#InspireCourage: Stories that inspire courage and resilience

Raisa Serafica
#InspireCourage: Stories that inspire courage and resilience
Amid the vitriol-fueled posts, we have seen several stories of resilience and courage online – stories that go against the narrative of division and hatred dominating our online landscape

MANILA, Philippines – Online hate surged this year, apparent in figures and our collective day-to-day experiences.

And yet, amid the vitriol-fueled posts, we have also seen several stories of resilience and courage online – stories that went directly against the narrative of division and hatred dominating our online landscape.

In fact, many of these stories not only inspired its readers – they also united Filipinos and moved them to action. 

It was through these stories that we realized that while inflammatory messages on social media can be draining, the power of storytelling can challenge these and help reinforce our capacity to show and exhibit compassion. 

This year, in 2017, MovePH went around the Philippines to help tell the inspiring stories of the voiceless. 

The stories below are just some of those that renewed hope and inspired courage among Filipinos this 2017.

Tatay Amboy

Warlito Tumpap  is proof that there are no limits to what persons with disabilities like him can do.

Tumpap, or “Tatay Amboy” as people fondly call him, is unlike any other mechanic who does vulcanizing. He does not have legs after losing them to polio when he was still a child. 

His small vulcanizaing shop is tucked in the middle of the highway in Ilocos Norte. Sloppily covered by thin iron sheets, the vulcanizing shop caters to all kinds of ill-fated vehicles that break down along the long stretch of the highway. 

Kahit ganito ang kinakatayuan ko, sa isip ko eh may kapansanan man ang katawan ko, ang iniisip ko, wala ‘yung kapansanan ko. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako doon sa mga humahanga doon sa nagagawa ng katulad kong disabled.” Tumpap said.

(Even though I have a disability, in my mind, I don’t dwell on my handicap even if I am handicapped. That’s why I am thankful to those who admire the work of the disabled like me.) 

Nanay Ely

Luisa Pangindian, or Nanay Ely, is an 83-year-old vendor along the street of Tayuman in Manila. She is just one of thousands of Filipino indigent seniors who continue to work to make ends meet. 

Despite her age, Nanay Ely has no plans of soon retiring her small business. 

“‘Yung mga bumibili sa akin, ang mga masasabi nila? Natutuwa raw sila dahil sa edad ko raw, nakakapaghanapbuhay pa raw ako. Nakakagawa pa raw ako ng paraan. Dapat nga raw nagpapalimos na ako eh. Di ako nagpapalimos. Eh kasi meron naman akong [libangan],” she said.

(My customers are usually amused because I can still work despite my age. They say I can still find ways. They said I should be begging. I’m not begging for money. Besides I have my recreation.) 

As of posting, her video has been watched over 1.2 million times. Netizens praised Nanay Ely for her hard work, with many of them asking where they can buy her colorful bottle covers, sling bags, shoes, and purses.

Here’s how you can help her. 

Ryan Calamaan

Ryan Calamaan, a son of an Ilonggo farmer, is the latest addition to the La Salle Greenhills Greenies for the upcoming National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Juniors Basketball Tournament. The 6’4″-tall player started training immediately after representing Western Visayas in the Palarong Pambansa 2017.

Despite his undeniable talent in the court and the fame that comes with it, Ryan remains grounded.

“Put your heart and give your all in every game. If you have the talent, just keep on practicing. Don’t forget to pray and be thankful that you were given that ability,” Calamaan said in Hiligaynon. 

With all his current feats, Ryan is expected to follow the same path of other Ilonggo athletes who made a name in the national arena.  While the promise of a rewarding basketball career awaits, he never forgets the reason why he does what he does: his family. 

Dara Mae Tuazon 

Dara Mae Tuazon, an 18-year-old student from the University of the East, serves both as a student and a teacher. 

Tuazon has been teaching at least 30 street kids various practical and values-based lessons in her street mobile classroom along Gastambide Street in Manila. Through this, this student-teacher hopes to make a difference and help provide education for the Gastambide kids.

“Gusto ko po na makapag-aral sila, na makapagtapos – para pagdating ng panahon may magagamit sila. ‘Yung edukasyon kasi para sa kanila din. Doon sila makakapagtrabaho, ‘yun ‘yung panlaban nila sa labas,” she said.

