February 1, 2023

What does it mean to be beyond the ordinary? To be outstanding? Being outstanding is not measured by the number of awards you have received, or eloquence, or interviews that measures your brain matter and status in society. It is not a power game. It is not belonging to a certain enclave. It is not measuring your edge by counting the points. Or being subjected to interviews that borders on dissertations instead of contribution to society. It is a certain kind of magic that oozes from the person and shines from within, without even trying. Husband and wife John and Amparo gives a fitting description of what matters most.
“What qualifies a person to be extraordinary? It’s about the heart. A giving heart. A heart to give more than you have because you see that others have less. A heart to give not because you will be seen but because of what you have seen. A heart to fill a need not because you have a lot but because you know what it’s like to have nothing…”John and Amparo Magallanes.
The Rotary Club of Baguio South headed by President Rowena Tabandalaunched its first “Beyond the Ordinary” project. It paid tribute to a woman who had a big heart. Who has a selfless way of life, areal hero. If CNN has a hero, this is its equivalent, the RCBS hero. Her name is Marites Santos Castro and she belongs to the grassroots
”We look for people who go beyond their ordinary livelihoods to serve,” says OmengFallarme. “ those who do good deeds no matter what resources they have or don’t have without expecting anything in return.”
Forty three year old Marites is truly a hero. She is a masseuse who hails from San Pedro, Laguna, but has settled in Baguio since 2003. She has a 20 year experience in the trade, has a genuine heart, and whose story was discovered by husband and wife Alex and Corazon Aquino of the famous C and Triple A establishment and the Rotary Club of Baguio South. She is a perfect fit forthe RCBS search for individuals who live by their motto “Service Above Self.”
In her care are about 19 wards, who calls her Tita Tess or TitaTere. Their ages vary from 10 to 20 years old, from Grades 4 to 12.
“Gusto kolangtalagatumulongsamgabata, kaysamagpalaboylaboysila at magkaroon ng masamangbisyo,” paliwanagniMarites. “Sabi at bilin ng lolako, kung kaya mo, tulunganmoangmgabatanggustongmagaral.Kaya masayaakokapagangmgabata ay napapabilangsa top 10. Angpagtulongko ay nagkakaroon ng saysay. Gagawinkoitohanggangsaakingpagtanda. Wala akonghinahanapnakapalit, sanalamang ay tumulong din silasamgaibangbatapagsila ay nakaraosnasapagaaral.”
Huddled in one table to witness the awarding of their Tita Tess were: 12 year old daughter Ella Mae Rapisura, Laila Untos, Nicole Jean Villanueva, Lester Neil Ines, brother and sister Alangden and Analiah Ali and Marissa Manzano.
Lester Neil, a TESDA culinary arts graduate says that his Titatess is a role model and is selfless. He hopes to follow in her footsteps one day. “Dadating din angarawnamagigingkatuladakoniTita Tess.”
Marites shares all the money she has with her wards. According to the Rotary Club of Baguio South, “With her humble earnings, Ms. Castro has helped provide for the educational needs and medical expenses of the kids in her neighborhood in Asin, leaving very little or nothing for herself.Even the teachers attest to it. She has given a new home to some of the kids allowing them to stay in her house, feeding them and taking care of them as a mother would.”
“Nagpapasalamatpo kami at binibigyan kami ng allowance niTita Tess,” chorused siblings Analiah and Alangden Ali.
WikaniMarites, “NagpapasalamatakosaDiyos at salahat, lalonglalonasa Rotary Club of Baguio South sapagbibigay ng parangalsa akin. Samgabataangmensaheko ay mag-aralsilangmabuti at maging top sila. Ako ay magigingmasayangmasaya. Wala akonghinihintaynakapalitsakanila. Kila Sir Alex at Mam Zon, at family, salamatpo, dikopoinaasahanito.”
First Lady Arlene Magalong was likewise part of the crowd who witnessed this extraordinary occasion. Father and son Alex and Patrick played with the Baguio Boys Band, who played mostly Beatles songs.
“ We hope to continue what we have started,” were the parting words of President Rowena Tabanda. “Doing good is between you and your God. NagpapaalalaangDiyos kung anoangdapatnatinggawin.”
CongratulationsMarites! Ikaw ay isang tala para sakaramihan at salipunan. Congratulations Rotary Club of Baguio South! We wish you more success. May you find more people from the grassroots to recognize and to honor.These are the people who deserve acknowledgement. These people touch lives without being aware of their good deed!They are the true heroes of our society Truly “Beyond the Ordinary!”