A Teacher in the making

This is an ordinary story of an ordinary person coming from an ordinary family

Written by: Meryl Y. Hermoso  | Area Coordinator

“Always do your best, and God will do the rest”, a guiding philosopy that pushes Jonel L. Tangelon to move further and further towards his not-so-possible-dream of the past, but now turning into a light on his path to becoming somebody someday, one day.

I used to be a timid person

He was only in the third grade and at the age of 9 when the glaring past changed his view about life, particularly for him, when The Anawim, Inc. in Nabua, Camarines Sur, invited his family to become a member of the foundation. Now, Jonel is turning 21 years old in September 2017.

His late father, Dionisio +, was a rice farmer while his mother, Lorenza, was a housewife, who sometimes accepts laundry work or babysits neighbors to augment family income. After DIonisio’s death (due to a heart attack) in 2012, Mother Lorenza continued to accept laundry works. In July 2017, she had to transfer to work in Cavite as a babysitter and laundry woman and would send her full salary of P4,000.00 to meet the school needs of Jonel and two other brothers in school. 

They were eight (8) children - two girls and six boys. Jonel is the middle son. Two older siblings are already married. 

They live in a small nipa hut, barely packed of amenities and far from the comforts and conveniences one wishes to enjoy in life. 

Jonel received his elementary  education from Nabua Central Public School and high school education from Nabua National High School ,both public and government schools, and was a consistent honor student.  

To step up into a higher level of education was still an impossible dream for Jonel, especially after the untimely death of his father. Had it not been for the helping hand extended by the generous benefactors of The Anawim, Inc., who supported his educational needs since. His achievement as a student on the Dean's list is a manifestation of how he values the support of his benefactors and how determined he is to finish his studies. Who could be prouder, but his parents and The Anawim, Inc. too!  

Jonel is currently a 4th year college student enrolled at the University of Saint Anthony, a private school, in Iriga City, taking up Teacher Education with a major in Biological Science.  He is currently undertaking his in-campus training at the University of St. Anthony. 

As a growing teenager and as a student, life was not easy for him and his family. According to Jonel, he "was not spared of his own struggles". But it was these struggles that taught him to embrace determination and sacrifice. To help out with the family expenses, he remembers very well a time when he would render laundry service to his cousins. One summer, he also accepted a part time job as a carenderia (food service ) crew, so he could earn additional allowance for the next school opening. His allowance this school year of P100.00 a day, coming from his mother’s monthly salary, would sometimes be cut of P20.00 a day to add to the food on the table. This he proudly shared with joy, knowing that he is making life easy for the family. He is so positive life will change for the better soon.


 The 21 year old Jonel at the Anawim office, Nabua, Camarines Sur

The 21 year old Jonel at the Anawim office, Nabua, Camarines Sur

 A picture with fellow Anawim sponsored  child at the Basilica Hall after the big gathering, March 27, 2017 (far right)

A picture with fellow Anawim sponsored  child at the Basilica Hall after the big gathering, March 27, 2017 (far right)

What The Anawim, Inc. changed in me.

       “I used to be a timid person and could not express myself very well.” admitted Jonel.

"My exposure to different social activities sponsored by The Anawim, Inc. like the annual gathering of children, Christmas party, seminars, exposure trips and the like, help me develop my personality. It also taught me about self-confidence. Now, I am confident in standing before an audience as emcee whenever I am invited or as a sharer in recollections whenever needed. I also get to share my talent in singing and dancing.
Every Sunday, I don’t fail attending Sunday Mass together with fellow Anawim. Catechism taught me to know God better and the value of helping others for Him. I have become an active member of the Parish Youth Ministry involved in the choir group.
My spiritual life is helping me to understand myself more and to becoming the person I have to be. Being part of ANAWIM taught me to dream big.
What is my goal in life?
"With the help of The Anawim, Inc., I will become a teacher one day, and (for) that  I will be most grateful for. I see life changing situations in the family. I wanted to have a house of our own and to support my younger brothers to finish their studies too. That time my mother will no longer be away from us to earn for the family, but we, their children, will be extending our hands to help her enjoy a better life.”
Anawim Sponsored Child since 2005 | Nabua, Camarines Sur


His story may just be something to read. His story may be ordinary. But it has become extraordinary because of generous and beautiful people like The Anawim Inc., who contributed to his life to being the stronger and more confident person he is now and for inspiring him to share his story.



Anawim Roller Coaster Experience | March 2017

"'never give up' scribbled in big, bold letters on his shirt"

April 3, 2017 1:20am

Dear Anawim Sponsors, supporters, Friends and Benefactors,

Please allow us to share our recent experience with you when we visited our Anawim families on March 26-28th, 2017.

