Valentine’s just another day for a Tacloban man

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ORDINARY DAY. Photo shows Noel Calido, a 30-year-old single in this city who earns from gathering recyclable materials. Calido said on Friday (Feb. 14, 2020) that he stopped thinking about finding a new girlfriend or wife after a two-month relationship with a woman he met in 2016. (PNA photo by Gerico Sabalza)

TACLOBAN CITY — The sights and sounds of Valentine’s Day hustle is evident in this city on Friday, but not for 30-year-old single Noel Calido, who has to work under the sun to make ends meet.

While others carry a box of chocolates, stuffed toys, and flowers for their partners, Calido pushes his cart loaded with a handful of recyclable materials he gathered since early morning.

Calido said he stopped thinking about finding a girlfriend or wife again after a two-month relationship with a woman he met in 2016.

“I really loved her but she broke up with me because I don’t have a stable source of income. That was my first and last romantic relationship. I stopped thinking about loving again since I could not even provide enough money for myself,” Calido told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

He only earns PHP150 or less a day from gathering recyclable materials and as a valet boy who demands parking fees from car owners in exchange for the vehicle’s protection.

A family of five in the region needs an average of PHP10,408 every month to meet both basic food and non-food needs. That means a breadwinner has to earn PHP347 daily for a family, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has reported.

Calido’s parents separated while he was young and he stayed at his grandparent’s house in Villareal, Samar until they died in 2015. He decided to move to Tacloban in 2016 to earn a living. He has been staying at his friend’s makeshift house.

“It is more challenging for a man to find a wife than for a woman to find a husband because it is our responsibility to provide for the needs of the family,” Calido added.

Calido is just one of the 859,969 single men in Eastern Visayas or 56 percent of the 1.53 million unmarried individuals in the region.

The region has 673,043 single women or 44 percent of the total, according to a report reposted on Thursday by the PSA regional office here on its social media account.

The region has 3.43 million population for 10 years old and above — with 1.20 million married; 166,032 widowed; 52,638 divorced; 475,428 living-in; and 801 have unknown marital status.

Of the cited population, 44.7 percent were never married while 35.1 percent were married, according to PSA.

The PSA data also revealed that more females are dependent (68.9 percent) than males (65 percent), which means that more males are breadwinners, making employment a priority over marriage.

The PSA republished the data, gathered in 2015 and released in 2017, in time for the Valentine’s Day celebration.

The event celebrated every February 14 is recognized as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

The Philippine News Agency is a web-based newswire service of the Philippine government under the supervision of the News and Information Bureau (NIB) of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

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