As I write this blog, it is around 9 am on a Friday morning here in Guimaras in the beautiful Philippines. The heavy rain has presently subsided, and Typhoon Pepeng is scheduled to hit Metro Manila tomorrow afternoon, and then pound us later in the day. I am preparing this blog now as I am sure we will have more brownouts (power outages) tomorrow so I want to have something ready for The Rooster. If I did everything correctly this blog should automatically post for me tomorrow morning. Throughout the day tomorrow, I will try to update the storm conditions on this blog whenever possible (and if) we have power.
Lang Lang and his nephew came by to visit us during the Fiesta earlier this week as mentioned in an earlier entry. Lang Lang (standing next to me as I pose in a stylish tank top) is the porter at the Iloilo City dock that we always hire to haul our heavy items on board the pump boats for us after all day shopping trips to SM City. He’s the guy that hauled our new refrigerator on his back down the dock steps to the boat; he may be shorter than me, but the guy is one strong amigo.
Lang Lang is typical of the many millions of hardworking Filipinos, and fortunate to have a job in his hometown of Iloilo City. Forty-two years old, married with three children (has a little eight month old now!), and working on the Iloilo docks since the age of eighteen, seven days a week, no vacations. I repeat: seven days a week, twenty four straight years and no vacation. He also works part-time at night as a barangy (village) policeman. He getting time off this afternoon to go to the Fiesta since the Fiesta’s are like Christmas time here, and it is extremely important to visit family and friends at this time (Lang Lang is visiting friends at Albert’s Motorcycle Shop just down our mud-paved, cow-poop laden subdivision road.) He does not complain. He works hard. He always smiles. I kid around with him when I see him smoking a rare cigarette at the dock, call him my amigo, and really just like the guy.
Lang Lang’s father worked for a freight loading company on the dock for sixty years. When it came time for his father to collect his pension after sixty years, the company refused to pay. After much haggling, and several years later, his father’s estate received a settlement of 120,000 pesos. Sounds like a lot. Not really. At today’s peso to U.S. dollar exchange rate that would be about a little over 2500 dollars; that’s his pension after sixty years of labor.
Lang Lang’s father had already since passed away, so Lang Lang was due to receive the money, but Lang Lang’s younger brother somehow cheated Lang Lang out of the money, and received the whole amount. His brother did later reap what he had sown; his brother worked for a company located at the Iloilo dock for twenty-five years and was accused of stealing drums of oil from the company’s dock area and was fired. Despite what his brother had done to him, Lang Lang says his brother was innocent.
My family, my wife, and I visit with Lang Lang and his nephew for a couple of hours, and then he has to head back to work at Iloilo. My family here knows Lang Lang well as they have always hired him as a porter over the many years; they like him as well as I do, a very hardworking and personable guy, and consider him a friend and have a great deal of respect for him. And if you are respected, remembered as a hard worker, and considered an amigo, is that not a great legacy to leave behind when you finally depart this world? I think so.