Thomasian TAO: Children of Modern Filipino Heroes

TAO4

Story by Rallieza Carbajosa, Grade 10-SMAT

Photos by Marifel Alfaro

San Carlos City, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL—Colegio de Sto. Tomas-Recoletos’ Thomasian na Anak OFW is a special group of students who are children of Overseas Filipino Workers. Established in 2016, TAO envisions to provide holistic support system to Thomasians whose parents are OFW. Inevitably, these children are products of absentee and alternative parenting. TAO is committed to hold an annual acquaintance fellowship day to introduce these students to a Thomasian community of children of OFWs.

Last August 23, 2019, the group had a gathering which the CST-R Students Development and Placement Center (SDPC) has been doing for the past 10 years. However, it was only in 2016 when the organization was finally established as TAO.

ABCDE for TAO

A Holy Eucharist at the St. Thomas of Villanueva Chapel-CST-R commenced the fellowship day that welcomed 63 seventh graders into the embrace of TAO.

Fray Vicente L. Ramon, Jr., OAR, whose own father once worked overseas, related during his homily that, “I [would] only see my father three times a year.”

Fray Ramon shared how the first five letters of the alphabet helped him survive that difficult phase of his growing years. He emphasized that TAO members and OFW children should always remember the following:

A means Always Pray. He reminded everyone to always pray for their parents’ safety.

B means Believe That You are Loved. “They work because of their love for you; their motivation is that you are loved by them and they want the best education for you,” Fray Ramon lectured.  

C means Count Your Blessing. “We dwell on the negative, on the things that we don’t have.” He continued, “In spite of [your parent’s] absence, you receive a blessing and you should count that.”

D means Deliver Your Share. The share of OFW children, according to Fray Ramon, is to do well with their studies.  “Their sacrifice will not be in vain when you study well and do good in school.”

E means Enjoy [Your Parent’s] Presence. Since OFW parents rarely come home, their children must enjoy their company and be happy that they have come home. He added that, “Thomasian students should be the best anak of OFW.”

Having been greeted with a high five from the facilitators, TAO members entered the next phase of the fellowship day with high energy and gusto.

Awareness versus Stigma

Ms. Ma. Nita V. Bolo, MAEd, RGC, CST-R Guidance Counselor, shared her experiences when she herself was an OFW. The sharing allowed the new TAO members to realize that the set-up of their family is not an isolated case and that there are several individuals who understand their concerns and struggles.

Ms. Bolo later on discussed the three different types of OFW which are the Immigrants, who are permanent residents abroad, the Irregular Migrants, and third are the Overseas Contract Workers, who periodically work abroad within a specified contract.

Included in the orientation was tagging the members to key acronyms relevant to them and their family like: OFW or Overseas Filipino Worker, OWWA or Overseas Worker Welfare Administration, POEA or Philippines Overseas Employment Administration, DOLE or Department of Labor and Employment and, of course, TAO or Thomasian na Anak OFW.

“Please remember all these acronyms so that when your parents mention these you have an idea that where she’s going is important.”

Unfortunately, during the discussion about the 10 major occupational categories of OFWs, it turned out that many TAO members, just like many OFW children, do not even know where exactly their parents work or what exactly do they do for a living abroad. This lack of awareness among the family members of the Philippines’ “biggest tax payers” contribute highly to the stress that OFW children deal with.

Based on government data, OFWs bring in an “estimated 185.6 B” of remittances from April to December 2018 alone. OFWs are now the modern-day heroes for the economy of the Philippines is afloat because of their contribution.

Coping Mechanisms for an OFW Kid

During the 15-minute postcard making session, two TAO members showed their works.

Elsie shared a picture of a girl saying that “Even though she came from a broken family she still manages to stand up and live life.” Another member opened up how “I miss my father so much.” Joel’s tearful but brief sharing also made other TAO members emotional.

Little do some OFW children know the main reasons for their parent’s decision to work abroad like the high unemployment rate here, the low salary for professionals, the persistence of contractual employment, and the poor benefits. Despite these varying reasons, still OFW children need to cope with either alternative parenting or solo parenting. They need to adjust and, at a young age, try to be independent and responsible.

Charry Giltentez, a senior high school daughter of an OFW father, shared her life story to inspire and encourage fellow TAO members. “Even though your parents are not here, you should encourage yourself, you should be strong and you should guide yourself even when they are not here.”

