The (other) Lady at the Capitol

Nana Gretchen: Homeless in the City

Matilda Ricardo Mandac, 63, is a truly powerful woman, and it’s not because she has stayed and worked at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol, and has seen 5 governors in a span of over three decades.

Nana Gretchen, as Mandac is popularly known (it is said that a tricycle driver named the lady, for reasons unknown to her, after actress Gretchen Barretto), has been selling cigarettes and snacks at the vicinity of the Capitol since 1980, during the term of Governor Elizabeth Marcos Keon. Over the years, she has endeared herself to a lot of people. A former governor once regarded her as “anting-anting ti kapitolyo” (amulet of the capitol).

When she still had a small stall inside the perimeter fence of the Capitol, Nana Gretchen had gross sales of around three hundred pesos a day, from which she had a net income of less than fifty pesos. However, when the Capitol had a major facelift last year, the fence had to go, and she was displaced. Today, she sits in front of the Dap-ayan, a food center near the Capitol. Left without a stall, she carries three bags: one bayong contains a couple of cigarettes packs she sells, another is filled with empty plastic bottles she gathers and later on sells at the junk shop, while a third one—a shoulder bag—contains other personal effects.

But she does not really have a lot. Not now when her daily sales have fallen to below a hundred pesos, as no one, except her old clients, knows that she is selling cigarettes. She brings out her wares when someone buys, and keeps the container immediately after. She scrambles when rain comes as she does not have a shade. She owned a broken umbrella, but lost it.

Nana Gretchen used to live with relatives in Brgy. 4, Laoag City, but was displaced by maternal kins in 2004, leaving her homeless. While she tried to seek help from the Public Attorney’s Office, she could not pursue the claim in the absence of a land title. Efforts to negotiate with her relatives failed.

And so Nana Gretchen stays at the vicinity of the Capitol, whole year round, and that includes cold Christmas Nights and New Year’s eves. She would take daily baths at a faucet in an inconspicuous part of the Capitol garden. Note, dear karikna, that it is not at all a public scandal as she does it at 3:00 a.m., when almost all of us are in deep slumber. And with her clothes on.

A picture of bliss and serenity

Nana Gretchen looks neatly dressed, but don’t get confused. With only two sets of clothes—blouse and slacks—she uses each pair every other day. It is not unusual that her clothes won’t dry enough, so she would end up sporting a wet outfit.

Buying ten pesos worth of Pan de Sal at Town Bakery every morning, the store is kind enough to pour hot water on her coffee cup (actually a reused plastic container of instant noodles). A sachet of instant coffee costs her five bucks. When her purse allows it, she would have budget lunch at a carinderia. For dinner, what dinner? She spends the long nights with an empty stomach eagerly waiting for next morning’s pan de sal.

Living in the streets comes at the cost of safety, but we already know that. And I am not only talking about typhoons and other calamities that she has to contend with. Nana Gretchen has been mauled by a mentally deranged man five times already, and counting. Her head would ache with the man’s powerful jabs, but Nana Gretchen is thankful the injuries she has sustained have not warranted a trip to the hospital.

She has not, in fact, been hospitalized all her life, and thank God. But, at her age, one could not help but worry how she would cope in the face of a serious disease. In the dark corners where she spends the night, mosquitoes abound. And it just takes one bite from a dengue vector to send anyone, rich or poor, to harm’s way.

Meantime, she nurses herself when faced with illness, aided only by a large dose of faith, which she nurtures by attending Sunday services at the Christ the King of Glory Fellowship. Holding no resentment towards God, she says she is just thankful to be alive. While Nana Gretchen admits to occasionally crying in her lonesome, she appears to have a very positive attitude. She tells herself, “saan met siguro kanayon a kastoy.” (Maybe it will not forever be this way.)

Year 1987 was a particularly trying year for Nana Gretchen. In June, she gave birth to her only child Lucky Marjorie. But the baby girl was born prematurely and lived only a few minutes. Three months after, her husband Dominador was murdered. Those two deaths in a year punctuated her chance of belonging to a family. Lone child of Simeon, a farmer, and Guillerma, housewife, Nana Gretchen is a product of a dysfunctional home.  Her parents, now both deceased, parted ways when she was a baby. With her mother suffering from a mental ailment, she was then left in the care of an aunt in Dibua South, a barangay in the outskirts of Laoag City. Her aunt saw her through grade school.

Nana Gretchen has to be strong, and it is not a choice but an imperative in the urban jungle where she lives. Maybe this is the reason why some people get the impression that she is “mataray,” an impression I also had before I talked to her. And so while hers is one of my dream interviews, I dilly-dallied in doing it. But then I finally found myself one afternoon sitting a few meters away from her in front of the Dap-ayan. Looking at her, I felt intimidated. While I have done interviews with people of prominence, I was clueless how to approach the lady. Noticing my stare, she responded with a warm smile. What a joy! It did not take long before I warmed up to the lady, and, before I knew it, she began talking about life.

The reason I am drawn to Nana Grechen is that, unlike Christopher Lao—the bratty UP alumnus who blamed government for his failure to realize that his car is not a submarine that can traverse deep bodies of water—Nana Gretchen does not feel that anyone, her government included, owes her anything. Not demanding help, she just quietly strives to earn a living for herself. All that she has formally claimed from government is a senior citizen’s card that she does not really find any use for. As for Governor Imee Marcos whose renovation project consequently affected her livelihood, Nana Gretchen only has respect and admiration. She concedes that the Capitol lawn, without the fence and her stall in it, looks better. “Personal sacrifice for the public good,” is a principle she understands more than most politicians I know. The Dap-ayan is also expected to be renovated soon, but that is another problem she wants to face on another day.

Her toothless smile may conceal it, but I know how difficult it must be to be in her shoes. My heart breaks when I see old people live in miserable conditions. People who have toiled all their lives deserve the pleasure of simply enjoying the good life—say, play mahjong and bingo while waiting for pension, or, for the religious, like my mom, spend as much time as they want in church. Yet Nana Gretchen harbors neither bitterness nor envy. And no, not pride. While she does not beg, she would not refuse a sandwich when offered by a kind stranger.

“That kind of fulfillment is something that I envy. I wish I have that kind of bliss and serenity,” says my friend Jun during a few rounds of SanMig Light on a Friday night, and I couldn’t agree  more.

Nana Gretchen reminds us of sheer pleasure in little things—of owning an umbrella, of wearing dry clothes, and of simply being able to take a bath in naked glory.

At the end of the interview, I gave her a tight hug, and I felt power and wealth that could only come from the inside.

196 Comments

Filed under Ilocos, Sociology, The Good Life

196 responses to “The (other) Lady at the Capitol

  1. beautiful! 🙂 ,nami-miss ko tuloy yung mga balitaktakan natin sa philo, sa theo and actually, kahit saan 🙂 and ang rehimeng gregorio nunag 🙂 hehe 🙂 ,by the way.. thank u pala sa blogroll, ngayon ko lang nakita 🙂 ,hope to kita kits ulet soonest 🙂

  2. emz

    I am teary eyed after reading this..

  3. Passerby

    This is tragic and yet inspiring. I have to admit my tears were flowing while reading the story. I see her often. What a wonderful story. Some people have everything and yet they want more. This wonderful lady is an angel. Thank you friend for opening my heart.

  4. Antonio T. Casimiro

    The government officials who always say they are for the poor….they must extend help to her…but the question is can they?

  5. graceey

    helo. my cousin read your blog and she wants to get in touch with Nana gretchen. how can we reach her? Can you help us? Thanks!

    • Wow.. Thanks,, She is always just at the Dap-ayan or at the western side of the Capitol.. My mobile number is 09399162389, just please contact me in case you’d have difficulty finding her. God bless..

  6. tita lita

    what a life of simplicity and serenity.this lady is a trooper.i have seen people whine everytime about life itself including myself.i always need new outfit with matching shoes and purse when occasions arise.”i have nothing to wear”and my husband always say ‘look in your closet’ reading this article makes me realize how lucky we are for having a roof over our heads,clothes to wear and 3 square meals a day and family and friends who are always there to help us in times of needs.true people perceive her to be “mataray “maybe because this is her mechanism to cope and put up a barrier from things that will harm her being.thank you sir herdy for sharing this with us.you are very fortunate .you must be one of the lucky people that this lady was comfortable to pour out her feelings.although she does not ask for help, it will be nice that people who have extra to share her will not hesitate to hand her be it food small change and a set of clothes and toiletries? my husband calls me an enabler and a sucker because everytime i see people occasionally in streets here in the usa with a sign saying i will work for food i stop and give money. my husband says ” he should go get a job.there’s so many jobs around if he wants to work.”

