Written By Cervin Bariso, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
It is really in parents’ hearts to pass on to their children the most significant gift of all, education. No matter how hard the path may be to the end of the journey, a diploma will still always be the brightest goal.
Felimon Olino, Jr. is one of those fathers who greatly appreciate the gift of education. He, at the same time, is among those who strive hard to offer this to his children. “Hindi namin gustong maghirap din ang mga anak namin. Dati, gustuhin man naming mag-aral, hindi namin magawa dahil walang pera (We do not want to pass on poverty to our children. Before, as much as we would want to study, we couldn’t because we didn’t have money),” he said. He perseveres because he knows the consequences of illiteracy.
At the age of 45, Felimon works hard for his wife and six children. For him, combating poverty demands just letting sickness pass through sleep after a long day at the one hectare farm he’s renting. With just enough to send his children to school and with his desire to not let them starve, Felimon chose to make himself the least priority. “Lagpas dalawampung taon na po nang huli akong nakapagpa-bunot ng ngipin. Natatandaan ko binata pa ako noon (It’s been more than twenty years since I had my last dental check-up. I remember I was still single at the time),” he said, narrating his experience in a medical mission conducted by another organization in their place.
Felimon was one of the 94 individuals served by Operation Blessing Philippines (OB) through dental check-up in Barangay Bato, Taytay, Palawan. He actually came to the site not expecting to have his tooth problem treated. Upon learning of the free services being offered by OB in Bato National High School, he hurriedly accompanied his 16-year-old son, Jaymark.
As always, Felimon’s main concern was his child. Jaymark’s face was swollen because of a decaying tooth that remained untreated. His case was called facial cellulitis due to dental abscess according to the volunteer dentist. But aside from the child’s health problem, Felimon’s worry was his future. If his condition remained longer, he would have to sacrifice more days in the classroom. The bright future he envisioned for his eldest was threatened.
He doubled his work on the farm, and took good care of the crops for good harvest. Unfortunately, when typhoon Queenie ravaged their place, more than half of the palay (rice grain) he was expecting to reap vanished in an instant. ”Gagamitin na sana namin ‘yung pera para sa pag-aaral n’ya upang mapabunot ‘yung ngipin n’ya (We were already planning to use the money we saved for his education to have his tooth extracted),” Felimon explained.
Now that both the father and the son have been treated, the future’s even brighter. Aside from them, Felimon’s wife and two children were also checked by OB’s medical and dental doctors. They also received medicines and vitamins. “Malaki talaga ang pasasalamat ko sainyo at sa Panginoon. Bihira kaming maabot dito ng ganitong serbisyo (We really thank you and the Lord for what you’re doing. We’re rarely reached by this kind of service here),” Felimon said with a thankful heart.
If OB did not take the courage to go to Barangay Bato, Taytay, Palawan, Felimon and the rest of the people there would have waited another 20 years or more to be given primary healthcare. And if OB’s partners did not respond to the call to share their resources for our kababayans, OB may have not been able to reach the unreached people in Palawan.
Let’s continue to be partners and transform lives one family, one community, at a time! Let’s not stop inspiring change!