The ‘Star’ of hope
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star)
Mang Senen Masagca was at The Philippine STAR office last Tuesday to claim his first prize in our Christmas contest. The 57-year-old tricycle driver had a dazed look in his eyes, like he couldn’t believe his luck. He wore a white T-shirt that could use some serious washing. Mang Senen was obviously a man of meager means but among the 25 winners, he stood 10-feet tall.
Mang Senen said he sent nine entries to the contest, hoping one of them would be picked for a prize. He had submitted entries to our last three Christmas contests but never got lucky – until now.
Here’s the bundle that Mang Senen took home as the first prize winner – P10,000 cash from the Herma Group, P10,000 cash from Harbour Centre, P5,000 cash from Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines vice president Manny Lopez, SM gift certificates worth P5,000 from Philippine Taekwondo Association president Robert Aventajado, Burger King gift certificates worth P3,000 from PBA chairman Lito Alvarez, a Samsung B2100 cellphone from Games and Amusements Board chairman Eric Buhain, a Shell trolley traveling bag and Shell Cross pen from Shell vice president Bobby Kanapi, a Blackwater men’s watch and Ever Bilena ladies’ watch from DSS Productmakers chairman Dioceldo Sy, a Nike media pouch and tumbler from Mae Dichupa, an Adidas inflatable, a Chris Sports gift pack from Arleen Lindo, a PLDT Smart jacket and a DVD of “Tropa Ng Tagumpay” from Smart Sports executive director Patrick Gregorio, a Philippine team travel bag by Everlast from Philippine Sports Commission chairman Harry Angping, cheese and wine from international boxing matchmaker Jun Sarreal, Ever Bilena silkening body spray, Blackwater body spray, Magnolia Purewater, Magnolia fruit drink, Magnolia Healthtea, Alaska E-Cow stuffed toy, Alaska autographed basketball, a Disney stationery set from Larc and Assets PR, an umbrella from North Harbour Center, a PLDT Smart mobile charger, a Molten basketball from Sonia Trading (Anil Buxani), Spalding Never-Flat basketball from Philippine Basketball League commissioner Chino Trinidad, an Air21 notebook, a Shell organizer, a Metro Pacific key holder, an NBA on BTV luggage tag from Solar Sports, magazines from Emerald Headway, PBA annuals from commissioner Sonny Barrios and T-shirts from the PBA, Northern Cement, Alaska, Rain Or Shine, Barako Bull and San Miguel Beer.
Mang Senen lives in a rented room on Sinagtala Street, Project 8, Quezon City, with his wife Maria Cristina, 44, and their six-year-old daughter Cristine Shane, a Grade 1 student of Ramon Magsaysay Elementary School in Bago Bantay. He pays a rent of P1,800 a month for the room.
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In 1991, Mang Senen decided to give up taking odd jobs as a cook in clubs and restaurants to become a full-time tricycle driver. A year later, he got married. Mang Senen paid a down of P21,000 for the tricycle and a monthly amortization of P4,000 for 1 1/2 years. He has plied the SM North EDSA-Bago Bantay route for nearly 20 years.
The only appliances in the Masagca family’s rented room are a TV set, a DVD and an electric fan – nothing else. To augment their income, Mang Senen’s wife cooks for neighbors and passers-by.
Mang Senen finished only up to Grade 5 while his wife reached second year of college. They’re both from Gubat, Sorsogon.
“It was my wife who encouraged me to join the contest,” said Mang Senen in Pilipino. “I’d never won a contest before. We buy The Philippine STAR twice or thrice a week depending on how much we earn. We usually just borrow the newspaper from our neighbor Mang Mariano. I found out I won when I got a call from Mr. Henson’s office. I couldn’t believe it.”
With his cash prize of P25,000, Mang Senen said he’d like to open up a small sari-sari store or put a down for another tricycle or start an e-load wallet.
“All I want for Christmas is a comfortable life for my family and a good future for our daughter who’s an honor student and very intelligent,” said Mang Senen whose parents have passed away – his mother died of natural causes at 72 and his father of a heart attack at 42. He is one of six children. His three brothers work as a mason, bartender and appliance technician.
Of course, the Masagcas are sports fans and avid readers of the STAR’s sports section.
“I like basketball and boxing,” said Mang Senen. “Manny Pacquiao is my idol – he’s the best in boxing. My wife is a fan of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA and her PBA favorite is James Yap of Purefoods.”
For the Masagcas, this Christmas will be brighter than ever before, thanks to their “Star” of hope.
Source: THE PHILIPPINE STAR