  7. emperorerror

    Every time I see lolas living alone in the streets, I die a little inside. Sana ay may kumupkop naman sa kanya.

  8. Maysa kadagiti adu a rupa ti pannakapaay ti gobiernotayo iti akem a mangiwaras iti kabaknang kadagiti masakupan daytoy. Makapaladingit unay nga awan man laeng ahensia iti probinsiatayo nga agsarak ken mangaywan kadagiti awanan pagtaengan wenno mangtulong kadagiti nakurapay a tagasiudad; ngem no adda man, makapaladingit ti kaawan aksion daytoy nga ahensia.

  9. Naiyak ako, sir. Sobra habang binabasa ko to. Nakausap ko din siya. I asked her kung kukunin na siya. Paano? Sinagot niya eh tatlong beses na daw niya plinano magpakamatay. Uminom ng Pesticide nung una pero walang talab. Pangalawa, uminom ng Agua Oxinada, nagsuka lang siya. Pangatlo eh bumili ng knife, pero di niya tinuloy kasi naisip niya na habang may buhay e may pag-asa. I LOVE NANAY MATILDA. SOBRA! 😦

    • “What does not kill you, can only make you stronger,” says Nietzsche. All that Nana Gretchen has gone through contributed to the innately strong and powerful woman she is now. I admire the friendship you developed with her. Yours is a heart really capable of offering love so pure. Kudos.

  10. johnstone

    hi herdy. I’ve read some of your article and I consider this as the most inspiring story so far. I just couldn’ imagine myself if i were the one who interviewed her…. I’m reading and hid sobbing in tears how much more if i heard it first hand?

    Nakasaksakit ti barukong ko nga nangbasbasa toy storya ni nana Gretchen. Nagrigat nga panunoten ti kasasaad na. Kasanon ti biag na ti inaldaw aldaw? Manipud agriing ti bigat, pinnangan na, panagubra na ken panagturog na. Tay kunamon manong nga isuna ket maysa nga tao nga nag powerful.. gapu ta nakaya na nga takderan ti kasta nga panagbiag.

    No koma ngata lang siak ti adda mabalin na ket ikkak isuna ti pangrugrugian na.

    your article made a big difference and impact in my life. Nagadut nasursurok….

    Nana Gretchen , ikarkararagan ka ta sapay koma ta haan nga kankanayon to a kasta ti gasat mo. I pray that one day, Someone will come along and help you…

    • Sir Johnstone, medyo nabayag ko nga inin-inaw daytoy nga istorya ta nadagsen met para kanyak. It’s good that, as teachers, we acknowledge the more important lessons learned out side the classroom, and delivered by those who are usually ignored and taken for granted.

      Let’s hope that tears of joy will follow next for Nana Gretchen, and for us, too.

      Salamat and mabuhay ka.

  11. marlonvc

    I’m crying! My heart cries everytime I see her at the capitol even at wee hours. I admire her for being strong and she deserves to retire from that kind of condition! Let us help her! Please!

  12. john

    oo nga po…malapit nga lng xia s cpitol but y they cant give an immediate help to mami gretch….so sad….

  13. Maysa daytoy kadagiti tattao nga saan nga makitkita dagiti agtuturay iti gobierno ken iti simbaan. Matmatmatanda ngem dida makita!!! Ipagpanpannakkelda dagiti programada nga para kadagiti nakukurapay ngem saanda nga makita dagiti adda iti sanguananda nga marigrigat!

  14. i am so amazed for knowing the story of Nanay Matilde. Wish i cud help her somehow. For now, it’s all d prayers for her safe living that i could offer to her. ^-^

  15. Nanay Matilda i should say. She is a great God’s creature for she solely exemplifies a woman’s strength.. and modesty. I will be seeing her soon. ^-^

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  17. jaaryaa

    nana gretchen’s story dampens my soul

  18. helen

    thank you herdy for sharing this story, a touching eye opener. your talent is such a blessing to the community.

  19. pepe

    When She tells herself, “saan met siguro kanayon a kastoy.” (Maybe it will not forever be this way.), it is true. Something great somewhere is everlasting for this kind of people…

  20. paul

    She was a strong woman in spite of those trials that came in to her life..She is not just an ordinary woman whom i know, even she is alone, no company at all just herself..but still she survived after those typhoons that test how strong she is..May the good Lord give her more strength and courage to face the trials that may come in to her life..lastly thank you Sir for sharing this inspiring story to me that made me realize that in any problems that comes into our life no matter how hard it is, no matter what it is just be strong,have faith and hope and you will past through those problems,,like NAna Grechen..what a wonderful story..

  21. factora

    napakaganda ng story at nakakaiyak din, nakakatuwa nga naman ang istorya ni nana gretchen, nagtratrabaho siya sa capitol nang mahigit sa 3o years at marami narin siyang napagdaang mga pagsubok na kanya ring nalalagpasan,,,may the almigthy god give her more wisdom,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  22. pete

    may GOD always be with her…

  23. froie

    nakakaiyak naman.. :'(. so touching story, and i love it.

  24. JioHN

    …. a determined & strong lady… God is with her ,..

  25. … GOD is with her , in spite of those challenges, naging matatag siya at hindi siya nawawalan ng pag asa .. she is a strong and determined lady .. saludo ako sa kanya … 🙂

  26. Eto lng ang masasabi ko!

    ASTIG NAMAN NI LOLA!
    kahit madami na cyang pinagdaanang pagsubok
    patuloy parin cya. iba cya talaga, i know that the
    Lord is with him. 🙂

  27. wowie

    sir herdy, “your pen sting like a venom” bishop Utleg said. but your pen will change nana gretchen’s life., dati palagi kong nadadaanan si nana gretchen nong hindi pa narenovate yong puesto nya dati. i’ve prayed to God that He will use me as His servant, at hindi naman nya ipinagkait, He gave me my license to care and serve for others., at magsisimula na siguro kay nana gretchen kahit wala pa akong trabaho.

  28. emoboy

    a very touching story, i wish i could help her.

  29. after i read this story i felt sad for nana Gretchen kasi after all the bad and sad things done to her life she didn`t quit imbes na sumoko sia naging mas powerful pa sia after the incident and bilib na bilib ako kay lola after the trouble in her life na lagpasan nia ito let`s pray for her to become even more powerful and may god bless her…..

  30. markpaulineedicaagarano(pinili boy)

    ……everytime i see old people especially those like nana gretchen, my heart breaks because it reminds me of my lola who passes by, last january…
    …….nkktouch ang story ni lola gretchen…..marami nang pagsubok ang kanyang nalagpasan kaya naman saludo at inspired ako sa kanya!!!!!!
    …..i know that our Almighty GOD is always w/ her watever trials she encounter!!!
    ……may OUR DEAR LORD BLESS HER MORE!!!!!

  31. jr

    thank you for the very inspiring story sir you had shared to us.
    I learned in the story that in every problem comes to us be strong @ all times, have a faith and hope so that we will escape those problems………

  32. henry the great

    hey …….. what are we doing. nana gretchen deserves a living monument in front of the capitol… a reflection of what the Philippines all about….PLS LOOK INTO THIS….ANU PROGRAMA NG ILOCOS SA MGA KAGAYA NI NANA GRETCHEN…she is a product of a corrupt Government………………………………. Wake-up ilocos norte. Show me ur greatness by serving the humble servant of the almighty. Or else your honor and dignity will forever be in Vain…You are not there sitting in the hollowed capitol for generations for your own, but for the service of our people….

  33. my tears fall down as i read nana gretchen’s story. i was touched. she was brave enough in spite of having nothing.her faith in God gave her more strength and her love to Him made her life meaningful.i assure that someday her sacrifices will be rewarded with a precious gift that no one ever had. she stand up even standing isn’t easy.
    . i wish everyone could read her story for all of us to know how to stand on our own feet.

  34. eyezieh

    The story really makes my heart breaks,,.. nana Gretchen is so pathetic in a way that her relatives are not there to support her,,.. as i go beyond the story, i was deeply touched.. Sana mabigyan ko siya ng damit, o kaya man lang ay pera o pagkain,,, kase nakakaawa siya talaga,.. lalo na nung nabanggit na yung marerenovate din yung dap-ayan na kanyang pansamantalang bahay sa ngayon.. parang pinagsakluban na siya ng langit.. but I admire nana gretchen,, napakalakas niya,, nakaya niyang lagpasan lahat ng pagsubok sa kanyang buhay..,, Ano ang ginagawa ng gobyerno??? nasaan sila?? sana man lang ay mapansin nila si nana gretchen at kupkupin,, o kaya naman ay bigyan ng trabaho para sa kanyang pang araw-araw na gastusin,, kase hindi sapat yong kinikita niya sa maghapon.. i wish i could help her.. tanong ko lang sir nasaan yung mga kamag-anak niya??

