“Farmer” won’t be the first thing that comes to mind when you look at Alemar. His frail body seems incapable of carrying anything that weighs more than the clothes on his back. And yet, he always wears this large, easy smile that nobody can resist smiling back.
From the age of 10 through adolescence, he had to skip school on Fridays to work in the rice fields until Sunday to augment his family’s income.
“Gapang-ani lang kami kay pigado lang kami mung (We had no choice but to do back-breaking work in the fields because we were poor.),” he said. But he says all that with amusement on his face.
Through the years he’s been with the company, Alemar has never been late or absent. Neither has he taken a vacation nor a sick day from work. For someone with his goals, a day’s earnings would be too precious that missing a day of work is out of the question.
Their old nipa hut, he said, looked like it was hit by a typhoon because it was leaning on one side. Thanks to Alemar’s good financial sense and his immense love for his family, he managed to turn it into a five-room concrete house. He meant it as a surprise gift for his parents, and they were indeed shocked when the construction materials he ordered started to arrive.
His sweetest accomplishment by far is buying the very land he and his parents used to farm to feed themselves. They now cultivate their own rows of corn and rice. In addition, he was able to start a microcredit business from his savings.
When asked what his next goal is, he still thought of his family: “I want to send my parents on a well deserved vacation trip. They’ve been working hard all their lives!”