Iba ‘Yan looks back on unforgettable, inspiring stories in year-end episode

We were all witnesses to the chaos that this year has brought us. We have faced problems after problems and there have been Filipinos who suffered worse because of these terrifying times. That’s why, ever since its pilot episode last June, Iba ‘Yan has tried to extend aid to our kababayans who have also shown immense concern not only for themselves and their families, but also for other people.

And now that we’re about to welcome another year full of hope and courage, host Angel Locsin revisited some of the anecdotes the show had featured in the past episodes that definitely touched our hearts and inspired us, as well as how they paid tribute to these unsung heroes.

This year’s commemoration of All Souls’ Day was indeed more sorrowful not only because we weren’t allowed to visit our dearly loved ones, but those who have been working in cemeteries also drastically experienced losing a huge portion of their usual income. One of them was Jose ‘Joy’ Bandera, who has been working as a caretaker and a gravedigger (sepulturero) in Manila South Cemetery for 30 years already.

He admitted that living in the cemetery was hard for them since there’s no electricity and water supply. Thus, he and his wife decided to get a house outside the cemetery, started a sari-sari store business that eventually became successful.

To help Joy, Iba ‘Yan gave him a tablet and pocket Wi-Fi for the online schooling of his children, maintenance medicines for his wife, additional goods worth 10,000 pesos for their sari-sari store, and Christmas bonus.

As the team visited them again after more than a month, he imparted that they used the cash assistance to buy more items for their mini store and a bicycle for their son, as well as shared the excess groceries with their neighbors.

Angel also met hardworking mother Aurora Layug who works as a gravedigger in Manila South Cemetery and as a tricycle driver at the same time. Since the income they get in taking care of sepulchers isn’t enough to provide for their family, she and her husband decided to focus more on driving tricycle.

Iba ‘Yan helped Aurora and his family by providing maintenance medicines for her asthma, three tablets and a pocket Wi-Fi for the online schooling of her three children, 10,000 pesos worth of groceries, and Christmas bonus. She used the aid they received from the program not just to provide for her children, but to also help her sister who lost her job.

Angel also met some of our tricycle drivers who are one of the sectors severely affected by the pandemic, and one of them was Lino Bernas from Fairview, Quezon City. Despite not having a well-off life and mainly depending on the income he gets from driving tricycle, he still managed to fund the education of his three children who are now all professionals.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has diminished his usual income to half. Thus, in order to help him prepare to the new normal commuting, Iba ‘Yan made his tricycle COVID-proof by putting plastic barriers. He also received vitamins and groceries, as well as new tires, motor engine oil, and one-month supply of gas for his tricycle. Lino became a blessing to his neighbors, too, as he shared some of the goods he received to about 10 families.

We were also able to meet Cessy Corpuz-Oliva, wife of Rolie, a former tricycle driver. She described him as a very loving husband and a hardworking father. However, an illness brought tremendous challenges to their whole family when Rolie was diagnosed with a movement disorder called X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism.

Since he can no longer work, Iba ‘Yan already covered the medicine maintenance of Rolie with the help of News Public Service and gave him a homecare bed from LSG Industrial & Office Products, Inc. It didn’t stop there as Cessy was also bestowed a bigasan package that can help her earn more for her family.

After being featured, there were people who reached out to Cessy to give their whole family financial support. The bigasan package has helped her a lot in providing for her family as well.

It can also be recalled that Iba ‘Yan also featured the colorful and artistic world of drag, and the inspiring narratives of some drag artists. They were given the opportunity to hold “Kinang”, the online celebration of Philippine Drag and online benefit concert for the drag queens affected by the lockdown. The total donation they gathered amounted to Php 200,937 that could greatly help the displaced drag artists.

Jan Lamban, one of the drag artists behind the Drag Playhouse PH, shared that there a lot of people messaged him after that episode, saying that they were inspired by his story. Their group were also able to put up a virtual show titled “Drag Cares”, which was for the benefit of the victims of typhoons Ulysses and Rolly, and was able to raise around Php 47,000.

Aside from Jan, Angel also got to talk to some of the performers of “Kinang”, such as Omar Madali, or also known as Omiko. She was also given a ring light and cellphone for her online shows, groceries, fruits for her family, ligtas bags, and a pangkabuhayan showcase. After receiving help from Iba ‘Yan, Omi was able to pass on the blessing as she and her family conducted a donation drive for all the victims of the typhoon Ulysses and Rolly as well.

Angel also met Catalina Dela Peña, the manager of a farmers’ cooperative and a farmer for 24 years in Licab, Nueva Ecija, who admitted that the pandemic has immensely affected the livelihood of the farmers. Since people didn’t have enough money to buy their produce for their regular price, the farmers were forced to sell it at a much lower price. The Iba ‘Yan team gave her groceries, vitamins and maintenance medicines from the News Public Service, and two domestic goats for farming.

On that same episode, she also got the chance to talk to two other members of the cooperative Ferdinand Santos and Jhonny Panila.

Because of the crisis brought by the pandemic, Ferdinand and his wife were only able to send two of their three children to school. The show also gave him groceries, vitamins, gasoline for the motorcycle he uses for delivery, and a brand-new sidecar. His fellow farmer Jhonny works hard as well to provide for his family and for the education of their five children despite the challenges. Iba ‘Yan gave him two domestic goats for farming, groceries, vitamins, and laptop and pocket Wi-Fi for his children.

In another episode, Angel met Fr. Eduardo “Ponpon” Vasquez Jr., a priest from Caloocan City who initiates to enrich and develop planting or urban farming in his community, as well as one of the people he’s able to help, Vilma Aguillon.

She shared that Iba ‘Yan truly helped her continue her kakanin business through the baking and cooking tools and other ingredients they bestowed to her. On the other hand, Fr. Ponpon imparted that more residents in the community became more interested in urban farming and there were also other people who have donated to the church to support their advocacy.

Lastly, Angel revisited her meeting with some of the people from Tahanang Walang Hagdan, including Ericka Mae Joy Villaflores, a SPED (Special Education) teacher.

It can be recalled that apart from the free medical checkups, she was also handed Php30,000 worth of beauty products that she can sell online, and health cards and personal accident coverage.

After two months, Ericka disclosed that all of those greatly helped her earn more income. Ramon Apilado, the administrative manager of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, also shared that they have already been using the 3-faucet customized hand washing facility from Manila Water Foundation, and the new tires for the organization’s delivery truck.

Aside from these inspiring people, Iba ‘Yan also gave media noche packages to other hard working Kapamilyas such as Melanie, a street sweeper from Pasig City, and Allan, a construction worker from Mandaluyong City.

May these people and their stories continue to inspire you to become a blessing to others and be courageous in facing the adversities in the coming year. Happy holidays, Kapamilya!