Bike for balut vendor
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2020 - 12:00am

The Courage To Be Kind Foundation gave away 46 bicycles to “everyday heroes” in a heartwarming awarding ceremony at the Halcyon Medical office on Buendia yesterday and one of the winners was a 65-year-old street vendor who raised his twin children as a single parent on his earnings from selling balut.

Valentino Manzano’s wife left him and their twins two years after they married. In 1997, he bought a bicycle for P500 and it was his only means of transportation to move around the streets of Makati to find customers. Before investing in a bike, Manzano used to sell his stuff on foot. He was nominated by Joy Rojas for the chance to win a bike through the Foundation.

“Since 1983, he’s been selling balut in our neighborhood,” said Rojas. “He used to do it on foot until 1997 when he purchased a bike from some guy for P500. Through the years, he has replaced parts of the bike but the other night, he was pushing it because it needed some repairs. He lives in 2408 Pasig Line and plies the streets of Makati until Burgos selling balut which he buys from Paco and snacks like chicharon and kropek. On a good day, he’ll make P500 to P600 a night. It may be small but this single father has raised his twin boy and girl on balut.” The twins are now 17.

Manzano passes by Rojas’ building every night. If Rojas doesn’t see him, at least he hears the shrill cries of “balut.” Rojas’ heart fell when he recently saw Manzano’s bike in a state of disrepair and thought of nominating him to the Foundation. Manzano was one of 46 winners among 102 nominees.

Another winner was former NU varsity football player Mark Jojo Marcaida who is differently abled. He is a partial deaf mute. Marcaida, 25, was born in Masbate with no hearing in his left ear and some hearing in his right. His speech is also impaired. Marcaida, an only child, took to sports at a young age and when he was in second grade, practiced taekwondo. In the fourth grade, he discovered table tennis and football. In the fifth grade, Marcadia focused on football which became his passion. After finishing at Aroroy National High School in his home province, Marcaida ventured to Manila hoping his football skills would merit a college scholarship but couldn’t land a playing spot at San Beda, St. Benilde and UST before finally checking in at NU where he eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Physical Education degree, major in Sports and Wellness Management. Someday, he hopes to be a teacher like his mother but there are obstacles to overcome for his dream to come true.

Marcaida was nominated by a friend who said that when Manila was on ECQ lockdown, it was difficult for the former football player to report for work at Jamaican Patty in SM Manila from his home in Miguelin, Laong Laan, Sampaloc. He used to cycle to SM but his bike was stolen so he now walks from home to work and back. Sometimes, Marcaida is able to borrow a bike from a friend for his commute but otherwise, he relies on walking.  He’s saving up for a new bike and his parents in Masbate are sending him money only little by little because times are hard.

“Pagkatapos kong mag-aral sa NU, nag-aral ulit ako sa St. Benilde,” said Marcaida. “Then, nag-apply ako sa iba’t ibang kompanya subalit hindi ako natanggap dahil sa aking kapansanan na pipi at bingi. Buti nakapag-tapos akong mag-aral kaya naniniwala ako sa aking Nanay at Tatay na mag-aral ng mabuti. Ako ngayon ay nagtratrabaho kahit may pandemic sa Jamaican Patty sa SM Manila bilang service crew.”

Manzano and Marcaida are among the 46 winners who received bicycles in the second round of kindness by the Foundation. The first round delivered bicycles to 27 “everyday heroes” last month. The Foundation was established by orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Jose Raul (George) Canlas and his wife Glennda in memory of their son Benjamin who passed away at 17 last year.

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