  35. henry the great

    hey …….. what are we doing. nana gretchen deserves a living monument in front of the capitol… a reflection of what the Philippines all about….PLS LOOK INTO THIS….ANU PROGRAMA NG ILOCOS SA MGA KAGAYA NI NANA GRETCHEN…she is a product of a corrupt Government………………………………. Wake-up ilocos norte. Show me ur greatness by serving the humble servant of the almighty. Or else your honor and dignity will forever be in Vain…You are not there sitting in the hollowed capitol for generations for your own, but for the service of our people….

  36. crocodile eater

    o tulong tulong piso para kay nana gretchen sampal sa gobyerno… masakit ata

  37. startrek

    The lady at the Capitol ….yan ang title (omit other) i remember HACHICO…the movie

    There is only one good reason why she stayed there for so long…. ALAM NYO B?

  38. POPULI VOX DEI EL SUPREMA LEX

    Nana gretchen’s case must reach the attention of the Provincial Capitol and to the National Government as a whole…she deserves a monument. . . sounds weird but she might awaken the seemingly unnoticeable and silent corruption prevailing in the country…she is a product of injustice so to speak deeply rooted in the bloodstream of inefficiency and corruption.She is a humble servant of the almighty…The Capitol is a symbol of service to GOD, COUNTRY & PEOPLE…are they not more humble than nana Gretchen?

  39. ivy

    When i was still working at the Convention Center, we usually waited for our shuttle ride at the dap-ayan / convenience store area. “Mommy” as i call Nana Gretchen would always give me this beautiful morning smiles. I had a few chats with her over a cup of coffee. When I told her that I was resigning at the Convention Center, i saw a bit of sadness on her face as she said “haan kanto makitkitan a”… i got sad too kase i learned about her life status during our chats and i thought at some point, i have been her strength too. i haven’t seen her for the longest time already. I might just go have my morning coffee with her tomorrow. Great story Mr. Yumul! Very inspiring.

  40. Nana Gretchen was a strong woman. Even her only child died and her husband was murdered, hindi siya nawalan ng pag-asa para mabuhay. Naaawa ako sa kanya dahil wala siyang matirahan. Yung iba nga naghihirap kahit may tirahan paano pa kaya si nana Gretchen? Sana matulungan ko siya kahit sa simpleng tulong lamang……. ipagdasal natin siya na malalagpasan niya ang mga pagsubok na knyang hinaharap…

  41. the story of nana gretchen made me feel that i should be thankful that God has given me a family, a home, and plenty of clothes to wear. As I continue reading the story , i was deeply touched.. I wish I could find way to help her because I know how hard to live with a miserable life..naaawa ako sa kanya dahi walal ni isa sa mga kamag-anak niya ang tumutulong sa kanya.. Lalo na nung nabanggit sa storya na sa Capitol lang siya natutulog, naliligo, at naghahanap buhay tapos nawalan pa siya ng matutulugan dahil sa renovation sa capitol at dahil dun nakulangan pa ang knyang kita.. I admire her that much despite the fact that she is alone she is able to conquer all the challenges that God has given her.. Sana naman ay tulungan siya ng Gobyerno.Kung hindi man sa pera sana naman ay tulungan nila siyang hanapin ang mga kamag-anak niya nang sa ganun ay hindi na siya nag-iisa at nahihirapan

  42. revilo

    kakaasi met lan a baketen, awan lang nantulong nga nantulong kanya nan a kabagyan. narigat talaga ti awan ti pagyanan na ken awan ti gamit na nga asarin ti inaldaw-aldaw. Ket agyaman ken apo Diyos nga awan ti sakit nga manteg kanya na narigat ket kastoy mt iti biag mi nga agtultuloy latta nga nasalun-at ken tay ited na grasya.
    ipag- pray ko nalang si nanay gretchen ang akin maiibibigay sa kanya na tulong. wag siyan mag alala pag namatay siya, sa langit na ang tuloy niya dahil sa pagtitiwala niya sa Panginoon.

  43. the fieldmaster

    i salute u lola gretchen,kasi kahit na ganyan ang naging kapalaran mo,kahit na pinatay ang asawa at namatay ang anak niyo, nakakaya mo paring ipagpatuloy ang buhay na puno ng mga hamon at kabiguan. after i read the article, parang may sumagi sa akin, i felt touch about her story of life. sana matulungan natin siya.dapat na mabigyan siya ng maayos na bahay at trabaho. thank you din kay sir herdy at itinampok niya si lola sa kanyang article. binigyang daan niya ang kwento ni lola na malaman namin ang mga kalagayan ng ibang mga ilokano..more blessing to the both of you..may god be with you always:)

  44. eckang

    kakatouch:((
    inspiring story..

  45. guitarlover

    a super lola of ilocos norte.!! sana matulungan siya sa kanyang kalagayan ngayon. i felt pity .naaawa ako sa kanya, nasaan b kc ung mga kamag anak niya o may kamaganak b siya dto. sana tulungan natin si lola..

  46. nemie john padre

    ..woooowwww..a very touching and inspiring story..i felt pity to nana gretchen when i was reading her story made by sir herdy yumol..she was able to face hardship in her life because she believe that god will never leave her in that time.she was a good example to others that even very hardship will come,her relation with god not lost but became intact in that time..she was brave,very powerful in terms of attitudes and respects to other,..
    i hope for her safety and for everything………

  47. storywannnnabeeee

    this is really a great story and really get my attention not just because of a great story but by the one who is made the story alive and i wish that there will a next story like this that really capture life is \.

    • tita lita

      yes we all sure hope so.sir herdy this is another award winning story among all your other ones.thank you for sharing and no matter how busy your schedule is you always take time to do what you are passionate at …writing and in the meantime you are helping people who are in need.kudos for a job well done..

  48. zynx

    the story is good …. saludo ako kay nana Grectchen dahin hindi sumusuko sa mga hamong dumarating sa kanyang buhay,. sana man lang mabigyan sya ng masisilungam dahil tag ulan ngayon at napaka lamig pag gabi at sana man lang maalala siya ng kanyang mga kamag anak .,.ginagawa niyang lakas ang kanyang kahapon upang makahakbang siya sa kanyang kinabukasan.,.,.,.,.

  49. storywannnnabeeee

    it is really a great story and it really get my attention not just because of the great writing but the story it self and i hope that it will be followed again by another great story.

  50. ..wow! nakakabilib si nana gretch…she is very strong woman…hindi sya nawawalan ng pag asa kht wla xa ksamang pamilya…nakaka antig sa puso ang kwento……… thanks sir 4 sharing us this story,sana marami ka pang magawang kwento dhl marami akong napupulot na aral sa mga sinusulat mo…

  51. mR..

    …..buti pa tayo pinagpala
    sana naman ma2lungan naten si nana gretchen khit lng mabigyan natin sya ng damit o pera man lang….. nakakaawa nman

  52. Decem John Garo

    lagi ko siyang nakikita kapag dumadaan ako sa capitol papunta sa terminal ng laoag-gabu. sa totoo lang naawa ako sa kanya pagnakikita ko sya. lalo ng nalaman ko na umalis na siya sa kanyang pwesto dahil sa landscaping sa capitol. minsan tinatanong ko sa sarili ko kung mayroon bang bumibili sa kanyang paninda. bilib din ako sa kanya dahil kaya niyang mabuhay. salodo ako sayo nana gretchen!! kaya mong lampasan ang kahit na anong pagsubok na dinadaanan mo

  53. R.O.

    I found the story of Nana Gretchen tragic but a wonderful one that is full of lessons.– a life of simplicity and contentment. We know that even the strongest person has its own weakness, weakness that will make us firm and stronger. We must thank God for reminding us once again and by giving a person in the name of Nana Gretchen and her story that will serve as a model to us especially to me as a student. This story reminds me that I must save for my future. “Kung mayroon lang akong magagawa para matulungan sya.” What I can do now is to cheer her up. GO NANA GRETCHEN, LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!
    I hope that this story will become an inspiration to all.

  54. Jo-Ann Bumanglag

    Kudos to gayyem!!!

