5 stories that will restore your faith in humanity

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2016 05:03 PM

MANILA -- Holy Week is a perfect time to look back at one's life.

While people contemplate on changes, we can take inspiration from the deeds of others. 

Here are five inspiring stories on ABS-CBN News. 

1. Dream come true: Homeless artist gets exhibit

Jhalanie draws art for Mae. Photo courtesy of Mae Catibog

Apart from digging up piles of trash day and night, homeless artist Jhalanie Matuan creates invaluable art pieces in her spare time. 

[ How homeless woman transforms pain into art. ]

The 45-year-old Matuan, who claims to have stage 3 kidney cancer, uses pre-loved materials in making cryptic artworks, which she sells for P50 each. 

Dark as her cryptic artworks, life on the street has been difficult for Matuan. When asked about her dreams in life, she said she wants her cancer treated, get back to school, and have her own art exhibit. 

In no time, an artist who works for A Space Manila, noticed Matuan's artworks and gave them a chance to be exhibited in a gallery. 

Read the full story here.

2. 'Patak-patak': Barkada chips in to keep friend in school

(Left to right ) Mark Joseph Inocencion, Raffy Villaos, Jan Ray Parayno, Aldrin Hernandez, John Lerick Picar

Jan Ray Parayno, a 21-year-old Electrical Technology student, almost lost hope during his final semester at the Marikina Polytechnic College. 

A few months before graduating, Parayno's father met an accident in Saudi Arabia. His mother, a seamstress, was barely earning enough to support their family. 

The timing could not have been worse because he needed to enroll and pay school fees. 

Feeling hopeless, Parayno found refuge from his friends, who donated their personal allowances to fund his initial payment. 

Read full story here.

3. Why this retired professor continues to teach

Leticia Desamito while handling one of her free tutorial sessions at her own home. Photo by Rhys Buccat, ABS-CBN News

A few months after her retirement, 76-year-old mathematics and natural science professor Leticia Desamito realized one thing.

"I can be a retired teacher, but not a retired educator."

Due to her old age, the president of the university she served for over 40 years forced her to retire to give way to younger teachers. This was, according to her, the most heart-breaking part of her teaching career. 

Instead of staying at home and enjoying the leisure of retirement, Desamito decided to apply for a teaching position in a private Catholic school in her hometown. 

Her qualification and strong will to teach convinced the school's administration to hire her as a part-time faculty member. 

"Basta malakas pa ako at basta gusto pa ako ng mga estudyante ko, itutuloy ko pa ang pagtuturo. A real educator never stops teaching," she told ABS-CBN News in an interview. 

With a meager monthly honorarium, Desamito now holds classes in math, chemistry, and natural sciences for high school. 

Read full story here.

4. Baguio native spends 30 years to create forest

Dr. Michael Bengwayan on his way to the depths of the Cordillera forest. Photo grabbed from Bengwayan's Facebook account

In 1989, the then 27-year-old Michael Bengwayan bought a five-hectare barren land in Benguet with his personal savings. 

"My purpose was to show to the farmers in the community that a barren land can be made alive again and convince them to stop deforesting the community," he told ABS-CBN News in an interview. 

He ended up spending three decades of his life transforming the property into a haven for different species of plants and animals. He named it The Habitat. 

According to Bengwayan, who holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University College Dublin in Ireland, The Habitat can absorb almost four tons of carbon dioxide every year and can provide oxygen for about 1,300 people.

It also provides fresh water supply to more than 39 families. 

Read full story here.

5. Meet the young street teacher in this viral photo

Kerneil Balaga holds his classes at the dim-lighted nooks of CDO. He has 6 to 10 students per class. Photo grabbed from Balaga's Facebook account

It was July 2015 when netizen Cath Libarnes-Bagayna took a snap shot of street teacher Kerneil Baranda Balaga and posted it on her Instagram account. The photo, which captivated the hearts of many social media users, immediately went viral. 

Balaga, 26, is a special education graduate of Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan). He currently works as a formator for the National Service Training Program. 

After work, he transforms as a street educator, handling classes in different areas of Cagayan de Oro City. He offers free drawing, coloring, and reading sessions to children, whose ages range from 3 to 11. 

He uses his meager salary to buy educational materials and food for his students. 

Read full story here.