Half Face of Whole Hope

Friday, February 5, 2016

A hardworking, selfless man who put his family’s needs before his own had the desire to raise his five diligent children and loving wife blow into ashes after an unfortunate accident.

What seemed like a simple wound worsen, and for more than a decade, has spread across half of his face. Who would have thought that an ordinary day at a barber shop where he planned to get a haircut changed his life forever?

Gilbert Panlilio or called by most people “Tatay Gilbert” stretched his muscles to work for his family, to send his children to school, to give his wife the leisure she deserves, to provide a decent home for all of them to peacefully live at. He shrugged the scratch on his left sideburn off as he put them first thinking, “it will be fine sooner or later.”

But it turned out far from what he thought.

The cut grew bigger, eating his flesh resulting in his teeth being visible just looking at the left side of his face, his brain almost showing a part of it. His right leg shrank unknowingly, and his lungs became weak acquiring tuberculosis.

His 33-year-old wife had to stand up and take his role. Jeralyn Panlilio or “Nanay Jeralyn” worked thrice a week to wash the clothes of their neighbor, recently worked as house helper in the next village. She had to endure the physical pain working gave her to support her family’s basic necessity and her husband’s medical needs.

In the four short days I went to Tatay Gilbert’s home in Tarlac City, if I wasn’t catching sleep inside the van, I had a few small talks with him and his children. He had the cheerful visage that hasn’t cut the hope of a sick man.

He needs assistance, his family badly needs a hand. Little do they know the people around them extends a bit of help once in a while, but as the time flies and his condition gets worse over time, he still doesn’t lose that tiny hope that keeps him going.

What an inspiration to me and my colleagues and the audience to have known such story of hope.