Thomasian TAO: Children of Modern Filipino Heroes

TAO4

Story by Rallieza Carbajosa, Grade 10-SMAT

Photos by Marifel Alfaro

San Carlos City, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL—Colegio de Sto. Tomas-Recoletos’ Thomasian na Anak OFW is a special group of students who are children of Overseas Filipino Workers. Established in 2016, TAO envisions to provide holistic support system to Thomasians whose parents are OFW. Inevitably, these children are products of absentee and alternative parenting. TAO is committed to hold an annual acquaintance fellowship day to introduce these students to a Thomasian community of children of OFWs.

Last August 23, 2019, the group had a gathering which the CST-R Students Development and Placement Center (SDPC) has been doing for the past 10 years. However, it was only in 2016 when the organization was finally established as TAO.

ABCDE for TAO

A Holy Eucharist at the St. Thomas of Villanueva Chapel-CST-R commenced the fellowship day that welcomed 63 seventh graders into the embrace of TAO.

Fray Vicente L. Ramon, Jr., OAR, whose own father once worked overseas, related during his homily that, “I [would] only see my father three times a year.”

Fray Ramon shared how the first five letters of the alphabet helped him survive that difficult phase of his growing years. He emphasized that TAO members and OFW children should always remember the following:

A means Always Pray. He reminded everyone to always pray for their parents’ safety.

B means Believe That You are Loved. “They work because of their love for you; their motivation is that you are loved by them and they want the best education for you,” Fray Ramon lectured.  

C means Count Your Blessing. “We dwell on the negative, on the things that we don’t have.” He continued, “In spite of [your parent’s] absence, you receive a blessing and you should count that.”

D means Deliver Your Share. The share of OFW children, according to Fray Ramon, is to do well with their studies.  “Their sacrifice will not be in vain when you study well and do good in school.”

E means Enjoy [Your Parent’s] Presence. Since OFW parents rarely come home, their children must enjoy their company and be happy that they have come home. He added that, “Thomasian students should be the best anak of OFW.”

Having been greeted with a high five from the facilitators, TAO members entered the next phase of the fellowship day with high energy and gusto.

Awareness versus Stigma

Ms. Ma. Nita V. Bolo, MAEd, RGC, CST-R Guidance Counselor, shared her experiences when she herself was an OFW. The sharing allowed the new TAO members to realize that the set-up of their family is not an isolated case and that there are several individuals who understand their concerns and struggles.

Ms. Bolo later on discussed the three different types of OFW which are the Immigrants, who are permanent residents abroad, the Irregular Migrants, and third are the Overseas Contract Workers, who periodically work abroad within a specified contract.

Included in the orientation was tagging the members to key acronyms relevant to them and their family like: OFW or Overseas Filipino Worker, OWWA or Overseas Worker Welfare Administration, POEA or Philippines Overseas Employment Administration, DOLE or Department of Labor and Employment and, of course, TAO or Thomasian na Anak OFW.

“Please remember all these acronyms so that when your parents mention these you have an idea that where she’s going is important.”

Unfortunately, during the discussion about the 10 major occupational categories of OFWs, it turned out that many TAO members, just like many OFW children, do not even know where exactly their parents work or what exactly do they do for a living abroad. This lack of awareness among the family members of the Philippines’ “biggest tax payers” contribute highly to the stress that OFW children deal with.

Based on government data, OFWs bring in an “estimated 185.6 B” of remittances from April to December 2018 alone. OFWs are now the modern-day heroes for the economy of the Philippines is afloat because of their contribution.

Coping Mechanisms for an OFW Kid

During the 15-minute postcard making session, two TAO members showed their works.

Elsie shared a picture of a girl saying that “Even though she came from a broken family she still manages to stand up and live life.” Another member opened up how “I miss my father so much.” Joel’s tearful but brief sharing also made other TAO members emotional.

Little do some OFW children know the main reasons for their parent’s decision to work abroad like the high unemployment rate here, the low salary for professionals, the persistence of contractual employment, and the poor benefits. Despite these varying reasons, still OFW children need to cope with either alternative parenting or solo parenting. They need to adjust and, at a young age, try to be independent and responsible.

