DINALUPIHAN, Bataan: An Overseas Filipino Worker who had big dreams of uplifting the lives of her relatives came back late Saturday night to the place of her childhood in a coffin.
A fire that took the lives of 13 Filipinos working in a hotel in Irbil, Iraq ended Maria Angela Tumali Cano, 25, from fulfilling her promise, especially to her uncle, farmer RemigioTumali of barangay Pag-asa in Dinalupihan.
Cano’s remains arrived from Iraq at 4:00 in the afternoon of Saturday and reached Dinalupihan past midnight.
“Maraming pangarap ang pamangkin ko, lalo na sa pamilya ng kapatid kong si Remigio. Lahat gagawin niya para sa ikabubuti ng pamilyang ito, (My niece had big dreams, especially for my brother Remigio’s family. She would do everything to better their lot.)” Cano’s aunt Teresita Tumali Cabiladas said.
Cano stayed with the Cabiladas in La Union after her mother died eight years ago. She was the only child.
“Malambing na bata, lagi niya akong hinahalikan. Ito ang mami-miss ko. Bago siya pumasok ng trabaho, lagi niya akong niyayakap. (A very sweet child, she always kissed me. I will miss that. She always hugged me before she left for work),” the aunt said.
Cano worked in resorts in La Union before getting jobs abroad. She started her work in Iraq only last December. Cabiladas said she last saw her niece August last year.
“Huli kaming nagkausap Biyernes ng gabi na birthday ng nanay niya. Nami-miss niya raw kami at umiiyak siya. Sabi ko, bakit hindi pa siya umuwi. (We last talked on her mother’s birthday, a Friday. She said she missed us and then she cried. I told her to come home.),” the aunt said.
“Pinilit niyang makarating kagabi dahil birthday ng alaga niyang pamangkin ngayong Linggo pero wala na siya, (She made sure she would be here because it was the birthday of her favorite niece, but now she’s gone.),” the aunt said in tears while holding in her arms her grandchild who turned five years old this Sunday.
Tumali, the victim’s uncle, said Cano sent him money last January which he used in buying pigs. “May pangako pa rin siyang baka para sa akin pero hindi na ito matutupad ngayon (She also promised me a cow, but that will not happen anymore),” he said.
The farmer said his niece will be interred on Saturday at a local public cemetery in Dinalupihan where her mother was buried.