MANILA, Philippines – During Valentine’s Day, it’s common to hear stories of people going the extra mile to make their loved ones happy. This year, the story of an old man who managed to touch, and even inspire, total strangers with his handcrafted products may be added to that list of stories.
On Febuary 6, Facebook user JC Valera, a graduating hotel and restaurant management student at the Technological University of the Philippines, took a photo of an old man selling small handcrafted bears and other small animals at just P10 each.
The man was identified as Pedro “Pedring” Desoloc, a 60-year-old resident of Cavite.
Valera said what struck him about Desoloc was the senior’s sheer joy when they bought his product.
“Noong naglalakad kami ng tropa ko pauwi galing SM Dasma, may nakita po kaming vendor sa may kanto, nagtitinda po ng pang-Valentines gift. Mas na-touch ‘yung puso ko nung nakita ko ‘yung smile ni tatay nung nakita niyang nagustuhan namin ‘yung gawa niya,” Valera said in his post.
(When my friends and I was walking on our way home from SM Dasma, we saw a vendor in one corner, selling Valentine gifts. My heart was touched when I saw tatay smile when he saw that how much we liked his product.)
Valera shared that he remembered his father, an overseas Filipino worker, when he saw Desoloc.
“Kaya ko po na i-share ito dahil may ama rin po ako. Alam ko po na di biro ang trabaho at responsibilidad ng pagiging ama. Saludo po ako kay Tatay Pedring, at lalo na po sa aking ama nakikipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa po mapatapos lang po ako sa aking pag-aaral,” Valera said in his viral post.
(I shared this because I also have a father. I know that it’s not easy to work and bear the responsibility of being a father. I salute Tatay Pedring, and especially my father who’s working hard overseas just to support my studies.)
The post went viral. As of posting, the photo racked up over 31,000 reactions and 4,600 comments, and was shared at least 15,000 times.
In a phone interview, Desoloc told Rappler that he first felt afraid when Valera asked to take his photo.
“Noong una natakot ako, pero sabi niya pati tinda ko, at sinabi niya na ipopost nya. Nalaman ko nga lang kinabukasan na nagviral na ‘yung picture, sabi ng anak ko,” Desoloc shared.
(At first, I got scared, but he said he would include my wares, and he said he would post it. I learned the following day from my child that the picture went viral.)
Overwhelmed by all the praises he received on social meida, the old man has nothing but gratitude for Valera and all the netizens who shared and commented on the post. He said that since then, people had inquired about his work.
“Natutuwa ako. Sa ngayon marami sa aking natawag mga order, meron ngang taga-Ilocos Sur, taga-Quezon, kaso di na ko natanggap nang sobrang layo, kasi sa totoo lang kapos ako sa puhunan. Kaya hindi ako masyado nakuha, kasi mapapahiya lang rin naman ako na tanggap ako nang tanggap nang hindi ko naman lahat kaya tinatantsa ko muna,” said Desoloc.
(I’m happy. As of now, I received many calls for orders from people in Ilocos Sur, from Quezon, but I didn’t accept them because they’re so far. The truth is, I don’t have enough capital. So I didn’t accept [orders] because I’ll embarrass myself if I keep on accepting work but I’m not able to finish everything so I’m still gauging it.)
Desoloc uses cloth, rubber slippers, and paper cups to make small animals and bears with wife Peninita. It has been his family’s primary source of income for almost two decades. They sell their products in various areas in Cavite.
He said he also supplies to someone during Christmas, but after the holidays, he doesn’t get any orders. This is why he goes from town to town all year round.
He said he thought of doing the business because he was getting old and to support his family. “Matanda na kasi ako kaya ito ang naisip kong gawin, para hindi na ako mamamasukan, gusto ko pa rin suportahan ang pamilya ko.” (I’m old already that’s why I thought of doing this, so that I don’t need to work for others anymore. I still want to support my family) – Rappler.com