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  • Writer's pictureMier Torregosa

My Biggest Salary was 200PHP | Life Lessons from a 28 year old Computer Engineer

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

"It's not how much money you get but how much lessons you gain"

Before, I couldn’t truly understand why most of the parents in my town chose to leave their children to take care of other people’s child. I said, if they so wanted to leave and take care anyone except their own, why did they decided to have one in the first place? My comprehension about parenting that time is so narrow and couldn’t bear the thought which led me to hating what my mother does and those parents that do the same.

I grew up jealous with my friends and classmates having their parents beside them during school activities. I get more medals than them, lots of certificates and filled my shirt with ribbons yet I don’t have my parents beside me. Year after year I kept on putting on the best I can hoping that maybe they’ll appear and say how proud they are of my achievements, yet year after year I kept on being disappointed.

I only had the courage to look for answers on my questions when I was in 4th year High School. I’m about to graduate valedictorian, yet I am not sure if it’s worth it. That time my parents were already working away to afford the schooling of my siblings in college. I remember them saying that they have nothing else to give us but good education. My family are farmers and their families before them, so I know there is nothing much when talking about ancestral wealth.

sitting on top of a rock cliff

I attended my high school years in the rural part of Dimiao, Bohol. It’s already in the middle of the school year and I heard from one of my batchmates that there are families in town who offers a weekend job for us students. I did not thought much about the responsibilities that I have to do, all I cared was the idea that maybe by trying to experience what my mother is doing, I might find some answers on my decade long questions, so I took the job.

The weekend came and I went to the said family. No time wasted, I was then instructed to cut the weeds on their lawn while the sun is not yet too hot. It’s not new to me because I am used to doing most of the chores at home given my parents were not around all the time. Few hours after, I was then told to feed the pigs and clean the pen. Unending work continued from preparing meal, doing the laundry, sweeping and scrubbing the floor, to ironing clothes and feeding their dogs.

That was the longest Saturday of my life even until today. Before I went to bed there were so many things running in my mind. I did not get what I am looking for that time, but I found different answers. I couldn’t stop tears from falling down my cheeks, realizing how hard she’s been doing all those years that I’m hating her. The thought of serving other people that you don’t even know just for the sake of money is too much for me to handle that time. I felt so helpless and couldn’t stop thinking how unfair life was. That if every person has their purpose in this world, was mine to struggle and be someone else’s aid? That the reality where I’m serving a family with spoiled kids who have everything but are still asking for more, is that what they call “privileges”? That if only I can start over and have the option on how my life will begin, I would have chosen something better.

I knew I had enough realizations, so I decided to rest for the night and go home the morning after whether I get paid or not. My purpose in going there is to understand things that bothered me for years and I knew I got what I wanted, not what I was expecting but definitely what I needed.

Right after preparing breakfast, cleaning the pig pens, and finishing the lawn the next day, I requested to cut my stay short so I can go home. They did not ask for an explanation nor show any objections on me leaving early so I packed my things immediately. Right when I was about to leave, the family expressed their gratitude towards me for helping with their chores and the mother offered me something. On her hand is a folded 200-peso bill and said it’s my wage for the one-and-a-half-day work for them. I didn’t know what to say so I just accepted the money, thanked them, and took my leave. After closing the gate, I walked towards the public market where I’ll be waiting for the bus going home. My emotions are so overwhelming that I didn’t notice my tears kept falling down my face while I was walking down the street. I kept on reflecting the non-stop work from 5am to 12midnight is only worth 200. My mother was working like that for more than 10 years already. I can’t imagine how tired she’s been doing the same routine every day, yet she never complained and kept wearing a smile in her face when talking at us like there’s no problem at all.

I reached the public market feeling lost and is still absorbing the realizations from that experience. I kept looking at my 200-peso bill and couldn't help but feel sorry for bugging my mother for a new phone just to impress my friends and keep up with the latest trend. So without hesitation, I decided to spend that money for a pad of paper, box of crayons, bread and pencils for my little brother to compensating with the additional burden that I caused my parents. At the very least, that simple act will help them not worry too much about some of the school needs.

Reflecting on that experience today, I realized you really can only connect the dots by looking backwards. Because it is only now that I realized, those things that I suffered and endured were to prepare me for something huge that God has set for me. Without my past experiences like this one, I won’t have the courage to face my challenges head on. Through those turmoil, I learned to take risks and to find my way through every obstacle. Able to appreciate little things and independently decide when to cover and when to attack my problems. I learned when to be patient and when to give up. And I learned to appreciate the importance of family above all.

Thanks for reading my story. Subscribe for more!

- Nomad Mier


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Jun 22, 2022

Lees of the story, If you haven't walked in someone else's shoes. It's difficult to know the fit. So be kind and compassionate. 😊

Mier Torregosa
Mier Torregosa
Jun 25, 2022
Replying to

Thanks bai! Yes tama yan! It doesn't hurt to be kind nor cost us anything. In fact we even gain so much from it.

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