We would like to express our deep and heartfelt gratitude for your support of our mission.

-By Liza Gonzales




It is hard to put into words what the naked eye has seen and what the heart has felt... with one's spirit crushed and tears welling down one's cheeks - flowing in immediate and natural reaction to the pity and helplessness one feels for the deplorable condition one has witnessed. 

I am no writer by any means. Therefore, I have not the right words to describe the pain and misery I felt for the family whom I should have been glad to see having a shelter to protect them from the vicissitudes of nature as was gifted by Anawim and its sponsors. 

The single room tenement measuring 10x10 where both dining and bedroom reside and no latrine in sight - (which could possibly be causing the stench in the air either from human and animal waste alike) - has pierced my spirit.

I lie awake till the wee hours of the morning trying to convince myself this family will be alright and this is their circumstance that no one can really help make better (or possibly can??) despite the materials provided for housing after the storm that has mangled their dilapidated shack completely to the ground. 

For one, a mother with 3 children ages 2-6 years of age. Husband out of town trying to make a living that continues to provide for a hand to mouth (or perhaps an empty hand and a starving belly?) existence.  The 4-5 steps from their door to their tiny bedroom filled with muck…and to cross that threshold can mean knee deep mud if you miss your step. It was quite disturbing to me to witness this.

Another recipient of this housing provision whose wife and mother fled to her province due to possible desperation - leaving her husband with four children behind. This father ready to throw in the towel and rope his four children to his waist and drag them to the river to drown. I wrapped my arm around the father's shoulder and whispered to him to never ever give up on his children. Incidentally, his oldest child had the words "never give up" scribbled in big, bold letters on his shirt. I told this dad to hang the shirt where he can read and see it - to remind him often of why he needed to keep alive amid what seems to be a very hopeless situation.

Yet will my words and my momentary presence make a difference? 

I was paralyzed. Tears just wanted to flow freely and endlessly from my heart. I could not help but ask WHY... why is there such poverty in the midst of abundance in the world? Why do we allow it? 

When one witnesses these circumstances - one is frozen in her tracks. 

Not knowing how to respond. Not knowing how to put one foot in front of the other and leave the misery behind.

There are many similar stories of "mere survival" in the face of trying to live a life... almost certain destitution exist everywhere (in the world - in the millions). I walked away from that moment with my hands tied, struggling to analyze and ask the question "What can be done?" 

A heart literally bleeding and crushed into pieces. I recalled the book I was half way through reading about Mother Theresa of Calcutta and how she patiently, painlessly and joyfully cared for the poorest of the poor. I realized how completely inadequate I was. And that I am nothing like her and have a lifetime to learn on how to give of myself to serve the poverty-stricken children of God. I even wondered for a moment if I have the guts to give up my present existence to be able to immerse myself in such adversity. 

I kept those emotions in a tin can to temporarily function and move on to the next stop. 

Here - there was a bit less misfortune???

Husband helped build their home and had a bit more breathing space to mingle kitchen and bedroom. Wife and mother with 4 children seem to be "less miserable" with their living condition. A cleaner, a bit more spacious and humble surrounding noted. Newly installed stainless steel roofing and fiberglass siding with hollow block support and the ground they walk on still unpaved.

Then another Anawim recipient whose means of livelihood is scrummaging through heaps of garbage with stacks of sacks filled with dumpsite treasures - somehow keeping their self respect knowing they earn a living through honest means. And without much choice to survive but to sort through someone else's trash for their daily subsistence.

One of our last stops was to visit with San Ramon mothers who took the time and effort to serve us native snacks out of their already meager subsistence and to celebrate their Anawim membership with so much gratitude for the simple housing provided for them.  Mothers gathered in the humble home opened to us wholeheartedly (the 10x10 size living room whose walls adorned pictures of the 4 children ages 12 to 18 with two girls in their graduation cap & gown) filled with pure and extraordinary happiness and laughter.

I was grateful to have been an essential part of that moment. My joy could not be contained. My pain and sadness -temporarily healed.

Here in this moment, I came away blessed to be able to experience what Anawim sponsors and supporters give of their hard-earned generosity. My heart embraced their deep gratitude with genuine ecstasy. These women gave me hope... when they thought I came to bring hope back to them.

Different scenarios. Different circumstances. 

One essential goal - Philanthropy.

For you - who give of yourselves humbly through your hard-earned treasures to make better a "stranger's" misery and ease their almost hopeless existence. 

