Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Although he was named Joe Marie by his mother -- after a popular local songwriter/singer -- he was given the nickname Jollibie because of his fondness to celebrate his birthday by having a meal at the popular fast food chain, Jollybee, though he simply changed the spelling of his for a touch of originality.

He's now 18 years of age and attends MLQ High School in Blumentritt. He is a senior, or as what local students refer to as "graduating." At his age, he should already have been in college but unfortunately, he had to quit for two years to help his mother earn a living in order to support his other siblings.

Jollibie was born and had grown up along the railroad tracks near the Blumentritt Station. A couple of months ago,
their crudely built shack was among the hundreds in the area demolished by the government to make room for the railway system's revitalization program. And although the government provided them with the transportation to move their belongings to a relocation site in Marilao, Bulacan, they weren't given any lump sum financial assistance -- only a bag of groceries and a small dwelling for which they are to pay a hundred pesos a month for.

Regrettably, Marilao does not offer as much opportunity to earn a living as in Manila; hence, Jollibie's mother --
like many other recently transplanted folks -- has to commute back to Blumentritt on a daily basis to keep working as a vendor at the Blumentritt public market. She has developed a number of regular customers to make the daily commute worthwhile.

As for Jollibie, he very much wanted to finish his final year of high school at MLQ. However, commuting to school from Marilao is too costly. Therefore, he opted to stay in Blumentritt even if it meant living out in the street.

So nowadays, getting up at the break of dawn, Jollibie meets his mother and helps her set up her goods to sell, dashes off to take a bath from a pipe of running water near the tracks, and then off to school he goes at nine in the morning until seven at night.

He sleeps on a piece of cardboard by the outer edge of the Blumentritt Station platform. Whenever it's raining, he seeks shelter at the nearby stairwell of the LRT station without getting any sleep. He keeps his two sets of school uniform and black shoes along with his casual clothing and slippers in a cardboard box and leaves it under the watch of a street vendor at the station platform. On a couple of occasions, someone had rummaged through his box to steal his t-shirts.

His dream fuels his tenacity and keeps him from wallowing into self-pity. He is remarkably determined to finish high school, go on to college, and then get a job that would enable him to earn and save some money to someday buy his mother a house in Manila.

Be that as it may, by doing odd jobs during the weekends, he gets to earn some allowance money, as well as afford a game or two
at a neighborhood Internet shop. Somehow, playing DOTA allows him to enjoy whatever childhood magic he has left.

* * *

Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!



posted by Señor Enrique at 8:22 AM


Blogger EM said...

I admire the spirit and tenacity of such individuals. They are the true children of God. I pray for Jollibees dreams to come true and his faith and hope may not waver as he struggle through lifes challenges. Nakakalungkot naman. Sana naman me magkupkop sa kanya. Magkaroon man lang ng matutulugan sa gabi.

July 29, 2008 11:28 AM  

Anonymous bertN said...

Maybe all of us can put our extra resources together and help Jollibie continue his study in less than the sordid situation he is in. What do you think?

I have a weakness for poor students who want to get the education they needed to be competitive in this world. I am living on my retirement income but I am willing to forego a few "one for the road" for a needy AND deserving student.

July 29, 2008 11:41 AM  

Blogger FilMasons NSW said...

Jollibie is "lucky" because of the fact that he still has his dream. He still hopes for a better future despite of the things happening around him. I laud his tenacity to overcome obstacles life throws at him.

What can we do to help?

July 29, 2008 12:05 PM  

Anonymous dave said...

I like his attitude. He will go far, especially with a few good breaks.

July 29, 2008 3:54 PM  

Blogger Aura said...

Admirable young man!!! Although i feel sad and sorry that he got into a difficult situation .....

Wish i can help

July 29, 2008 6:01 PM  

Blogger minotte's notes said...

i would like to send jolibee shoes and a backpack, and whatever else he may need.

cathy and i just put together a box of used clothes and shoes from here for san fernando typhoon victims:


pls send me your mailing add at mrcuenca@yahoo.com

more blessings,


July 30, 2008 12:15 AM  

Blogger Lola said...

Wow, nakakaawa naman. I am willing to help too. Don't they have those "bed spacer" (don't know if that is the right term) that you can rent? This poor boy shouldn't be sleeping in the streets. Baka dukutan o bugbugin pa yan, or worse.......

How do we go about helping this young man?

July 30, 2008 3:18 AM  

Blogger Edgar said...

I would like to help as well. Please let me know how...trvlr88@hotmail.com

July 30, 2008 6:20 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

To EM, bertN, Mario, Pat and Aura:

I've heard about Jollibie's plight from a nephew who attends the same school and is a very good friend of Jollibie for many years. In times of typhoons, he has Jollibie staying over at their house.

Also, since after meeting Jollibie personally, I had contacted some people I know in the area. They had promised to lend a helping hand as well.

The way I see it, the best assistance we could provide for this young man is not of financial, but somehow help him find someone or a family who might take him in -- to offer him a job and/or a place to live in the city as he pursues his college education education, which is only half a year away from now. Also, someone who can tutor him in math; he told me that this is the subject he has most problems with.

Perhaps, Mario, you could ask some of your fellow brothers here in Manila who might be interested in this regard, or may be provide him with some sort of "mentorship."

I will meet again with Jollibie this weekend and will ask him to start preparing his documents -- barangay, police and NBI clearances -- just in case someone would want to give him a better and more stable part time job opportunity anytime soon.

I do believe that by our collective desire to "help him fuel his dream," so to speak -- be it through action or prayers -- he would be more inspired to realize his dream, and someday become a model to other young people, too.

Many many thanks everyone!