  55. imburais2

    Well, I can say that’s what life is. It’s like the normal saying, “ang buhay, parang gulong yan, minsan nasa taas, minsan nasa baba”. But I felt so sad after reading the story. I pity much Nana Gretchen. However, it’s not a peculiar story, and I know, many people in the Philippines are having the same story as Nana Gretchen have. Many are homeless, many starve, many don’t have money, and many don’t have a family. But one thing I can appreciate about her story is her perseverance to live. I really salute her because she is able to surpass everyday’s trial. She sells stuffs in order for her to have something to eat because she knows that in order for her to live, she has to eat. She did not even forget God because she also attends church services. Maybe, some people are blaming God for the life they have right now, but Nana Gretchen is different, she is thankful because she’s still alive.

    The hilarious thing about the story is (not literally hilarious) when Imee Marcos ran as governor here in Ilocos, her campaign jingle was “Manang Imee Equals Trabaho”, but due to her project about the employment system on the Provincial Capitol, one person almost lost her job. Does it really mean “Manang Imee Equals Trabaho” or it’s the other way around?

    In conclusion, whatever kind of life we have now, let’s just be thankful. What matters is that we are alive. And as long as we cling to God, if trials will come, I know God will help us in surpassing that trial. Because God promised, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”.

    -Psalm David A. Pastor (I have a wordpress account sir so just comment using my account)
    BSEEII

  56. tita lita

    this is again one of the most answered in your blog herdy.it has generated so much emotions and inspirations to all of us.it has touched our lives and made us realize soo many things we take for granted and not to be self centered.and again my motto comes into play….”MOUNTAIN OUT OF MY WAY !

  57. WOW! such a wonderful and inspiring article you did sir. And I salute you for making this as a inspiration to everyone and u delivered it in very fantastic story.I’m very thankful to God for making my life miserable even i don’t have my dad but i still have my mom and that’s the happiness of y life co’z I have one person who always supported me all the way I did in my life..I consider Nana Gretchen as the bravest grandmother here in our place, that even without the help of her family or one of her relatives she can still live and make her life happy by a having simple job and she can still stand by her own…I gathered a lot of lesson in this story you made..May the Lord shower you a lot of blessing, same as through to nana gretchen.GO NANA KEEP PRAYING ALWAYS AND HAVE FAITH CO’Z THERE’S NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE TO HIM…:)

  58. Despite of all the worse things that happened to Nana Gretchen, she never give up fighting for her life and to be a better person to others. There’s a saying ” Don’t be afraid to fall never quit or die! “, from this we can characterized it to Nana Gretchen. She was lucky for living until now and have a strong faith through God who will give her the miracle unto her life. Keep on believing and have faith towards your path of success.

  59. paul

    TOUGHEST PERSON I ever know. Pag nadaanan mo si Nana Gretchen sa capitol, ngingitian ka niya pag nakita niyang nakatitig ka sa kanya kahit di kayo magkakilala, parang wala siyang pinagdadaanang mabigat na problema. Sa halos apat na taon kong 5 times a week na pagdaan sa harap ng capitol, ngayon ko lang nalaman na homeless pala siya. Akala ko noon, dun lang talaga puwesto niya at masipag lang siya sa pagtitinda kaya kahit maaga o pagabi na e andun pa siya. Humahanga ako sa katatagan niya, hindi lahat ng tao makakatagal sa ganyang sitwasyon. Yung iba nga para makatakas lang sa problema nagpapakamatay na. “Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. -anonymous” kumbaga. Pero kay Nana Gretchen, she value life, na kahit na mahirap basta kayang makasurvive sa araw- araw na buhay, tuloy lang, laban lang. I wish her good luck and sana, magkaroon na siya ng bagong masisilungan o di kaya bigyan siya ng trabaho ng gobyerno sa capitol. Malakas pa naman siya, pwede siyang maging janitress sa capitol, diba?

  60. imagine daming nag comment at nag like nang i wall post ko ito sa account ko…..

    kasi daw they read it 2 times and na realize nila na ang mga pilipino ay hnd basta basta sumosoko and we are brave enough to passed the challenge that god gave`s us.. so let`s give a big big round of appluse to lola gretchen kasi she`s so brave porsigido tlga sia pra maka pamuhay ng masaya at masagana…

  61. kheem

    T_T.,.,.  ohh., I remember this woman., when I was a student in Central Elem. School, I always saw Nana Bada (Gretchen), selling cigarettes, candies etc. in a stall. Previously, I only knew is that, she is only a common vendor who works hard in order to support her family. I felt pity, because umulan man o umaraw, she’s there at her stall in order to sell her cigarettes. As I read your article sir, I admired her because of being a sturdy woman, who survives for her own living, kasi kahit gaano kabigat ang bato ng kapalaran sa kanya dahil namatay ang kanyang anak at asawa, hindi siya pinanghinaan ng loob, ipinagpatuloy pa rin niya ang hamon ng kapalaran sa kanyang buhay. She has a strong faith that God is always there to give her guidance. What I learned to Nana Bada (Gretchen) is that, those trials are not the reasons why we must to give up in our lives; hence this must acts as our inspirations to move on. Sana ay matulungan natin siya kahit sa kunting bagay lang pero bukal sa ating puso at sana naman hindi magbingi-bingihan o magbulag-bulagan ang mga naka-upo, ilan pang uupo ang hihintayin ni Nana Gretchen para siya’y tulungan,.., I pray for your health and safety Nana Bada.., 

  62. littledevil(bsp)

    kinabisleg ken kinatibker ti nakem, isu ti maallingag ti biag ni nana gretchen nu man pay maysan a baket ken ulila, awanan sanikwa nu di dagiti bagkat dagiti abaga na. madi na kinayat ti agbalin a pada a marigrigat, ta sino ket ngarud ti mayat?ngem uray nu kasta ti dana nga inna nadalyasat, ti kinaadda ti namnama ken regget na nga lumung aw ti kinarigat ti mangbibiyag kadagiti narukupen a bagi na. nasken kadi nga maasyan kenkwana? nu apay nga kasjay ti nagbanagan ti naritwer nga biag na? haan! ti lubong ket napnwan ti rason, ken ti kangrunaan nga rason ket ti panaka ikilasag ti bagi kadetuy nga nauyung nga lubong . kitaem man ta baket, nu ar arigem ag agkan nan ti daga ti kinababa ti pinagbiag na ngem naawanan kadi ti namnama?haan,ketdi mas timmibker py ti nakem na nga makilaban ti biag. ni nana gretchen ket maysa nga ehemplo ti mysa nga ilokano, haan nga agdepdependar iti sabali (gobyerno kaen tat tao) nu di ket iti bukud na nga bannug ken regta, ngem haan isuna nga hipokrito nga umawat iti tulong kadagiti sindadaan nga tumulung kenkwana. umanay kadi ta simpatya lng ken por- kaasi lang iti istorya ti biag na? matulungan ngata jay baket nu puro sao lang? rugyam ti bumadang a kabsat nu tlaga nga mariknam jy rigat na,,,mysa lang ti punto’k han, kuma agpatingga lang ditoy a pagiwarnak dagitoy nga sentimyento ken nana gretchen nu di ket ty pudpudno nga tulong nga kasapulan na, ta ni nana gretchen adda lang dita dap ayan, iwid widawid dagiti dakulap na nga naparkaganen ti panawen, sindadaan nga agur uray iti tulong…….^_^

    • boknoy

      isu na ti sang-gir ti kinapigsa, ken ayat nga d pulos mapukaw. sirmata ti namnama ti binagbaliw ti rupa ti kinu kunniber, sapay kuma ta malawlawagan dagiti tat-tao nga di mapneg ti rupa ti kuarta ken balitok. ni nana gretchen ket maysa nga pagwadan ti kinapintas to ti masang wanan ti ilocos no ammuentayto nga utuben ti kaipapanan na.

  63. Godfrey

    When i was reading the story i was pity to nana Gretchen. She is selling cigarettes,candies etc to support her family. And she never give up fighting for her life.I think Sir herdy made this story to think or to inspired us and to serve as a model to us. TAyo minsan nagsasayang tayo ng mga pagkain, minsan di natin ito inuubos at tinatapon lang natin.Di natin naiisip na maraming tao na hindi kumakain.

