“Masaya kami sa pagkakaroon ng labing-apat na anak pero hindi namin maipagkakaila ang kaakibat nitong hirap upang buhayin sila (We are happy to have 14 children but we cannot deny that it is coupled with difficulty of supporting them),” Elesia De Guzman admitted.

Elesia, together with her husband Roberto can vividly recall her hardships when they cannot afford the school needs of their children. “Mismo pang mga kamag-anak namin ang kumukutya sa amin kung paano namin maitataguyod ang aming malaking pamilya (Our relatives would tease and question us on how we will provide for our big family),” Elesia disclosed. Although it was a whirlwind for her and Roberto, the powerful winds carried them to join the 4Ps in 2013.

Elesia has rekindled her love for teaching in the aim of making ends meet. Despite several challenges, she managed to complete her bachelor’s degree in secondary teaching; however, she chose to not take the Licensure Examination for Teachers. “Nagprivate tutor ako noon tapos kusinero naman ang aking asawa. Kulang talaga ang aming kinikita kaya nangungutang kami upang may laman ang tiyan ng aming mga anak (At that time, I was a private tutor and my husband worked as a cook. Since our income was never sufficient, we had to borrow money just to provide for our family’s needs),” Elesia recalled.

2015 brought a major turnaround to De Guzman Family when Elesia availed free skills training and enrolled Food Processing in the Local Government Unit of Laoac, Pangasinan. She was provided with Tupig house, grilling stand, and capital assistance amounting to PhP7,000.00. Meanwhile, Roberto underwent Food and Beverage Services training under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). They were able to expand their business and ventured into processing frozen food products such as tocino, longganisa, and embutido. They also explored peanut butter making and added this to their products. As a result, Elesia is currently one of the top producers of regional cakes and other delicacies in Laoac, Pangasinan, catering for various events as well as export needs.

“Kailangang dumiskarte at pasukin lahat ng puwedeng pagkakakitaan upang maibigay ang pangangailangan ng aking mga anak (We need to be resourceful and explore other sources of income to provide for the needs of my children),” Elesia proudly relayed.

The De Guzman Family’s persistence paid off as they made most of the support and services offered to them by the LGU and kept in mind the lessons from the Family Development Sessions.

Four of of Elesia’s 14 children have college degrees already. Ruby Liza, 9th child, graduated Bachelor of Science in Tourism in 2017; Precious Ivy, 12th child, is a Registered Social Worker who is currently serving as a 4Ps City Link in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan; Maria Fatima, the 13th child, works at a mall while reviewing for the Licensure Examination for Teachers; and Niño, the youngest finished a two-year Midwifery course and decided to follow the footsteps of his sister, Precious Ivy, in the social work profession.

With the said achievements, the De Guzman Family was declared the Provincial First Runner-up of the Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya in 2018. (by: Exousia M. Arguel / Municipal Link and Mark Theodore M. Mamuyac, Project Development Officer II / LGU Focal Person)