PRK. BALABAG, Granada, Bacolod City, Philippines – Niño Datiles is far now from the heartbreaks in this sub-village at least 20 kilometers away from the city center.
At least from the town of La Castellana where less than a week ago, on Mothers’ Day, his second wife drove him and his daughter out of the home they share with the woman’s relatives. (READ: COVID blues: Man tries to walk home for 70 kilometers with seven-year-old daughter)
Niño’s heartbreaks are not of the high-school type.
He had two wives.
Both left him.
Both at low points in his life, he tells DNX.
The reasons are common: the first left him when he was bedridden for two months, without any means of earning. The second one left him for almost the same exact reason.
“She said I was not earning anymore, I had no job after the lockdown,” he narrated to DNX in between sobs during the first interview on the stairs of the government center here where he waited for help.
Are you going to look for another wife, this reporter asked.
“Not anymore, I’ll just look after my daughter, ” he says in Hiligaynon as he sat down with DNX to talk about his recent experience walking away, literally, from another failed relationship. (READ: Niño, daughter reach home in Bacolod, netizens send help)
A native of Cadiz City, Niño only finished third year high school.
He wanted to be a mechanic but his family could not afford to send him to vocational school.
He worked odd jobs and found a wife in neighboring Sagay City.
Remedyo heneral or working various menial jobs to make ends meet was what Niño did until his 40s.
Niño had to send his daughter Rose (not her real name) to a cousin who he says “can care for her better.”
Here, he points to a half-finished hut “the conditions are difficult for her.”
Since DNX broke their story, a steady stream of help over the past few days had been coming to Niño, some from locals like Ivy Demetria and Sotero Montelibano, and Julia Peruelo who have been channeling help to Niño, some from Granada residents working or living abroad.
“Most of these former Granada residents abroad used to be poor here while growing up here,” Sotero tells DNX as we sat down to a breakfast of fish cooked in soy sauce and vinegar with Ivy and Julia.
I WILL HEAL YOU
Niño is thankful to say the least that people had been sending help.
On the bamboo floor of his unfinished hut in the middle of palay and vegetable fields are bags of rice and groceries, help from people who have read his story and saw the video interview that some describe as “heart-wrenching.”
Niño admits it was painful to part with Rose.
“She is the only family I have now,” tears welling in the corner of his eye.
“I will visit you, Tatay (father),” was her assurance to Niño before she left with a relative Monday afternoon.
He has not seen her since.
Niño says Rose once told him she wants to become a doctor so “she can cure me,” after his child saw him hobbling with arthritis or sometimes doubling up in pain, possibly because of tuberculosis that had already been cured.
“I will do everything I can, everything I can,” he mutters as he stared at the rice fields around his half-finished house he wants to call home with Rose. /with Banjo C. Hinolan and Rodney A. Jarder Jr.