Felomina (44) was barely five years old when she lost her father and she barely has any memories of him. It was her mother, Juaquina (now 75) who became the sole provider for the family. With six children to support, Juaquina worked in the rice fields to earn enough income to buy food. Felomina quit school to help her mother when she was in her early teens, as did her siblings.
In April 1991, Felomina met Edgardo Sr. when she was riding home in a jeepney. This turned out to be the beginning of a courtship. A year later, Edgardo proposed marriage and Felomina accepted. Married to Edgardo was never easy but after they had had two children, Edgardo’s real character surfaced. He was fond of spending his hard earned money with his friends, drinking and eating all night long. When the latter got home drunk, he would pick a fight with Felomina which often ended up in his beating her. This was a constant scenario throughout their married life and all of their six children would have had occasion to run to seek refuge with their grandmother who lived nearby.
In March 2010, Edgardo eloped with another woman and never came home which was an enormous relief for the entire family. Felomina got a job as a house helper in Albur, a town on the eastern coast of Bohol island. She only worked there for a year as her employer who happened to have a rice field in Felomina’s hometown asked her to cultivate it. She went back home happily and continues to this day to cultivate the land with only the rice harvests being shared with the owner.
Felomina leads a contented life with four of her five children living at home as well as a son in law and granddaughter. In July, a neighbour approached Felomina to ask her if she would like to lease his coconut farm with 40 coconut trees for four years. Felomina is keen to accept the offer as she would like to earn some income from producing copra. She is applying for a loan from the PSHF to enable her to lease the land from her neighbour for the four year period. She plans to produce over 100 kilos of copra from each quarterly harvest and hopes to make an income of 4,000 pesos ($80) each time, net of expenses. In the first year, a large part of the income will go towards repaying her loan but subsequently she can look forward to having the funds to help pay college fees for her children. Her son Eduardo (20) is planning to study electronics in a vocational school so the additional income from copra production will be most timely.
Ireen O. Ingles