As they get older and weaker, they are still entangled with the vows they made as they were united in the holy matrimony so many years ago. The promise of being together for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health made their relationship stay longer and even stronger till their last breath despite of both being blind.
Being at the stage of old age, chances are to forget everything due to loss of memory and to suffer from illnesses. But to Lolo Aurelio Llapitan, 86 and Lola Magdalena, 85 they consider their life as vibrant and meaningful because they are still together. It is in their hearts and minds that strengthens their relationship and makes them visible in each other’s vision
This blind couple is among the social pensioners of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur who enjoys their life together living in a salvaged dwelling situated in Brgy. Parola. With them is one of their three siblings who has mental disorder. The other two have their own families already in Baguio City and in Manila but they seldom visit them and give some money.
Pledge being carried on
Lola Magdalena tries hard to straighten her back and approach their clay stove through the aide of her wooden stick just to cook their food. She even does her very best to serve food to her husband. “Awan met sabali a kamanganmi a mangaywan kadakami nu di laeng ti bukodmi a bagi” (We cannot expect anybody to take care of us but just our own selves), said Lola Magdalena. “Uray nu nakusel, nabasa wenno nakset ti lutwen na nga inapoy, mayat lattan basta adda kanenmi ken ammok nga isuna ti nangisagana” (It is just okay though she serves half cooked, over cooked or even burned rice, what is important to me is that we have something to eat and I know that she really strived her very best to prepare it.), said Lolo Aurelio while he lifts his cheeks towards Lola Magdalena sitted on her side as if there is no trace of hardships in his face.
Milk and Honey on the table
Avelina Lasaga, 70, younger sister of Lola Magdalena prepares or gives them ready to eat viands. According to Lola Magdalena, when the time they received their pension they will let Avelina buy their food such as meat, fish, vegetables and other needs like medicine, coffee, milk, and rice. Because of that she uttered, “Agyamankami ta adda maaw-awatmi a pagbiaganmi ta saanmin pay a kabaelan ti agsapul.” (We are grateful that we are receiving pension that is very helpful in our daily living especially now that we cannot work anymore.)
Lolo Aurelio and Lola Magdalena are among the reasons why Tagudin Senior Citizens and Friends Drugstore Cooperative, a project of the Senior Citizens was established through the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) according to its Head Dr. Alejandrino P. Villanueva. This project has been going on for 15 years in giving at most 20% discount to all senior citizens in Tagudin.
By Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Administrative Assistant V, NHTS-PR