  64. norman

    nakakainspire siya,,,,,,saludoak kenka Nana Gretchen,,,,,,, sika ti napintas nga ehemplo ti pudpudno nga Ilokano kinakurapay ken kinarigat ti biag,kinayam ti nakidangadang iti daytoy naangaw unay a lubong

  65. zhouneegha

    nagpintas man detoy linaon kn binukel detoy nga artikulom maestro…no innak maimutektekan kn mabinsabinsa nga utoben…kasta lang nagdagsen kasta lang ti kaibatugan laeng ni nana gretchen ket maysa laeng dispatyia iti kalsada…kasta lang awan serbi na….agpapada tay met laeng nga agbibiyag ti napuwan dungis ti pulitika…”angring kayun, sangwen timasangbayan”….

  66. i couldn’t imagine that during our busy hours everyday there’s an old woman that is much problematic and more busier than us…. she is an eye opener to everyone…she have a strong personality that an old woman doesn’t have,,,and i think god is guiding her no matter what happens….i salute you!!!!god bless!!

  67. junelyn09

    OMG…. nakaka touch ang kwento ni nanay gretchen.. it will serve as an inspiration to others…. huwag tayong sumoko sa buhay.. habang may buhay may pag asa…… aanhin a maganda bahay at magarang kotse, masarap na pagkain kung itoy galing sa masamang bagay… buti pa si nanay gretchen.. We can really change the world if we care enough…..

  68. little nessa

    huhuhu(^_^)….nakakaiyak naman tlga ang life story ni nana gretchen, i feel so pity for her..nagsakit a panunuten t kasta a kasasaad t pinagbiag nga awanan ka ti amin. saludo ako kay nana gretchen kc she always stay strong, hindi siya nawalan ng pag-asa kahit gaano man kasaklap ang pinagdaan niya sa buhay..GOD is kind hindi niya pinapapabayaan ang mga anak niya…
    sobra aqong natouch sa story.. habang nabubuhay may pag-asa….

    ->sana bigyan siya ni manang imee ng cart na paglagyan ng kanyang mga tinitinda at pwesto jan sa harap ng capitol…

  69. che

    nakakatouch naman po yung story ni nanay gretchen!!! dont worry po d naman natutulog si god…lagi niyang binabantayan c nana gretchen…sana may 2mulong sa kanya…

  70. angelica:)

    nakaka touch ang kwento ni nana gretch….isa syang magandang ehemplio ng maraming tao…mahirap man ang kanyang pinag dadaanan nakakaya parin nyang ipag patuloy ang kanyang buhay….hindi sya nawawalan ng pag asa….saludo aqo sayo nana gretch:)

  71. michelle castillo fuerte

    michelle 🙂

    —–> habang binabasa ko 2ng article, hindi ko maikakaila na andun ung pagkaawa, nakakaiyak, sobra…..labas labasak lang nukwa idi nu lumabas kami ta capitol…nakakainspire…sobra!!!!despite of hardship, andun pa rin ung pagpupursigi niyang mabuhay kahit sa “PANDESAL” man lang…how i wish, may maitulong ako….makapainspire….thumbs up nanay “GRETCHEN”, isa kang magandang modelo sa mga tao na dapat tularan at ipagmalaki…LOVE U….:)

  72. vanie

    what a wonderful true story nakatouch naman po ang kwento ng buhay ni nana grechen..is very inspiring, isa syng magandang ehemplo na dapat tularan na kahit ano man pagsubok na dumating sa buhay dapat wag tayong mawalan ng pag asa sa buhay.. dahil anjan ang panginoon handa tayong tulungan.. sana matulungan si nana grechen…nana grechen saludo po ako sa inyo..:-)

  73. jb tabuli

    in the midle of the story,talagang medyo naiiyak ako.napakaganda,it gives me inspire para wag na lokohin ang aking sarili at ang aking magulang.

  74. kelvin

    this story really touches my heart because its just like the one in our town…she had no house to go..she is also sells but not in front of our capitol but in front of our gymnasium. people like this needed some attention and people from the higher power should gave an assistance. they’re are like unsung hero of the people, because even though they don’t have some done something to the public. they have also characteristics that is greater than us and has more faith in GOD. this lady inspires me a lot.

  75. Great article kabsat. 🙂 dpat marepost and share detoy kapno adut mkakita ken tumulong…..you can also check my blog in your spare time..
    lifedocument.wordpress.com

    I will share this..

  76. nakakatouch naman c nanay gretchen…..sana magkaroon na siya ng matitirhan na panghabang buhay…masasabi ko lang kay lola :”hayaan mo lola pagnagkaroon ako ng maraming maraming pera, hahanap hanapin kita para matulungan..sana maging matatag lang c lola at sanay huwag sumuko sa mga pagsubok na darating sa buhay…….above all nakaka inspire si lola……

  77. naawa ako kay Nana Gretchen, pero saludo ako sakanya.

  78. unknown person_24

    na touch ako sa istorya… hmmm,,dk maexplaine riknak,, nagmayat !!!!

  79. abner santos

    naiyak ako ng nabasa qw ang istorya ng buhay ni nana gretchen..!!!! nainspire ako dun..
    di siya nawalan ng pagasa kahit ganun lang siya!! mahal kita nana>>

  80. jed patrick garcia

    Ang buhay ni nana Gretchen ay napakasalimuot at kalunus-lunos. Pero sa kabila ng lahat ng pagsubok at pasakit na naranasan or nararanasan niya, tulad na lamang ng pagkamatay ng kanyang nag-iisang anak at ng kanyang pinakamamahal na asawa ay hindi pa rin siya sumusuko o nawawalan ng pag-asa, bagkus ay tinatatagan niya ang kanyang sarili para ipagpatuloy ang kanyang buhay. I feel pity to her, kase ni isang kamag-anak niya ay wala man lang nakaisip na tulungan siya at kupkupin siya.
    I salute you nana gretchen for being strong despite all the trials and test that are coming unto you. I know that God is not giving you all these trials for a reason that He does not love you, but I know that God has a purpose for you. God will never leave you nana gretchen. Do not lose hope nana gretchen.
    Darating at darating din ang araw na makakaangat ka sa iyong istado sa buhay…May God always help and protect you nana gretchen.

    jed

  81. eleazar

    natouch nak jay ahh>…diko maexplaine riknak>>hmmm!!! basta nagmayat jai istorya ti biag ni nana gretchen!!!

  82. edhelwin dela cruz

    dapat nga natin siyang tulungan sa pamamagitan ng dasal,at dapat bigyan ito ng pansin ni governor imee.Nag bigay ito ng inspirasyon sakin nung itoy aking mabasa.napaka gandang istorya

  83. this article is great, dito tayo makakakuha ng lesson na dapat tayong maging matibay/matatag ang loob sa lahat ng pagsubok sa ating buhay.
    masasabi ko ng kay nay gretchen ay she is very brave women…

  84. Nakakatouch.Saludo ako kay Nana Gretchen. Sa kabila ng lahat ng mga pagsubok na dinaas niya sa kanyang buhay , hindi pa rin siya sumuko. Pinaalis man siya sa bahay nila noon, namatay man ang kanyang anak at asawa, hindi ito naging hadlang para siya ay hindi lumaban sa mga hamon ng buhay. Sana naman itong mga taong kagaya ni Nana Gretchen ang mga karapat-dapat na taong tulungan ng ating gobyerno. 😀

  85. vince

    Ganito na ba talaga ka kurakot ang gobyerno? Nakikita na ngang nag hihirap ang isang tao hindi pa matulongan..nakakabilib naman si naynay gretchen kahit na mahihirap na pag subok ang hinarap niya hindi parin sya nagpadaig..Kaya pa niyang ngumiti sa gitna ng kyang pinagdadaanan..tama,dapat ngumiti rin minsan kahit na may problema…Ang maitutulong ko lang kay nanay gretchen ay ang ipagdasal siya. Kung mayaman lang sana ako pwede ku siyang tulongan upang umangat ri kunti ang buhay niya.Kaya hinihiling ko nalang sa mga mayayaman diyan at mga opisyales ng gobyerno na tulongan naman si nanay gretchen.

  86. Allan jay Viernes

    sana nga hindi siya magbago para mas marami siyang ma-inspire.at tsaka sana mas tumagal pa ang kanyang paghinga dito sa mundong ating ginagalawan nang mas marami pa siyang matolungan

  87. GOOD NEWS! Nakatira na si nanay GRETCHEN sa DSWD! 🙂 Pero hinahayaan padin nila magbenta benta si nanay. Okay na yun. Ang bait talaga ni Mayor and ang bait talaga ng Diyos! 🙂

  88. jesus anthony

    kahit hndi ko pa nikita si nana gretchen niiyak na ako sa istorya ng buhay niya:'( kahit nawalan siya ng mga mahal sa buhay hindi parin siya agad agad na sumuko. Dapat tulungan ng ating gobyerno si nana gretchen pero ang tanong tutulungan ba nila?? khit pagtulugan man lang. Saludo ako sayo nana gretchen kasi hinaharap mo parin ang mga pagsubok sa buhay. Nakakainspire ka nana gretchen.