The memory of my visit with these families will remain imprinted in my mind for a very long time.

It will always be a reminder of how I cannot take for granted each and everyday of the abundance of blessings I have been given. Tears will still roll down my face and my heart will still be pierced with sadness. 

I have no answers to my own questions . I can just try to make better my daily encounter with others - and share with them the love I have learned from the embrace of a loving God who died on the cross for me and for His mother who lovingly gave up His son so that I may live as a witness of that selfless love. 



Find out how to become a sponsor today. Your contributions could help brighten the lives of the families of The Anawim Inc.


Thank you for your unending support,


Moving Beyond The Crisis

A sign of care, house for the homeless, rebuilding lives.

This is an initial account of the marks left by Typhoon Nina.

Prepared by: Rose B. Dy

When events are not in our control.

Typhoon Nina came to Camarines Sur at a time when the merriest moment should have been celebrated. Its coming was surely anticipated, (what with the endless news over the radio [even a week before]and an hourly update on television from PAG-ASA & social media, about a super typhoon to hit Bicol, no less.

And so it came to pass - come December 25, 2016 (between 9:00 p.m. to 2 A.M.), the movement of strong winds and rain wreak havoc on properties, houses, rice lands/other agricultural crops, cut down trees and electrical connections, and in some places, floodings occurred.

We should allow the hard questions of life to touch us, even if it hurt.

43 of the 353 families in Camarines, Sur, Bicol, Philippines being assisted by The Anawim, Inc., after the initial assessment made by the Area Coordinators, were reported to have houses that were either partially, severely or totally damaged, after the big storm in December 2016.

 Facing the sources of threat, these are some of the houses that were destroyed by the strong winds.

Facing the sources of threat, these are some of the houses that were destroyed by the strong winds.


When resiliency & resourcefulness is a kind of strength…


To be hit by this unfortunate circumstance is depressing and stressful. But Bikolanos (those living in the Bikol region) are used to experiencing such adversity. The capacity to recover readily, in spite of the harsh condition, is what makes a Bikolano, rise above this difficult, with a smile.

That’s what we call RESILIENCY. A quality undoubtedly possessed by Bikolanos.

Partnership in the helping strategies

Seeing their limitations, the affected families went out of their way to “invite others” to join them in those areas they simply lack resources. In limited form, the government offered foodstuff & tarps, some Non-Governmental Organizations, schools and private individuals responded in providing limited assistance. At first, neighbors & relatives offered their shelter temporarily while efforts were made to rehabilitate or rebuild their losses.

Being sensitive to the needs and concerns of our beneficiaries, The Anawim, Inc. wholeheartedly, extended its resources especially to those in dire need of help. The Anawim Inc. started where it can and responded to what was at hand. The Anawim Inc. played the role of a“companion in the journey”. While it offered help, it also extended friendship and care through monitoring & follow through, from implementation to house completion As a resource provider, it offered housing materials such as galvanized iron sheets, plywood, coco lumber, concrete, roofing materials & assorted nails.          

We will not be able to accomplish all of these without the generous donations from the parishioners of Our Lady of the Lakes, Deltona, Florida and our sponsors and friends of The Anawim Inc.  Thank you for making us channels of your love for the poor. 


 The little way does become the big way –should lead us to celebration and thankfulness..

 The progression of homes being restored to living conditions. Neighbors, family and friends all lent a helping hand in rebuilding their community.

The progression of homes being restored to living conditions. Neighbors, family and friends all lent a helping hand in rebuilding their community.

Note: This report was from February 6, 2017. As of the moment, we are still assisting families complete construction and repairs of their houses.

Make a donation today to help the families and livelihood of those that suffered from the wake of Typhoon Nina. 

Typhoon Nina Relief Fund

Thank you for your unending support,

The Ananwim Inc, Board


Where Knowledge ends Faith Begins...

May 19, 2016

This letter is written with an inspiration from God

At mass this morning there was a CERTAIN FORM OF ENLIGHTENMENT that came over my being.

and I almost hesitated to entertain it but it was mighty strong and overpowering.

Tomorrow -is election day. And most of us have voted weeks and weeks ago.

And the rest of us who will be casting the votes today and tomorrow may be the TRUE LINK to this nation's future- because as we watch the trend of voting -this is a very close race indeed. Democrats, Republicans, Independent Voters, Swing voters, Citizens who will not be voting (because they want to make a statement -all their own).

I am no expert in politics and I have a lot to learn. But I understand certain principles and policies and values and morals that I was taught at a very young age.

- I was taught that everyone is God's loving creation -no exception! If all your children are "normal" -good for you. But someone who may have challenges with their child has the same and equal outpouring of love from our God. So why discriminate?

