Many are lucky enough to have the ideal setup of a complete family, but for Esther, life has navigated her into a different and challenging, yet, happy and strong family.

Living in the culturally-rich town of Bontoc, Mountain Province, Esther, now 45, had her usual busy day from her work as a Utility Worker at the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC).

While having her break time from work, Esther willingly and proudly shared her life story.

As a full-time mother and a first-time grandmother, she shared that life was never easy for her and for her family.

To provide for the needs of her children, she juggled multiple jobs as a market vendor, sari-sari store owner, and a job order utility worker.

Esther is blessed with four children which she considered as her wealth. Two are males and two are females.


Her greatest challenges

Because of financial struggles, Esther went abroad as an Overseas Filipino Worker in 1994. She stayed in the country of Jordan as a domestic helper for 10 years believing that she could help in elevating their life situation.

Unfortunately, life has redirected her fate. She had her first child, Kevin, to an Arabian descent. While she was pregnant at that time, she continued to work while raising Kevin.

Due to the series of events that transpired in her life, she went back to the country with her son to start a new life in 2004.

While managing to raise Kevin, she met Loreto, the father of her other three children.

However, Esther’s relationship with Loreto did not work well due to personal differences They separated their pair in 2020.


Staying strong

Despite the setbacks, Esther was able to step-up from her dire relationship with her strong personality and positive disposition in life.

According to Esther, it was in 2011 when the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) came as a blessing to her family.

The program was to the rescue, as Esther recalled, because her family was struggling financially at that time. How could she provide the needs of her family without a stable source of income?

The program, as Esther claims, made her even stronger as she attributes how the  monthly Family Development Session (FDS) supplemented her spiritual, emotional, financial, and psychological capacities.

“I really appreciate the spiritual, moral, and life lessons and values that we learned from our family development sessions. It is a big help for us to stay strong despite the challenges in life,” Esther shared in their local language.


Giving back to the community

With her qualities as a leader, her fellow beneficiaries nominated her as a Parent Leader (PL) in their cluster. She serves as the coordinator of DSWD staff with their co-beneficiaries and assists the field staff in various 4Ps activities.

Esther shared, however, that being a PL is not an easy task. Aside from the voluntary efforts she does, there are some erring beneficiaries, according to her, that are fully dependent from the cash grants they are receiving.

Wada talaga san nawerwer ay kakadwa ay beneficiaries nu mamingsan. San as-asaen da et san cash grant di 4Ps (There are some fellow beneficiaries who are hard-headed sometimes, they are fully dependent on the cash grant of 4Ps),” Esther shared.

Her innate strong and positive character as an adviser has helped her fellow beneficiaries change their erring attitude. Esther often gives advice and reminds them of the commitment they have oathed and signed for the program.

While serving as a PL, Esther actively participated in various organizations because she believes she can learn more and contribute something for her community.


Dream for her family

Despite the financial struggles, Esther remains strong and confident that her children will pursue their studies with her full support and guidance.

The first child, Kevin, is now happily married and currently with the Philippine Red Cross as a driver. Larry, the second child, is now a first year college student taking  Bachelor of Science in Criminology. Harvey and Lucita are in Grade 11 and Grade 10, respectively. Esther also hopes that her children could land a stable job in the future.

Still being challenged with the demands of life, Esther never loses hope on her dream to have a stable job in the government. Despite her age, she patiently took the Civil Service Commision-Career Service Examination (CSC-CSE).

After six tries of taking the exam, her strong courage and determination paid off. She passed the 2nd level eligibility of the CSC-CSE.

On the other hand, Esther and his ex-husband have a co-parenting arrangement in terms of financial support for the education of their children. Loreto provides allowance for their children on a monthly basis.

When asked how prepared her family to exit from the program. Esther responded in their local language, “I am always ready because I believe in my capacities that I can manage to find a living for my family.”

Esther may not have a stable source of income at the moment, but her strong disposition in life and the support of her four children keeps her going. As of now, she is waiting for a regular position in her workplace that she can apply for. ### DSWD-CAR Social Marketing Unit – Marlo C. Abyado, Jr., 4Ps Information Officer

Print Friendly, PDF & Email