By Rene Tumang
A bare hut. Five hungry children. A simple carpenter for a father. A compulsive gambler for a mother. These were my memories of childhood. I did not know if the pain could be erased.
When I was 9 years old, my father, our sole breadwinner, boarded a bus to Manila from our hometown in Pampanga. He never came back. He met an accident and he died on the spot. Our eldest had to stop studying to work. We found out that we could not count any of our relatives for help and we had to learn to fend for ourselves because they have families of their own. One of my sister got married at the age 14 and she took me to live with her mother-in-law in Dagupan City. She said that I could continue studying high school there. What I did not know was I would also serve as a house boy there.