I get out of the house whenever I can. Being cooped up at home can drive someone crazy at times. My building security guard is always there to accommodate me and the rest of its tenants. He helps me with my bags, opens the gate (not that I need any of that, nor require him to carry or open anything for me).
Before I left the house to go for a walk, I struck a conversation with him. He was quite open and candid to my probing. He talked on and on for a good 10 minutes, given that he had such an eager listener.
He is a young father. At 25 years old, he now has a daughter with his 24 year old girlfriend. Elaine is now 1 and a half years old. “She’s already walking” he beams.
He mentions to me that he might only stay with our building till January 2014 only. I ask him why and he mentions the night shifts are taking a toll on his body. The lack of sleep gives him shakes. I have witnessed him actuallly sleeping on the job a couple of times before and most of the time, I don’t wake him anymore because I’ve also seen how hard he works. Being a security guard is a hazardous job in itself.
Since both are working, he tells me that he might send his little girl to live with his wife’s parents in the province because no one can take care of her here in Manila.
My building has had its share of revolving security guards, and this particular person I’ve always liked. He has always been helpful and respectful towards me, my family, and the rest of the tenants. He seemed competent, smart and most of all, he was a simple hardworking guy with simple needs.
His story just struck a chord in me. I felt sad for his circumstances. Deep in my heart, I wish I could help him: give him a job, a referral, whatever! But as it was (employment-wise) I was already in dire waters myself, but that’s another story.
He said that he has done construction and mechanic work , a bit of sales, repairs and other jobs that required physical labor.
I took a long hard look at myself. Who am I to complain? Things may not be perfect at work now but some people have it worse, much worse than me.
God bless his heart. He was willing to do all sorts of odd jobs (some even detrimental to his health and safety) just to put food on the table and care for his young family. My heart just ached. What can I do for this guy and his family? I want to help him somehow, but instead all I could do was buy him a burger 😦
Sometimes, I get so caught up in my own little world that I fail to notice the honest and hardworking people in my neighborhood. Regardless of background, everyone wants to enjoy the fruits of their labor but in this situation, what if there was not enough “paying” labor to go about?
Give a person fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
People need more opportunities. I wish I could be that person, to give individuals like him, a dignified, decent and safe occupation wherein he could enjoy the company of his wife and daughter after a hard day’s work. But what can I do?
If you know anyone who maybe needing the services of an all around security guard, preferably with free housing where he could bring in his family, please let me know. Thank you.
This past week has been not only an adventure but a learning experience as well.
After successfully completing my 10K run, I was made to cover the controversial issue of mining in the Philippines, body aching, swelling and all.
The three day event was a success despite some protesters rallying outside Sofitel Plaza and from which some malicious protesters were trying to take my picture because I was wearing my press ID. Why they were taking my picture, I don’t have the slightest idea. They probably thought I made mining sexy 😉 ha!
One thing I’ve noticed though that there were a lot of political undertones to the event. Given that a majority of the mining companies there were huge investors of the country, some people were trying to protect some vested interests. I’ll keep that statement short given the sensitivity of the issue.
Over all, the experience was enlightening and being a staunch supporter of progress and the Philippine nation, I do believe that mining, if done responsibly, can indeed help the country.
Also, my interview on Ambassador Delia Albert and Australian Trade Commissioner, Anthony Weymouth just came out in the August-October issue of the Philippine Resources Journal. Please feel free to download a copy here.
The best part of vacationing at my home in Novaliches is that there are a lot of things to do. You will never run out of things to clean, cook, and garden.
For the holy week, I volunteered to be in charge of the marketing.
Off I went to Novaliches-Bayan, a marketplace that is just brewing with activity.
The best part of going to the marketplace is that I get to haggle with the vendors. Novaliches-Bayan is not for the faint of heart. It is noisy, smelly, hot and brimming with pick-pockets and snatchers (like any typical market place).
I poke at fish, smell all sorts of meat, and weigh vegetables and fruits all the while holding my purse close to me while haggling the best price from the vendors.
In wherever place I live, may it be in Makati or Novaliches, when I do the marketing I always buy in bulk. I just hate having to go back and forth to the store just for a few ingredients, don’t you?
In my home in Makati, everything is just one convenient hop to the grocery store. But with Novaliches-Bayan, you have no choice but to travel and actually get your hands dirty (and believe me, that’s the fun part!).
Personally, the best part is that I get everything fresh and on the cheap.
The standard of living at Novaliches is low compared to my life in Makati.
I love both cities. They each bring something different to the table. They give me the best of both worlds.
Oh yeah, and about my little trip to the market? I bought seafood, lots of vegetables and milk and taught our house help how to prepare the dish I envisioned while on a jeepney ride.
May 21, 1916 – James Bertram Reuter was born in the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey. He was a product of the German and Irish bloodline, who resided in the United States.
1923 – At the age of seven, he already realized his goal to be a missionary and a priest someday. His father was at first resistant to Reuter’s dream citing that he was still too young to know what he’s talking about.