- I was taught to respect everyone's opinion on life's issues and everything there is under the sun. After all -we were created unique and authentic. No carbon copies.

- I was taught that kindness is a virtue that we were all born with -we just need to move it to the forefront and exercise the use of it more intensely.

- I was taught that selflessness is a character we can all develop more - because when we give of ourselves there is a certain magical joy that no material possessions can match. Simply a sheer bliss that lasts.

- I have learned that holding on to grudges about anyone or anything robs us of the genuine joy that a very fast faced life with no guarantee of tomorrow - can bring.

Where am I taking you with this letter?


Our lives have been complicated by many different ideologies that have confused our spirits and our beings.BUT we are all created by a HIGHER being. However we conceive Him to be and however we want to call Him.

Who among us was born out of the sand or the trees or miraculously fell from the sky?

I can bet a dollar on the reality and fact -THAT YOU and ME both were conceived from the womb of a woman -whom we call MOTHER.

Today is a very enlightening sort of day.

The US Elections have brought us out of the woodwork and have given all of us a VOICE to express our sentiments -however we choose to do it... we have passionately fought for what we believe in...

we have zealously invited the masses to go out and be heard. We have already made history just by being actively VISIBLE like never before. And it is all okay! Most of all, some of us have learned to PRAY as a community.

Conflicts of opinions and sentiments ensue... some are ready to fight for it with their lives. But some quietly walk away with a peaceful sense of surrender.

When we look at what is going on in the world - from the day to day challenges to the major disasters..from the day to day routine to the major successes and accomplishments...Let us not forget where we have been and where we choose to go.

Let us simplify and pause - Let us not complicate life any more than it already is.

Let us look to our families and our children -and those we love...and maybe...just maybe -get a chance to reach out to those who have no one to love them ...

There is so much good we can all do in the world -if we just think outside our little box that is wrapped in "ME".

I am making a choice today -( some of you may not agree with me on my discourse -and I have no plans of responding to your disagreement) I have just expressed my honest opinion on something I believe in.

I am regular and ordinary person with simple ideals and humble ambitions. I am a simple person inspired by a genuine passion to lead those that follow and to follow those that lead -with values taught by our forefathers.

Truth. Integrity. Honesty. Godliness. Equality. Respect

I have also learned that Presidents of the past shaped our today's with ideas that blossomed into our deep rooted ideals. We have been a nation of selfless service that reaches out across the seas and all over the globe.

This once great nation can be GREATER again - If only - WE - its people start kneeling again and folding our hands in uncomplicated and childlike prayer -instead of fueling useless fires -and smothering the nation's already wounded spirit.

Let us douse our misdirected and inflamed principles with broad minded openness to the beliefs we inherited from our ancestors and forefathers and re-ignite a bipartisan demeanor and unadulterated unity- so that this nation can rise above to its inherent greatness.

May the best servant with genuine interest for its constituents' welfare WIN with the blessings from above.

This United States of America is one GOD LED Nation -indivisible -with liberty and justice for all.

Philippines Visit 2016

Saturday, April 02, 2016, 3:05am
Good early morning Naga time.
Unable to sleep ... Jet lagged. 
But savoring the "close encounter " with our newly welcomed members of Anawim from San Ramon and Gainza. 
25 families from each area. 
Very grateful families. 
I was touched by the labor of love that the San Ramon parents especially prepared for all of us. 
They gave with all they had. 
They gave with their hands and their hearts.  
The joy and gratitude in their faces was very contagious. 
I came away so rewarded. 
In these places... I find God's love - unspoiled. 
It is at its purest. 
Tears of refreshing and undiluted sense of surrender to a higher being in control of a very "hardscrabble" yet pristine moment of sheer joy...fell. 
It now reminds me of the scene from the "manger..."
Poorest of places to bear the king of kings... Yet - the most heartwarming place to be. 
How can one not give of oneself to the most divine who created my spirit and my being?
 I savor the moment... In total surrender. 
 From An Anawim servant celebrating the gift of genuine LIVING and Loving. 


2nd Inspire Anawim Gala 2014

On April 19, 2014, The Anawim Inc. hosted it's 2nd Inspire Anawim Gala. The event was held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, FL. Many guest's came to help support this event with their generous donations of love, battled it out for the highest bid in the silent auction area and fellowshipped through dinner and dance.

The event was successful and received well over it's intended goal for raising funds. The projects can now come to fruition with everyone's help!

For more information on how you would like to help in future galas or fundraising please contact us at help@theanawiminc.org