(I want them to be able to study or graduate so when the time comes, they can use it. Education is also for them, too. It will allow them to work and overcome life’s challenges.)

Harry Marzan  

Breaking barriers and dancing with waves at the same time, Harry Marzan manages to paddle, balance, and gracefully surf despite not having a left arm.

While losing his arm was life-changing for the surfer, Marzan did not consider it as a reason to quit his passion. In fact, it only strengthened his resolve to be a better surfer. 

“Sa mga katulad ko sa mga PWDs, gawin niyo lang kung ano yung gusto niyong gawin. Kung saan kayo sasaya. Ahh, push yourself. Basta no limits. Kaya niyo ‘yan. Kung ako nga eh kaya ko.”

(To other PWDs like me, just follow your passion – whatever it is that makes you happy. Push yourself. There are no limits. If I can do it, so can you.) 

Elmer Padilla 

“Boy Tsinelas” Elmer Padilla made rounds online after photos of the action figures he made out of scraps of slippers were posted online. 

Elmer was also given the chance to give his products to Hollywood actors Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth. Ruffalo starred as The Hulk in The Avengers while Chris Hemsworth played the character Thor.

For him, it’s never too late to master a craft and pursue one’s passion.

“Kung mayroon man kayong nakikitang tulad ng ginagawa ko, pagbutihin niyo lang kung kayo ay may kakayahan, (If you see somebody who has the same skills as I have, do your best in mastering that skill),” he said

Project Liwanag 

Like many upland communities, the Aeta community from Sitio Caoayan in Capas, Tarlac did not have access to electricity. But their lives changed after a group of young graduates visited them.

A group called Project Liwanag installed solar panels in the community for free. 

The community chief’s son, Pablo Tarossa, 7, said that their community is grateful they finally have access to electricity. A Grade 2 student, Pablo said that before, he found it difficult to study when night fell.

“Before we didn’t have lights so we found it hard to read. Now that there’s light, we are happy because we can finally read at night,” Pablo said in Anci, a local language used by the Aeta community.

Pablo hopes that someday, he will be able to pay it forward. “When I finish studying, I hope to help other indigenous communities,” he told Rappler.

Mike Swift

The hundreds of Tenement residents who face the constant threat of eviction found a champion in an unlikely person. His name is Mike Swift. In the community, he goes by the monicker Mr Pinoy Hoops.

Swift firmly believes that every court can dream. And until his dreams for the Tenement court become real, he said he will stay and continue being a “soldier” for the community.

“There’s a long way to go. We are still looking for that turning point. Despite all the negativity, this is one of the positive things which they can look at,” he said.

George Cordovilla 

George Cordovilla is known for his undying commitment to preserve the beauty and rich biodiversity of Mayon. It is because of his love for the volcano that he earned the title “Tiger of Mt Mayon.” 

He was also one of the key figures who helped save tourists during a small phreatic event in Mt Mayon back in May 2013. 

For him, climbing a mountain is a balancing act between enjoying nature’s wonders and exercising responsibility. Ultimately, he wishes that people who climb share his love and passion for taking care of mountains.

“There is constant courtship. You will always pursue this beautiful maiden of Albay. The more you are challenged, the more you would be encouraged to pursue her,” Cordovilla said. 

Ernesto Quiwa

Ernesto David Quiwa, 70, spent most of his life making parols in the city of San Fernando in Pampanga.

“Parang hindi ako makatulog o balisa ako ‘pag hindi ako gumawa ng parol. Parang napapanaginip ko ‘yung Star of Bethlehem,” he told Rappler. (I can’t sleep or I feel restless when I don’t make lanterns. I sometimes dream of the Star of Bethlehem.)

Quiwa said that his only wish is to train the youth to make parols so that they can continue the tradition. – Rappler.com 

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Raisa Serafica

Raisa Serafica is the Unit Head of Civic Engagement of Rappler. As the head of MovePH, Raisa leads the on ground engagements of Rappler aimed at building a strong community of action in the Philippines. Through her current and previous roles at Rappler, she has worked with different government agencies, collaborated with non-governmental organizations, and trained individuals mostly on using digital technologies for social good.