How a taxi driver taught the lessons of IEC 2016 to a nun.

Visita Iglesia and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at Asilo de la Milagrosa, Cebu

Visita Iglesia and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at Asilo de la Milagrosa, Cebu

We just finished the Visita Iglesia of the International Eucharistic Congress 2016. It was late. My companions were all going the opposite direction and I did not know how to get back to the convent. I asked a barangay tanod who said that since many roads were closed, the best option was to take a taxi. He flagged a taxi and told the driver my address (in Cebuano).

Grateful to be on my way home after a full day, I observed the passing scene. Suddenly, the route seemed unfamiliar. The road was getting dark and winding. I started to get worried. It was my fourth day in Cebu and for the first time, I was traveling alone. I silently whispered, “Angel of God, my guardian dear…”

“Manong, parang iba po ang dinadaanan natin. Sa Daughters of St. Paul, Osmeña Blvd. po tayo, malapit sa Harrison Place.”
(Sir, it seems we’re on a different route. We’re supposed to go to the Daughters of St Paul in Osmeña Blvd, near Harrison Place.) I told the driver.
“Ay, Harrison pala. Akala ko sa Radisson,” (Oh, Harrison! I thought it was Radisson), he replied.
“Naku hindi po! Harrison. Ano po ba yung Radisson?” (No, sir, it is Harrison! But what is Radisson?), I asked.
“Malaki at magandang hotel yon – Radisson Blu.” (It’s a big and beautiful Hotel), he replied.
“Naku, Manong, hindi po tumutuloy doon ang madre. Sa kumbento lang po.” (Sir, sisters don’t stay in those hotels but in convents.)

Then we went back to where he picked me up, turned the meter back to zero, and restarted it. I was surprised, to say the least! This will never happen in Manila!
“OK lang po sa inyo? Hindi kayo lugi sa gasolina?” (Is that OK with you, sir? Won’t you be at a deficit?” I asked.
“OK lang ma’am. Mali ako eh. Dapat tinanong din kita.” (That’s OK, ma’am. It was also my fault. I should have asked your address as well.)

My worries flew out of the window, and we chatted through the traffic, as we passed by other groups still in procession. I asked about his family, his work, and the impact of IEC on Cebu and it’s residents. Courteous and simple, he readily opened his heart. He told me his dreams (a better life for his five children) and his disappointments (there were many). He is happy and proud that Cebu was chosen to host the IEC. What a great honor! Yes, there were inconveniences: traffic is worse, the hassle of closed roads and rerouting, etc., but it was OK.

We finally reached the convent. I was opening my purse to pay and give him a good tip, when he stopped me.
“Sister, huwag na po. Tulong ko na po sa misyon ninyo,” (No, Sister, no need to pay me. Keep it as my help for your mission), he said with a smile.
“Naku, Manong, kailangan nyo po ito, ng pamilya nyo,” (But sir, you need this, and your family), I insisted, giving him the money.
“Hindi po ako makakasali sa IEC, at wala naman akong maibibigay na iba. Yan na lang ang contribution ko para sa misyon,” (I cannot join the IEC nor volunteer, and I don’t have anything else to give. That’s the only contribution I can make to the mission), he said, as if pleading. “Sige na po.” (Please!)

I conceded and accepted the gift with a humbled heart. This was something extraordinary!  I was moved at the unexpected gesture of solidarity. I promised to pray for him and his family, and told him that all the sisters in my community in Pasay will do the same. (Will you please pray for him, too?)

Thank you, Manong Estrellito! You are one in a million!

Thanks to you and all the valiant volunteers who made IEC 2016 not only a huge success but also an experience of a lifetime. Thank you for showing me what the foreign delegates kept on repeating: “You are an amazing people! Always ready to help, always with a smile. Gracious and welcoming, respectful and dignified. And it’s not for show, either!”

Altars servers lead the procession to the next church.

Altars servers lead the procession to the next church.

An Irish delegate, Fr. John, observed: “Filipinos have a good heart; something you will not see anywhere else.” A heart that is grateful for having been chosen. A heart ready for any inconvenience or sacrifice in order to serve. A heart open and generous to give – whatever one can – to contribute to the common good. A heart that lives what it believes.

Yes, we heard brilliant theological discourses and touching testimonies about the Eucharist during the Congress. Yes, the Mass, the Adoration, the procession and Statio Orbis were glorious celebrations of the Eucharist. But it was the thousands of volunteers, the organizers and the people of Cebu, like Manong Estrellito, who allowed us to experience with them what being Eucharist truly means: being a people blessed, broken and shared!

