A MOTHER'S love is one of the greatest forces in the world. For the sake of her children, a woman could brave any challenges on her path, even when she is forced to go through it alone.
Being a single mother in this fast paced and complicated modern Filipino society is not a joke. Raising children is not an easy task, especially if you have to assume the roles of both mother and father.
For 70-year-old Lina Quintana, the years she spent as a single mother were a kaleidoscope of colors. Her story as a mother, set in the heart of Cagayan de Oro city, is a testimony of a mother's determination to continue even when almost all the lights in her life have gone out.
Quintana and her husband have been married happily for 23 years with three children when what she thought was unexpected, happened. All of a sudden, her husband disclosed to Quintana that there is another woman whom he met at work. Although shocked and hurt by the unanticipated confession by her husband, she chose to treat the situation with calmness for the sake of her family.
With the knowledge of the affair, Quintana demanded that her husband discontinue the affair. However, as her husband worked as a company driver who was always away from home for weeks on end, the suspicion that he might still be seeing the other woman was still there.
"Gi kapoy na lang ko. Bisan ingnan man gud nako nga dili na makig kita didto sa ba.i, naa pa man jud ko madungog nga naa na pud daw sya didto. (I became tired of it. Even if I repeatedly tell him to stop seeing the other woman, I still hear from others that he still sometimes goes there)," she said.
Quintana settled the matter once and for all. She decided to talk it over civilly with her husband and the other woman. Then, she decided to let go of her husband and allow him to leave with the woman, just to end all the hiding and deception.
"Karon, wa na ko kabalo kung aha to sya. Nagsabot man me nga muhatag syag suporta pero wala na man to na atiman. Ang last nako nga nahibaw.an is naa na sya didto sa Manila uban sa bae. (Now, I do not know where he is really. We agreed that he will support us still but it was not really honored. The last thing I knew is that he already went to Manila with the woman)," she said.
With that door closed, Quintana realized that it was as if she had lost something fundamental in her life. For many weeks she drowned herself in loneliness. She felt hollow with the depression that came with the ordeal.
But she also came to learn another important lesson with the experience, that all of us should make sure that we know how to stand up again and support ourselves.
"Kay wala na mang musuporta jud, muhatag ug kwarta para sa mga bata. Kinalhanglan jud nako maningkamot ug ako para sa akong mga anak. (There was no one to support us, to give money for the children. I really needed to work hard for my children)," she said.
With the help of her long time friends in the community, Quintana found a way to acquire a job and earn for her family. Her friends encouraged her to take on sewing classes and apply as a dressmaker in some shops along Capistrano street. As her income would be given weekly, Quintana had enough to feed and support her three children.
Aside from her job as a dressmaker, Quintana ventured selling dried goods and she even became an Avon Lady for quite a while just to earn what she can. According to her, what relieved her of all the stress and exhaustion from her multiple jobs is seeing her three children happy with what she can provide.
"Kanang kada weekend, pag muabot ang akong sweldo sa dress shop, palit dayon ko ug mga presko nga prutas dayon ipakaon nako sa ila. Malipay ra jud ko basta makumpleto me ug nalipay pud sila sa akong maihatag nila. (During weekends, when I get my salary from the dress shop, i will buy fresh fruits and then feed it to them. I feel happy when we are complete and when I see that they are happy with what I can provide)," Quintana said.
However, she said that she owes a lot from her eldest daughter, Ellie. It was a good thing that when her husband left them, Ellie has already graduated college and her other children, Tess and Lory, were already in their final years in college.
Ellie worked as a lecturer in an educational institution and as a part-time tutor, and with her earnings, Tess and Lory were able to attain their college degrees in the city's most prestigious schools.
After a few years, Tess graduated with a degree in Commerce in Liceo de Cagayan while Lory finished his Mechanical Engineering course at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. Ellie decided to render her service to the Church as a nun.
Quintana watched her children help and watch over one another while she tried to stand up from the end of her marriage. Now, she says is that she is happy that her children are making their own families and has given her eight grandchildren to cherish.
"Kato ra jud. Sakit man gud na pero nituo jud ko nga naay plano ang Ginoo para nato. Napasaylo na sad namo to sya pero dili na lang namo istoryahan para dili na mabalik ang mga memories. Karon, tigulang nako. maka ingon ko nga kontento ko sa akong pamilya ug nagpasalamat ko nga nalampasan nako to. (That's it. It was painful but I believe that the Lord has a plan for us. We forgave him [her husband] but sometimes we just don't want to talk about it so as not to bring back memories. Now that I am old, I can say that I am contented with my family and I am thankful that I successfully went through it all)," she said.