At five each morning I am already awake to start my day to get my pick of fresh catch from the Barangay Guinhalaran fish port and transports it to my tapahan. I dries, brines and then smokes tubs of round scad (galunggong) and milkfish (bangus), a trade that I’ve learned from my parents. My parents business started in 1970’s and continues to thrive from the big buyers like Bascon Restaurant, Bobs, El Ideal etc. “Di ko naisip na lalaki ito”, says Gina. I was content on earning just enough money to survive, but then customers started coming to buy my produce as presents to Filipino based in other countries. I was so young then when I started selling smoked fish or tinapa here in Silay and usually you’ll find me right beside the door of El Ideal Bakery with my baskets of tinapa. Now on my 40’s widowed with one child, I am still enjoying my time selling tinapa and thanking GOD for putting fish in the sea. I was able to send my daughter to school and get a degree from selling tinapa. Tinapa business it isn’t that easy at all. Leaving home early in the morning to buy scad and milkfish was tiring at times. It is called commitment to buy ice to load on your basin to put the fish on. It is called patience to carry out the tedious task of smoking fish. But I still come everyday and smoked and sell tinapa as I can because  it is an income. I sell my tinapa and I enjoy selling tinapa.


Tess Buison

(Note: I bought and tasted her fresh tinapa and it was superb!!! Still moist, but nicely smokey and not overly salty. If you happened to drop by  in El Ideal look for Gina she is right there beside El Ideal Bakery door with her baskets of yummy tinapa perfect for your breakfast 🙂 ).



My heart belongs to animals. My mom taught me how to be kind and loving to animals. She is an animal rescuer and I love what she is doing. Now, I am the voice of the voiceless. The love of an animal is pure and true. I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter, the cast off of human society. I saw in their eyes love, hope, fear, dread, sadness and betrayal. I was angry. “GOD” I said, “Why don’t you do something? and God replied” I did. I created you”. Now, I am an active rescuer of homeless and stray animals like my mom. I want to be the voice of the voiceless because animal abuse, cruelty, neglect and abandonment are contrary to my life-long values of love and compassion towards all animal which I learned from my mom. I want to be the voice for the voiceless because not enough is being done to help prevent animal abuses and neglect! I am working on having my voice heard for those who don’t have a voice. Ringo is one of our rescued kittens. My mom found him in Silay Public Plaza, abandoned, hungry, frightened and scared. So thin and hopeless. With so much love, care, family he can call his own and proper nourishment, Ringo is now a healthy, happy, loving kitten. A dog, cat…pets are FOREVER please don’t dump them like garbage…they have feelings too.



My name is Arlene, a single parent, a mother to nine children (one is adopted). As a single parent who left an alcoholic husband when my children were young. I vowed to myself that I would do everything to give their basic needs. I washed people’s clothes and scavenge for a living. I need to go out and wash people clothes to earn money to make ends meet. Everyday regardless of the weather, I sort through garbage for plastic bottles and tin cans that can be sold at a local junk shop. If I don’t do it, my children will go to bed hungry. It was a hand to mouth life.

The crisis and drama of my life doesn’t stop here, my heart broke into million pieces when one of my son was sent to prison because of drugs. That day I almost wanted to give up, a feeling of desperation came over me that I had never felt in my life, I don’t have anything to depend on, God is my only refuge, I pray to God everyday that he touched my sons’ heart and lighten his mind to become a better person. After two weeks in prison, he changed. Being in prison has allowed him to feel freer than he has in a very long time. He is clear-headed and focused. He has the courage to face what is ahead of him and the belief that there is a path of growth and recovery for him. He accepts full responsibility for the circumstances. Now he is serving as a helper in a Ministerial place in Bago City. I continue to pray for him, for his well-being and that he continually finds and stays on his path to recovery.


My son was one of the beneficiaries of the DOLE’s DILEEP Program (DOLE’s Intergrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program) under the Kabuhayan Program which is the Emergency Employment Program (EEP) or the Tulong Panghanapbuhay Sa Ating Disadvantage/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) providing him a pedicab for a livelihood project. With 500 pesos in my hand I used this as my start-up capital and used the pedicab as my mobile store. With my hard work and perseverance my mobile store eventually grew to include selling candies, cigarettes, bottled water, soft drinks, snacks and much more. This changed our life a lot. I am now able to generate a better income being able to survive on our day-to-day needs. Now you can see me all day along the sidewalk of Silay Public Plaza across from San Diego Parish Church.

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As a human being, we need to feel challenges. We need to feel that we have accomplished something and the only way to feel as if you have accomplished something is by having to struggle to get there. Without struggle, life wouldn’t be worth living. Hope my story’s inspire’s you. Merry Christmas and God Bless.