By Leoncio Balbin, Jr.
CANDON CITY—As early as 5 o’clock dawn, he is in a hurry to ride his tricycle to fly the roads of Candon City, Ilocos Sur.
He is really obligated and forced to do this everyday.
There are 12 people waiting, 11 children and his wife.
Despite his efforts he can not really earn enough for them.
This is practically the same situation that Vic Gagarao Sr., 34, of Bagar, Candon City, Ilocos Sur faces every day.
“I cannot really provide all their needs,” Vic said in Ilocano.
Vic said that he earns about P200 a day.
He usually buys one ganta of rice for their food for at least three meals, dish and sets aside installment of his motorcycle with two years left to pay.
This does not include their household expenses and schooling of their children.
That is why Vic’s mind floats oftentimes as he thought of the situation of his big family.
BIG FAMILY AND RARE COMPOSITION
His family is unique because of rare composition.
Vic and Marianita are blessed with four pairs of twins though one pair died.
Their first born were twins.
After a year, Marianita gave birth to another pair of twins though both died after a few days.
Thereafter, Marianita practically gave birth annually until they had 11 children including three pairs of twins alive.
So here they are Maria Victoria and Vincent , Vic Jr, Aprilyn, Ariel and Ryan.
They were followed by the second twins, Marlon and Michael, Grace, and the third twins, Nicholas and Nickjames.
The children were born in the span of 11 years since their marriage 14 years ago.
Vic admits his family’s hard life everyday.
To augment his earning, he does some farm works while his wife accepts laundry.
Personally Vic had to sacrifice, a coffee will do as substitute for breakfast.
His children are affected.
His eldest daughter Cristina, 13, has stopped studying to help them earn a living which he has accepted with a heavy heart.
Her twin, Vincent, remains in grade five even though he is already 13.
The other siblings are also in the same hard-up situation.
They either lag in their schooling or stop for a while.
The situation will remain or even worsen depending on the capacity of the Gagarao couple to provide for their needs.
Vic admitted that his wife never used contraceptives like pills because no one advised them.
Even Vic did not use condom because he did not want it.
Vic admitted that it was already too late when he realized how hard it is to have such a big family.
He has big regrets but it is already beyond him.
Every day as he parked his tricycle, he cannot remove from his mind on how to continue carrying the huge load of fathering his big family.
Like the dark clouds hovering in the horizon, his big family’s future is dim.#