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FEATURE: In Their Own Eden

In photo: Maintaining a positive outlook in life makes life's challenges easier for Mang Eddie and Aling Erlinda.

In photo: Maintaining a positive outlook in life makes life’s challenges easier for Mang Eddie and Aling Erlinda.

One positive thought in the morning can change how a whole day unfolds.

Yes, life offers lots of tribulations that can make anyone kneel on their feet, but if one person can still manage to smile amidst the hardship, then his spirit will not be easily swayed no matter how strong the wind is. Through it all, the Pariñas Family stands still. And they stand strong.

The Pariñas family, headed by Eddie and Merlinda, is one of the 2,024 beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Diffun, Quirino. They may not have enough riches, but with their four children, they have all the happiness in the world.

Brood of Young Achievers

When you enter at the Pariñas’ house, a wall which frames all the certificates of the children’s participations to various activities and competitions are displayed. What adds glimmer to the wall of frames are the medals that flaunt the bright minds of the siblings.

Their eldest, Edleen Joy, a 4th year high school student, is doing well in class as she aspires to be a Teacher. She is also a member of the Drum and Lyre Corps and Drama Club of her school. Above all, she is skilled in taking good pictures and writing witty captions as the Photojournalist of their publication.

Next is the 10-year old Justine Edison who wants to wear the badge of service, honor and justice as a Policeman. He is also a consistent honor student and excels most in Science subject.

Dressed in white suit, that’s how Cristina Kate, in Grade II, sees herself in the future. Though she’s just a little girl, she has high hopes of becoming a Doctor. During her Grade I, she bested her classmates as she emerged as the 1st honor, and she continues to gain grades of flying colors. Aside from that, the little Cristina also wowed many people for her body-shaking and foot-stamping grooves as she was hailed as last year’s “Dancer of the Year.”

The other kiddo who gives pride to the Pariñas clan is the five-year old Marian, who is in Kindergarten. She may only be five, but she already began to reap recognition that truly make her mama and papa proud.

“Life is like a mirror, it becomes more beautiful when you smile at it.”

Cliché as it may sound, but this is what Aling Merlinda believes in. “Mahirap ka na nga, tapos malulungkot ka pa, eh di mas bibigat ang buhay mo. Pero kung nagagawa mong maging masaya sa gitna ng mga problema, kahit papano ang mga pasanin ay nagiging magaan,” she said. True to her words, Aling Merlinda maintains optimism in her everyday life.

Because of her positive attitude towards life, many blessings knocked at the doorsteps of the Pariñas’ residence.

Aling Merlinda is employed as a Secretary in their Parish Church. This made her more hopeful that someday they will have a better life. She also has several engagements in the community.

When the conduct of census comes, she takes part as a barangay population worker. Currently, she is the Business Manager of the Parents-Teachers-Community Association (PTCA) of Diffun West Central School.

Interacting with different people is never difficult for her since she used to be a Parent Leader for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. But when her stint ended, she passed the title to other fellow beneficiary.

“Malaking tulong yung pagiging Parent Leader ko nuon, kasi napraktis yung pakikipag-usap at pakikihalubilo ko sa mga tao, na magkakaiba ang ugali at pananaw sa buhay,” shared Aling Merlinda.

When she was a Parent Leader, she relays announcements like the schedule of Family Development Session and updates to her fellow beneficiaries. But her greatest legacy to her members is to be positive despite financial shortcomings, despite life’s other challenges. Needless to say, Aling Merlinda surely inspired other Pantawid Pamiya beneficiaries to have an optimistic outlook in life.

She may no longer be a Parent Leader, but Aling Merlinda continues to be a loving wife to Mang Eddie, who works as a Jeep Driver. Hand in hand, they both work for their children.

The couple said that they now have bigger savings for their family’s future since the cash grants they receive help in financing the school expenses of their children. “Yung cash grant kasi na natatanggap namin, talagang nakalaan para sa pag-aaral ng mga bata. Tapos sa gamot din. Napakalaking tulong ng programa sa tulad namin, kasi ngayon kahit papaano may naitatabi na kami mula sa konting kita naming mag-asawa,” said Aling Merlinda.

A Happy Family

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a poverty alleviation program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor Filipino children aged 0-14 years old. The programs provide cash grants to the family beneficiaries in exchange of compliance to certain health and education conditionalities.

But greater that the augmentation support that Pantawid Pamilya gives, is the transformation of behavior among the family members, the parents and the children. Positive outlook amidst struggles and hope for a brighter future, through the program, these values were inculcated in the minds and in the hearts of the Pariñas family.

They may not have it all together, but as long as they are together, they have it all. The Pariñas family has their own place of paradise. And no wealth in the world could ever top that. ###By MARICEL B. ASEJO, Pantawid Information Officer II

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