True to the most common symbol of OFWS, TAO members went through the “Balikbayan Box” activity. Participants wrote all the possible things that can be found in a balikbayan box in just five minutes. The activity aimed to teach gratitude for both material and non-material blessings and recognition to gift givers, the most common role of OFW parents in the lives of their children.

The last workshop of the acquaintance fellowship highlighted key points in the developing life of an OFW child including the hardest moment, the unforgettable moment, the unforgettable pasalubong, the biggest challenge, the silver lining and wish.

“I just believe that me and my Mama will be reunited and promised her that I will give back  all her sacrifices and hardwork for me,” Carla spoke in between tears of hope. This is here eponymous “silver lining.”

TAO is Support System

CST-R TAO organizes activities, group dynamic sessions and fellowships throughout the school year to provide children of OFW a support system with whom they can share their struggles. It is made possible with the management of SDPC and the volunteer Thomasians of Team Event.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colegio de Santo Tomas-Recoletos

CST-R Correspondent

Correspondent, Colegio de Sto. Tomas-Recoletos

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< 2023 >
January
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12
  • All day
    January 2, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Bro. Conrado Flores, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Emma Toro, SAR (Valencia Chapter)
    Sis. Marcelina Nicolas, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Erlinda Casaje, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Arsenia Villanueva (Trial / Urbiztondo Chapter)
    Charlene Catchillar (RAY-Urbiztondo)
    Jorge Datuin (RAY-Urbiztondo)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION

    (2021-2023)
    Fray Chrislean Rey Pamilaga

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sis. Rizalina Salera, SAR (Cavite Chapter)

3
  • All day
    January 3, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Br. Danny Cabuslay Jr. (aspirant)
    Sr. Ma. Bella Mojica, AR
    Sis. Basilisa Espinola, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
    Sis. Carmencita Abis, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Melodina Paragat, SAR (Talisay Chapter)
    Sis. Estelita Buenavista, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Angelina Bacalso, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Tita Montemayor (Tondo Chapter / Trial)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Clemencia Ranin, AR

4
  • All day
    January 4, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Bro. Ernil Orbecido, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Sis. Mary Grace Susas, SAR (Talisay Chapter)
    Sis. Ma. Cristina Domingo, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
    Bro. Nenito Javarez (Puerto Prtincesa Chapter / Trial)
    Fran Cheska Marie Andan (RAY-Laray)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Regina Cadiz, AR
    +Sr. Adelaida Elli, AR

5
  • All day
    January 5, 2023

    FUNERAL OF THE LATE +POPE-EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI

    BIRTHDAY

    Br. Jude Dacullo (postulant)
    Sis. Estelita Divinagracia, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
    Sis. Emiliana Carao, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Bro. Jose Pepito Bonete Jr., SAR (Puerto Princesa Chapter)
    Sis. Yulanda Lim, SAR (Trial / Miranila Chapter)
    Leila Barizo (RAY-Cavite)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Fray Casiano Cosmilla
    +Sr. Ma. Cleofe Claro, AR

6
  • All day
    January 6, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Sis. Sylvia Evina, SAR (Puerto Princesa Chapter)
    Sis. Grace Aba-a, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Aurora Decipolo, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)
    Sis. Remedios Solatan, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Dominga Torregosa, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Juana de la Merced, AR
    +Bro. Rustico Magdales, SAR (Manila Chapter)

7
  • All day
    January 7, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Sis. Eliza Stubbs, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
    Sis. Ma. Lorelie Cabanes, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)

8
  • All day
    January 8, 2023

    SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY

    HOMETOWN THANKSGIVING MASS

    Fray Cristito Rey Tepace, OAR
    St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church
    Laoang, Northern Samar / @1600H

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Ian Anthony Espartero
    Sr. Leticia Cerdeño, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION

    Most Rev. Julito Cortes, D.D. (Diocese of Dumaguete)

9
  • All day
    January 9, 2023

    FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

    PROVINCE-LEVEL CHRISTMAS PARTY
    Venue: Provincial Curia
    Time: 1200H

    BIRTHDAY

    Br. Joshua Miguel Salmon (postulant)
    Sr. Rosario Bianes, AR
    Sis. Marcelina Taguinod, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Dominga Gargarita, AR