1934 – Reuter graduated from St. Peter’s Prep and entered the congregation of the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, where he majored in history.
1936 – He took his first holy vows in September and completed his “Juniorate” in the next two years.
1938 – Reuter arrived in Manila on July 4 and immediately went to the Jesuit College of Ateneo de Manila. From Manila, he was taken to the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, where young Filipino seminarians studied philosophy. During this time, among the hotly debated issue in the land was the American colonization of the island. Even if he is an American, Reuter argued in favor of Philippine independence.
1939 – Reuter was transferred to Baguio to continue his studies of philosophy at Sacred Heart College. He stayed at the Jesuit hilltop residence of Mirador and during his free time, he coached basketball at St. Louis High and Maryknoll Grade School.
1941 – In the middle of the year, Reuter returned to Manila where he was assigned to teach sophomores at Ateneo de Manila. He also helped produce the Catholic Church’s popular Sunday-night radio program, “The Commonweal Hour,” where he worked with some prominent Filipino including Horacio de la Costa, Leon Ma. Guerrero, Ricardo Puno, Jesus Paredes, Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo, and Raul Manglapus.
1942 – During the outbreak of the World War II, Reuter suffered starvation in years and was imprisoned, but still managed to serve daily communion.
1945 – During the fall of Japanese forces in the country, Reuter went back to the United States to meet his family. He stayed in America for three years until his ordination.
1946 – On March 24, he was ordained along with twenty-six other Jesuits who had also been imprisoned in the Philippines. On June 23, he celebrated his first mass at St. Mary’s in Elizabeth.
1947 – He continued his trainings at the Jesuit Colleges in New York and received his licentiate (equivalent to a master’s degree) in Sacred Theology. He also spent twelve weeks at Fordham University to study a course in radio and television. He also founded the Family Rosary Crusade.
1948 – Reuter returned to the Philippines to take up his first assignment as a priest at Naga City in Bicol. At Ateneo de Naga, Reuter joined the teaching staff. He also formed the traveling theatrical company, the Cathedral Players, composed mostly of local priests and nuns performing all over the province.
1952 – He took his final vows as a Jesuit and was transferred back to the Ateneo de Manila. In Manila, Reuter wrote and produced a play to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Francis Xavier.
1960 – Reuter ended his eight-year sojourn at Ateneo de Manila to head the new communication office of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus.
1964 – He moved to the spacious new Jesuit residence called Xavier House in Santa Ana, where he set up his media studios. He has lived there ever since. As Jesuit secretary for communications in the Philippines, Reuter encouraged Jesuits to use radio, film, television, and the press in their apostolic work. He also taught them how to do it.
1965 – He served as general manager of Radio Veritas for two years. Despite his prolific activities in media, he still continued to perform priestly functions as well. He also became a chaplain of St. Paul’s College in Manila.
1967 – As national director of mass media of the Philippine hierarchy, his mandate was expanded to include the entire Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, thus, making him the Church’s all-around media expert. He also founded Endue Asia, the Asian branch of the International Catholic Association of Radio and Television, to link Catholic broadcasters throughout the region.
1972 – When Marcos declared martial law, Reuter’s media operation was temporarily stopped. As head of the Federation of Catholic Broadcasters, he helped get Catholic radio stations back on the air. Reuter also became the formal go-between for the federation’s seventeen stations and the military authorities.
Martial Law Era – When Reuter returned on air, he bravely broadcast the regime’s brutalities and was later arrested by six colonels and majors, including Col. Rolando Abadilla, whom Reuter had implicated in military murder. He was put on trial for subversion, inciting to rebellion, and dozens of other charges arising from the Communicator. His trial went on for twelve days and received a lot of attention in the Marcos-controlled press, where he was depicted as a criminal. But in the international community, Reuter was uplifted so he was given an amnesty by the president.
1981 – During the papal visit, Reuter was given a special award by Pope John Paul II, for his faithful and courageous contribution to upholding truth, justice and integrity in the Catholic Communications.
1985 – When anti-Marcos protests widened, following the death of Ninoy Aquino in 1983, moved to strengthen its internal links by providing shortwave radios to other stations so they could stay in touch with each other twenty-four hours a day and to also update the public.
1986 – During the February 7 Snap Election, Reuter and the Federation of Catholic Broadcasters sided with the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) to cover the historic counting of votes. During the EDSA Revolution, Reuter worked with his media, using the code name Papa Bear, to allow the public to be informed with the current national situation. His participation in the peaceful revolution, using the media, was highly commended.
1989 – Reuter received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts. He was also recognized for his participation in the stage, printing press and broadcast media.
2006 – He was given honorary Filipino citizenship by the Philippine Congress.
2009 – Due to failing health condition, he retired from his duties and responsibilities in the media in June, but still continued to write as a newspaper columnist.
2012 – Reuter succumbed to an ailment on December 31, at the age of 96.