Vloggers charity worker fishball vendor share acts of kindness to overcome struggles

Ordinary people we encounter daily have their own story to tell, and these stories of struggles and triumphs could also lead to genuine acts of kindness, which they pass on to help more people, as we see in the May 29 episode of Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan.

One of them is Nora Francisco, a fishball vendor. Nora has been working since she was young to earn for her family. She was raised by her two adoptive mothers who took her under their care. However, she also had a relationship at a very young age and eloped with her boyfriend. Later on they raised a family and had 10 children. Nora admitted that life became more challenging especially during times when the health of their children would be put at risk and they couldn’t do anything about it.

Even though Nora would work hard and do everything to provide for her children, her efforts would still not be enough. This is the reason why she was forced to have three of her children adopted by other people. What was more disheartening was that because of the difficulty in providing for her children, Nora lost one of them. Moreover, her relationship with her partner failed.

Another huge problem that came into play was when the cart she uses in selling fish balls was destroyed in a street-clearing operation. She didn’t know what to do after that but she was blessed enough to receive help from one of her customers, Rhona Servito. She wanted to immediately help Nora when she found out about what happened. That's why she lent her money right away which made it possible for Nora to get back to selling fish balls again.

Rhona came from a simple but very loving family. Even though they didn’t have a luxurious life, Rhona feels very grateful and blessed to have very loving parents who have always provided for their needs. When Rhona was about to enter college, she decided to take the University of the Philippines College Admissions Test (UPCAT) as UP has always been her dream school. And she was very fortunate to have passed the exam. She chose to pursue a Hotel and Restaurant Management degree, however, she was not able to continue her studies because her parents couldn’t provide for her education. As, Rhona had to give way for her siblings to continue their studies.

Rhona then worked as a service crew in a fastfood chain. She also experienced working as a secretary in a company where she met her ex-boyfriend. Their relationship went well initially, however, after five years, they broke up. And that was one of the hardest times in Rhona’s life. She even became depressed because she didn’t know how to move on from her heartbreak. But social media was there and it became her outlet in expressing her feelings, especially when she felt miserable. Rhone became better because she felt that she wasn’t alone and that there are people who would take their time in reaching out and helping you in any way that they could. It is also through social media that Rhona got to meet Marko Bustarde, a vlogger and barber who gives free haircut to homeless people. Rhona’s attention was captured by what Marko does. She then decided to reach out to him and help him in vlogging. For Rhona, Marko helped her a lot in getting back with her life again. She gave him a pair of scissors that symbolizes hope in being able to help more people.

Marko didn’t have a very remarkable childhood because his parents did not have a strong relationship with each other. Most of the time, his parents would fight in front of them. When he finished high school, he wasn’t able to continue his studies anymore and just decided to work. He first experienced working as a surveyor, and eventually he also worked as a construction worker. Marko wanted to have a job he’s more comfortable with. Until someone invited him to train as a hairdresser in a salon. Little did he know that it was something he would really enjoy doing and more than that, something that would let him help other people.

He thought of helping the homeless by giving them free haircut. At the start, Marko was the only one who does it but he was able to inspire other people who were also willing to do the same. That’s when Marko was able to form the group Team Artist Pilipinas. Marko’s haircutting advocacy has certainly gone a long way with the members of the group who willingly give their service without asking anything in return. One of many people who was moved by the advocacy of Marko was Cecile Bravo, a friend of the owner of the salon where he works. Cecile was amazed by how genuine Marko’s intentions are and how pure his heart is. That’s why she thought of giving Marko money so he could buy the camera that would be helpful in his vlogging. He gave Cecile a massage pillow that would also be helpful especially during her rest days from her busy days with her business.

Cecile became a breadwinner in the family at an early time. Because she wasn’t able to finish her studies, she decided to work for her family. During those times, work and family were what mattered most to her. But there was one thing she always prayed for - that she could be married to the person she loves and build a Christian family with him. Cecile met this guy named Pedro whom she had a common friend with. And from that first day that Cecile met him, she knew he was someone special.

Eventually, they fall for each other, however little did Cecile know that Pedro actually had a family already. But what prevailed was Cecile’s feelings for him. That’s why they decided to continue their relationship even if that meant being unfair to Pedro’s wife. Later on, they had two children and their hidden relationship lasted for more than 10 years. However, Pedro’s wife got sick and was diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s when he decided to end his relationship with Cecile and make it up to his wife. Cecile almost couldn’t accept it. There were times when she would lock herself in her room and just cry.

Pedro’s wife did not survive cancer. That’s why when she passed away, Pedro decided to marry Cecile. She couldn’t be any happier because finally, her prayer was answered. Now, Cecile and her family are giving back to the community by holding charity events. For instance, they would go to the home for the aged and support them in any way that they can, and they have a scholarship program as well that gives children the opportunity to study.

Cecille’s charitable works made her not think twice in helping Marko after seeing his genuine intention of helping others. Marko extended this generosity by helping Rhona recover from her personal setbacks and found happiness and purpose in vlogging. Rhona was then inspired by Marko’s kindness, and this made her help a needy Nora in giving her a means of livelihood.

This stretch of kindness is featured each week on Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, Saturdays at 7pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.