The Sleepy Guitar Vendor

I went for a walk today. I brought my camera with me and see which scenes it’s going to make me capture. I was thinking of writing reviews for restaurants but found myself shooting people along the streets. I am inspired, touched and moved in every story I was able to bring home with me.

Last 7 Months ago, I bought a guitar from this man. I saw him always carrying all these guitar along the streets then stopping by at this exact same spot before night. I passed by him again today. He was sitting trying not to fall asleep but he was very sleepy. I wish I could buy all his guitars. It was the guitar I bought for the old man working as cab driver who wanted to become a musician but couldn’t afford to buy. This guitar street seller was kind to give me one of his finest guitar even if I only had enough money for the smaller ones when I said I was buying it for the old man. Your family is lucky to have a husband and a father with such a big heart like yours.

It wasn’t a very busy time along the street so I kept walking to find something to eat. This father and his son spent time together playing and sitting behind their cart full of coconut while there was no customer.

After eating at one of my favorite restaurant to visit in Manila, I’ve crossed path with these two young men holding their balloons to sell along the streets. I knew the other boy was feeling a little bit embarrassed  but I admire these young men for trying to do something to earn. I used to be like them back in the day, when I was high school. I worked in a carnival to collect tokens on a running light. I was a little bit embarrassed because my classmates were looking down at me to see me work, I still  did it to be able to go to school.

This country is amazing! These simple things that the Filipino people do to keep living make this country different from others. We try and try because that’s is life. As long as you are still attached to your surrroundings, to people and still feel grateful, you are living the life. One day, we will all realized that it’s all those simple things that matter.




Same dream.

“When I was young my dream was to become a technician because I’m good at it. I have many clients who asks me repair their cars.

I’m happy with my life. 
 Sometimes when I’m not doing anything I just drive around my tricycle. We used to have a house here but we had to give up because we didn’t win the case and they had to demolish our houses to build a new apartment for rent but it’s okay, we’re not angry because I have my tricycle where I can sleep and it’s more breezy here better than the electric fan. I only go home to my children when it’s raining hard.

Saddest moment when my wife died, I didn’t think that I would lose her fast. It was horrible to lose her. It was unexpected. My wife was lovely and compassionate. At my age, I don’t dream anything but to be happy for the rest of my life, the same dream I had even when I was still a kid.

I’m happy when I see my grandchildren because they tickle me while I’m sleeping. They are naughty kids.

I just dream that all my grandchildren will finish school.”

Ato, Manila

A Taxi driver’s love story.

 She was working next door as a baby sitter. I see her every time I come home from school. I asked her name, she said she kept it inside a treasure box. So I told her, maybe she should bring it with her the next time I see her.
Then I saw her again, I asked her if she finally brought her name or else it would be disrespectful to pass by a beautiful woman every day and I couldn’t greet her by her first name. Finally she told me her name. It was ANA. I always saw her watched while I was studying at our window. You know women during the time when they like you; you can tell by the way they look at you. 

I remember my brother told me once when Ana went to the house to use the phone: ‘If you want to marry soon, You have to learn to stand on your own feet and make sure you know the kind of situation you’re putting yourself into’. I didn’t know he was courting her. I was 16 years old.

Once, I invited her to have lunch with me, but she wasn’t allowed to go anywhere out, so brought her food at their house. We enjoyed our conversations that we forgot about time. In the evening, she saw me saw hey being shouted by her employer and I knew she felt embarrassed so she left her job.

She stayed at my aunt and there was one night after they have been drinking with my cousins, one of them tried to sleep with her while she was asleep, she ran away and went to my house crying. She told me what happen so I went back there with her pretending I was her boyfriend and talked to my cousin. I told him what he did was wrong and disrespectful. 

The next day, I asked her if she likes me, I told her that I didn’t want to waste my time, and it’s going to end up there anyway so there was no use of courtship. She told me it was okay with her. I was still studying but we can get our own apartment. We rented an apartment for only 20 pesos then we bought 50 cents for a kilo of rice during the time. I went to work while studying and earning 350 pesos monthly salary for being electrician. I wanted to prove my brother that I can stand on my own feet. I saved money to start a small restaurant.

It was August when we had our first baby. We got married and had our baby’s baptism the same day. I finished my school, then afterwards we had 3 more children.

 I and my brother applied as a Seaman. After few days, the employer called me to discuss about the salary. He said he was going to pay me 350 pesos a month. I asked him if he could push until 550 but he only approved 350. 

I went home to my wife and told her about the job and that I’m leaving soon. She was crying. She had no idea that I was kidding. I wiped her tears off and told her I was making fun of her. I didn’t want to leave to earn three hundred fifty pesos. But then my brother told me I should work abroad to save money because my children are growing fast. I grabbed the opportunity but first I asked my brother to spare me 10 more days before I go because I need to teach my wife what to do. 

I couldn’t watch her while I let her do things with the kids alone. I told her to rest while I’m away and watch after the kids and I will take care of everything. We closed down the restaurant.

I worked in Saudi for 12 years until all my children finished college. I bought us ‘house and lot’ and also a Jeepney for source of income then I came back home. I don’t smoke and drink. I spent my sleepless nights talking to my wife. 

I saw my friends dating other women. I was there to remind them about those reasons why we were working abroad. What was our main reason? Our goal why we ended up abroad? It’s for the family right? I asked them how could they trade their family for an entertainment.

Temptations are only visible if you give them attention. Remember that once the trust is broken, it’s forever going to leave a mark. Think about your children, they are going to remember what you did to them.

When you’re married, you need to keep an open mind, self-discipline and lots of patience and utmost respect for each other. Never ever shout or hurt your wife. It’s normal that sometimes you give her reason to be sad but there should be more reason for her to smile. Think of the words before you speak. 

And before you get married, you have to make sure you know where you’re putting yourself into. If you do everything from the heart, then you will know the right things to do.   

 If you’re just going to stay at your parent’s house, you’ll never know how it feels to become parents. You will never figure out what your family needs the most. You must learn how to create your own home. It’s the most amazing feeling to become a father. 

 “I never hurt her. I still court her every now and then. She always laughs whenever I came home with flowers. When I’m at work, I call her to tell her I miss her. And when she’s angry, I give her time, I listen and then I will go for a walk and when I come home, she says sorry then embraces me.

Were together since we were 16 and she was 15 years old. 45 years of marriage and I still ask her out for dinner from time to time.

 RICARDO, Makati