Rosallinda Marquilla discusses the various hardships she endured from childhood to adulthood.
Born in 1957 in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, Rosallinda begins by discussing how her parents worked in fishing and trading agricultural goods to provide for their children, but still struggled to make ends meet. They lived in a nipa hut, and could not afford a television. When she was 7, her aunt encouraged her father to move to Bukidnon to work in agriculture. There she began her education and studied until fourth grade, traveling 4 kilometers by foot or water buffalo to and from school, and would help her father on the farm after school. But her father could not support her schooling further, despite his best efforts given his ill health; and she took a job back in Balingasag as a housekeeper to fund her education. At the age of 9, she suffered a seizure from being overworked, but resumed her job after recovering in order to continue schooling, eventually graduating elementary school.
She then returned to Bukidnon when she learnt that her mother had been killed in an accident, to tend to her injured father. He passed away a year later. Orphaned and homeless at the age of 14 while her other siblings had their own families, she moved to Puerto to again work as a housekeeper, which also gave her shelter. She worked for a family that was engaged in the booming smuggling trade in Puerto, where she also met and married her husband when she was 21.
They then moved to Lanao del Norte and had 5 children, while her husband worked in fishing. He was once stranded at sea when his boat capsized and only rescued years later. Rebel activity was high in Lanao, as they harassed civilians with their weapons, and people stayed indoors at night to avoid encountering them. Rosallinda was able to brave these threats until her husband died of rabies. She then had to work various jobs to raise her children as a single mother. Today, she still works in Puerto as a launderer, living with her employers. While she feels that her life has not improved since her childhood, she is happy to watch her grandchildren grow.
Interviewee: Rosallinda Marquilla Interpreter: Marjorie Tsuchiya
Born: January 17, 1957
Interviewer: Kisho Tsuchiya Transcriber: Dominique J. Lucagbo
Date: February 24, 2020
Location: Puerto, Cagayan de Oro City
My name is Rosallinda Marquilla I am currently 63 years old and is living in Puerto Cagayan de Oro City. I was born on January 17, 1957 in Balingasag Misamis Oriental and lived there for a couple of years together with my 9 other siblings. The primary source of income of my parents were, selling fish that my father bought directly from the fish port in Balingasag, selling coconut vinegar, and tending to the rice fields, this was the job for most of the people living there since we were near the market where we could sell our products. Balingasag was considered to be a center for fishing, there was so much fish that you could catch them near the seaside and it was because of this that many people came to Balingasag to fish. Despite all of this we still couldn’t afford to even have a mediocre life we lived in a “Nipa hut”, a house made with bamboo and leaves from the coconut tree, we didn’t have enough money to buy a TV or even a radio.
Then when I was about 7 years old my aunt invited my father together with us to go to Kiburiao Quezon Bukidnon to farm the land, it was there were I studied from 1st grade up until 4th, every day we would walk more or less 4 km to go to school and back to our house because there was no transportation during that time, but sometimes there would be a cart pulled by a carabao a type of domesticated water buffalo and the driver would be kind enough to let us ride the cart. Because of the long distance we would bring our own food to eat during lunch wrapped in coconut leaves. And when I got home I would help my father in tending the rice field.
I was very close with my father I often cried a lot when I see him suffering from his brain tumor, he had been dealing with this for years and despite that, he would still work day and night just to provide for us. When my father couldn’t provide for my educational need I decided to go back to Balingasag to work as a housekeeper and at the same time finish my studies. At the age of 9 years old I went into a seizure and got temporarily paralyzed we went to an albularyo or a witch doctor since we couldn’t afford to go to a real doctor to find out what happened to me, the witch doctor said that I was overworked but I had to overwork myself because if I didn’t I couldn’t go to school. After I regained my mobility I went back to school and finally graduated elementary.
I went back to Bukidnon because I learned that my mother had died from a vehicle accident where the truck that both my parents were in, fell off a cliff killing my mother while my father survived. I was the only one that took care of my father with my brother occasionally helping, because all my other siblings had a family of their own already, and after a year from the death of my mother my father soon followed, and just like that at the age of 14 I was all alone with no money, food, or shelter of my own.
I went to Puerto to become a housekeeper, it was a way to earn money and at the same time have a place to stay in. Life in Puerto was fine because of the smuggling business although I couldn’t participate since I was only a housekeeper the house owners would. The smuggling business in Puerto became a source of living. And it was in Puerto that I met my husband, at age 21 I married my husband and moved to Lanao del Norte and it was there were I bore 5 children, my husband was a fisherman and would go to Balingasag to fish, there was one time when he didn’t come back from his fishing trip only to find out that his boat capsized in the open sea I was so scared that I would lose my husband but a few days later other fishermen found and rescued him I was so happy and thankful.
During my stay in Lanao I was very scared because rebel groups ran rampant in the place where I stayed, at night it was very quiet because of the fear of the rebels going inside our houses. They used guns to harass and extort the people but it was fine as long as my family is intact. Then it all came falling apart when my husband got bitten by a dog and because there was no treatment done the rabies killed him. It was at this point where I doubted my abilities to raise my children I thought to myself if I was even qualified to have kids because I had no job that could properly provide for my children.
I powered through life and managed to raise my children by working a lot of jobs big or small just to have enough money to support my family. And now I live in Puerto in a house that I do not own to a family that is not related to me by blood and work here as a laundry woman. Looking back in my life I couldn’t find any real happy moments. I felt nothing has changed from when I was little up until now, but I am thankful that I am still alive and was able to see my grandchildren.
Interviewer: Kisho Tsuchiya
Interviewee: Rosallinda Marquilla
What does Rosallinda Marquilla’s recount of her experience with the rebels in Lanao del Norte suggest about the extent of popular support for such movements in the Cold War Philippines?