10
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    January 10, 2023

    OAR FORMANDS’ CONVENTION START
    Venue: CARES, Baguio City
    Inclusive Dates: January 10-12, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Br. Jayson Solmayor (postulant)
    Sis. Shirley Ostia (Tondo Chapter / Trial)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Luz Asuncion Nitura, AR
    +Sr. Paulina de la Purisima Corazon de Maria, AR

11
  • All day
    January 11, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Catalina Ruiz, AR
    Sis. Elena Dagdag, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    Ian Gabrielle Canlubo (RAY-Cavite)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Zita Lloren, AR
    +Sis. Elena Caballero, SAR (San Carlos Chapter) f

12
  • All day
    January 12, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Reynaldo Jaranilla
    Sis. Josephine Guinto, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Fortunata Gaspillo, AR
    +Bro. Hilario Torcedo, SAR (Baguio Chapter)

13
  • All day
    January 13, 2023

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION

    (1998-2023)
    Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D. (Archdiocese of Cebu)

    BIRTHDAY

    Bro. Jonathan Casiño, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Bro. Antonio Sonsona, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Mo. Rosario Rosales, AR

14
  • All day
    January 14, 2023

    HOMETOWN THANKSGIVING MASS

    Fray James Erold Gatinao, OAR
    St. Joseph the Husband of Mary Parish Church
    Poblacion, Narra, Palawan / @900H

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Emilia Madrigal, AR
    Bro. Jose Valdez, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Luisa Gumiran, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Bro. Patrich Miguel Ajos (Bacolod Chapter / Trial)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sis. Esterlita Gracia, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    +Sis. Aurea Figura, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    +Sis. Vicenta Prado, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

15
  • 4:04 PM
    January 15, 2023

    FEAST OF THE STO. NINO

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Anthony Irineo
    Sr. Ma. Marcela de la Cruz, AR
    Bro. Maximo Epanto, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Virgen de la Consolacion, AR

16
  • All day
    January 16, 2023

    COMMEMORATION OF THE DEAD RELATIVES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE ORDER

    ANNUAL RETREAT (THIRD BATCH)
    Retreat Master: Fr. Elias Ayuban Jr., CMF
    Theme: “Synodality and Charismatic Identity”
    Venue: Talavera House of Prayer, Cebu City
    Inclusive Dates: January 15-19, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Br. Jhon Russel Manalstas (aspirant)
    Br. Janrhey Palmis (aspirant)
    Mo. Maria del Carmen, OAR (Bacolod)
    Sr. Zerah Cordero, AR
    Sis. Alice Mojica, SAR (Cavite Chapter)
    Sis. Bernarda Tan, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Melissa Sandil, SAR (Manila Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sis. Lucia Degamo, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    +Sis. Ma. Amelia Casiño, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    +Bro. Rustico Magdales, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    +Sis. Cleofe Alvarez, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    +Sis. Carmencita Victorino, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    +Sis. Lucila Young, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

17
  • All day
    January 17, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Corvin Maturan
    Sis. Belen Taniagao, SAR (Miranila Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Celedonia de la Santissima Trinidad, AR
    +Sr. Cesaria Barbarona, AR

18
  • All day
    January 18, 2023

    WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
    January 18-25, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Joseph Dexter Palagtiosa
    Sis. Guia Gonzales, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Ma. Christina So, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Rhea Canania (RAY-Urbiztondo)

19
  • All day
    January 19, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    FRAY MIGUEL ÁNGEL HERNÁNDEZ, OAR (Prior General)
    Sr. Cleofe Maria Agua, AR
    Sis. Angelica Tejada, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Myrna Amante, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Teodora Delus, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    Sis. Sheny Valerio, SAR (Urbiztondo Chapter)
    Sis. Rosario Grace Roldan, SAR (Manila Chapter / Trial)

20
  • All day
    January 20, 2023

    ST. SEBASTIAN (Patron Saint of Manila & Cavite Communities, Diocese of Bacolod)

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Adelina Reyes, AR
    Sis. Mercedes Velada, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sis. Bibiana Madrietta, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

21
  • All day
    January 21, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Urbano Galanido
    Fray Jerome Virtudazo
    Sis. Leticia de Silva, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    Sis. Alicia Catulong, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Ofelia Balocating, SAR (Urbiztondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sis. Flaviana Minoza, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

22
  • All day
    January 22, 2023

    SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD

    [Pope   Francis’   Apostolic   Letter, Motu   proprio Aperuit  illis, published on  30 September 2019, establishes that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is   to   be   devoted   to   the   celebration, study   and
    dissemination of the Word of God”.]

