Napo, in the town of Polangui, Albay is a barangay located about 5km or a 10-minute drive away from the downtown. It is a small community where almost everyone knows one another. It is home to people from various walks of life.
It is in Napo where I and my brother spent most of our childhood, with our parents, and relatives in our grandparents’ home. I remember fond memories of Lolo introducing us to different and exciting experiences and adventures such as feeding his turkeys, nature tripping to the nearby natural spring called Libtong, catching and later on dressing our native chicken for lunch or dinner. We also picked mango and rambutan from his very own backyard, cut grass and tended to his landscapes, sipping the nectar of the Ixora or ‘santan’ everytime we see one. In the morning we see him dry palay along the road in front of the house and at night we watch a thousand fireflies in among the trees. He’s brought us to many places, helped us sneak out to the peryahan or local fair during fiesta or take us out to Danny’s or 7Hills every weekend showing us how to make the most out of our lives.
My Lola, on the other hand, would make sure that just as our curiosity and desires as kids were met, our gustatory and culinary needs were satisfied as well. She had always said that nothing pleases her more than cooking for her family, especially her grandchildren. We always looked forward to every meal and would sometimes even make ‘lambing’ if we craved for our favorite (and the best) ‘mechado’ and ‘tulingang sinaing sa taba’ of hers. Both Lolo and Lola made sure that we had the time of our lives every time we were under their roof.
However, being the kid that I was, some scenarios also piqued my curiosity. I remember, how, outside across our veranda, kids our age, or even younger, would sell kakanin early in the morning or even under the scorching heat holding the ‘bilao’ on their heads. Some would sell barbecue outside their homes until dusk while some would carry errands for neighbors. Poverty prevented them from enjoying their childhood. They could not be what they should have been—kids. This was a wakeup call for me, the disparity could not have been more glaring. But, one thing that struck me the most, despite that fact, was that those children, while they had questions and doubts in their eyes, had big smiles on their faces, so effulgent and exuding positivity and optimism about life, about their dreams, their futures. I have since been so touched and inspired by that image, and have been carrying it with me as I move forward with life.
It is time for a homecoming. Because my Lolo, for once in his life, was the beloved Barangay Captain there, and with all the memories I had in Napo growing up, I think it is high time to give back and honor what once was my home where some of my dreams, inspirations and aspirations were crafted, honed and built. This is why I have chosen Napo Elementary School to benefit from this endeavor.
Napo Elementary School is a non-central school in the Polangui North District. It offers elementary education from Kindergarten to Grade 6, with around 400 learners. The school has already produced professionals and successful individuals in different fields. Although the barangay is somehow thriving with different businesses and progressive structures, there are still learners who belong to the fringes of society, that even the most basic school supplies are hard to acquire for them, moreso school bags, especially for a family with a number of children who go to school. Most of the learners come from impoverished families. Some learners use plastic or eco bags to keep their modules and other things. Some have to brave the heavy rains just to get and return the modules to school on time.
During one of the home visits conducted by their teachers, 3 orphaned siblings said that they might not finish schooling anymore because they don’t have school supplies this coming school year. They no longer have parents, or anybody to depend on, to purchase those things for them. They don’t have any protection that will shield them from bad weather, anticipating the rainy season, going to school. But they wish to continue and they dream of finishing school, if only they had the choice and the opportunity. These learners symbolize hopeful children and youth with specific dreams and boundless aspirations, who are deprived of material things, provisions and support, who are victims of their circumstances.
But, hope and inspiration are not lost if only people will show love, compassion, empathy and humanity to these children. Every child is special and should never have to fear about not achieving his or her dreams. We were all kids who dreamed, let us not allow other kids to be deprived of their dreams.
Kaya “Give A BAG NAPO” for the dreams of the kids of Napo Elementary School.
If you have a Maya account or a Gcash, you may scan any of the QR codes below to contribute.
Please send a screenshot of your successful transaction to our email firstname.lastname@example.org and put in the subject:
“Give A Bag NAPO.”