Kindness repaid with generosity: An inspirational story of Manong Nonie and his Sayote

Approximately 36 years ago, traversing back to the humble past of CPSU, NOAC (Negros Occidental Agricultural College) then, during those days when the less fortunate yet dedicated and hard-working children of the farmers, filled with passion, persevered to bridge their dreams to reality through earning a college degree.

The poverty they faced was never seen as an ordeal, rather, a stepping stone to success. Back in those days when desiring to finish a college degree was regarded as an ambitious goal for an “ultimo,” a destitute, with very little resources to support their needs, going through and surviving all the rigorous and exorbitant requirements in college was no easy feat.

One of the daily hurdles of these students back then was on budgeting their scant allowances to fit their school expenses as well as their daily meals.  It was during these rough times that Manong Nonie Emperado and his “sayote” (Chayote) became a huge help to these struggling students. Manong Nonie, a resident of Upper Ballo in Barangay Tagukon, Kabankalan City, used to sell his farm produce at the school’s “mini mart” (a designated area in the campus where farmers used to display and sell their farm products which was located just below the Women’s Dormitory, now Homemaker’s Home). Manong Nonie became very dear to the students as he regularly supplied them with his “sayote” allowing them to extend their meager food allowance to last for several weeks. He would often give the students “paaman/pakapin” or additional/extra pieces every time they buy from his “sayote” as his simple means of helping them. For the students, simple as it was, yet it was meaningful to them as it had become part of their college survival phase.

Fast forward to the present time with most of them now successful in their respective careers; they are the living inspiration to the youth who also trudge the same path, that despite poverty it is always possible to rise above all difficulties, and that, ambition when coupled with industry would lead to success.

Now, being proud products of their beloved alma mater, they never failed to look back to their past and give back to the people who had become part and instrumental in reaching the zenith of their dreams. One of them is Manong Nonie, now 63 years old. He still farms and sells his harvest such as camote, mais, sayote, etc. at the local market in Brgy. Tagukon with the help of his wife, Mrs. Nenita Emperado.

Fueled with the spirit of giving, these group of alumni known as the NOAC Family Alumni Association or NFAA, concurred to share a gift as a simple expression of their gratitude by bringing light to the old farmer’s home. Last December 5, 2020, they turned over their donation worth P25, 000.00 to the CPSU Negros Occidental Alumni Association. Out from the money they donated, a solar panel with 100 watts capacity was purchased. Aside from that, Manong Nonie and his wife received a transistor radio through the generosity of Sir Benjie Orot, also an alumnus of NSCA who now works as the Sanguniang Bayan secretary of the Municipality of Candoni. And last January 4, 2021, through the CPSU Community and Extension Services Office (ECSO) headed by its director, Dr. Jimmy O. Degillo, the team went to Manong Nonie’s residence at Upper Ballo, Tagukon to install the solar panel. The services extended by the ECSO office of the University is one of its core functions which is to coordinate and assist stakeholders, e.g. alumni, in giving any form of assistance for the households in the local community.

In response, Manong Nonie and his wife expressed their sincere and warmest thanks to the alumni for remembering them through the gifts they received. For them, these were so much from what they expected that brought so much joy them. Truly, simple acts of kindness could go a long way.

By: J.A. Emoy

Photo Credits: J. Degillo and F. Abello