  89. christian tabuli

    this article is indeed great!!! it was so interesting and it pictures out the bravery and the different adventures of a 63 year old woman living her life to the fullest all by herself….

  90. Jestherson

    i think,,siya palang ung alam ko na matanda na natiis niya ang mga pagsubok sa kanyang buhay,,akalain mo,,,,,sana marami ganyan sa mundo,,kahit mag-isa siya,,kaya niyang alagaan sarili niya,,kahit matanda na siya,,malakas siya kasi kahit di siya kumakain sa gabi,,natitiis niya na hintahin ng umaga para makakain siya ng pan di sal,,,nalalampasan niya lahat ng sakit,,,ang alam ko,,kaya di siya pa kunin ni god kasi may mission pa siyang dapat tapusin,,,,NAKAKABILIB SIYA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  91. patrick

    Nana Gretchen is a character of simplicity, humility and with responsibility. She thrived from a broken family, grown in the care of an aunt till grade school. She got a family for a while but lost them in no time. She had established a living, a very minimal earning just for her to survive. All these she went through, she never blamed anyone not had regrets to herself. She had a very wide range of understanding why things must happen to her and her environment. She withstand every trial she had faced in her life. I admire Nana Gretchen and she is a source of inspiration.

  92. Nana Gretchen..what more can I say..she’s unbelievably strong in spite of the problems she had…It reminded me of the thought that we have to take our circumstances not the negative way but the other way around.We have to be thankful in everything God has given us, be it a circumstances. God will turn it out into something good…Let everyone be inspired with the story of real journey of a woman..I salute Nana Gretchen for coming this far. More powers!

  93. John Morales

    i didnt read every comment i know all of us has a few insights about lola. ma asyan nak pay ketdi. dati nak nga tambay idjay pag computeran dita abay ti capitol kanaun ko makita deta nga baket. tatta ta nabasak d2y nga article uray nak lang maka ibit ma asyan nak ken lola sobra..

  94. awtska

    innak ton bigat dijay , dumawat nak tot daster ni lolangko di na maususaren ta ited ko,tatnu han la isut gamit na deta dwa, salamat sa nang blog.

  95. media-boss

    hay naku… yung mga may mata ang puso ang makakapansin po kay aleng Matilda at hindi yong mga nagbubulag bulagan po..uhmp this was a very good and inspiring essay that opens the heart at konsensya ng mga may kaya po.. And if they want to help Aleng MAtilda, they don’t waut too much time, siya na nga po ang lumapit sana naman po buksan nila ang mga dambuhalang mga mata nila at tulungan siya..kawawa naman po ang matanda… And this essay gives me again inspiration at porsigeng sumulat ng mga essay…. salamat po sir sa pag publish ng ganitong uri ng essay…

  96. pollet

    tarantado naman ung mga nanakit sa kanya. hope i can help her now that i know her story. i always see her, even when i was still in elementary. all i knew nagtitinda lang siya ng sigarilyo at candy, un pala wala siyang tinitirhan o pamilya man lang. i am very sorry nana gretchen kung di ako bumibili sau. sana matulungan natin siya. sana lang hindi mabigla ang katawan niya pag may tumulong na. given the fact sobrang sanay na ang sakripisyo ng katawan niya.

  97. boknoy

    WAT ARE WE WAITING FOR …ACTION AGAD!!!

  98. boknoy

    isu na ti sang-gir ti kinapigsa, ken ayat nga d pulos mapukaw. sirmata ti namnama ti binagbaliw ti rupa ti kinu kunniber, sapay kuma ta malawlawagan dagiti tat-tao nga di mapneg ti rupa ti kuarta ken balitok. ni nana gretchen ket maysa nga pagwadan ti kinapintas to ti masang wanan ti ilocos no ammuentayto nga utuben ti kaipapanan na…i monitor tau kakabsat no ania ti mapasamak ti sumarsaruno nga aldaw

  99. Ashley Pajas

    Nana Gretchen for Governor!!! She’s indeed a model of citizenship even though she don’t have the money and lost her basic unit in life. It’s really amazing that in her situation she could still manage to do things like that and endeavor in everyday life. Siguro kapag ako iyon hindi ako magtatagal. Sino pa naman ang hindi mawawalan ng pagasa kung nawalan ka na ng pamilya at ang masakit pa wala ng matirhan? Pero, si Nana Gretchen, nakaya niya. I have high hope that someday all her efforts will be of good result.

    To end this up, I salute you Nana Gretchen!!! You’ re a real model of what a filipino should. You’re a woman of hope, courage and citizenship! Just keep those virtues up! Because, someday, all of your hardships will become good harvests.

    -M:)

  100. namimiss ko na ulit lola ko ng mabasa ko ito… wag ka mag alala lola my help na sayo.

    jeff

  101. -thinker

    Nana Gretchen has a strong HOPE and FAITH. HOPE, that she can survive LIFE, even how strong storms struck her, she still arise everyday to face another day full of CHALLENGES, PROBLEMS and TRIALS. A strong FAITH to GOD, that God will always protect and guide her everyday.

    Nana Gretch, I want to help you but I have nothing, but a strong prayer full of faith that you will taste a real life that you are longing for and a great favor, mercy and protection from our dear LORD.

    I salute you! God bless you always!

  102. julius james

    In The situation of Nana Gretchen. . .she’s life is tragic yet I envy to her because she can stand by her own feet. . .she is positive thinker no matter how hard the trials that are coming to her life she can face it because of her FAITH to god. . .also our government should do things to help her. . .they should give her a little sari-sari store, in that, she can have a shelter and also set of clothes that they can offer to her. .

    i was inspired the life of Nana Gretchen. . .i cry every night because i always think of her situation. . .she has nothing yet she has a big faith. . .thumbs up to you mommy Gretchen!!!

  103. ejbmanuel

    makes me feel blessed. :’) i admire how she sees life the positive way which fortunate people oftentimes neglects. How i wish to help her in a way or another. 😦

  104. ingoDOGOOD

    palagi ko sing nakikita noon sa gilid ng capitol pero lumipat na siya sa harap ng dapayan.. bumili pa ako noon ng candy.. nakakaiyak talaga yong story.. kaya pala kahit gabi ay naddon parin sya.. nana gretchen try mong magtaya ng lotto bka mapanaloan mo ung jackpot…. kaya mo yan nana think posotive wag aayaw magrevicon ka… kayamo mo yan go! go! go!

    • pollet

      not a good idea bro. as stated, P10 pan de sal lang budget niya per day. lucky if maka-kape siya. betting won’t do good to her. just my two cent. pero hindi sinasabing mali ka. peace tayu ha ^_^

  105. Nakakainspire siya in the sense that kahit na nahihirapan siya lumalaban parin siya sa mga hamon ng buhay….pag nakakakita ako ng mga kagaya niya,specially sa mga brutal na lungsod ng maynila parang nasasaktan ako na bakit may mga naghihirap ng ganito na lalo pang inaabuso ng mga kriminal..kelangan tulungan ang mga kagaya niya…………

  106. kevkevkev

    one time ko palang siyang nakita naawa na ako dahil sa tanda niyang yun nakaka yanan parin niyang magsurvived sa hirap ng buhay ngayon.sana nay gretchen wag ka sanang mawalan ng pag asa at ituloy mo lang ang mga pangarap mong gusto mong tuparin .sana maging inspiration ka sa lahat ng nanay isa ka na sa mga idol kong nanay sa boung mundo. at sana humaba pa ang buhay mo at sana makikila kita ng personal o di kayay magkausap tayo kahit konti tungkol sa buhay mo. goodluck nay and wish that yuo are in good health always………

  107. Jason Tagavilla

    —–>this article/story about the life of nana Gretchen gives us a great lesson for every one.. ito ang nag papa2nay na ang tibay at lkas ng loob ay napaka halaga sa pagsabak natin sa mga pagsubok ng buhay.
    —–>dapat nga natin siyang tulungan sa pamamagitan ng dasal,at dapat bigyan ito ng pansin ng gobyerno.

    this story is great,,,,

  108. oppong

    nana gretchen. kayam dta.. tay la kunam nga “han nga kanayun nga kastoy t pinag biyag”…. malay mo addan 2 aldaw nga agbaliw,,, agbilib nak kanyam nana gretchen kasi uray kasano karigat t pinag biyag ket luamablaban ka..

