Another set of inspirational and interconnected stories from four exceptionally hard working Filipinos were shared in the July 25 episode of Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan. They proved that bringing change to other people’s lives doesn’t necessarily have to come with a massive effort.
Sometimes, the little things that you do to the people around you are the ones that will eventually light up and change their world for the better.
From janitress to millionaire
Milane Pindot’s story was the first to touch our hearts. Growing up, she didn’t experience how it was like living with her family. Her dad found himself choosing another woman and leaving his own family, while her mom was forced to work as a housemaid in Manila. Milane and her siblings were left in Bicol with their grandmother. She didn’t aim for anything but to finish her studies in high hopes of being successful in the future. However, her mother’s earnings couldn’t make ends meet. As much as Milane wanted to pursue her studies, her mother couldn’t provide for her anymore. That’s why she decided to follow her mother in Manila and worked also as a housemaid right after graduating in high school. And her eagerness to help her mom and earn more, she decided to work as a janitress in Our Lady of Peace School in Antipolo, Rizal. And this was what motivated her to continue her schooling. While she was working as a janitress, Milane was giving her best in school. But her body gave up on the physical stress that she was enduring while she was working and studying at the same time. That’s why she was forced to stop one again in school as she prioritized helping her siblings more than what she wanted for herself at that time.
Until someone made a huge impact and change in her life. She met a Korean guy whom her friend introduced her to. She later on decided to engage in a fixed marriage with hopes of migrating to Korea in the future, as what the guy promised her. However, unfortunately, it turned out that his husband only used her to start his business in the Philippines. She later found out that she was going to have a child with him. At the start, she did not want to continue her pregnancy but her best friend and cousin, Karen Enriquez, was the one who gave her the support and motivation she needed to fight against the dilemma that Milane was facing that time.
Karen assumed all the responsibilities of the child’s father—from Milane’s pregnancy up to the time that her daughter Athena was born. Even though in the beginning, Milane was still unsure of raising her child, the moment she first laid her eyes on her baby, it seemed like she found a purpose in life. Her daughter served as her inspiration to strive harder. That’s when she started an online business of health products that provided the needs of her mother. The millions she earned from the business also helped her sibling to finish her nursing course, and assure a bright future for herself and daughter Athena. Now, Milane couldn’t be more grateful and thankful for the life that she was just dreaming for herself and for her family.
As a token of appreciation for the help Karen gave her, Milane gifted her a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to guide her through her own journey.
Finding inspiration to be better
Karen, who is an online business coach, is the person Milane will forever be grateful for. She became the reason why Milane chose to become stronger in life. Karen had the same situation with Milane as she also grew up away from her parents. When she was young, she sought the guidance from and the presence of her parents. She was forced to do things on her own while she was studying—she cooks for herself and cleans her clothes after school. She lived with her aunt in Angono, Rizal, which was where she studied high school. Her mother was supposed to fly to Taiwan to look for a job, but she did not have enough money, forcing her to work in Manila as a house helper.
Karen decided to go with her mom but their employer even brought trauma to her as she was sexually harassed. When she was about to enter college, it was also the time when Karen had vices and chose to be with her friends rather than continue her studies. And it really disappointed her relatives. She was told negative things by her relatives which made her decide to leave them. She stayed in a small apartment through the help of her friend and received no support from her relatives and siblings. She was at her lowest point during that time. She then met her sister’s boyfriend, Ariel Ganzan. He was the one who served as an older brother who guided her through the difficult phase in her life. Ariel was the one who motivated Karen to never give up despite the troubles she was facing. That’s why she was inspired to help herself and be better. She got to work as a singer in Japan and this helped her a lot in investing for her and her family’s future. She was able to have her own house and brought her entire family together under one roof. Now, Karen is a high-earning, successful online entrepreneur.
To thank Ariel for his inspiration, Karen gave him packs of health products for daily sustenance and wellness.
Ariel Ganzan, a chef, has also gone through a lot before he reached the fruit of his success. He lived with his mom as he lost his dad when he was still young. They did not live a luxurious life but he knew he was very blessed to have his mom who made sure he was well provided for. There came a time that he decided to just help his mom by getting a job. So he didn’t pursue college anymore and found himself working as a dishwasher in a golf club. He had a friend who was working as a cook back then and one time, he suddenly became interested in cooking so he asked his friend to teach him some kitchen work.
And it started there. After that, blessings came while pursuing his new career path, getting a promotion to become the head cook. He then worked as a cafeteria cook at a resort in Marinduque where he also met his wife. Unfortunately, after four years, the resort closed down. It was challenging for Ariel to look for a similar cooking job, so he decided to try his hands in a different line of work. As a construction worker, he said people were discriminating him but he said he didn’t let the brickbats affect him or at least bother him. After a year and a half, he was given the biggest break of his life. Wilson Olaguir, a friend from the construction site he was working, asked Ariel if he wanted to go with him to Boracay. Ariel agreed and when they reached the world-famous tourist destination, Wilson would refer Ariel to his boss at a five-star hotel. Wilson would tell his boss that Ariel is a very good chef and is trustworthy. And because of Wilson’s recommendation, his boss took a chance on Ariel and hired him. Now, Ariel is now the Boracay hotel’s “chef de parte” and he owes this accomplishment to his friend Wilson.
To show his gratitude, Ariel presented Wilson a shot glass to symbolize their forever friendship.
Gangster turned role model
Wilson is a devoted father to his children, had to fight against the uncertainties and unfortunate events in his life. His father worked as a bus driver and his mother was a vegetable and fish vendor. He proudly said that even though it was hard for their family to earn enough money, his parents never let them suffer the consequences. Wilson admitted he grew up in a chaotic environment where crimes and gang rumbles were a normal occurrence. That’s also the main factor why he would often get in trouble. It was a very hard time for their family when they lost his older brother because of a gang fight. His parents decided to be strict on them but unfortunately it didn’t stop Wilson from sticking with his gang. It affected his studies to the point that he needed to repeat thrice his first year in high school. Police would arrest him and his gang mates and this sparked more trouble in his life. What changed his life entirely for the better was when his mother had to undergo an operation. He started applying for jobs until he met his wife, Thelma. Now more than ever, he considers his children as his inspiration to always do good and to choose wise decisions in life.
Wilson’s intention to change his life due to the ordeals he faced led him uplift the plight of a deserving friend Ariel who needed the opportunity through his recommendation to reach his dreams. A fulfillment he wanted to share with a forlorn Karen who sought a better future for her and her family with Ariel’s help. This made Karen share this kind of encouragement to a distressed and abandoned Milane, who needed all the support she can get in her direst moments of giving birth to and raising a child on her own and supporting her family.
Indeed, these simple acts of genuine kindness can really move mountains and change lives for the better. Actions we all honor and recognize each week in Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, presented by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, airing on the Kapamilya Channel.