Age just a number

Nanay Alejandra Santander, 62. (Yamang Bukid Farm Photo)
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𝗡𝗮𝗻𝗮𝘆 𝗔𝗹𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘄𝗲𝗱 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗴𝘁𝗵, 𝗷𝗼𝘆, 𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗬𝗮𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗴 𝗕𝘂𝗸𝗶𝗱 𝗙𝗮𝗿𝗺

In her senior age, Alejandra Santander, 62 —fondly called by her co-workers at the The Yamang Bukid Farm as “Nanay Ale” —had thought that after the death of her husband months ago she had to face the sunset of her life, condemned to wait at the proverbial “pre-departure area.”

But an unexpected twist of fate enabled her to rekindle her strength, sense of purpose, and joy she had way back when she was younger. This was after the Yamang Bukid Farm family in Barangay Bacungan hired her and embraced her as one of its own.

Nanay Ale is one of the oldest employees of Yamang Bukid Healthy Products, Inc. She hails from Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. She is a mother of six and a lola of 10, and counting.

Every day, she can be seen cleaning and sweeping around the built-up area in the farm; she also helps cook “hanging rice” or the staple cooked inside matted coconut fronds.

Co-workers at the farm would surely miss the day without her warm and cordial greeting of “Hi” and “Hello.”

Nanay Ale said the spirit at The Yamang Bukid Farm, the happy people, and their genuine hearts make her feel decades younger, and that smiles and hugs became her daily therapy.

“Masaya ako dito, ewan ko ba. Magaan ang pakiramdam at ang loob ko dito kasi ang bait ng mga tao, magalang, masasayang kausap.”

The sadness in her heart brought about by the passing of her husband fades away as she hears “Good day!” greetings from her co-workers. The smiles, the laughter, the sharing of light moments in the farm bring immeasurable joy deep within, she said.

“Nalungkot ako kasi namatay ang asawa ko, pero pag nandito ako nawala ang lungkot ko.”

Nanay Ale is endlessly grateful to Yamang Bukid Healthy Products, Inc. for accepting her despite her age, and for restoring the cheer, the joy, and the youthfulness she once had.

She said she has never felt so empowered outside the company of the Yamang Bukid staff members.

“Ngayon, 62 na ako pero tinanggap pa rin nila ako. Laking pasalamat ko sa Yamang Bukid. Sobrang saya kasi nakapahinga ako sa pagsasawali,” she added.

The Yamang Bukid Farm has become Nanay Ale’s second home, second family, and her co-workers’ calling her “Nanay” is a priceless gift for her as a mother.

“Yung iba dito parang anak ko na. Nakakabata ba pag masaya ang paligid mo,” she said.

Graying hair and wrinkled skin are just physical traits. Age is just a number, and growing old is only a state of mind.

She said that at Yamang Bukid, advanced age doesn’t mean weakness, worthlessness, or being a social burden.

Yamang Bukid, with its mission of Doing Business with a Heart, believes that senior citizens are as good as, if not better than, the youth if they are empowered.

(Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc.)

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