagiging responsable, mapagmahal, at masipag. Kahit anuman dumating sa buhay, nakangiti pa rin tayo. Hindi natin gaanong dibdibin yung problema. Maging positibo. Yung magiliw ka bumabati at binabati ka rin ng mga taong nakatira sa Villa Theresa. Malaking bagay na yun kahit paano kasi na-appreciate nila yung ginagawa ko.
5. Saan po ninyo kinukuha ang inyong inspirasyon?
Kapag nakikita ko yung mga anak ko nagsusumikap para makapag-aral. Lalo ko po pinagsusumikapan ang aking trabaho. Ayoko ko kasi matulad yung anak ko sa akin na hindi nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Na ito magiging trabaho nila. Kumbaga gusto ko sila'y magkaroon ng magandang kinabukasan.
6. Ano po ang mensahe ninyo para sa mga kababaihan ng Valenzuela?
Habang may buhay pa, may pag-asa na darating sa atin. Manalig lang tayo sa Diyos. Gagawa Siya ng kakasangkapananin Niya para tulungan tayo. Saka hindi hadlang yung kahirapan para hindi pag-aralin yung mga anak natin.


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