Whenever Sheila, who is
one of our scholars, and her sister, Christie see me, they remind
me that the birthday of Bitty is June 4th.
I used to give 100 pesos for the children on their birthday. Their
parents are too poor to buy a birthday cake and a gift for them.
I felt sorry for them. When I started this custom, everything was
cheaper. They could buy their favorite food, 'lechon manok (a whole
roast chicken). But prices are getting higher now and they should
buy what they need most.
The ones, who annoyed me, were shameless parents. They told me,
'it is my birthday today. Hehehehehe.' My reply was 'Oh! It is only
for children. How old are you today?' This is one of the funniest
I was not in Cebu anymore, so it is impossible for me to celebrate
the children's birthdays. Chang and I decided to buy cakes for Bitty
and the other children. We went to the 'Red Ribbon' and bought two
cakes. How wonderful! Even though we paid only 295pesos each, it
was bigger than I'd expected. When we arrived at Sto.Nino, all the
children were gazing at the red boxes. But I couldn't find Bitty!!
Sheila and Christie told us, 'our mom is busy washing clothes now,
so she stays at home on the mountain with little Bitty.' That was
amazing. We decided to go to their house with them. I felt sorry
for the children who could not have a birthday cakes. I can't take
the blame, it's not my fault.
The family lives on the mountain in Barangay Talamban. It is on
the outskirts of Cebu City. It is very far from Sto. Nino Church.
Why do they live in such an isolated area? They used to be squatters
near Sto. Nino Church. The government evicted them. They live in
the mountains, but they have to go to Sto. Nino Church everyday.
They can only sell candles and bottled water there. The transportation
fee is very expensive. So some of them sleep on the road and go
home once or twice a week.
We drove to the mountain. Many of my old friends live there. Bitty's
family's home is high up on the mountain. It is a dangerous climb.
They used to use a handmade ladder to go up to their home on the
mountain. They would say to me, 'Romi. Don't come to our house.
It's too dangerous for you to use the ladder. I wondered what they
meant. Was I too heavy to use the handmade simple ladder? How rude!!!
But now it is improved. There is a step. I guess if I visited them
on a rainy day, they might say not to come to me. Anyway it was
a very beautiful day. The house is so small and simple, but it is
very clean and comfortable. There was a big statue of Sto. Nino
on the center of the wall. We can see the statue in almost every
house in Cebu.
We really enjoyed our small party. We sang a song for Bitty, took
pictures and ate cakes. It is a pity that the cream was already
melted. How time flies! It was getting dark and time to leave. Even
if there were steps, I was afraid I might fall down the steps. I
was very nervous and followed close behind Chang. When I arrived
at the car, I was exhausted.