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About rosefsp

I am a religious sister (yes, a nun!) from the Daughters of St Paul whose mission is to share the Good News. I love to read, write and take photos.
This entry was posted in Musings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to How a taxi driver taught the lessons of IEC 2016 to a nun.

  1. Wendy Ooi says:

    What a beautiful concrete encounter with a Eucharistic life! Indeed, most Filipinos have joyful and generous hearts! And I believe it was my years in the Philippines that helped my heart grow! 🙂
    (I understood most of the Tagalog but it might be helpful to translate into English for your other international readers!)

  2. Wow! What a beautiful experience Sister! 🙂 its truly in the little things and details that make the difference, this is indeed a ripple effect 🙂 my hats off to Mang Estrellito! 🙂 As a fellow missionary i am indeed touched by his act of faith in helping the IEC in his own little way. Im glad that this story spreads Hope. As would go our motto: Hope Lives! 🙂

  3. Albert SSP says:

    Sr. Rose! Albert SSP here. Can we repost this on the IEC social media page? I’ll give credits to your blog, of course. 🙂

  4. Johnro says:

    Wow. This gave me goosebumps.

    • Rolando says:

      Johnro, goosebumps yes, yes, yes! Mega gratitude to the generosity of the poor who often make me guilty for sharing less. God bless our nation.

    • rosefsp says:

      Thanks, for your comment, Johnro. If you are from Cebu, can you spread the word to the Cebuanos? They do make us proud to be Filipinos!

  5. ladislao says:

    Thanks for your post Sister Rose, I have to post it inFacebook so many can read your story.

  6. Jingjing Marino-Farrarons says:

    Beautiful post, Sr. Indeed, his gesture was the essence of the IEC in Cebu. We pray that those like Manong Estrellito and, everyone, be truly blessed by every Mass that is said the world over. God bless us all, Sr.

  7. Ampro Espejo Umbay says:

    Attribute it to Gods mysterious ways of Loving , Caring for Us To God Be the Glory

  8. Abe Lucero says:

    Thank you Sister Rose for your heart warming story. I am proud to be a filipino and cebuano. I have an fsp sister, Sister Gemma Lucero.

  9. jose dorren says:

    i cried reading this. thanks for the share.

    • rosefsp says:

      You’re welcome, Jose, and thanks for your comment. It is the goodness of God expressed in the goodness of people that touches our hearts – because it resonates with the goodness within us. May we always listen to it.

  10. Evelina Q. Panuncillo says:

    Thank you so much for your post sister. I was one of the volunteers (secretariat committee) and the experience I have had since the time I started until during the congress proper have made me a better person. And God can never be outdone in His generousity, with the time, talent and the little treasure that I was able to share, He has showerd me and my family with so much blessings! To God be the glory!

  11. aireen says:

    Thank you for this beautiful story Sister Rose… I am teary eyed reading this… Proud to be a Cebuano.

  12. Karl says:

    The iec did not get much attention from manila media. Why? Not seen much iec broadcast in manila.

    • rosefsp says:

      Hi, Karl. I wasn’t aware how the reports were in Manila during the IEC (Jan. 24-31, 2016) because I was in Cebu, but all the major networks and media entities were there for the coverage. If you missed some of the reports, you can access them online at the IEC 2016 Social Media platforms and website. Blessings!

  13. Thank you Sr. Rose for this heart-warming story. I was an EMHC volunteer during the IEC 2016. It was indeed a wonderful experience. A memory that can last a lifetime. Have shared this in my Facebook account.

  14. Kai says:

    Arigato for this amazing story, Sr. Rose! 🙂 may God bless his good heart 😉 I hope you can give me the permission to share this on my site! 🙂

  15. Joanna White says:

    I am so moved by this. Did you happen to get Manong Estelito’s last name?

    • rosefsp says:

      Thanks, Joanna. I did ask him but unfortunately I cannot remember. I’m really sorry. I have been trying to recall it since that night but my memory eludes me. I hope someone from Cebu can read the post and help find Manong Estrellito.

  16. VSDolar says:

    What a touching experience! Just confirming to all that God is good and alive in people’s hearts! So let’s keep on encouraging each other for the love of God while it is still today! thanks for sharing. God bless!

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