We first met Lupen a few years ago during Mass at the Ascension of Our Lord Parish in Goodwill II. He was small, frightfully small. He was wearing a sacristan’s sutana at least two sizes too big for him and he looked like a kid barely out of preschool. We were a bit surprised when we found out that he was actually ten years old at that time, his size far too small for his age.

He lives out of Masville, a developing community straddling the border of Muntinlupa and Paranaque and part of the group of communities that Ascension serves. Malnutrition

We got to know him a bit better because he was assigned to be the lead sacristan every Saturday morning. That meant waking up at five in the morning to get to the Mass on time, something even we adults were hard pressed to do yet there he was, never failing to arrive on time. During especially holy days, he was the one in charge of the incense, an unspoken honor bequeathed to the most experienced sacristans.

Even then at a young age, Lupen has always said he wanted to become a priest, a dream that would have to be put on hold because it is frightfully expensive to enter into the priesthood. He is still enthusiastic about serving despite this, his passion for serving the Church unwavering. You would usually see him at the Church grounds, usually running an errand for one of the youth groups he was serving.

Last August, an urgent call to help sponsor the Masville National High School’s Sepak Takraw Team was sent to us via Facebook messenger. Given our prior relationship with Masville – we had several projects working with them – we were only too glad to help out and we went on a short mission there.

To the unitiated, Sepak Takraw is a game akin to volleyball, where a net divides the court into the two halves. The difference though is that instead of a rubber ball, the ball used is woven from abaca fibers and unlike volleyball, you cannot use your arms or hands. Rather, you primarily use your feet but the head is also allowed to score.

To our surprise, Lupen was part of the Sepak Takraw team. Despite being short, he was quick to show off his skills with kicking the abaca ball. We asked him why he was here. “Itong sepak po, nakakatulong sa akin po dahil ito yung susi para maging iskolar at makapagtapos,” (translated: This game sepak, this is what will be the key for me to become a scholar finish my studies) he tells us.

After we went there, we heard that the Masville Sepak Takraw won first place in their division meet. It warms our hearts to know that in our own small way, we may have given not just Lupen, but their whole team, a little push to get them on the path to achieving their dreams.

Here’s to helping more Lupens achieve their dreams.



Andrei Carada is a writer, blogger and dreamer. He dreams of a better Philippines.

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