BALIK PROBINSYA | Lola Emiliana, 72, longs for clean air of her hometown in Pangasinan

BALIK PROBINSYA | Lola Emiliana, 72, longs for clean air of her hometown in Pangasinan

Lola Emiliana Feliciano, 72, of Rodriguez compound, Rosario, Pasig, marked her birthday recently with a simple wish: to be back home in Pangasinan, where the clean air would be good for her ailing lungs, and food can be easily harvested.

Like millions living under quarantine forced by Covid-19, she has been confined for months to their makeshift house with her husband, Rogelio,68, and their 4 children on Tramo Street in Pasig City.

They had to build a makeshift home after their house was razed by fire last Christmas day (2019).

She was originally from Villasis, Pangasinan. She and six other siblings went to Manila after their parents died. She finished her high school in Pasig High School.

She sells anything from vegetables to candies and cigarettes among others, in Rosario, Pasig, where she met her future husband Rogelio, a kargador (carrier) inside the local talipapa (market).

After marriage, she began doing laundry for others while begetting and raising seven children. She did this until she got sick.

She then turned  to vending candies and cigarettes, but these days, that’s a hard proposition. “May kariton po ako, pero lagi ako hinuhuli, kinukuha po nila, candy lang natitira, hindi naman makakabuhay yun. Pero kung makakabenta ako sapat na pambiling bigas at ulam [I have a wooden car, but they always apprehend me and get all my goods, leaving only the candies. But on the days I can sell stuff, it’s enough for me to buy rice and viand].”

When the lockdown is lifted, she wants to avail herself of the DSWD Balik Probinsiya Bagong Pag-asa Program, hopeful that back in Pangasinan, she can breathe fresh air and heal herself. Catching her breath, she showed her prescription for her pulmonary disease. She said she has been taking medication for two years. “Nagkasakit ako sa paglalaba Gusto ko nang umuwi sa probinsiya sa anak ko sa Villasis, madaming talong at mais doon [I got sick from doing laundry. I want to return to my child in Villasis. There’s a lot of eggplants and corn there].”

She said in Filipino she is “thankful for government’s help.” But being a mother, she divided the cash aid she got to help her children as always. She shared her simple birthday wish:

“At sana humaba pa buhay ko para magkita pa kami ng mga kapatid ko at mga apo ko [I hope I can live longer so I can be reunited with my siblings and grandchildren].”

She is the third of seven children; two siblings have died. She has 22 grandchildren.— Source: Bernard Testa /

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