A mother is a woman who dedicates her life for her family and children.
Motherhood is the epitome of love. A mother’s love for her children is like nothing else in this world. It is unconditional and boundless. It shapes cultures and nourishes characters. Of course, a mother is not only someone who has given birth to children but also one who nurtures and whose sole purpose in life is to take care of her loved ones unconditionally. Mother’s Day is a global celebration of the love, strength and selflessness of mothers everywhere.
Across generations, races and social status, mothers share the same role. One that nurtures and protects. And this is the role that is vivid in the life of Nanay Carmelita, who is endearingly considered as the Mother of the Ati community in Carabao Island.
At a ripe age of 60 years, Nanay Carmelita continues to be the guiding light of her family. Time and age had not dulled her sparkle and thirst for life. Her soft eyes and gentle countenance leaves one in awe of her gratitude and contentment in life in spite of the hardships she endured to raise her thirteen children.
Back in the old days, her mother used to be very protective of their family. Fear of the unfamiliar ways of the non-Ati inhabitants drove her family to live in seclusion in the mountains. Her family’s isolation from the other communities strengthen their bond and reliance on each other. Mother and daughter roles came full circle when Nanay Carmelita and her mother gave birth at the same time. It was a joyous moment that turned into one of grief and hardship when her mother died shortly afterwards, leaving Nanay Carmelita with two newborns under her care.
Her love for her new family spurred her to brave the challenges. She thought, she was raised well by her mother and so she will do the same for her children. Nanay Carmelita toiled day and night. No farm work was too difficult nor too far for her. “Ang akong mga unga man ang akong pinag-isipan, pano kung may nangyari sa magulang? Ang mga unga makaluluoy.”, Nanay Carmelita said.
“My children are always in my thoughts, if something bad happens to the parents, it would affect the children and it feels very sad if so.”
Through love and perseverance, she was able to let two of her children finish their studies in college. In fact, one of her children, Lala, is a public school teacher in Carabao Island. Today, Nanay Carmelita, alongside with her family, works at the Ocean Edge Resort. She says, “I am very happy and content with my life now. The love and care shown to me by my mother shaped me into what I am today.”