Contributed by Lady April Nunez
"You can call me Man, but I'm a woman," that's how she would introduce herself. She is funny, happy, outgoing and classy. You would never guess what's behind her fresh smile and graceful bearing. This is her story.
She was in high school when her mother passed away from cancer while her father, after that, had a nervous breakdown so he left her, her two very young siblings and her elder brother by themselves. A relative adopted them for a short while but later ousted them so they were forced to rent a cheap, small room; no tables, no chair, nothing but one bed for all four of them. Her daily goal was just for her siblings not to starve. She had to wake up at 2 in the morning to go to the market to (buy&)sell fish and vegetables while working as a saleslady in a mall at night after school. Her brothers and sisters thought that she is just a very-early-morning person. She felt like it was better for them to not know the truth. Sometimes, she would have to sleep in the street beside her goods(paninda) because she could not afford to rent a folding bed in the market. She also had to stop going to school at some point. She tried almost every job she could possibly do and worked her way up from a regular saleslady to store custodian. She was able to send her younger siblings to school and her elder brother finished his college education.
Later on, she was able to enroll in BS Tourism because her boss allowed her to go to work late due to her class schedule.
One day, she saw a post about a local airline hiring for cabin crew and she remembered what her mother told her when they both saw a poster of the airline, "Nak, diha ka magtrabaho puhon,"(Child, that is where you're going to work in God's time). So she applied wearing a top worth 5 pesos that she bought from a thrift shop and got accepted.
She flew for two years with the local airline and was able to continue her buy and sell seafood business from just a pail to a hundred kilo a day. She accepted her father back and has no ill feelings towards him. She even gave his father a small grocery store as a gift. She transfered her siblings to a bigger room with the same, modest lifestyle.
Today, it is her graduation day from her cabin crew training with Saudia Airlines. She applied wearing the same 5-peso top she wore during her interview from the previous airline. And soon, she will travel the world and reach greater heights carrying a heart full of love and gratitude.
A wise man once said, we never know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have. In her case, she was not just strong. She was fierce, resilient, focused, disciplined, determined and positive.
So everytime we feel like our backs are against the wall & the world is crumbling down on us, lets keep our chin up and say to ourselves, THERE SHOULD BE NO EXCUSES THIS TIME, my co-cabin crew, Man is living proof!