Monday, March 27, 2017

Valenzuelano of the Month: Tatay Nelson Paloca and his Palitaw

Taal* man o dayo, Valenzuelano ka pa rin. (Taal-mula/katutubo ng isang lugar; a native of a place)

On a hot weekday afternoon, One Valenzuela went out of the office to buy some merienda. Another busy day was almost over and she needed a few minutes to herself. While walking, she chanced upon an old man, clad in his white shirt and worn out rubber shoes, sitting at the corner of the street with a large bilao full of palitaw (a Filipino delicacy made of glutinous rice, shredded coconut, toasted sesame seeds, and sugar). It is a sweet delicacy. To be honest, One Valenzuela was thinking twice on buying from the old man since she is cutting down on sugar and she usually just buys from the suking tindahan (sari-sari store). Her hesitation was all gone with one single act that the old man did: he gave a warm smile. This instantly reminded One Valenzuela of the saying that we should be happy with what we have, for those with very little, even nothing, can still afford to smile. Thus, One Valenzuela approached the vendor of the palitaw.

Tatay Nelson Paloca, a vendor of palitaw for about 20 years. He said that those who buy from him way, way back already have children and would say, "I have kids already and  you are still selling palitaw, Kuya Nelson!"
While buying some pieces of palitaw, One Valenzuela learned that the old man's name is Nelson Paloca, 55 years old. He currently stays in his son's apartment in Caloocan together with his wife, although he was once a long time resident and peddler of penoy (egg delicacy) in Barangay Maysan. From Caloocan, he would travel to Valenzuela to sell about 7 to 8 kilos of palitaw at Php2.00 a piece (USD 0.105). He said that he has been selling this delicacy for 20 long years, having a modest income of about Php700.00 which helps his family. One Valenzuela saw determination and strength in Tatay Nelson that Valenzuelanos would get inspiration from, thus she eventually requested an interview on another day. 
In the afternoon, Tatay Nelson sits in this corner to sell palitaw to students.
Here are some excerpts from the personal interview done in the Filipino language:

Gaano po kayo katagal sa Maysan noon?
Sa Maysan, ang tagal ko diyan. Sa may palengke. Ako ang nagsimula na magtinda ng lugaw diyan. Tsaka penoy na may harina. Mga kapatid ko ang naandyan, may mga pwesto na sila. Noong araw, noong mga panahon ko, kariton lang ang gamit ko. Nagtitinda ako ng lugaw at saka penoy. Tapos nung naging palengke na siya, nasa Caloocan na ko nag-lugaw.

Matagal ako sa Maysan. Diyan na ako halos nag-binata. Almost twenty years din...

Bakit dito pa rin po kayo sa Valenzuela nagbebenta ng palitaw?
Nagbebenta rin ako doon (Caloocan). Lalo pagka-Saturday, Sunday. Dalawang araw doon ako. Halos dito (Valenzuela City) karaniwan. Halos mas maraming bumibili dito.

Kwentuhan ninyo po kami tungkol sa pagluluto at paglalako ninyo ng palitaw.
Natutunan ko na ito, ito yung pinaka-natutukan kong hanapbuhay. Ito na yung ibinuhay ko sa mga anak ko noong yung iba wala pang mga asawa. Ngayon, may mga asawa na sila, ito pa rin, ipinagpatuloy ko. Kasi dito ako nakilala sa paglalako.

Alam mo natutunan ko ito, nagtitinda na ako ng kakanin noong araw diyan sa Maysan. May kinukunan ako diyan. Mga Sabino.  Mga kutsinta, sapin-sapin, biko. Noon, hinahango ko, Php40.00 isang bilao. Hanggang sa nag-try ako, nag-try akong magluto ng palitaw. Dalawang piso. Ganyan. Noong una, medyo mahirap. Noong naglalako ako, nakilala na ko eh, sa paglalako. Nag-click pa din siya. Patuloy, hanggang sa di na ako nagtigil. Nag-palitaw na talaga ako.