    BIRTHDAY

    Most Rev. Victor Bendico, DD (Bishop of Baguio)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Bro. Jovito Padua, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)

23
  • All day
    January 23, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Bro. Marciano Cleofas, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Gloria Acosta, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Esterlina Silva, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)
    Sis. Rose Marie Gaspar, SAR (Valencia Chapter)
    Sis. Melba Cariño, SAR (Puerto Princesa Chapter)
    Judith Mondejar (RAY-Caidiocan)
    Kathrine Bacalso (RAY-Laray)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Gertrudis del Pilar, AR
    +Sr. Cresencia Vailoces, AR
    +Sis. Felisa Torrecampo, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

24
  • All day
    January 24, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Ma. Paz Bawagan, AR
    Sr. Faith Niña Fuertes, AR
    Sis. Florida San Juan, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Raymunda Co, SAR (Laray Chapter)
    Sis. Ma. Paz Chico, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    Analyn Martinez (RAY-Valencia)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Bro. Teofilo Jabonero, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

25
  • All day
    January 25, 2023

    SOLEMNITY OF THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL

    BIRTHDAY

    Bro. Rodelio Gasparillo, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Bro. Feddie Junsay Jr., SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Joelle Maria Mendoza (RAY-Miranila)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sr. Ma. Lucia Sagmit, AR

26
  • All day
    January 26, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Cristopher Maspara
    Br. Ken Joshua Manalo (aspirant)
    Sis. Henrietta Morales, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Emenciana Cabaral, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION

    (2005-2023)
    Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, D.D. (Diocese of Imus)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sis. Margarita Zafra, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

27
  • All day
    January 27, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Marilyn Cula, AR
    Sr. Remilyn Leonido, AR
    Sis. Evelyn Balingit, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Florepis Vergara, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Welim Husayan (Laray Chapter / Trial)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Sis. Murita Jara, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    +Sis. Eusebia Siarez, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

28
  • All day
    January 28, 2023

    HOMETOWN THANKSGIVING MASS

    Fray Julius James Tinapao, OAR
    Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church
    Bayawan City, Negros Oriental / @1000H

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Louie Gabinete
    Sis. Lita Lorenzo, SAR (Manila Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Fernanda del Pilar, AR
    Sr. Ines Garcia, AR

29
  • All day
    January 29, 2023

    4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

    70th WORLD LEPROSY DAY BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Francisca Rojas, AR
    Sis. Lourdes Insigne, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Anecita Paglinawan, SAR (Laray Chapter)
    Sis. Angelina Duhig, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Jona Mendoza (RAY-Miranila)
    Marielet Vital (RAY-Urbiztondo)

30
  • All day
    January 30, 2023

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Jonathan Caballero
    Sr. Angelica Fuentes, AR
    Sr. Pascualina Peral, AR
    Sis. Violeta Siozon, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Fedencia de la Cruz, SAR (Brooke’s Point Chapter)
    Sis. Minerva Alcarde, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)
    Sis. Evangeline Castro, SAR (Urbiztondo Chapter)
    Sis. Julieta Dawa, SAR (Laray Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY

    +Bro. Jay Rosauro Cortez, SAR (Manila Chapter

31
  • All day
    January 31, 2023

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO CONGO-KINSHASA
    (January 31 – February 3)

    DAY 1: ROME-KINSHASA

    07:55     Departure by airplane from Rome/Fiumicino International Airport to Kinshasa
    15:00     Arrival at Kinshasa “Ndjili” International Airport
    15:00     OFFICIAL WELCOME
    16:30     WELCOME CEREMONY at the “Palais de la Nation”
    16:45      COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC in the “Salle Présidentielle” of the “Palais de la Nation”
    17:30      MEETING WITH AUTHORITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS in the garden of the “Palais de la Nation”

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Josephine Ativo, AR
    Sis. Saturnina Antolihao, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Lance Raven Lapinig (RAY-Talisay)

    

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