Charry Giltentez, a senior high school daughter of an OFW father, shared her life story to inspire and encourage fellow TAO members. “Even though your parents are not here, you should encourage yourself, you should be strong and you should guide yourself even when they are not here.”

True to the most common symbol of OFWS, TAO members went through the “Balikbayan Box” activity. Participants wrote all the possible things that can be found in a balikbayan box in just five minutes. The activity aimed to teach gratitude for both material and non-material blessings and recognition to gift givers, the most common role of OFW parents in the lives of their children.

The last workshop of the acquaintance fellowship highlighted key points in the developing life of an OFW child including the hardest moment, the unforgettable moment, the unforgettable pasalubong, the biggest challenge, the silver lining and wish.

“I just believe that me and my Mama will be reunited and promised her that I will give back  all her sacrifices and hardwork for me,” Carla spoke in between tears of hope. This is here eponymous “silver lining.”

TAO is Support System

CST-R TAO organizes activities, group dynamic sessions and fellowships throughout the school year to provide children of OFW a support system with whom they can share their struggles. It is made possible with the management of SDPC and the volunteer Thomasians of Team Event.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colegio de Santo Tomas-Recoletos

CST-R Correspondent

Correspondent, Colegio de Sto. Tomas-Recoletos

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< 2021 >
July
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  • All day
    July 1, 2021

    START OF MES DE PREPARACIÓN FOR SOLEMN PROFESSION

    Venue: SEMONORE, Antipolo City
    Fray Ricky John Austria Fray Julius James Tinapao Fray James Erold Gatinao

    Let us pray for them.

     

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Norma Ouano, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Maribel Cayabyab, SAR (Puerto Princesa Chapter)
    Sis. Lucena Satorre, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Rakyla Nadine Samuel (RAY-Cavite)

     

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (2017-2021)
    Fray Ricky John Austria
    Fray Ivan Cuison
    Fray Jhyryx Vincent Gamulo
    Fray James Gantinao

     

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Benedicta Marco, AR

2
  • All day
    July 2, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray John Arnold Lozada (novice)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    (2014-2021)
    +Fray Delfin Castillo

3
  • All day
    July 3, 2021

    ST. THOMAS, APOSTLE

    SIMPLE PROFESSION OF VOWS
    SEMONORE, Antipolo City

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Merriam Capellan, AR
    Bro. John Cabanes, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    Sis. Filomena Yu, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

4
  • All day
    July 4, 2021

    14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR VOCATIONS (cf. LAMP 5c)

    CELEBRATION OF THE GOLDEN FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF OLMC PARISH, CEBU:
    BULAK SA CARMEL FESTIVAL 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Lolita Cruz, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Ma. Teresa Corentin, SAR (ManilaChapter)
    Sis. Josefina Cresidio, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Filomena Mamaril, SAR (Miranila Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Fray Loreto Ceasar Dacanay (2016-2021)
    +Sr. Martina de la Santisima Trinidad, AR
    +Sis. Zenaida Flores, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

5
  • All day
    July 5, 2021

    (NOTE: THE RENEWAL VISIT IN PALAWAN COMMUNITIES IS POSTPONED DUE TO TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN THE AREA.)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Filomena Castaño, AR
    Sr. Jeraldine Hernandez, AR
    Rica Quiroz (RAY-Provincialate)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1981-2021 / 40th) Fray Dionisio Selma

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Margarita de la Paz, AR

6
  • All day
    July 6, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Allan Rubett Cabatian
    Sr. Ma. Alma Alaras, AR
    Sis. Cecile Castañeda, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Evangeline Cariño, SAR (Valencia Chapter)
    Lalaine Karylle Ramos (RAY-San Carlos)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Vicenta Cutanda, AR

7
  • All day
    July 7, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Radni Caparas
    Sis. Sylvia Estacio, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Geraldine Noreen Bulot, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Marissa Adolfo, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Angela Palen (RAY-Provincialate)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Juliet Liagao, SAR (Baguio Chapter)

8
  • All day
    July 8, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Marcelina Diaz, AR
    Sis. Isabelita Tenorio, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Ma. Fanny Rafer, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Mary Ann Nuñez (RAY-Caidiocan)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Juliana Mandia, AR