Sa Paso de Blas, sa eskwelahan, nagtinda din ako doon. Yung mga bata nga doon, alam mo, ngayon nakikita ko na sa Tollgate (Malinta Exit), mga caller na sila. "Kuya, malalaki na kami hanggang ngayon nagpapalitaw ka pa rin!" Tapos sa Royal Mall, wala pang Royal Mall, naglalako na ako. Tapos yung mga nagtitinda noong araw sa tapat ng Royal Mall, mga suki ko na yan. Tapos meron doon, naka-college na, may asawa na, sabi niya sa akin, "Kuya, hanggang ngayon nagtitinda ka pa rin. May asawa na ako. Yung mga anak ko, malapit nang matapos. Hanggang ngayon nagtitinda ka pa rin!" Mayroon nga doon, nagtatrabaho, sabi sa akin, "Kuya, natatandaan mo pa ba ako?" Sabi ko, "Hindi na. Kasi nag-iiba na mga mukha ninyo. Mga dalaga na kayo, lumalaki na kayo.". Pero yung pangalan ko, hindi pa rin nila nakakalimutan. "Kuya Nelson, kailan ka ba magreretiro?" Sabi ko, "Kaya ko pa." Mga anak ko nga, nagagalit sa akin. Kaya ko pang kumita ng pera.

Noong araw, ang Maysan, ginagawa pa lang yung simbahan, nagtitinda na ako ng penoy na may harina. Una, nagtataho ako. Pagkatapos ko magtaho, eh kwan na, gagarahe na ako. Ala-una isasalang ko (yung penoy). Tapos yung penoy, ipiprito ko. Maghapon na ako, hanggang gabi. Mga ten...

Ano po ang mga naging balakid ninyo sa paggawa at paglalako ng palitaw na nalagpasan po ninyo?
Yung ginawa ko sa paglalako? Tuluy-tuloy pa rin naman siya. Kaya lang, nagkaroon ng problema nung natigil ako kasi na-opera ung mata ko. Four months ako natigil. Bawal magbuhat. Minsan naiinip ako. Di ako sanay na walang ginagawa. Yun ang naging kwan ko (balakid). Kasi tuluy-tuloy eh. Walang tigil. Minsan kahit Linggo. Una muna, magsisimba ako sa umagang-umaga bago ako mamalengke. Dadaan muna ako sa simbahan, bago ako maggawa ng hanapbuhay.

Nagtuloy na naman ako (after 4 months). Continuous ang pagtatrabaho ko. Wala akong tigil. Kahit na di pa ako dapat magtrabaho, pinilit ko...Nabenta bahay ko, kailan lang. Kinailangan ang pera... Andun ako sa panganay kong lalake (ngayon; renting). Kasi yung misis ko, doon siya nag-aalaga ng dalawang apo ko. Minsan andun ako sa kubo ko sa Baesa (bilang katiwala ng lote), doon ako nagluluto nito (palitaw). Minsan, hindi ako umuuwi. After two days, dadalhan ko sila ng pera doon. Para malaki, para maganda-ganda. Isinesavings nila... tsaka iniipon ko yung pera...



Ano naman po ang mga magagandang karanasan ninyo sa pagbebenta ng palitaw?
Alam mo natutuwa ako sa dami kong kaibigan. Marami akong kaibigan, kahit saan ako magpunta. Yun ang masaya sa buhay ko na kahit saan ako magpunta, kilala ako. Hindi ko makakalimutan yun.Yung mga bata, wala pa yung Royal Mall. Nakikita ko yung mga suki ko sa palengke. Natutuwa ako...Natutuwa sila sa akin. "Hanggang ngayon, Kuya, nagtitinda ka pa."

Yun ang naging kasiyahan ko sa pagtitinda. Magkaroon ng maraming kaibigan...

Ano po yung gusto ninyong tumatak sa iba, halimbawa sa mga taga-Valenzuela, na mula sa experience ninyo ng paglalako ng palitaw?
Katulad ng hanapbuhay ko....kung sino yung gustong magmana nung hanapbuhay ko. Kung kaya nilang gawin. Kung gusto nila. Sabi ko nga sa panganay ko, sa June titigil ka sa trabaho. Kaya mo, ba anak? Sasamahan kita. Para makilala ka. Sabi niya, "Tatay, oo." Sa Maysan... Kailangan ipundar muna kita ng bike, para i-steady ka lang doon...

Tiyaga lang. Pinaghirapan ko ito, eh. Masaya ako sa ganitong hanapbuhay. Nakakaraos araw-araw...
------
This little conversation reminded One Valenzuela of how life can indeed be a struggle. But with the right attitude towards the ups and downs that we have to hurdle, partnered with perseverance, life can be a bit easier.

Salamat po, Tatay Nelson, for inspiring us. To Valenzuelanos who see him peddling palitaw on the street, purchase some from Tatay Nelson for by doing such, you help him save for the bike he is aiming to buy for his son as well as reach his bigger dream of purchasing a small lot that he wants to acquire in the future.


1 comment:

  1. We love you tatay Nelson! I hope I can still buy and taste some of your palitaw. I wish when I visit Valenzuela again, you're there with your smile. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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