Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan: Meet the women who strengthen each other in times of desperation and need

Women are an inspiration to many with their strength, resilience, and proficiency in any challenge they face. They work hard not only for their own good, but also for the people they care about, including those they aren’t related by blood. In the March 13 episode coinciding with International Women’s Day, Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan featured women who extended kindness and generosity to each other amidst tough and arduous times.

Marian Fabila, who hails from Puerto Prinsesa City, lost her mother at a young age and what made the situation worse was that her father abandoned her. She would then stay with her grandparents and her other siblings, with Marian making a living by gathering seashells. However, just like her father, her grandparents and siblings also abandoned her. At the age of 16, Marian started to work as a house helper to survive. 

While working at a bakery years later, Marian fell in love and had a relationship with a co-worker. She then got pregnant and her boyfriend was at first excited to have their baby.  But she would soon discover that his partner was having an affair with her best friend.  For the sake of their baby, Marian tried to work things out with him, but this didn’t stop him from his philandering ways. Her boyfriend continued the affair with her best friend until their baby was four months old. Because of this, Marian decided to end their relationship and just focus on her daughter. While Marian compelled the man to meet his obligations for their child, her now ex-partner would avoid responsibility, and this further added to Marian’s burdens.

Desolate and depressed, Marian reached the point when she contemplated taking her own life. But there was one person who stood as her second mother who guided and supported her during her lowest times. Her name is Minda Alie, a worker at an eatery, who genuinely gave financial and emotional help to Marian whenever she needed it. Marian gave her a bag as a symbol of appreciation for all the help and moral support she extended.

Just like Marian, Minda also had to work for her family at age 16.  Despite the difficulties she encountered, Minda continued to work hard to provide for her family. But Minda faced even greater responsibilities when she had her own family. After giving birth to her youngest child, her gynecologist noticed something wrong with the infant’s body size.  As they baby grew up, Minda and her husband also observed that their child couldn’t perform simple actions or activities like sitting and eating on her own. When Minda and her husband brought their daughter back to the hospital, a doctor diagnosed their child with cerebral palsy. The doctor even told them that their daughter was very fortunate to have reached eight years old.

The situation of their daughter worsened as she would already experience seizures and mental retardation. But someone would bring huge help to Minda and her family, alleviating them from their difficult situation. Perlas Galdonez, an enlisted personnel in the Philippine Navy, immediately felt the urge to help Minda. She decided to share the situation of Minda’s daughter on social media. Little did Perlas know that many people would provide assistance in the form of milk products and vitamins for her daughter. To show her gratitude, Minda gave Perlas a jacket.

Perlas grew up longing for the love and presence of her mother. Since the day that her mother left, Perlas never got to see her. She hasn’t received any news about her since that day. She would always wait for her to come back, but Perlas would just be disappointed. Although she has always yearned for the love of her mother, Perlas has been very thankful that she had a father who always cared for her and loved her. Perlas also owed having the courage to face life’s ordeals to her father, who has always inspired her with his inner strength. And because of the difficulties they encountered, they were unable to get things they wanted. Perlas vowed that when she started working, she would provide for her family and give them things they long desired.

Perlas dreamed of working in the military just like her father, specifically in the Philippine Navy because of its medical missions in Zamboanga. While in the military, she also met her husband who has always idolized her strong personality, and together, they raised a beautiful family. Perla’s strength was tested even more when she became a mother. There came a time when she felt guilty of not being able to give enough time to her son because of the time she spent with her organization, the Coastguard Angels Charity which provides food and grocery items to the street dwellers and the homeless. When Perlas didn’t know whether to leave their organization or not, her co-member, Jelly Gotladera, was there to give her advice when she needed it the most, which was to continue to serve while being a very responsible wife and mother. To thank Jelly, Perlas gave her a coast guard shirt and face mask that symbolize all the help and efforts that she puts into their charity.

Like Perlas, Jelly also grew up longing for the love of her mother who left them when she was just a toddler. Her father more than made up for the loss being very caring and loving to her as a single parent. As such, it was utterly devastating for Jelly when her father passed away and was left in the care of her aunt and grandmother. Jelly felt alone during those times, and because of this, she turned her attention to her friends, who proved to be a bad influence. After experiencing her first heartbreak at 16, Jelly decided to leave home and started to work. Jelly would then meet and fall in love with Andro Mag-ugat, who had genuine feelings and intentions for her. However, because she wanted to alleviate her situation and dreamed of living a comfortable life, Jelly was forced to enter a fixed marriage with a Korean whom she did not love. But this meant leaving her true love, Andro, and as such, this broke her heart terribly. When she lived in Korea with the man she married, Jelly felt her condescending Korean in-laws did not accept her into their family at all. This left her unhappy, realizing it wasn’t the life she wanted for herself. Because of this, she sought a divorce from her Korean husband and went back to the Philippines to reunite with Andro, with whom she tied the knot. Now, they are sharing a blissful family life with their two sons.

Jelly’s happy ending to an arduous life journey made her offer the helpful advice Perlas needed when she was at a crossroad. When Perlas was clear about her mission to serve with Jelly’s help, it led her to assist Minda the best way she can, which was to share her struggles on social media that resulted in deluge of people willing to extend aid. And, when Minda experienced this generosity and kindness, she also reached out and acted as a second mother to a depressed Marian, who felt strengthened by her guidance.

Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, airs Saturdays at 7pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.