Sunday, March 17, 2013

Till Next Time, Mary Grace

I saw the poster. I knew she was gone. When I went back last Friday to do a workshop for my org, I saw Mike Ona in a vigil at Carabao Park. I knew they had found her. I asked him if they found her yet or she's dead and he confirmed it. I don't go online everyday or have tv access so I was shocked, angry, hurt and depressed all at the same time I think my entire body was shaking and I was cold as hell.

This, after Given Grace was the worst Elbi news I have heard in a long time. I imagined she fought for her life to the very last moment and she would not want to loose her life. She would have been able to survive anything else but murder. The image of her having scratches and being found near the water is awful.

But I want to remember her as she was.

To me she was a very positive girl. But she was one with hope, dreams and possibly a future.

When I went to the Febfair I saw a missing person's poster with a name I recognized and a face that was naggingly familiar. It was hers. My brother told me and reminded me that it was a girl who used to be a girl who sold things like peanuts at the grove. Then the memory clicked in my head. She might have been a vendor or a sampaguita kid.

A bubbly girl who said she envied the UP students who refused to buy her goods (because we didn't need it) but ended up talking to. We used to like doing that, talking to the kids at the C park or Grove. I am a softie when it comes to these things. I think I a closet philantrophist. And I brought those 3 large cookies in a pack to the park trying to eye one of the kids and giving it to them. I brought two always when my money could allow me to so I had mine to share with my friends and one for them to share with their friends.

Those kids were not beggars. They were not rude. They walked away if you said no or greeted you when they already interacted with you in the past. For a kid who could not afford to go to school, a UP student was the most envious person in the country. To them we got paid to go to school, something they couldn't afford to dream of.

The CTD people started to put together yearly Christmas parties for sampaguita kids, later there were fund-raising made for helping some of them go to school.

When my mom asked, "Bakit ganung, antanda na pero grade 3 pa lang?" Don't get my mom wrong she worked every day of her life to gain a good education. She worked for her allowance. My lolo was a newsboy in the morning and a tricycle driver after. My lola was a mananahi. There were 8 of them so life was tough but my grandparents wanted their kids to have an education. And to my mom, studying was a right she held on to because she knew it would lead to a better life. And it did. Not just for her but for me too. So even when he had helpers in our home, she would include an "education options" to the package. She didn't care to keep her helpers where they were. She wanted them to work now as a helper and be something else later on. My other lolas did the same being teachers themselves, they knew that an education was a meal ticket and never stopped giving back after all of one's effort.

Mary Grace went on an errand being the dutiful daughter that she was. But what demon would consume a grown man to do something like this to a nice girl with so many dreams is beyond me.

I told my mom, I don't know if drugs got cheaper or people just changed so much in LB that things like this happened. She said ganun naman daw talaga ang mga tricycle drivers, suspicious characters talaga. I told her whoa wait, when I was there they were polite and helpful. The jeepney drivers were nice and friendly. And the people, even those under the influence would not do something this abominable.

I always thought of Elbi as a haven, so this hurts me. And this shocks others so much they fear for their daughters. My parents are strict but they are also more fearful of the times now than before.

Is it me or is no place safe, is no one safe? Can a good local government really be present or is image management all they are concerned about?

What happened to the security of the streets of LB? Is it really the fault of new people or are the people not able to check the balance of their lives leading to crap like this happening.

It's heartbreaking that she never even experienced having a graduation. Maybe God would be merciful and give her a next life that is more privileged where she would grow up to be a woman of worth and be one who fights for the lives of other women.

The reason why even as a Catholic I believe and hope reincarnation is true because otherwise it's just too damn depressing.

Mary Grace, please say hi to Given, Rochel and Ray for us. I am sure me Carabao Park din sa langit.

Inquirer news article



  1. I don't know exactly what happened to this girl but everybody deserves to live in this planet. I know this for a fact especially since I am still getting over my loss, our loss. But then again, maybe God had other plans for her. It is hard to understand these things. I know I can't say that you should understand what this purpose is but then again, someday you will understand. As for LB not being a safe place anymore, I think the world is not a safe place anymore. It has become more dangerous and our future generations need to be more vigilant, paranoid even. I understand how your parents feel and how other parents feel. If my daughter was alive, I would fear for her own safety too.


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