Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan: How a chain of generosity and kindness brought a bright future to distressed youths

As we take our own journeys in reaching our dreams and goals in life, we will definitely face challenges and overcome struggles in order to attain success. We will feel helpless, weak, and unmotivated. But there will be times we will see light in people who will offer help to us--those who will serve as a reason not to give up on continuing our journey. Here are the uplifting and inspiring stories of success featured in the October 24 episode of Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan.

Juan Miguel Angelo Villamar, 19, is an incoming sophomore student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. His father works as a tricycle driver while mother is a housewife. There was one revelation about Angelo’s father that really broke him and made him question how his father chose to do it - it’s about his father cheating on his mother. Angelo decided to just keep it to himself and just continue doing well on his studies. He has always been a diligent and responsible student, graduating with honors in high school and has been a consistent president’s lister in college.

Angelo thought he could continue his classes but a traumatizing event happened in his family’s life and that was when his father passed away because of heart failure. Losing his father also meant losing his inspiration. Angelo almost wanted to give up in life because of it and of being tired of facing all the problems in their family. But just when he thought he couldn’t continue his studies anymore, a non-government organization which aims to help the needy students who want to continue their studies but are financially incapable.

Angelo’s hopes of continuing and finishing his studies became alive again when one of the moderators of the organization, Luigi Tan, informed him that he was chosen as a recipient of the organization’s help. Angelo couldn’t express much how grateful and motivated he felt when he knew he would be able to continue his online classes. As a symbol of education and all organization’s help that was given to him, Angelo gave Luigi a sign pen and a letter telling him that one day, when he can finally do it, he will pay it forward to also help other people.

Luigi has always been the one who takes care of his younger sibling ever since he was young as five. Luigi’s parents separated when he and his sibling were still kids. But he still experienced being in a complete family with the presence of his stepfather. However, when he was about to enter college, his mother and stepfather also separated. Luigi’s mother left him and his sibling to their stepfather who later on asked them to leave.

Luigi stayed at one of his friends while his sister also stayed at his other friend. He got worried for his sister Lyka because he knew she wasn’t as strong as him. He felt bad when he knew she had to stop schooling. But later on, his sister was the one who stepped up in providing for the both of them. Luigi’s sister worked as a model and promodiser, attended all photoshoots, and grabbed all the opportunities she could take just to provide for the both of them, especially for the education of Luigi, who admittedly felt bad because his sister was the one who had to work hard for them instead of him. But Lyka encouraged him to continue his studies. And Luigi did not disappoint his sister as he finished his studies and graduated with a Biology degree in the University of the Philippines. He even continued studying and finished a master’s degree. Luigi gave to Lyka his ‘sablay’, a fitting sash which means triumph or success, which also symbolizes the success of the both of them.

Lyka was separated from her brother Luigi at the age of 15. But she was accepted and loved by the family of Luigi’s friend who genuinely chose to take responsibility of her. Lyka is very grateful to have been part of the family of Dr. Joenilyn Casela, Luigi’s friend, who showed nothing but kindness to her.

When she was in first year college, she was offered an opportunity in modelling, which turned out to be a beauty pageant. She was then offered the chance to be lobby greeter. And that paved the way for her to be given more job opportunities. She didn’t mind if she was working the whole day everyday just so she can provide for her and for her brother. When she had a stable job already, she decided to live with Luigi and have their own house. And Lyka owes a lot to Nila Casela, who stood as her mother. She was the one who gave guidance and showed genuine love to Lyka. She gave her Tita Nila a rainbow-colored shawl which symbolizes her warm acceptance of her and the positivity which she imparted on her.

Nila came from a simple yet happy family in Batangas. Even though sometimes, they couldn’t make ends meet, she worked hard to finish her studies and even became a working student during her college years. She finished her studies and was able to have a stable job, until she met her now husband Jose Casela. Eventually, they created a beautiful family with their three kids. At the very beginning, Nila and Jose aimed to give the best education they could provide for their children. Jose needed to work abroad just to fulfill that goal even though Nila did not want him to leave. But they used their combined savings to invest for the educational plan of their children. When they had one, Jose decided to come home already.

However, later on, the company which held the educational plan for their children got bankrupt - which forced Jose again to work abroad. And after seven years of working and living away from his family, he came home for good. Both Jose and Nila became successful in fulfilling their dream for their children who all landed on great jobs. Now, Nila and Jose are giving back to the Lord who made all of it possible by helping children who need assistance for their studies.

Nila and Jose’s generosity borne out of overcoming their own challenges in raising their children, brought hope to a distressed and abandoned child Lyka, who languishes in the same situation with her brother Luigi. With the help and sense of family Lyka received from Nila and Jose, and her love for her brother always in her heart, she persevered and found a means of livelihood that not only supported her, but likewise provided for Luigi’s education. Luigi’s fulfillment in academics because of her sister’s love paved the way for him to provide similar chances to other forlorn youths, like Angelo, to continue dreaming and achieving their goals in life.

Such tales of success as a result of the kindness and generosity of the people around us is we celebrate each week on Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, Saturdays at 6:15pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.