A 36-year-old father from Barangay Daanlungsod, Mabini, Bohol will represent Central Visayas for the National Search of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Modelong Ama after winning the recent regional competition.
Joelito Lastimoso is the father of Mark Julius (15), Jhon Denver (12) and Kenshin (9) who are monitored children of 4Ps. He is the husband of Lucia Lastimoso.
At a young age Joelito “Toto” Lastimoso started working as a house help. He was nine when he started as a house help taking care of an infant so that he can earn and continue his studies. He had to work early because his parents broke up and his poor mother Fedila cannot provide his needs while working as a laundry woman. He has seven other siblings.
He was born at Hinobaan, Negros Occidental but was raised in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental.
Joelito worked and studied hard. His daily schedules were always full. Joelito would wake up early in the morning to help his employer prepare and cook “tikoy” which he would also sell in school. Despite his busy schedule Joelito was able to join student body organizations and finished high school with flying colors.
He graduated second honorable mention at Valencia National High School and received recognition for being an outstanding Alpha Commander in Citizen Advancement Training.
Joelito who only stands 4’11 during high school leads a company of taller schoolmates and has earned their respect because of his dedication and discipline.
“I wanted to earn a degree but the family I was working with can no longer finance my education because two of their children were also in college,”Joelito recalled.
Determined to have a good future, Joelito who was turning 17 went to Manila to try his luck. He assumed the job of his sister Marites (who got married) as a house help taking care of a 96-year old man while he was offered a scholarship at AMA Computer Learning Center, Malabon Branch.
He took vocational courses in computer system and culinary arts.
“It was hard but I endured everything because I only have myself to lean on,” he said. Three years later he meet Lucia and got married at the age 20 in a civil rites in Quezon City. Joelito did not expect to marry early but had no regrets.
“I have a loving and understanding wife, I couldn’t ask for more except for us to own a house where our children can comfortably live,” he said.
Joelito is currently paying for a small lot owned by Lucia’s relatives. Meanwhile, despite marrying early Joelito made sure he can provide for his wife and children.
They moved in Bohol on January 3, 2008 when Joelito was assigned as a chef de partie in a resort at Panglao Island. His specialties are Asian cuisine.
Lucia is from Mabini prompting Joelito to take the work opportunity and relocate in Bohol.
Joelito worked in various resorts and restaurants in Panglao for over six years however, Panglao is three hours away from Mabini so he can only go home on weekends.
Joelito who is a product of a broken family wants to see his children grow and be there for them especially when they need help.
July of 2016, the father of three gave up his job as a head chef to focus on his family. He opened a small eatery along the road and sell viands to the delight of the students and their neighbours. He cooks 5-7 dishes every day and is mostly sold out.
“It was hard to leave my job but it was harder being far from my family especially that I got three boys,” Joelito disclosed. He admitted that his petite wife Lucia cannot sometimes control the boys in the house.
“I need to be at home to see my boys, discipline them, and help my wife in the household chores” he added.
“I also want to personally cook for them so that they will not go hungry and eat healthy meals,” he further added.
Joelito surely knows how hard it is to clean the house being a house help himself.
According to Lucia, Joelito would divide the household chores among the boys as he would cook and sell in their eatery especially now that she is five months pregnant.
With Lucia’s situation, Joelito makes sure Lucia is relaxed and healthy. They are decided that it will be their last child.
Modelong Ama ng Pantawid Pamilya aims to recognize community models amongst men who champion gender relations in their homes and communities.
The search wants to rally support from men to champion women’s empowerment and gender equality within the context of the Program and its communities.
The search was for all male members of 4Ps, who are fathers, grandfathers and/or husbands, and even a solo parent, with ages ranging from 28 years old and above and must be a Pantawid member for at least two years.
He should belong to a family with at least 85% compliant in all conditionalities of 4Ps.