Where’s Mang Mario?

I would never forget the day that I met Mang Mario…

One time, Our SocSci teacher asked us to take a photo of a social issue. It was Sunday when I decide to visit Manila and went to my father’s working place. There I saw my father helping an old man, an old man with dirt in his face, carrying bags of trashes in his hands, with sweat in his forehead, you know, like the typical image that we imagine in a poor old man. But, there’s something with Mang Mario that you won’t witness as life swift a move that made life much miserable than it has to be. It’s his smile, when my father will talk with him they are always laughing out loud, Mang Mario is a cheerful old man that neglects the fact that he is poor but filled with grace and hopes.

It was not the first time that I saw Mang Mario, my father works at the Asian Social Institue for 19 years and Mang Mario was already there. When I was a little girl, let’s say 8 years old my father used to bring me at his workplace for no one will took care of me at home. I’am always at the guard house sitting there waving at people with a cheerful smile if I have to, suddenly my smile fades when I saw an old man walking inside, my father went to help him with the garbages, I was so young and innocent and frightened at the same time with how he looks (the effects of watching telenovelas and movies). He look at me and to my father again, having no doubt that I’m my father’s daughter with how I’m mold with my father’s features, he smile at me and back to my father then mouthed thanks before leaving with  bags og trash and a box of meal on his other hand.

 “Salamat po”

him with the life he has then admire him with his determination and great perseverance to live, dwell, and survive each day.

Mang Mario is one of the evidence that we can see in the continuing persistence of poverty. It is quite saddening that, there are still people like Mang Mario who deals and dwells with the unfathomable life beyond the city of Manila.

He was always in the noisy street of Leon Guinto, Malate Manila. Collecting garbages in the morning, looking for scraps and bottles in the afternoon, and dwelling with the wild life of the night as the sun goes down, Mang Mario sleeps peacefully in the sidewalk and when the day would come again, the cycle of his life continues. I met him because of my father. My father works as a Security Guard in a School.

The first time that I saw Mang Mario was at the gate of my father’s working place. He was there carrying all the garbage bags and looking what’s inside of it, like his digging a sand to look for a treasure that can change the cycle of his life. I ask my father about Mang Mario and he just told me that what I saw was something that Mang Mario used to do every day for a living.

As I approach Mang Mario to ask him if I can take a photo of him while his doing his job, I was surprised with his politeness, and with the smile that he has on his face even if his life isn’t as good as it could be. “I’m poor,I know… But I’m rich with God’s grace and never-ending hopes.” He said when I asked him one time with how he sees his life. Mang Mario inspired me to strive more and to not lose hope with life, humanity, with my fears and with the struggles I have.

Now, he was no longer there I asked my father and just shrugs his shoulders, Mang Mario left suddenly. I may not now where the great old man is right now, but I know that God will lead him into a way he deserves and guide him with the life cycle he ought to be.


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Afraid of words with deeds, but not with thoughts from the whisper of the wind.

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