Julyka Echavez

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I am Julyka, I was born in a rich family at nag-iisang anak nina Doctora Echavez at Engineer Echavez.
My parents are both busy in their chosen fields. Kaya lagi akong nag-iisang naiiwan sa bahay kasama ang isang dosena naming mga maids and bodyguards.
I am studying at a prestigious international school when I was in elementary. Si Yaya Emil ang laging naghahatid sundo sa akin.

Minsan isang araw, matagal makarating ang driver namin para sumundo sakin. Yaya Emil said na ipapasyal nya daw muna ako. Sumakay kami sa isang jeepney. It's my first time to commute.

Mausok, mainit at maingay.

Bumaba kami ni yaya Emil sa isang lansangan din na sakop pa ng Manila.

That's the time that I've seen the real world. A world where you need to work hard in order to have money. There were street children lurking the street not in their uniforms but on their rugged clothes. May mga dala silang basahan. I don't know but my heart feels sorrowful just by watching my fellow children.
Sa murang edad ko hindi ko naranasan ang mag hirap. I grew up with a golden spoon feeding my mouth. I study in a prestigious school while this children cannot study because of poverty.
It's the time that I've realized never to waste money, never to hate my parents because they are always away and never to take for granted everything.

When I was in grade 7 I transferred in a public school. Dad was furious as hell, but I already made up my mind. I admit that it's hard to adjust from a private school to a public school. There are no air-conditioning, the books are too old and there are so many students in one classroom. But I endured it. Naisip ko yung mga batang lansangan.

Yung libo-libong tuition fee ko na dapat sana'y ipambayad ko kung sa isang international school uli ako mag-aaral ibinibigay ko sa foundation for street children's na aking itinayo. Yung iba iniipon ko sa aking pondo para mabigyan ng livelihood ang kanilang mga magulang. I know that this is not my responsibility. They are not my responsibility. Kaya ko naman, why not di ba?

Yaya Emil and I only knew of this secret. Dahil pag nalaman ito ni Dad, panigurado magpifreak-out na naman iyon. Ayaw na ayaw nyang nakikipagsalamuha ako lalong-lalo na sa mga pulubi at mga batang lansangan. But hell, I just can't stand to just look at them knowing na kaya ko naman tumulong.

I was in third year high school when my fund is already enough to build a simple kiosk. I called it "pangkabuhayan micro business". In just a year, it is now ready to rock the micro business world. The parents are so happy knowing that they have a livelihood to begin with now. A livelihood where there is no qualifications needed only skills and expertise.

I graduated my high school in a public school. After I graduated, Dad enrolled me in a university in California. I was so sad that time knowing na matagal pa ako bago makakabalik sa bansang ito. I was sad dahil maiiwan ko ang mga kaibigan ko dito.

I took up civil engineering and architecture in college. That's why it took me eight years in college. After graduation, I applied in a construction company in states. I work there for two years.

After almost ten years of staying in United States, I decided to go back in the Philippines. I came home with mom and dad holding a banner saying

"welcome home anak"

"congratulations, we love you".

I was so overwhelmed to see them. This is the first time that I've seen them both in our mansion. Bagay na hindi ko naranasan makita simula bata palang ako dahil parehas silang busy. For my twenty six years of existence laging si Yaya Emil lang ang kasama ko. Pati noong nasa America ako si Yaya Emil din ang nag-aalaga sa akin. Dad would come home to check on me and then after an hour he will be gone. Same also with mom. 'Pag gabi naman tulog na ako kapag sila'y dumating at nakaalis na bago pa ako gimising sa umaga. But it never come on my mind to hate my Mom and Dad. Dahil may mga street people akong matatawag na pamilya. Hindi ko man sila kadugo pero mahal ko sila dahil isa din sa kanila ang taong nag-aalaga at nagmamahal sa akin. Si Yaya Emil.

I hugged both of my parents. After some small talks with them, I decided to visit those street children. Ako lang mag-isa dahil ayaw kong mapagod pa si Yaya Emil.

I was with my car and a few bodyguards are following me. Because Dad won't let me out kung wala akong  dalang gwardya.

I noticed that the infrastructures and establishments are far more industrialised than the last time I was here in this country.
I haven't seen the small establishment that I've built ten years ago. Napalitan na ito ng mga matataas na gusali. Wala na rin akong nakikitang mga batang lansangan na pagala-gala. Baka pinalipat sila ng gobyerno sa ibang lugar.
Nanlumo ako sa ideyang pumapasok sa aking isipan. Kumusta na kaya ang mga batang 'yun? Sana naman nakapagtapos sila ng kanilang pag-aaral.

Minutes later I decided to go home but someone caught my attention. It's Mang Kulas, nakasuot ito ng uniporme. Mukhang papasok na ito ng trabaho. Desinte ito tingnan, malayo sa gusot-gusot nitong kasuotan dati.

Nakita nya ako kaya nginitian ko sya pero mukhang hindi nya ako kilala dahil nakarehistro sa kanyang mukha ang nagtataka. Pero kalaunan lumiwanag din ang kanyang mukha at masaya'ng lumapit sa akin. Niyakap nya ako ng napakahigpit at nakipagkamustahan sa akin. Kinwento din nya ang tungkol sa pagiging successful ng negosyo na ipinatayo ko. Dahilan para makapagtapos ng pag-aaral ang kanilang mga anak.
Masaya ako at nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral ang mga batang pagala-gala lang sa kalye noon. At least hindi nasayang ang parang isinakripisyo ko para sa kanila.
Proud ako at nakilala ko ang mga ganitong klaseng tao. Mga taong imbes na maghintay na lang kung kailan sila tutulungan ng gobyerno ay nagsusumikap para umunlad ang kanilang buhay.

A Poor Man's RoseTahanan ng mga kuwento. Tumuklas ngayon