For a meager income of $1.08 or Php50, an 80-year-old grandfather known as Manong Lauro walks 20 kilometers every day from his home in Bitukang Manok in Pandi, Bulacan to Real Cacarong.
This Manong (Mah-noh-ng— a Filipino term earmarked for a person who is older than you), relentlessly walks the streets carrying a bucket-full of bagoong or shrimp/krill paste and sells it from house to house.
Bagoong is a favorite relish in the Philippines. This condiment is made from salted or fermented fish or tiny shrimps. It’s usually sold in public markets and grocery stores, although some people do sell them on the streets to earn more money. But, the thing is, it’s quite cheap, it doesn’t spoil easily, and so people don’t regularly need to buy some.
Taking this into consideration, we’ll get a grasp of the challenges Manong Lauro face every day just to earn a living. Carrying that bucket alone, he walks instead of riding a public transport as he reckons that a huge portion of his profit would only be used in fares if he does so.
Therefore, against all odds, this hard-working man endures the weather and the fatigue so he could at least buy a kilo of rice and a maybe few pieces of fish for his family.
At his age, no one expects Manong Lauro to do what he does, yet his love and concern for his loved ones give him the strength to press on. It’s very noble act, although somehow, we hope that his family would have better jobs soon so he could finally retire and enjoy life—because that’s what he should only be doing right now.
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