Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan: Artists, writers give hope in pursuing dreams

Chasing your dreams is always challenging because it can cost you time, money, and a lot of effort. Many times in the process of achieving them, you will certainly fall and fail, but we still have those who are persistent enough to not give up on themselves and their dreams. Featured in Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan in its January 30 episode, four individuals who indeed never gave up on their dreams despite the difficulties they faced, as they opened doors for others to pursue their own aspirations.

Gini Aala is incredibly gifted in the fine arts. Ever since she and her siblings were still kids, they have been interested in painting artworks because of the influence of their father who once dreamed of becoming an architect. However, Gini’s mother didn't become very supportive of their interest in arts because according to her, it wouldn’t be a stable source of income in the future.

Gini took this into consideration because she also wanted to support the maintenance medicines of her younger brother who had epilepsy. However, Gini’s brother passed away too soon because of his condition.

After that painful chapter in their lives, Gini’s family faced another challenge when her mother was diagnosed with myoma. Gini wanted to help with her mother’s hospital expenses and in so doing, sold her artworks online. And a group of art enthusiasts saw her artworks and organized a fund-raising project for her then sick mother. Gini was also approached by a writer/blogger, Charina Clarisse Echaluce. She interviewed Gini and made an article about her and her artworks. And through that article, several personalities have messaged Gini and even invited her for art exhibits. That’s when she received massive help from other people who had huge appreciation for her creative work. And that saved the life of her mother. Ever since then, Gini’s mom already supported her love for the arts. And Gini owes a lot to Charina because she said if it weren’t for her article, she wouldn’t have saved her mom’s life. To show appreciation to Charina, Gini gave her a painting with her favorite colors.

Charina was once in the same situation as Gini. She felt like no one was interested in reading her work. She even got to the point where she questioned why God would not let her achieve her dream of becoming a writer. Charina started to become interested in the craft when she was in sixth grade. During that time, she wrote her own fairytale stories after reading books that her mother gave her. In grade school and high school, she wrote for the school publication. And upon entering college, Charina pursued a writing course although her mother did not support her dream at first because she thought that being a journalist was a life-threatening job. But Charina continued pursuing her passion.

However, when she was already starting to write several blogs, Charina was discouraged because people weren’t reading her entries. But she didn’t stop pursuing her dream until she finally achieved her goal to become an author. She was able to publish her best-selling book titled “Minsan Okay Lang Ma-traffic.” It contained a collection of short stories, poems, and fiction stories. Charina became even more grateful when Mommy Joyce, the post-editor in the blog site Definitely Filipino, reached out to her so that they could publish her story. Charina felt beyond happy that they believed in her. And since then, became a full time reporter in the blog site. Charina said that she really found a mother in Joyce. She was always there to guide and support her. To thank her Mama Joyce, Charina gave her best-selling book.

Mommy Joyce grew up being fond of reading magazines and books having been surrounded by a lot of reading materials. Her aunt who was a writer in an elite magazine inspired her to pursue her own a writing career. However, her family did not also become very supportive of her passion because they thought that it’s not a career that can make you financially stable. That’s why Mommy Joyce pursued a Business Education degree. She even tried exploring running an arts and crafts business just to help provide for her family. When Mommy Joyce had her own family and children, she had to work even harder, considering that she’s raising two differently abled children. Until Mommy Joyce discovered Definitely Filipino, the largest overseas community blog dedicated to Filipinos. She applied and sent her sample works and luckily, Joyce got accepted. She was then immediately offered the position of post editor. Little did she know that the opportunity of being a writer did not only help her but also served as Joyce’s way of helping other people. She was able to sponsor the schooling of some unfortunate children through her job at Definitely Filipino. And she gives huge thanks and appreciation to her mentor Ben Totanes for giving her the opportunity to fulfill her childhood dream. Mommy Joyce gave her a plaque of appreciation to thank him for all the guidance that he has given her.

Ben, the founder of Definitely Filipino, is currently residing in California and works as a technical writer. His mother passed away when he was just 12 and then later on they moved to the U.S. with his father. There he was forced to work on his own and experienced discrimination. There was one time that he was offended by a disdainful gesture of two American women who discriminated him for being a Filipino. But life became more meaningful for him when he found the love of his life. They both had to work hard for their children. He experienced working as a fast food worker, marketing professional, salesman, until he became a senior technical writer. However, he experienced a low point in his life when his father passed away. And writing served as his escape from sadness. And from posting his writing works publicly, Ben was able to launch Definitely Filipino and its social media pages. And he was very grateful to have had many Filipino supporters and followers of it.

Ben’s initiative to spotlight Filipino pride in Definitely Filipino provided an opportunity for Mommy Joyce to fulfill her childhood dream to become a writer, the same chance he bestowed on Charina, validating her own destiny as a writer. This led to Charina’s mission to tell inspiring stories and help people in need, including Gini, who was able to get the needed attention for people to patronize her artworks to help in the medical expenses of her mom.

Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, features a chain of kindness and openhandedness every Saturday, 7pm, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.