A 60-year-old man who is out of luck and wanted to go back to El Nido by just walking and the good Samaritans he met along the way are going viral on Facebook.
Ricardo Anore, who had lost everything to the coronavirus disease pandemic and has no more money while in Puerto Princesa, was left with no choice on Wednesday but to walk his way back to El Nido where he used to sell cellphone accessories to tourists before the pandemic.
Ricardo begged for free rides from vehicles going north, but no one was ready to help an old man who was carrying nothing but only a backpack. No one, until he met perfect strangers Dhez dela Torre and her sibling from whose hands he would receive kindness on that day.
Dhez broke into tears as she was narrating to Palawan News how she met Ricardo along the road between barangays San Jose and Tagburos.
Ricardo had asked them for directions because he was unfamiliar with the national highway going north to El Nido. He cried because he had not also taken any meal and was already feeling weak.
“Lumapit siya sa amin kasi lalakad daw siya, hindi naman kami masamang tao, naantig agad ‘yong puso namin kasi parang iba siya. May magulang din kami saka 60 na nga raw siya. Umiyak siya sa amin, sabi niya na gusto niyang umuwi ng El Nido. Sakto pauwi rin kami ng Lucbuan kahapon (November 25) tapos nagugutom din siya kaya dinala muna namin siya sa carinderia,” Dhez said.
“First time lang namin nagtiwala kahit hindi namin kilala kasi ramdam naman namin na mabait siya. Iyong parang ang gaan-gaan ng loob namin sa kaniya. Sabi namin, iuwi na lang namin siya sa bahay, kahit malayo ay dadalhin na lang namin siya para maging okay siya kasi walang-wala na siya,” she added.
Out of pity, Dhez brought Ricardo to their residence in Barangay Lucbuan, Puerto Princesa to temporarily give him shelter while figuring out a way to raise money to send him not to El Nido, but to Laguna where his family is located.
Dhez said she decided to post Ricardo’s story online with hopes that his relatives and family will see it and help him return to Laguna after 15 years of separation.
Transferring to Palawan
Ricardo told Palawan News that when his wife died in 1994, he decided to leave Sta. Rosa, Laguna because he did not want to spend his life in loneliness. He worked various odd jobs in Manila, Bicol, and Nueva Ecija before moving to El Nido in 2006.
Ricardo built his 15-year routine of selling cellphone accessories to foreign and domestic tourists. From his earnings before, he even visited his friends and relatives in Manila.
But when the pandemic came, Ricardo said he didn’t know what to do. The tourists had stopped coming to El Nido and he was not earning anything anymore.
With his last P1,000 pocket money, he went to the city on November 20 with hopes that he could earn from selling face shields as suggested by his friend.
“Naghahanapbuhay ako sa El Nido, maganda ‘yong pagtitinda tapos noong panahon na ng pandemic, tag-hirap dito sa El Nido. May nagsabi na maganda naman sa Puerto [Princesa] kaya nagpunta ako kahit kasya lang pamasahe ko at pambili ng paninda, nakarating ako,” he said.
“Pagdating ko naman sa Puerto, ang dami rin pala na nagtitinda, yong puhunan ko kahit P400 ay naubos lang sa pagkain kaya wala na. Kaya ang nangyari ay naglalakad na lang ako,” he added.
It was his first time in Puerto Princesa, and without any relative, he spent nights sleeping in waiting sheds and selling face shields during the daytime. But he did not earn anything.
“Noong panahon na nag-lockdown, ‘yong puhunan ko, iyon ang naging panggastos ko para makakain. Minsan nga sa isang araw, isang beses na lang ako kumakain ng kanin, dadamihan ko na lang tapos kapag matutulog, kape lang, nakakatulog ako, okay na rin,” he said.
“Dito sa Puerto wala rin, hindi rin ako makabenta. Iyong puhunan natin at pamasahe papunta-pabalik, pinangkain ko na lang hanggang sa naubos na lahat kaya naglakad na lang ako muna. Noong Biyernes pa ako, mag-aanim na araw na ngayon. Pamasahe lang at puhunan ko sa face shield na P400, iyon lang ang dala ko. Pero natutuwa naman ako na nakarating ako ng Puerto,” he said.
Missing home in Laguna
Ricardo said he just wanted to return to Laguna now to see his child and to see his other siblings.
“Hindi ko na nga matandaan ‘yong anak ko. Dalawang taon ko pa lang naiwan ‘yon noong namatay ang asawa ko, iniwan ko sa lola. May asawa’t anak na nga, may mga nakikita nga ako na mga naka-post na kapangalan ng anak ko, sabi ko hindi ko naman matandaan kung iyon talaga ang anak ko, hindi ko na makilala,” he said.
Ricardo will be forever indebted to Dhez and her family for showing him kindness by allowing him to live in their home without expecting anything in return from a poor man like him.
He could not believe that there are still people like the Dela Torre family who are willing to help a stranger. If he cannot return their kindness, he said he will be praying for them to be blessed more so they could help others.
“Gusto ko talaga na makadiretso ako sa mga kapatid ko, sa loob ng 15 years, dito lang nila ako nakita sa Facebool kaya meron na tumawag sa akin sa cellphone nila. Yong isang kapatid ko pa lang at pamangkin ko pa lang ang nakakausap ko. Pauwi na rin ako kapag meron kaming naipon na pamasahe, magkikita-kita rin tayo, sabi ko,” he said.
Dhez said they are also financially challenged at this time that was why they could only offer Ricardo food and a place to call home temporarily.
She appealed to individuals who might want to extend help to send her a message on Facebook through her account Dhez Dela Torre so they could help Ricardo return to his hometown in Laguna.
The story between Ricardo and Dhez now has over 900 shares and 1,000 likes.
Dhez said the takeaway from this experience is about giving people like Ricardo hope to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.