July 30, 2008 6:54 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Minotte,

I will see Jollibie again this weekend and find out if there may be other students who had opted to stay behind in the railroad tracks to finish their studies at MLQ High School. If so, I will coordinate with someone from their school about receiving used clothing and shoes from you. Perhaps, the box can be sent directly to the school.

I will email you as soon as I get more information.

Many thanks, Minotte!

July 30, 2008 7:01 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Dave,

Jollibie reminds me of the unfortunate character in Francois Traffaut's "Small Change." At the end of the movie, the teacher tells the class that this particular classmate of theirs might going through a pitiful fate, but he will end up more ready in coping with the challenges of adulthood because he had already gone through the worst as a young kid.

The old adage also comes to mind: "Circumstances don't make a man, they reveal him."

And you're right, Dave, this young man Jollibie, will indeed go far if given the right breaks.

July 30, 2008 7:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am touched by the plight of Joe Marie. What a good boy he must have been!

I could only wish that someday he find "success from the ashes."

July 30, 2008 7:25 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Edgar,

Jollibie seems all right at this time since I had also contacted some folks I know in the area to provide him with emergency assistance if needed.

I believe that most ideal is for us to help him find a more stable part time employment until throughout his college years. Please let us know if you know of any.

Incidentally, a sudden windfall might do more harm than good.

July 30, 2008 7:42 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I, too, Anonymous, am confident that this young man will be someone that we'd be proud of someday. Let's pray that he remains on the right path.

Many thanks!

July 30, 2008 7:45 AM  

OpenID juleste said...

This blog of yours will surely make a difference in the young man's life and those around him.

I hope and pray that he overcomes his circumstances. And continously find simple and great inspirations to pursue his dreams.

July 30, 2008 7:48 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Strange, Juleste, after the talk I had with this young man to obtain the material for this story, I said to him with confidence that his life will change once his story got posted. Hopefully for the better, I added.

Not to feed him false hopes, but I had that distinct confidence that someway, somehow, our fellow bloggers will reach out and make possible the appropriate assistance that would best serve his highest good.

I am one of those who believe that we should NOT actualize his dream for him, but rather "facilitate" his realizing it. :)

Your hope and prayers shall add to our collective consciousness of wishing this young man -- and all other determined local kids like him -- all the successes that they so deserve.

July 30, 2008 10:24 AM  

Blogger FilMasons NSW said...

Eric, I will email my fellow brods re assisting with a stable employment, math mentoring and other assistance they could provide.

Probably will just give his first name and the name of the school as a point of contact.

Mario (baylonmjr@yahoo.com.au)

July 30, 2008 11:32 AM  

Blogger FilMasons NSW said...

BTW what is DOTA? Some sort of a game? Been away too long...


July 30, 2008 11:33 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Maraming salamat, Mario!

I will get Jollibie's full name and a contact person from his school (and contact number at the school). I will also ask him this weekend when I see him to get all those clearances prepared as soon as possible.

I will then email you with details most probably after this weekend.

DOTA or Warcraft is now one of the most popular network/Internet computer games. I don't know anything about it but only hear it from the kids.

Again, Mario, many thanks and God bless!

July 30, 2008 11:51 AM  

Blogger luna miranda said...

Hi, Eric. It's heart-breaking to read stories like this one. A determined young man who has dreams despite life's difficulties. I'll also ask around and see if there's anything we can do to ease his life a little bit.

July 30, 2008 2:38 PM  

Blogger nutart said...

My hats off to you, Eric as well as all the commentors here!

I believe too that circumstances make the man. Helping our fellowmen is not actually carrying their load for them but giving them the right amount of comfort to allow them to face up to their personal challenges.

Jollibie is a true example of the young people striving to continue with their education no matter what. I also notice that the parents of these children can be anything---from being good examples to just louts (pardon the word.) But their characters stand out nevertheless. I know that people like Jollibie would not like dole-outs...they want to be able to work and improve their lot the most decent and respectable way there is!

July 30, 2008 6:08 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

The old adage also comes to mind: "Circumstances don't make a man, they reveal him."

And you're right, Dave, this young man Jollibie, will indeed go far if given the right breaks.

Amen to this!

Keep him on track towards his goal, do not spoil him with gifts and financial aid, he loves life, his momentary plight is what keeps him going for his goal to lift himself and his mother from where they are right now.

He seems determined to achieve whatever it is he wants in life.

July 30, 2008 11:11 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

As we all know, Luna, most young people are impressionable, and this is why the Senate has abolished the Sangguniang Kabataan, because it was proven that many weren't doing anything significant for the welfare of the youths; worse, they usually end up emulating the corrupt practices of their senior barangay leaders.

And this is why I strive to showcase young folks like Jollibei who refuse to succumb to the corruption, crime, and other unpleasant images that mire our society. And I remain optimistic that there are many more local folks out there -- young and old alike -- who remain on the path of right and just despite the challenges that confront them on a daily basis.

Thank so much for your interest to help Jollibie and other young folks like him, Luna.

July 31, 2008 8:06 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

"I also notice that the parents of these children can be anything---from being good examples to just louts (pardon the word.) But their characters stand out nevertheless."

How right you are, Bernadette!

And yes, having the right support system can inspire us to achieve our goals despite the overwhelming hindrances at times.

Thank you, Bernadette.

July 31, 2008 8:10 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I agree with you, Pete -- momentary plights, though challenging, can only make us stronger.

I'm confident this young man will remain on his path to achieving his goal.

Thanks, Pete!

July 31, 2008 8:12 AM  

Anonymous lino said...

this is very moving eric... i hope this young man will fulfill his dreams... i will pray for this young guy... and i love the way you took the picture, you still left some privacy to his entirety... good shot eric.

August 05, 2008 5:57 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Lino!

Yes, I'm confident Jollibie will lead a good and decent life.

August 07, 2008 8:31 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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