Extending a helping hand to someone could mean their redemption from the darkest phase of their lives, changing their lives forever. In the April 17 episode of Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, we feature four individuals who brought hope and purpose to each other’s lives.
Rogelio Cargamento, a little person, has big dreams for himself and carries huge responsibilities for his family. His mother left them when his older brother passed away. That left him with the responsibilities of taking care of his younger siblings. But his dreams for his family vanished when his father and siblings passed away successively. His brother died from a stabbing incident while his father was hit by a van. His other brother then died from an illness. It was a phase in Rogelio’s life where he felt completely devastated. But he found another purpose in his life when he met Mary Ann Cargamento who became his loving wife, and raised a family with her. She described him as a responsible father and a loving husband.
Rogelio has always worked hard in order to provide for his family - he experienced working as a waiter and messenger, and even worked abroad as a mascot. But the biggest yet challenging break that came into his life was when he became known as the “Little Pacquiao.” Many people looked up to him, although he felt like the people he was working with envied him. He then lost his job but another blessing came for Rogelio.
Glorian “Toinkee” Tomen, a founding member of the group Big Dreams for Little People, helped Rogelio. She was the one who advised Rogelio to apply for a job in their barangay. He went and talked to their barangay captain to apply for an available position. And until now, Rogelio has a stable job as a staff member. He couldn’t thank Glorian enough for all the help and assistance she has given him and many other little people. Rogelio gave her a clock which symbolizes the time that she always gives to them whenever they are in need.
A dwarfism awareness advocate, Glorian comes from a very loving and supportive family. Her parents have always treated her just like how they treated her siblings. Growing up, Glorian has always been taught to be grateful for everything that she receives, and to not take revenge on people who look down on her. She would keep all the hurt inside when someone would insult her. And all the feeling of pain and rejection led to frustration and depression. But she was supported by her family who became the reason why she chose to stand up again and continue life.
When she graduated from college, Glorian attended the Little People of America Conference. According to her, she was both happy and sad at the same time – happy because she was able to experience attending the conference, and sad because she knew that the Philippines doesn’t give equal opportunities for little people unlike the US. In this conference, she was educated about her health condition, as well as the right terminologies for the dwarfism community. This was also what inspired her to build a foundation for the little people community which was later on called the Big Dreams for Little People. Established in January 2017, the foundation aims to raise awareness about their situation and to fight for their rights and welfare, as well as equal opportunities for the little people. Every year, they would have their assembly and would celebrate dwarfism awareness month.
And the foundation wouldn’t have survived without the financial and moral support from people who truly believe in its advocacies, including singer-actress-luxury jeweller Ynna Asistio who’s been a longtime friend of Glorian. Their paths crossed when Ynna had a mall show in Glorian’s place. After their encounter, Glorian tried to connect with Ynna through social media and from there, their friendship grew into a deeper and stronger one. Since then, the actress has pledged to support the foundation in any way that she could. To thank Ynna for all the help that she provided her, Glorian gave Ynna an angel figurine which symbolizes her being a blessing to the foundation.
Ynna first became known to many as the daughter of showbiz personality Nadia Montenegro and former Caloocan Mayor Macario “Boy” Asistio. She admitted that when she was just starting to join showbiz, it was hard for her to build her own name because a lot of people would always identify her as the child of a celebrity. Ynna also didn’t deny that she wasn’t exempted from the judgment of people. She realized that these people will always look for your flaws and would even bring out your insecurities.
One of the challenges that Ynna encountered as an actress was maintaining a fit body. As an artist, she served as a role model to people. She felt the need to meet the standards set by the industry. It even came to a point where she had to take diet pills everyday just to maintain a fit body. She admitted that people who tried to bring her down easily affected her. Ynna also shared that people thought that she easily got projects because she’s the Nadia’s daughter, but she said that just like other artists, she also had to go through auditions and it wasn’t very easy. But since she loved what she was doing, Ynna continued to work hard.
But her and her family’s morale shattered when they faced the most challenging problem given to them - when they lost the head of their family, Ynna’s dad. She could still remember that day when she woke up hearing her family who was panicking because of her father who had a cardiac arrest. Ynna and her family didn’t know what to do after losing her dad. They were all depressed and unmotivated during those times. That’s why Ynna already chose to ask help from Pastor Jamey Santiago-Manual, a TV host and life coach. And Pastor Jamey helped a lot in bringing back the morale of the Asistio family through bringing them closer to Jesus. And since then, Ynna became stronger for herself and for her family. She appreciated the presence and love of Jesus more because of Pastor Jamey’s help. Ynna wrote a letter telling Pastor Jamey how she helped them overcome the grief and depression.
Before becoming a pastor and a life coach, Jamey wasn’t the kindest and the most religious person before. In fact, she was even one of those who found satisfaction in harming and hurting other people. Her parents are both pastors but she didn’t want to follow their footsteps before.
When Jamey was still in school, she had a very strong personality which led her to bullying her classmates. She even attacked the parent of the student that she bullied. But one event in her life would drive Jamey to change for the better and to realize the mistakes that she made. When she was still a student, she got into a wrong romantic relationship being the “other woman.” All the students knew about it and so everyone judged her. Jamey felt completely alone during those times. But that’s what woke her up and made her realize how it felt to be insulted, to be bullied.
Jamey then decided to transfer to a Christian school and that’s when she promised herself to change for the better. From being the arrogant bully, Jamey transformed into a God-fearing woman who chose to share the gospel to other people. Until now, she preaches and shares the Word of God when she visits every campus, every community, and every province. The most unexpected thing that happened to her was when she met after a very long time the people that she hurt before. Jamey found peace in her heart when she had the chance to apologize to them and when those people said they’ve already forgiven her.
Jamey’s close relationship with God made her preach the Gospel to a depressed and desolate Ynna, who overcame a difficult chapter of her life with her newfound faith, which made her support Glorian’s advocacy in promoting the welfare of little people, which eventually became Roberto’s calling and redemption as well.
Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan airs Saturdays at 7pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.