The coldness of the morning was tempting me to extend my sleep. At 5 o’clock, I was already awake but was not that motivated to go for apostolate at Asilo. I committed myself and yes, I prepared myself to go. After 30 minutes, I was already at Santolan train station and was able to gain energy as I was thinking about the children whom I would be with again. I remember how my schedule was transferred from Saturdays to Sundays; it was out of commitment and eagerness to help the children with their studies. They are luckier maybe since people are helping them in many ways. They live in an orphanage but are given the proper assistance and attention. I noticed the shanties below the overpass between Recto and Jose Doroteo train station and again, those children whom I am with are far luckier than them. Are they? These children outside have families, but what kind of families do they have? And what do they do for a living? Are the children given proper assistance and education? Yet the children inside the orphanages, must need family care and love., who gives these to them? Few people, generous people. These were questions playing around my head; the urban poor.

I was amused with the movements of people that morning as I was also thinking of our forthcoming intensive Apostolic Formative Activity, an exposure activity. I heard that we will go to Bataan this time, in the province. I am a little bit confused why we need to go to the province where in fact, the situations of the urban poor can be a good place to go for formation and apostolate; maybe it’s time to be with them also.

Last year, I spent my two weeks with a small family of four at a certain barangay in Gen. Nakar, Quezon province. It was not only an exposure for me but a good time to be away from Manila’s noisy streets and polluted air. It was also a good place to learn the peoples’ rants and sufferings from political abuses and financial needs. In that place, a day after I arrived at the place, I experienced being “arrested and interrogated” by the drunkard militaries from a nearby Army detachment. I just came from fishing in a river with new friends when two Cafgus came into the house, then came into my room and took me, I walked with them towards the back of an elementary school together with my two other companions. I was asked with question foreign to me, but I am aware that he was talking about military terminologies like mapping, reinforcement, and intelligence. I was sure, that we were tagged to be NPAs who were roaming around and reeducating people about communism, then he confirmed that we were suspected as leftists. People started to gather at the back of the school and were trying to defend us from those drunkards who just finished two big bottles of Tanduay Rhum. I was just calm and was able to control my temper. For three hours, I was feeling annoyed, tired, and a little bit nervous. We were freed after the Parish priest came with certification from the vice mayor of the town that we were there for the apostolate. The host family told me with unforgettable words,

“Don’t be afraid of the NPAs here, be afraid of the military’s abuses.”
From that perspective, I learned to sympathize with these rural poor people. Aside from living out of what they had, I learned to commune with nature, just like doing my “anything” at the river 

Finally, I arrived at Asilo and there were seven children with me just for half a day, 30 minutes each for tutorial. I always find that the time allotted is not enough for them to learn properly. We still need generous people to be with us, we need time and talents from good-hearted people. The social worker assigned to that place told me that their grades were improving as the final achievement test was expected soon. I was happy, how much more are the kids? Congratulations to these kids. We learn from each other, and I gradually internalize the words of Saint Marcellin Champagnat, our founder as I always spend my time with them every weekend,

“To educate the children, you must first love them equally.”

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