Life resembles a roller coaster, where highs and lows are inevitable. The future is uncertain and remains a mystery whether life may present fortune or challenging moments. Indeed, life is so unpredictable. No one could ever foresee what may come along the journey hence, who can ever be prepared for any untoward event?

COVID-19 brought so much danger and threats to people’s lives. The situation of Nimfa Briquel Sanque and her family in Caloocan City turned upside-down when the pandemic came. She never expected that life could ever be this harsh to them. The easy life they had in Manila was replaced by so many difficulties when they went back to Barangay Calalahan in San Jose, Camarines Sur, the place where Nimfa was born.

Okay naman po yung pamumuhay namin. Okay naman po yung trabaho namin doon sa Manila. Bali mas magaan, mas madali po yung trabaho namin doon sa compared dito sa Bicol,” Nimfa emotionally shared their life situation before.

(Our way of life is good. Our work in Manila is okay. The work is easier there as compared to Bicol.)

Nimfa and her family decided to go back to the province due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Witnessing their co-workers getting infected by the virus while some were dying led them to leave Manila and start their journey in the province. From there, the life expedition of Nimfa’s family started to change. They began to take the reverse side of their life’s journey. To live, they ventured into farming, a transition that challenged them so much and the life event they considered as one of the hardest times.

Bali si papa po talaga, farmer siya. Pero ako, hindi ako nag-ano sa farm. Ngayon lang po na umuwi ako dito. Sobrang hirap. Kasi kung baga, hindi ka naman sanay magtrabaho sa bukid. Pero kailangan mong mag-aral. Pag-aralan mong mabuti kung paano pagtanim. Kahit ayaw mo, kailangan mong matuto. Kasi kung hindi, magugutom yung pamilya mo,” Nimfa said.

(My father is a farmer. But I didn’t engage in farming. Only now when I went back here. It’s really difficult. Because it’s like you’re not used to working on the farm. But you have to. You have to learn how to plant. Even if you don’t want to, you have to learn. Because if not, your family will starve.)

Given the challenges they faced upon relocating, Nimfa and her family spent all their savings. In those trying times, she relies solely on her family and her faith in God, anticipating a moment when things will be alright. She believed that holding on to God is the best way to overcome the hardest times.

Kung baga, kailangan mo lang yung pamilya mo. Kailangan mo lang manalangin, araw-araw, para lalo kang bigyan ng lakas. Yung nasa taas. Kapit lang kay God. Dapat talaga hindi ka mawawalan ng pag-asa.” Nimfa shared.

(It’s like, you only need your family. You need to pray, every day, for you to have more strength. The one up there. Just hold onto God. And it is necessary not to lose hope.)

Truly, in the midst of darkness, the light will always shine. This happened to Nimfa’s family when they became one of the beneficiaries of the Balik-Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program.

Malaking tulong sa amin yung Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program na binigay ng gobyerno, lalong-lalo na ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Malaking tulong po ito lalong-lalo na sa aming mga nawalan ng trabaho. Malaking puhunan po ito sa amin, yung binigay ninyo,” Nimfa happily shared how she felt being chosen as one of the BP2 beneficiaries.

(It’s good that the Balik-Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program given by the government, especially the DSWD is a big help for us. Because it is a great help for those of us who lost our jobs. It was a big capital for us, the grant given to us.)

Through the help of the BP2 Program, Nimfa’s family had additional capital for their vegetable farm and piggery. Over time, Nimfa and her husband have gained valuable knowledge in farming, including preventive measures for piglet health and the necessary medications and vitamins. Despite their acquired expertise, they still face setbacks and losses in their business.

Bali yung gulay, okay naman po. Pero yung baboy kasi namin yung last na harvest, bali nalugi po kasi kami, kasi yung parang nag-tae yung mga biik. Marami ang namatay.” Nimfa said.

(The vegetables were okay. But in terms of pigs, we experience loss, because the piglets had diarrhea. There are many who died.)

In times of loss, Nimfa remains positive and is now more careful and attentive to avoid another loss. Luckily, they were able to recover from what they had lost easily. The sow gave birth to more piglets than what they expected.

Years had passed, Nimfa and her family started to love the environment they once considered as unfamiliar. They saw the essence of what they are doing and began to have passion in farming. Hence, in order to acquire more knowledge, Nimfa decided to join the Farmers Association in their municipality where they learn new ways and techniques of farming.

Nimfa, a woman who has been through a lot, was molded by the experiences she had as their lives turned upside-down. She learned how to continue and fight despite what challenges life will bring them. These are the learnings that life has taught her which she will cherish forever. The instant reverse side of their lives becomes their inspiration now as they start their journey in the totally different environment where they used to live.

Kung baga kailangan namin ituloy-tuloy lang. Kasi hindi naman sa lahat ng oras lugi ka. Meron ding time na nasa baba ka, may time na nasa taas ka. Kung baga, basta magtiyaga ka lang at maging masipag,” Nimfa positively said on her perspective in life.

(We have to continue. Because not all the time, you’ll experience loss. There will be times when you’re down, there will also be times when you’ll be on top. You just have to persevere and be hardworking.)

Written by: Alexandra H. Burce