Life History as a Methodology: Grampy AC of Iligan City, Philippines


This is a life history of a formidable man who is able to defy the odds and emerge victorious. He has exceeded the country’s lifespan for males by almost two decades. Filipino males’ life expectancy is only up to 65 years old (PRB 2015). His life history depicts the saying, “Poverty is not a hindrance to success!” This man is a typical Filipino: physically in a small frame, industrious, light-hearted, helpful, and optimistic. He easily agrees to the interviews, eager to tell his story. Let his pseudonym be Grampy AC. Grampy for his present state and AC for his name’s acronym.

Who is Grampy AC?

Grampy AC is an 82-year old widower for three years now. He has fifteen grandchildren from his seven children, all married and stay with their families of procreation in their respective homes. He employs a distant relative young male to tend the ­Sari-Sari Store in the front part of the first floor of his house. It is the store that his departed wife previously managed. There are lady boarders at the second floor, occupying a total of four rooms.  The store, which previously functioned as eatery, and the rooms’ rents are the main livelihood of his deceased wife. The two-floor house is what he and his wife have established from their years of toils. The location of their house is very conducive for small-scale enterprise as it is near a University and two other schools.

As a migrant in Iligan City, he recalls his family’s dire poverty in Cebu City. He believes that had he not left Cebu, he may not have achieved what he has at present. Despite being a migrant, he proves to be a good resident of Iligan City for he gets elected as barangay councilor for fifteen years. All his seven children have obtained college degrees. Three children have earned a degree in law from the neighbor University. The second child has passed the bar exams and works in the top management of the country’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in the city. This has earned Grampy AC a higher and better place in the community. He gets appointed by the city government as the over-all coordinator of the senior citizens in the whole city of Iligan.

His Beginnings

Born on 2 August 1934 in Cebu City, Grampy AC is the eldest of eight children to a clothes washer mother and a farm help father. The hard life his family led fires up his optimism to seek for his fortune in a far place. He thinks that with the number of children his parents have, dark clouds seem to loom at his future. He believes he needs to leave his city of birth.

He intends to beat down poverty by leaving his home in Visayas at 14 years old. The idea to try out his luck in a far place comes to mind when he receives a ship pass from his godfather. When he has already made up his mind about leaving, he wraps few clothes in a mat and carries the mat like a log over his shoulder. He plans not to tell his parents but on his way to the sea port, he met his mother. In tears, his mother asks him where will he go and why will he leave his family. His mother accepts his explanation of his search for his niche in this world by going to Iligan. Despite the tears, his mother gives him her blessings and well-wishes. His mother gives him the only money she has – forty pesos.

Beating the Odds as a Migrant

When he arrives in Iligan City, he looks for the house of a distant uncle in Barangay Tibanga. His uncle recommends him as an errand boy to an affluent family in Iligan City. Because he is industrious and has initiative, he is sent to school as a working student by the physician’s family. His loyalty earns him his bosses’ trust. He is trusted to do myriad of tasks for the family. He drives for the family’s growing children to their personal activities. He processes legal documents for the family’s procurement of assets. He cleans cars, waters plants, and cleans the surrounding and the like. His determination earns him a college degree in commerce.

He then works in one of the processing plants in Iligan City. Despite his job, he continues to serve the family that helped him achieve his goals by responding to their requests. He finds time to accommodate their requests. He files a week’s leave from work when the eldest child of the family requested for him to act as their driver-chaperon as they finalize their wedding preparations up to their wedding day. That child marries one of the daughters of one of the big school owners in Cagayan de Oro City. With kidnapping threats to affluent people, the family can only trust him in such important task.

Family of Procreation

For nine years, he works at the Paper Mill as one of the staff in the business section. His observations with his boss’ house helper lead him to choose her as his future lifetime partner. Though the house helper only has elementary education, he notices her to be smart and industrious. As newlyweds, they rent a house of his uncle in Barangay Tibanga. They open an eatery which is primarily managed by his wife. His wife cooks well and is very hard working. He honors his late wife for being thrifty and wise with money. He admits that his degree in commerce is nothing compared with his wife practical ways in doing business. He knows that his salary lacks and pales to what his wife earns in their eatery. He considers his wife his lucky charm.

While working, he sidelines selling insurance products during free time. His constant trips in a motorcycle to sell insurance lead him to a vehicular accident. He has to stop work for two years and only his wife’s earnings enable his family to live properly. His eldest child is still in high school when he stops work. He feels inutile and shame towards his wife. But his wife stands by him amidst his life’s tribulations.

He tries to enter local politics and runs for barangay councilor. His first try puts him to a seat at the barangay council. His performance makes him a councilor for three consecutive terms. When he reaches the maximum term of office, he lets his eldest child run instead. As luck would have it, his eldest child also wins a seat. But, when his child succumbed to cardiac arrest, his son (Grampy’s eldest grandchild) replaced him as barangay councilor. Hence, Mr. AC is able to establish his political path that is also tread by his son and his grandson.

As a Senior Citizen

His financial resources come mostly from rent. He also has monthly pension of 1,800 from his previous work.  He also receives monthly honorarium of 700 pesos for being the chapter president of his barangay’s senior citizen association. Grampy AC considers his physical-mental health as still high. His activities of daily living (ADL’s) is still high. He proudly says that he still drives his car, although his children wanted for him to have a driver instead.  His day starts early with a prayer followed by simple exercise, personal hygiene, and breakfast. He has no major health concern at present. He happily said he is in the best of health.

He receives free medical check-up from the physician’s family. At his age, he proudly states that he has no maintenance medicine. He takes a number of nutritional supplements, he exercises regularly, observes appropriate number of hours of sleep. Grampy AC believes that senior citizens should be provided with free nutritional supplements (vitamins and minerals tablets) at the Barangay Health Center.

Despite the free movies for senior citizens by the local government, Grampy AC chooses not to avail of the privilege. First reason is he does not like to sit beside fellow senior citizens who put on and smell of liniments. Second, he likes to go inside a movie house with someone younger and smell good. Since he does not find somebody that fits reason 2, he just watches movies on television.


+ submitted as a requirement to Dr. Erlinda M. Burton, XU-CDO



Posted on December 9, 2016, in Society Matters, Sociological. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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