    IDOL:)ka nana gretchen…

  109. oppong

    nana gretchen. kayam dta.. tay la kunam nga “han nga kanayun nga kastoy t pinag biyag”…. malay mo addan 2 aldaw nga agbaliw,,, agbilib nak kanyam nana gretchen kasi uray kasano karigat t pinag biyag ket luamablaban ka..
    IDOL:)ka nana gretchen…

  110. ‎..And here I am, whining that I can’t even buy myself a new pair of flats. I think learning about her story already helped me a lot… In fact, more than I can ever help her.

    Thank you for sharing her story…

    Better days for Nana Gretchen. Amen.

  111. patrick

    natouch po ako…i reliazed na we are so much blessed….sana may magagawa ako for nana gretchen…

  112. Avell Sagun

    Nana Gretchen’s life is an inspiration for us. She doesn’t gives up in the challenges she met in her life, from her childhood to now.
    I hope that she will overcome her other trials, we know that this is a hard job, but the will and hardwork of Nana Gretchen, it’s not that impossible to think that she will win over her ordeals.
    Hands down to you Nana Gretchen.

  113. Ray Philip R. Batara

    She is very brave despite of all the worse things that happened to Nana Gretchen, she is a nice person and never blame anyone for her sufferings. I admire optimistic people like nana Gretchen. Keep on believing and have faith for a better life.

  114. I was so amazed about nana gretchen’s contributed to the public, to her family and on how she face and fight the trials that comes to her life. Nana, gretchen , you have a great fighting spirit. I hope that in sharing the one’s life, specially in the situation of nana gretchen will lead to the powerfull government to help the people in needs. I hope that government could see the situations of the community, and give an importance to this problems,,

  115. Raymond Tanagon

    nakakainspire ang storya ni nana Grechen, kahit na nahihirapan na siya sa mga problemang dumadating sa kanyang buhay sinisikap pa rin niyang maging matatag at nilalampasan ang mga ito.Dadating rin ang araw na matatapos ang lahat ng ito.Sana ay maraming tumulong sa kanya lalo na ngayon.

  116. sweet

    .. nakaka-toch po ung kWento nYa .. ahmmp .. kakaiYAk po ! tas , paRAng naaLaLA ko po ung Lola namen na nawaLa na .. ahmmp .. kaSing gaYa po nYa .. sHe was so poWerfuL en inde nawawaLan ng pag-asa ..

  117. conai

    ito ang mga hiwagang ipinapakita ng buhay. minsan nasa ibabaw,minsan nasa ilalim. ang tibay ng paniniwala at sapat na lakas upang labanan ang mga pagsubok na ito ay siyang nakikita ko kay nana gretchen. kahit ano mang balakid sa kanyang buhay, nakakaya niyang bumangon sa kalagitnaan ng kanyang pagkadarapa. siya ay may ipinaglalabang paninindigan upang matustusan ang mga sandaling kanyang ipinaglalaban. bawat patak ng luha ay kapalit ay isang maligaya at magandang bukas.
    “If you are bound with the problems and you give up, its a weakness and its your lost. but if you strive and live life to the fullest with these struggles, you have God with you- the faith on Him will never abandoned you!:)”

  118. I was so petty about the tragic that facing of Nana Gretchen because, she was only lives by her self. Nana Gretchen is a great woman because she was accepting and doesn’t giving-up for the challenge… I believing your strong hope and patient you have nana Gretchen…Keep on believing and have faith to our God towards your success.

  119. michael

    Nana Gretchen has strong hope and faith to God. .she is positive thinker she withstand every trial she had faced in her life. .nakakainspire ka nay sa kabila ng lahat ng mga pagsubok na dinadaas mo sa iyong buhay hindi kayo sumusuko.
    Nana Gretchen i pray that that God will always protect and guide you everyday.!!!

  120. kathlynjoy

    Sir,nakaka-inspire po ang kwento ni nana gretchen dahil hindi siya nawawalan ng pag-asa……” dahil sabi nga niya habang may buhay may pag-asa”……..

  121. This post proves that true stories really can have a more enchanting impact to the readers compared to the fictional ones. Maybe it’s in the style of writing where I saw it but I’m pretty sure that this story has a lot of meaningful pieces that captivates the heart of every reader. I admire Nana Gretchen for having deep and sincere humility and faith, unselfishness, a fighting spirit, and a positive outlook toward life despite those setbacks she had and is having gone through. It’s hard to imagine myself living a life like hers. I might say that I am so fortunate and grateful to God and I would like to share to Nana Gretchen the blessings God has given to me. At her age, she must have really been savoring life, agreeing to Sir Yumul’s statement. What I think now is that, Nana Gretchen and those with similar qualities as hers truly deserve the best in life… the best in the sense that they must experience the beautiful things that life has to offer, whether via nature or government, as they serve as examples of a truly humane citizen. Nana Gretchen is worthy of being rewarded. Simple rewards like reuniting with her relatives, having a house that she can call her home, enough clothing, and receiving appropriate benefits from the government will do, I think. Nana Gretchen inspires a lot of people for sure, and I can’t help myself from picturing her very heartfelt story on Maalaala Mo Kaya. I’ll be happy if it will soon happen. God bless Nana Gretchen!

    I just hope that people will help not only Nana Gretchen but also those with similar cases like hers. And I would like to spread the word for a better world…. BE HUMBLE AND UNSELISH, like Nana Gretchen!

  122. reina mhae

    sir,,sa sitwasyon po ni nana gretchen ay nakaka-touch po ang kanyang kwento….nainspired po ako nung nabasa ko po to….,nakakaiyak…kung may magagawa lang sana ako para sa kanya……siguro po ang tanging magagawa ko na lang ay ipagdasal siya….

  123. rheavelle

    sir,it was an inspiring story,…..nana gretchen is truelly a strong woman,….it inspired me a lot,kung may magagawa lang ako.,kahit na ganun pa ang kanyang sitwasyon, nakaya niya parin…..hindi parin siya nawawalan ng pag-asa,i know god will always there to help her……i would pray for her….

  124. farinas=,,I,,
    marcos- ,,I,, ,,I,,

  125. glyzalee

    the story of the “lady of the capitol” was very miserable..after i read this, i felt arouse and imbue because despite that she lives alone nakakasurvive pa rin siya sa pang -araw -araw niyang pamumuhay..ipinapakta nya na siya’y matatag at kaya nyang lampasan ang lahat ng dagok o pagsubok na kanyang nararanasan……….im so touched!!!

  126. lilet ^_6

    nanay gretchen’s sorrowful story makes a stone-hearted person becomes a light-hearted one. she has a great faith to GOD and she never surrender inspite of her disastrous living. Ang kwento nya ay pwedeng pang-MMK.
    god bless, nay gretchen. nakaka.admire po ang kwento ninyo.

  127. JULIET D.

    hay naku! God is great parin kasi kahit papano hindi parin niya pinabayaan si nana Gretchen. She has a strong faith to God. And i hope God will give her rewards she deserve. God Bless!

  128. ang cool ni nana gretchen!i wish i have the same approach in life as hers, there’s (perhaps now) contentment, optimism,STRONGER FAITH in GOD…despite all the things she’d gone through.God really has His reasons for everything,her struggles molded her personality which inspires a lot of people, including me, now.i will surely add her to my list of inspirational people.

  129. kiddO

    :[ . .”KUNG SINO YUNG PINAKAMALAPIT..SIYA YUNG ‘DI GAANONG NAKIKITA” -Sir Herdy
    kahit ganyan ang kalagayan ni Nanay..i’m very happy for her because she has a very strong faith and thank God ‘di niya siya pinapabayaan..sa kalagayan niyang yan. .sobrang hirap..paano nlng kung may bagyo?. san siya sisilong? makaktulog ba siya ng maayos?.. puro kasinungalingan lng ang politiko..tsk tsk..
    SANA LANG MAPANSIN NA SIYA NG GOBYERNO…

  130. She’s in DSWD na pero pinapalabas padin siya kasi gusto padin niya magbenta benta ng yosi and candies. 🙂

  131. sana mabigyan cya ng sarili nyang tahanan pra naman mkatolog cya ng maayos kahit maliit at least may sisilongan sya pag may bagyo lalo na ngaun

  132. 🙂 Nana Gretchen is a strong woman, she is a positive thinker! positive thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts,words and images that are conductive to growth,expansion and success. It anticipates happiness,,joy,health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds.

