Thursday, May 17, 2012

Of Taho and Fairy Godmothers

He works hard for the moneh. (Photo from here. No copyright infringement intended.)

On some mornings, when we're too lazy to cook a proper breakfast, my husband and I buy cups of taho from the neighborhood vendor, who passes by our house at approximately the same time each day. Taho, to my dear foreign readers, is a snack/drink made of soft tofu, arnibal (a syrupy brown sweetener), and tapioca pearls. It's warm (although mall kiosks sell a cold version) and costs about 10 pesos a cup (that's about 25 cents).

Our own manong taho is much like other taho vendors throughout the country--he walks around the neighborhood carrying two large aluminum cans attached to a yoke, which he hitches over one shoulder. His face is weathered and brown, after years of walking under the heat of our tropical sun. And he's got the well-modulated voice that calls out "Tahooo!" every few steps, heralding his arrival on our street. (I'm convinced that all taho vendors go to Taho School to get that pitch-perfect tone.)

We were surprised when, one day, he pedaled by on a bike, an attached umbrella shielding him from the summer sun, his aluminum cans resting in a sidecar. He happily told us that it was given to him by a suki, someone from one of the nearby streets who's been a loyal customer for 30 years. "Malaking tulong (It's a big help)," he said, his voice filled with such gratitude and happiness that it just warmed my heart.

"Mga P3,500 din ang nagasta niya diyan (He/she spent about P3,500 on it)," he said of his suki/fairy godmother. And while P3,500 doesn't seem like much to a sheltered lass like me, I realized that it was a lot of money for someone who sells taho for ten bucks a pop.

I always thought that helping someone, making a difference, meant devoting so much time and energy that I didn't have enough of--volunteering every week, donating truckloads of money. But now I know that even little things can help. Even a small gesture on our part could mean the world to someone else--so let's go out there and do a good deed, however insignificant it may seem.


  1. I'm discreetly crying as I read this. Manong really has an angel personified in his suki.

  2. Oh, what a nice present! I love eating taho too, so I do love taho vendors. Hmmm... maybe we should consider following the example of that fairy god-suki and do something special and nice to our own Manong Taho's too. :-D


Oh, so sweet of you to drop a line!:)