9
  • All day
    July 9, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Cirilo Andan
    Sr. Ma. Alma Limotlimot, AR
    Shiena Mae Quimada (RAY-Laray)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION (RELIGIOUS BROTHER)
    (2005-2021)
    Fray Teodulo Hayahay

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Lourdes Tinoy, AR

10
  • All day
    July 10, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Ferdinand Concepcion, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Sis. Violeta Encarnacion, SAR (Miranila Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION (RELIGIOUS BROTHERS)
    (2004-2021)
    Fray Feliciano Campomanes, Jr.
    Fray Jonathan Jamero

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1982-2021)
    Fray Leonardo Pauligue
    Fray René Paglinawan
    Fray Joseph Philip Trayvilla

11
  • All day
    July 11, 2021

    15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

    SEA SUNDAY

    “During this Sea Sunday, we are invited to become aware of the hardships and difficulties that seafarers face daily and of the valuable service provided by the Apostleship of the Sea in being Church who bears witness of the Lord’s mercy and tenderness in order to preach the Gospel in the ports of the whole world.” (Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Gerarda de la Riarte, AR Sr. Anacleta Berino, AR
    Bro. Marcelino Espena, SAR (Manila Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1976-2021)
    Fray Ceferino Roberto Añez
    Fray Federico Gregorio
    Fray Lauro Larlar

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sen. Marcelo Fernan (Brother-General of the Order)
    +Sr. Trinidad de Sgdo. Corazon de Jesus, AR
    +Sis. Vicenta Maranga, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

12
  • All day
    July 12, 2021

    RENEWAL VISIT 2021
    RECOLETOS DE BACOLOD / July 12-14

    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Lino Sumbillo Jr., SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Sis. Ma. Luisa Acebedo, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Betty Palatino, SAR (Brooke’s Point Chapter)

13
  • All day
    July 13, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Buenaventura Famadico, DD (Diocese of San Pablo)
    Sis. Alma Ngalongalay, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Elyssa Santos (RAY-Cavite)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1975-2021)
    Fray Regino Bangcaya

14
  • All day
    July 14, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Griselda Gruba, AR
    Sis. Gladys Fontanos, SAR (Baguio Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1974-2021)
    Fray Dionisio Cachero

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Manuela Ferrer, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)

15
  • All day
    July 15, 2021

    RENEWAL VISIT 2021
    RECOLETOS DE TALISAY / July 15-16

    CELEBRATION OF THE GOLDEN FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF OLMC PARISH, CEBU: VIGIL MASS
    Time: 5:30 P.M.
    Presider: Most Rev. Jose Palma, D.D.

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Cynthia Dondiego, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1973-2021)
    Fray Hernando Coja

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Tresenia Jo Aguilar, SAR (Baguio Chapter)

16
  • All day
    July 16, 2021

    50TH PATRONAL FIESTA & CELEBRATION OF THE GOLDEN FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish-Recoletos/ Cebu City
    Theme: “One in Faith, Love and Service as a Parish”
    Fiesta Mass: 9:30 A.M.
    Presider: Msgr. Ruben Labajo

    25th FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF SARF-ANTIPOLO CHAPTER

    15TH PATRONAL FIESTA
    Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish / Inagawan, Puerto Princesa City
    Fiesta Mass: 10:00 A.M.
    Presider: Most. Rev. Socrates Mesiona, D.D. MSP

    *Special intention for those who perished in the July 16, 1990 earthquake (particularly in Baguio).

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Carmencita Indolos, AR
    Mo. Cecilia Rosa Talangpaz
    Sis. Carmencita Fontanilla, SAR (Manila Chapter) Sis. Evelyn Guirnela, SAR (Talisay Chapter)
    Sis. Carmen Imbo, SAR (Valencia Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1978-2021)
    Fray Enrico Peter Silab

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    Mo. Ma. del Carmen, OAR (Bacolod Monastery)

17
  • All day
    July 17, 2021

    RENEWAL VISIT 2021
    RECOLETOS DE SAN CARLOS / July 17-19

    4 TH PATRONAL FIESTA
    Quasi Parish of Nuestra Señora del Carmen / Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
    Fiesta Mass: 9:30 A.M.
    Presider: Most Rev. Raul Dael, D.D.

