Lito and Inday: Couple Who
Toils Every Precious Minute of the Day
by Apolinario Villalobos
Lito and Inday Balanay who have two beautiful daughters, are a typical couple who literally makes use of every precious minute of the day to earn an honest living. They start their struggle as early as 5AM. A mug of coffee for each, serves as breakfast. Whatever solid food they take becomes their “brunch” for the day. Inday, using a “traysikad”, pedals her way to the bakery in the neighboring subdivision, a kilometer away from their home, while Lito uses a bike…both, to pick up their respective stock of pan de sal (bread of salt), a popular breakfast staple of Filipinos. Starting their rounds at 6AM, they are finally through peddling at about 7AM. After turning over their earnings to the owner of the bakery, out of which they get their meager “commission” for the day, they go on their separate way back home.
As soon as she has arrived home, Inday prepares her wares for her sidewalk ambulant store, still using her “traysikad”. She positions herself for this other endeavor in front of a big and popular grocery, one kilometer from their home. Her clients consist of drivers who buy sticks of cigarettes, biscuits, and candies. Lito, on the other hand, prepares his tools for his sideline – scheduled minor repair jobs of homes around the subdivision. Meanwhile, their two daughters are left in the care of a trusted niece. Sometimes, the two girls provide their mother company, as she sells her wares on the sidewalk.
The couple confided that they have to double their effort in earning for the future of their daughters, as the eldest, Kristine, is already nine years old and the youngest, going seven years old. They are lucky to have found a vacant lot which they are renting at Php1,500.00 per month, and on which they built a shack using junk materials, some of which were given by friends. Only half of their home’s floor has been cemented thinly, and the rest of the painstakingly leveled ground is covered with a junk sheet of linoleum. Despite the inadequacies for a comfortable life, the family is a picture of contentment.
Lito and Inday, both in their early 40’s, are “Bisaya”, with the former being a “Waray” and the latter, a Surigaonon. The Bisayans are known for their resourcefulness and diligence. When asked what she wishes for to make their life more comfortable, Inday, who refers to their home as “bahay ng kalapati” (pigeon hole or cubicle), replied, “a cooking gas tank”, while letting out a hearty and crisp laugh. Although, they already have a single-burner stove with a gas tank, she wants a standby one, in view of the fluctuating price of this basic commodity. Besides, Inday also plans to cook rice cakes, hoping that she could earn more. As for Lito, he would like to have more tools to help him in his trade. Meanwhile, the two girls just want umbrella.
While the family of Lito and Inday are happy in their rickety home assembled from junks and with their wishes that they treat as just such – wishes, other families who live in air-conditioned homes can’t seem to find contentment and happiness if they have not capped their summer with their regular jaunts – weeks in Disneyland (America), shopping in Hongkong, or sunbathing in Boracay, or they don’t have the latest gadgets that their kids could boast to their playmates.