GUILT TRIP 2: Sanggi
I couldn’t believe the actual cash income Manang Lagring earned for one year was only 240 pesos.
I asked her again in my broken Cebuano to make sure: “Manang, pila ang kwarta nga nadawat nimo sa miaging tuig?” The answer was the same. 240 pesos. It came from the sale of her chickens. How could anyone survive on 240 pesos a year?
The arid mountains of Moalboal, Cebu can be quite unforgiving for poor people like her – an old widow with an abandoned grandchild to feed. The dry rocky slopes barely hold enough topsoil to sustain the cornfields where she gets a share of the harvest as a manananggi. That meager portion of corn feeds her and her grandchild throughout the year, she says. She goes from cornfield to cornfield, hoping to sell her labor for a few kernels of corn.
It breaks my heart every time I encounter people like Manang Lagring. I couldn’t even imagine how she still gets to smile at me amiably while I conduct the interview for my research. In the end, I couldn’t even use her data because it skews the results. The few cases like hers get dropped from the total number of respondents as outliers and not representative of the general situation.
Oftentimes I stare at the cup of Starbucks coffee in my hand and think about the 240 pesos Manang Lagring earned for one year.
Makes me want to weep.