Buhay Sementeryo

Nov 17, 2018

Raised in the Manila North Cemetery, Khay Ann Igle already needs to know how to fend for her family’s needs at the age of 6. Being the cemetery is her home, she needs to sell candles and flowers to people visiting their dead relatives on the day of the dead. Aside from this, she sells sampaguitas on ordinary days. She may be putting all her heart out to provide at such a young age, but her mother Rosalas (35) demands for more. Fortunately, her grandmother Luz (60) always comes to her aid and tells her mother off. Because of this, Khay Ann looks up to her lola, who guards tombs and always tells her true horror experiences. Being close with Luz, she is taught the importance of education since most of their relatives didn’t get to finish school. With the help of her usual sampaguita customers, Khay Ann (7) gets to study elementary. Proud of the opportunity she got, her grandmother always gets her motivated with words of wisdom to get her to do her best in school. Then one day, she joins street lectures of passionate social workers of Childhope Asia Philippines. Unlike her mother’s reality that their life will only remain in the cemetery, Khay Ann (9) sees the hope taught by her lola Luz that education is their way out of the cemetery and the poverty it brings. With all her will to learn, Khay Ann (14) eventually makes her lola Luz proud when she becomes one of the teachers in the NGO. Being a volunteer teacher in the organization, Khay Ann (16) makes her grandmother more proud of her when she gets the opportunity to study college. Unfortunately, being her grandmother is 80 years old, Khay Ann endures watching Luz weak and ill because of asthma and diabetes. She sees her lola as a strong woman who always tells her that she can handle herself. However, one day, Khay Ann (18) wills herself to finish college even if her lola has to be brought to the hospital because she is too ill. As she tries her best everyday, she also promises to Luz (82) that she will graduate and she wants her grandmother to see that achievement. But Luz (83) passed away even before her graduation. So all she could offer to her deceased grandmother is her diploma. Thankful for all the people who helped her finish school, she posts her graduation picture on Facebook. From this, she gets featured in various TV shows and newspapers because of her inspiring story. This also paves the way for OFWs to reach out to her and her family, which helped her with her goal of getting her family out of the cemetery. Khay Ann (23) learned that it doesn’t matter how much people disheartened her dreams, because even if she was raised in a cemetery, there is always hope for a better future, one big thing that her Lola Luz had always secured and infused in her.



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