Jose pilots his boat to guide tourists.
May 18 2015

A man and the sea

The sea for Jose is beauty and sustenance. It’s a gracious host welcoming visitors and old friends. It’s also a fierce foe threatening his livelihood and safety in severe storms.

Jose lives by the sea and makes his living from it — as a fisherman, tour guide, farmer and owner of a small store. He lives about an hour from Hundred Islands National Park, a tourist destination and protected area in the Philippines some 150 miles north of Manila. He’s lived in the area since he was 7 years old. He’s 62 now.

Jose has been a member of Unbound’s elder program for two years. The support he gets from his sponsor, Carol in North Carolina, supplements his own hard work and initiative, giving him a little more security in his later years.

“I was able to put up a small store in our house through the benefit I receive from Unbound,” Jose said. “It gives a lot of benefit that would make our lives much easier since I am already aged.”

Jose is the father of six children, all grown now with families of their own. It took a lot of perseverance and hard work through the years for the family to meet their daily needs.

Before he was sponsored, Jose was able to bring in about $5 a day through fishing, guiding tourists and farming a small rice field. The store has boosted his income, and he also raises pigs and cows.

In addition, Unbound’s elder program provides members with benefits like extra food, hygiene supplies, health checkups, medicines and vitamins. Other benefits available to elders include emergency and medical assistance for family members, recreational activities and celebrations for birthdays, Christmas and Senior Citizen’s Month.

“It is a good organization and they are able to help people in need like us who live in remote areas,” Jose said. “Among the many people and places that are also in need, we are so lucky that they chose our area to be part of Unbound.”

Jose pilots his boat to guide tourists.

Jose loves his community, which is in a small island city in the Pangasinan province. Its proximity to the scenic Hundred Islands has provided him with the opportunity to serve as a tour guide.

The area is known for its hundred-plus islands, cave systems, brilliant blue-green waters and coral reefs. Jose has taken visitors around the islands by small boat for more than 20 years.

While life in such a spot can be tranquil, it also can be harsh — especially when strong storms hit or when it becomes even more difficult to piece together an income. Jose’s prayer before he was sponsored was “to find a good and kind sponsor friend and to have a good life.”

It seems his prayer is being answered. He’s grateful for his sponsor and what being a member of Unbound means in his life.

“Thank you to Carol, my sponsor,” Jose said. “She always writes me a letter and I am always touched by her messages. Especially during calamities, she always checks me out through her letters.”

Give the gift of security. Sponsor an elder today.

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