    She is a good inspiration to us,to keep on pursuing our goals despite in all hindrances that trap our way…

    GODBLESS!!!!

  133. sadafy

    GOD BLESS THIS RIKNAKEM ARTICLE, ADDA KANOT DSWD NI NANA GRETCHEN’EN. FEELING KO KET GAPU KADETOY NGA ENTRY ISU NAPANSIN METLANG SA WAKAS ISUNAN. CONTINUE PRAYING FOR NANA GRETCHEN, BARBARENG AG KATOTOO TAY SAO NAN NGA ““han nga kanayun nga kastoy t pinag biyag”…. malay mo addan 2 aldaw nga agbaliw,,,” God bless!

  134. tita lita

    awesome.great job herdy. its because of this blog you made a persons life easier and better.kudos .

  135. Pingback: Outpour of Love for Homeless Lady |

  136. christine joy f. de ocampo

    actually sir parang nkita ko na si lola gretchen malapit sa capitol dun sa may com shop..kaya pala plagi ko syang nakikita pag umuuwi ako sa pasuquin…,,ang laking tulong kay lola ang blog po ninyo…=)

  137. glai bonilla

    nakakaiyak! hope to meet her when i go home!! speechless,, ! napapaisip tuloy ako… naawa ako sa kanya! just pray nanay gretchen,, yan lng ang tanging kasma mo sa ngayon,, he will do the rest for you! godbless

  138. jade arizabal

    Wow!!!! napakasarap namang isipin na sa gitna man ng mga pagsubok, bagyo ng buhay, sa mga gabi at araw na walang pag-aalala’t pag-aaruga at maging sa pagkakataon ay nagawa pa rin ni nanay gretchen na harapin ang buhay… Ngiti’t saya ang nagpalaya sa umiiyak kong damdamin dahil sa ipinamalas niyang tapang, pag-asa at pagpupunyagi, higit sa lahat ang kanyang pananampalataya sa Diyos…. Napakasayang damhin na hindi niya isinisisi sa ibang tao at maging sa gobyerno ang kinasadlakan niyang buhay bagkus kumapit siya sa tapang, positibong pagtanaw sa buhay at determinasyon upang tahakin ang mapaglarong buhay. .Ang hiling ko lang sa kanyang mga kamag-anak, sanay mabigyan niyo po siya ng panahon para alagaan at mahalin. Sa mga taong may matatabang puso, sana matulungan at maunawaan niyo po siya. Ang kwento ng buhay ni Nanay Gretchen ay makapagbibigay sa atin aral, sa mga problema’t mga sagabal sa ating buhay ay dapat tayong maging matatag at kalmado sa pagtahak ng buhay.

  139. joy angelica dumlan

    .to others, life seem so hard and unfair but for nana gretchen, life is so easy for she knows how to be contented despite of all the problems that she had encountered. positive thinker, she knows to be contented, has the strong faith to God- these are the qualities that she possess and that helped her to live long and surpass all the struggles of life. I salute nana gretchen for what she is now. She is an extraordinary person that should be given and experiencing a great life at this point of time. I hope that many would help her.:)

  140. windivie

    she was a strong woman.. naka2iyak ang story pero naka2inspire dn.. pagpalain ng panginoon si lola matilda..

  141. Ysa

    Ykai: As what you’ve said I will do your favor . Naawa ako .

  142. Noong bata pa lang ako, sa bawat pagpunta ko sa Laoag, nakikita ko lagi si nana Gretchen (yun pala ang tawag sa kanya, ngayon ko lang nalaman) malapit sa Kapitolyo. Ngunit, ni minsan sa aking tanang buhay, hindi ko man lang siya malapitan. Pero, kapag naiisip ko ang Capitol, pumapasok siya sa isip ko.

    Naalala ko noong lumabas sa Ilocos Times ang istorya na dahil sa renovation ng Kapitolyo, mapipilitang lumayas mula sa dati niyang puwesto si nana. Naging diskusyon ito sa amin noong nabasa namin ito sa IT. Eyesore daw, ayon sa iba, kaya kailangan siyang palayasin sa kanyang lungga sa gilid ng Capitol. [Sa tingin ko, hindi siya eyesore; icon pa nga siya kung tutuusin!] Sabi pa nga ng auntie ko, na nagtatrabaho rin sa pamahalaan, “Nu patalawen da isuna, ikkan da [provincial government] koma met isuna iti nasaysayaat nga paglakuanna. Nabayag isuna dita Kapitolyon, patalawen da pay laeng?”

    Si Nana Gretchen, at ang kanyang situwasyon, ay isang simbulo na hindi umeepekto ang “trickle down effect” na gustong mangyari ng ating pamahalaan; kahit na napakaraming improvement sa ekonomiya na pinapatunayan pa ng estatistika, konti o walang epekto ito sa mamamayan, gayong sila naman dapat ang tunay na nakikinabang. Ito ang nakapagtataka: ang situwasyong ito ay dapat sana’y kitang-kita ng mga opisyales na nasa Kapitolyo. Kumbaga, nasa harap na nila; bakit wala pang aksyon?

    Ngunit buti na lamang at may mga tumulong na sa kanya, tulad ng City Social Welfare and Development. Ngayon, kailangan na ngang gawin ng pamahalaan, mapa-City o Provincial Government, ang mga gawaing dapat sana’y mapakinabangan ni Nana Gretchen.

    At kung nasa Ilocos Norte pa rin ako ngayon, gusto kong mabanggit kay Nana Gretchen na siya ay simbulo at institusyon ng Rizal Street, at lalo na ng Provincial Capitol, dahil mula noon hanggang sa pagkaka-renovate ng Capitol grounds, siya ang una at huli mong makikita sa kanyang gilid sa Capitol.

  143. ako si g'anne

    all i can say is mahirap man xia..you can still feel the contentment inside her heart despite of the fact that she’s suffering from poverty which most of us can’t do..i SALUTE NaNA GRETCHEN!!:)

  144. joeybrown

    I read your column just today about nana Gretchen and I was so touched how a 63 year old manage to live outside a home of no walls nor roofs.
    I want to help her with some clothes, coffee mug with coffee and pandesal to make her mornings happy. Thanks and more power to you.

  145. edriel esguerra

    nana gretchen, adda-an ka kuma t kired ken taraon bayat iti inaldaw-aldaw nga inka panagsapul iti pagbiag..Wen,naritwer ti biag mu nyem haan ka kuma nga agpa anod iti sulisog ken iti riribok

  146. edriel esguerra

    nakas-ang man ti biag,ada ni apo nga mangtar-tarabay kanyatau inoras-oras,inaldaw-aldaw.daytoy ket pangkitan lng ni apo iti kina pateg ti biag tau.
    .Ala uray kasta ti kasasaad mu nana ket agbilib nak!.Bilib nk kenka ta inparupam kadakami nga agbiag nga agtakder latta uray awan pag sang-giran.
    Ayayaten ka nana gretchen!!

  147. rhedz ulep

    good job herdy..galing mo i want to be like you..in fact hindiAKO NAAWA KAY LOLA,kundi humanga talaga ako sa kanya kasi..kahit ganun ung buhay niya she tried to live on the edge of risk para lang mabuhay ng maayos..and every trials that she encounter she really do the things just to overcome.im proud of this lola..

  148. rhedz ulep

    usto ka brad..pada ta nga nag bilib ken lola..nakaibit nak pay nga nangbasa ta storya t biag na..nakalidliday nem kinaya na..

  149. jacky

    what’s the latest update to nana gretchen?…after reading this reminds me with my lola…we must love our grandparents no matter how ulyanin they are…meri xmas

  150. rheena

    Iloveyou lola gretchen!

  151. Hegel Remigio

    kahit nasa sekondarya palang ako ng pag aaral . binasa ko to . bigla nalang akong naiyak nung binabasa ko! 😦 . kahit mahirap kami pag may nkikita akong mga matandang naghihirap para lng may mbiling pagkain npapahiyak ako. meron pang isang matandang nagtitinda din noon sa harap ng central school . wala siyang makain . pero isang araw pumunta kami sa mcdo kasama ko kaklase ko. Tas nung kumakain kami bigla ko syang naisip. hndi ko na inobos yung pagkain ko para may ibigay ako sa knyna kasi alam kung wala siyang makain .. mag iipon po ako ng pera at hihingi po ako ng onting donasyon sa mga kaklase ko. para kahit gaano ay mkatulong po kmi. Ang misyon ku lng po sa buhay ay mkapagpasaya ng mga tao lalo na ang mga MATATANDA .. 🙂

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