Alex Castro was struggling with her finances and often goes to school hungry, eating only taho for breakfast, but when the taho vendor learned about this, he decided to ‘adopt’ her and made sure she had food every morning. Now that she’s a lawyer, the student comes back to UP Diliman and honored this wonderful man…
“‘Tay, may abogado ka na.’ I imagined myself saying those words to you as I was driving along the University Avenue this morning. Coming home to UP always meant coming home to everything I loved and cherished for eight years, including you,” Alex wrote in a post on Facebook.
“So as I drove around campus, I kept throwing glances at large crowds, or the places you used to frequent, searching for the great mantataho — my Tatay Dong.”
But this Tatay Dong isn’t really related to Alex. Instead, he was the taho vendor who became her honorary dad when she was still a poor, hungry student at UP Diliman.
Photo credit: Alex Castro / Facebook
“I met you when I was a wide-eyed freshie. We’d see each other at 7am every day, because you were stationed at the building I had my morning class in. We’d chat every morning over taho. Eventually, you found out that I’d always go to school with an empty stomach. So you made it a point to wait for me in the morning, rain or shine, with a fresh cup of taho, every single day for four years, until I finished my undergrad degree,” Alex narrated.
Tatay Dong was a kindhearted man who didn’t ask for anything in return. All he wanted was to make sure that Alex had something to eat. He was always supportive of the young student and even gave her a jacket – his only jacket – when she went to school shivering because she didn’t have one.
“I was just a daughter you picked up along the way, but you were so protective of me. One rainy day in December of 2009, I went to school without a jacket. I remember you were so concerned. So the following morning, you handed me a package along with my taho. When I opened it, it was your jacket. The one you were wearing the previous morning, and all the mornings before that. Your ~only~ jacket. You wouldn’t take it back, and the only thing you said to me when I tried to give it back for the last time is, ‘Nilaban ko na ‘yan, ‘Nak. Iyo na ‘yan.’
Eventually, I was able to return the favor. I got you a new jacket for you to wear. You wore it with so much pride and such a huge smile the morning after, and all the mornings after that. Whenever your friends asked about it, you’d always say, Bigay ng anak ko ‘yan,’” Alex narrated.
After 8 years of being Alex’s honorary dad, it was easy to understand why he was among the first people she would want to thank now that she has become a lawyer.
“You were such a huge part of my UP experience. In fact, I can’t think about UP without thinking about you. I love you so much, ‘Tay. Thank you for taking care of me during all my years in UP. Thank you for always supporting me, whether it be in sports, campus politics, or law school. Thank you for always being there,” Alex wrote.
And when she went back to UP to visit her alma mater and meet her honorary dad again, the reunion was a wonderful one…
“Fortunately, earlier today, word got to you that I was in UP. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw you rushing to the Sunken Garden from afar. When you saw me, you immediately embraced me and exclaimed, “I missed you!” It truly felt like a homecoming. You held me so tight, and finally, I was able to tell you the words you said you’d wait to hear from me — “‘Tay, may abogado ka na.”
I hope I made you proud, ‘Tay. You deserve all the love in the world,” she ended the post.
The story made a lot of netizens cry. Many felt happy to have read this wonderful story of two people who found family in each other, even if they are not related by blood. Many were amazed by this kindhearted vendor who supported this poor student without asking for anything in return…
Watch their heart-warming story below: