A ‘Balut’ Vendor By Profession, A Teacher By Passion

“Hindi lamang sa apat na sulok ng silid-aralan matututo ang mag-aaral; hindi lang din sa apat na sulok ng silid-aralan matatagpuang nagtuturo ang guro. Pwede rin sa lansangan. Sa ganitong paraan, habang sya ay nagtuturo, siya din ay natututo.” – Chi Acayen, teacher/online blogger

What does it really takes for a person for him/her to be called a teacher? Is it by the chalk and eraser he/she holds? Is it by the thought that he/she is inside a classroom with a blackboard? Or is it by the number of students that he/she teaches? Or could it be by credential papers which prove that he/she had finished studying with a degree in teaching?

If these are the qualifications of the teacher, by all means, Marcelino Parane a.k.a Tatay Lino, 51 years old, a ‘balut’ vendor, was not a teacher. But how come kids at Baseco, Port Area, Manila called him ‘Sir’ and let him check their papers in a way that teachers usually do?

If we’re going to consider the other qualities of a teacher like overflowing patience, a good motivator, understanding, considerate, and has a great passion for teaching kids with or without anything to expect in return except gratitude, then Tatay Lino will pass the criteria.

Tatay Lino was a vendor of ‘balut’, a popular Pinoy food that were sold in streets particularly during night time. On weeknights, this is his daily routine. But on weekends, he’s helping at the Kabalikat sa Kaularan ng Baseco, Inc., a non-government office for livelihood programs. But he’s not directly affiliated to the Kabalikat. His job there was teaching young individuals some basic knowledge like how to read, to count, and to write.

At present, Tatay Lino enjoys teaching at the Kabalikat for there are resources there that helps him teach children. But contrary to what he has now, in 2000, when he started to help street children through teaching, he has nothing. According to him, he only used the walls from Tondo, when he was still living there, to write his lessons and teach.

Wala talaga ako no’n [yung mga gamit sa pagtuturo]. Basta kung ano lang ang alam ko, ‘yon lang ang shinishare ko sa mga bata sa Tondo,” says Tatay Lino.

Tatay Lino also shares that during his teaching, one of the hardest problems that he always encounter was when he was trying to encourage the children to join him and learn. According to him, even though he was passionate to help the children to learn, no one wants to join; instead everyone chose to play over learning. So in order to resolve this problem, he bought snacks and gave it to the children who joins him in his mini ‘classroom’. But during that time, Tatay Lino was only a janitor with small income; so it’s a big wager for him. But he didn’t feel burden because he doesn’t have a family to support; and he feels rewarded so there’s nothing to worry.

Marami ring pagkakataon na wala akong naibigay sa mga bata kaya nga madalas lahat sila nakasimangot pagkatapos ng session namin.” He shares as he laughs while recounting the memory.

When asked what leads him to do this ‘hobby’, he said that he was inspired by his mother who was also a teacher when he was a teenager. But unlike his mother who finished her degree in teaching, Tatay Lino only finished high school. He stopped studying when his father died. He then helped his mother from supporting his four siblings who were all living in their province now.

When I asked Tatay Lino what’s the most rewarding thing that he had found in his teaching, he answered me with enthusiasm that it is the thought that at least once in his life he got the opportunity to help his fellowmen. He also said that he’s so pleased to think that in his teaching, someone has achieved their dream, maybe not everyone but at least through one of the children that he taught for the past 14 years of his ‘teaching’.

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