Things can get really difficult here in the Philippines. It's hard to make ends meet, especially if you have families to feed. Having a family means a lot of responsibilities. We all know that many are forced to live and work far from their families in order to provide a better future for them. That is the dilemma many husbands and wives face, whether to live together, but without a clear future or to accept the need to find greener pastures, forced by circumstances to be separated by distance, in order to provide a brighter future for the family.
In these times that the family breadwinner is away and alone, memories of home can serve as vital nourishment for the soul. Family photographs, messages from home, familiar sights, sounds and even scents can remind separated individuals of home and of special memories. Maybe the smell of a home-cooked meal or that of freshly-washed clothes with the same scent the wife uses at home, Tide with Freshness of Downy perhaps.
Yes, the freshness of clothes washed with Tide with Freshness of Downy can last up to 7 days. So no matter how far and long the journey of the washed clothes are, its scent remains fresh because of Tide with Freshness of Downy. I saw (and smelled) that for myself early this month when I traveled far and wide to deliver packages from Tide with Freshness of Downy.
When I heard about the Tide with Downy Bangong Padala campaign, that they wanted a travel blogger to deliver their packages and bridge long distance relationships, I immediately agreed when they extended the invitation.
Tide thought of a way of reaching out to couples who are separated by distance. Couples were invited to share their special long distance love stories to the campaign. The top 100 with the best love stories got the opportunity to send a special package to their loved one. There were hundreds of love stories sent. Out of the hundreds, Tide eventually picked three that stood out.
I traveled far to meet the people behind these stories. This is where my journey begins.
The life of an engineer
Some jobs move you around. It's difficult, especially for the family, when a husband or wife has to move to different locations for work. Such is the case of Engineer Nicholas Ruiz who changes locations, depending on the development and need. I delivered his Tide with Downy Bangong Padala package in Panglao, Bohol where he is currently responsible for constructing a very classy beach resort.
Nicholas shared his struggles on being relocated such as being away from his family and missing important family events. He accepts that he has to do it and work hard to be able to provide for the needs of the family.
The package I delivered to him actually reminded him of home, the fresh scent of Tide with Freshness of Downy actually filled the room, reminding him of the care of his wife, Cecille, at home. He laughed and told us how he had to do his own laundry in Bohol.
A bonus from this trip was a visit to the beach resort project he was working on… perfect opportunity to enjoy the sun and sands of Panglao before proceeding to my next destination.
The soldier’s wife
Sometimes, you have to expect that things may not happen as planned. One of my assignments for the Tide with Downy Bangong Padala campaign was to deliver a package to a soldier now stationed in Malaybalay, Bukidnon from his wife in Bislig, Surigao del Sur.
On our way to Cagayan de Oro, we learned that Private First Class Arnel Bustillo had been deployed to the mountains of Agusan for emergency operations, and they had to leave their barracks as soon as possible. Indeed, we saw how volatile Arnel's situation could get. In the end, we decided to meet his wife, Hazel, in Bislig City to find out more about the package she had me send to him.
It was definitely not a walk in the park. From Tagbilaran, we took a ferry to Cebu where we took a flight to Cagayan de Oro. From CDO, I took a bus to Butuan. Then in Butuan, I hopped on a bus to Davao, getting off at San Francisco, Agusan del Sur (they usually shorten the town's name to San Franz) to switch buses onward to Bislig City. Getting off the bus was tempting since there were really nice attractions along the way. But I had to be back in CDO the next day to catch my flight back to Manila.
It was already dark when I arrived in Bislig from CDO. From Mangagoy, I took a tricycle to Hazel's house to chat with her about the Tide with Downy Bangong Padala package she would send and to get to know more about their story. With my conversation with Hazel I learned that being married to a person who serves our country brings pride as well as distress.
They only see each other three times a year and she keeps their love strong and fresh by constantly communicating by phone. There are times that she could not contact Arnel, especially when he is in the mountains, and this causes a lot of anxiety for Hazel, who worries a lot about the safety of her soldier husband. Imagine having to live away from your loved one, knowing that they are in constant danger. Such is the predicament of a soldier’s wife.
16 years and counting
My last stop was in Metro Manila. We visited Myrna Marapao in Novaliches, Quezon City. She is the wife of Emmanuel Marapao, an OFW who has been working in Saudi Arabia for the past 16 years. Just like Hazel and Cecille, Myrna shares how difficult it is to live without Emmanuel, but accepts that he has to do it because they need the income he earns in Saudi to survive. They have to sacrifice in order to provide a better future for their family.
She got really emotional reading her letter to Emmanuel, telling him that she loves him no matter what, expressing her gratitude, and assuring him that he will be the only one in her heart. Indeed, Myrna misses her husband dearly.
Will Myrna see Emmanuel this year? When will they see each other again?
Learn more about their stories and my journey with Tide with Downy Bangong Padala packages in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UByYVB4glg