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Kenneth Joseph Onda
    Sr. Ma. Soledad Torres, AR
    Bro. Romeo Mraquez Lincoran, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Angela Jillian del Rosario (RAY-Cavite)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Martina de San Miguel, AR
    +Sr. Martha Llanes, AR
    +Sis. Carmelita Arresgado, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

18
  • All day
    July 18, 2021

    16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Teresa Bautista, AR
    Sis. Corazon Padua, SAR (Miranila Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1981-2021 / 40th)
    Fray Samson Silloriquez

19
  • All day
    July 19, 2021

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE SICK (cf. LAMP 5c)

    RENEWAL VISIT 2021

    RECOLETOS DE TAMBO / July 19-20

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray William Cordero Jr.
    Sis. Liberty Braganza, SAR (Brooke’s Point Chapter)
    Sis. Juliana Rodiño, SAR (Talisay Chapter)

20
  • All day
    July 20, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Gaudencio Geronimo de Mesa
    Sr. Ma. Nita Atencio, AR
    Sr. Geronima Primor, AR
    Sis. Margarita Hicban, SAR (Miranila Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Vicenta de San Agustin, AR

21
  • All day
    July 21, 2021

    RENEWAL VISIT 2021
    RECOLETOS DE CAIDIOCAN / July 21-22

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Ginger Acosta, AR
    Bro. Daniel Delapaz, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Feliciana Vasquez, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Edwin Ilagan, AR

22
  • All day
    July 22, 2021-July 23, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Cleofe Villarante, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)
    Sis. Magdalena Gonzaga, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Bro. Clemente San Gabriel Sr., SAR (Tondo Chapter)

23
  • All day
    July 23, 2021

    RENEWAL VISIT 2021
    RECOLETOS DE VALENCIA / July 23-24

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Francisco Antonio
    Fray Rouel Sia
    Sis. Maria Carmeta Suiza, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Chona Cabiguen, SAR (Puerto Princesa Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Gina Quijano, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

24
  • All day
    July 24, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Arian Josef Ocheda
    Fray James Dexter Tanquis
    Sis. Imee Matullano, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Eloisa Manalang (RAY-Miranila)

25
  • All day
    July 25, 2021

    WORLD DAY FOR GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY

    85th anniversary (1936-2021) of the Martyrdom of Bld. Vicente Soler
    & Companion Martyrs of Motril

    FIL-MISSION SUNDAY

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jose Ernil Almayo
    Fray James Esplanada (simply prof.)
    Sr. Ma. Gorreti Cui, AR
    Sis. Amelia Sison, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Helen Caballes, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

     

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Genoveva del Sgdo. Corazon de Jesus, AR

    +Sis. Wilma Digna Bayona, SAR (Inagawan Chapter)

26
  • All day
    July 26, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Joaquin Jamelo
    Sr. Ma. Olympia Bolatete, AR
    Sis. Ma. Wendie Oane, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Lualhati Navo, SAR (Cavite Chapter)
    Sis. Evangeline Gubatao, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Prudencia de la Virgen del Pilar, AR
    +Sis. Delia Vega, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

27
  • All day
    July 27, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jorge Peligro
    Sr. Ma. Eulalia Magquilat, AR
    Sis. Ma. Victoria Abagat, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)

28
  • All day
    July 28, 2021

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE MISSIONS (cf. LAMP 5c)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Irma Castrodes, AR
    Sr. Ma. Ligaya Satur, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Patrocinio Cabanlet, AR

29
  • All day
    July 29, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Josephine Lapuz, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Mo. Gertrudes del Espiritu Santo, AR
    Sis. Pedro Avedanio, SAR (Baguio Chapter)

30
  • All day
    July 30, 2021

    END OF THE MES DE PREPARACIÓN (Antipolo)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Sunshine Cabiguen, SAR (Puerto Princesa Chapter)
    Reynz Rey Tupaz (RAY-Tambo)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Mo. Cecilia Rosa de Jesus Talangpaz
    +Sr. Asuncion de San Jose, AR
    +Sr. Magdalena del Espiritu Santo, AR
    +Sr. Magdalena Sabano, AR
    +Mo. Ma. Nicolasa de San Jose
    +Sr. Vicenta de San Agustin, AR

31
  • All day
    July 31, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Eduardo Tolentino, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)

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