Being miles apart from your loved ones is never easy. To cope with this kind of situation takes an extraordinary amount of strength and will to get thru each day. For one Habitat home owner, he has now gotten accustomed to this way of life.

Emmanuel Tolosa, better known as Emman, is a 29 year old family man who lives with his wife and two children in Calauan, Laguna. They have been living there for almost three years now, enjoying the serene environment which brings peace to their minds. “We used to worry so much because we live near the river in Pandacan, Manila, which often overflows whenever there’s a storm. Flooding often occurred and water would enter our home.” Emman describes their past ordeals.

To rectify the situation, they applied to be relocated in a Habitat house and underwent all the necessary steps to acquire one such as the sweat equity program where they were required to do spend 400 hours as partial payment for their new home.

He recounts the first time he saw the community, it brought him tremendous delight as it was quite a change of scenery for him and his family. They no longer had to rent out a place which was frequented by flooding and that they would be able to raise their family properly.

Their dream of not having to pay for rent anymore and live in such harsh conditions has been finally reached. However, in every trade off there is always price to be paid.

Although nestled in a liveable community, the opportunities to have a good source of income are quite few. “It’s hard to live here without establishing your own business that’s why I decided to continue working as a restaurant supervisor in Manila.”

Emman would sleep in their restaurant’s employee quarters and go home only during his off-days. “I’m happy as long as I see my family even for just once a week.” According to him, commuting to and from Manila would not be a feasible idea as this would take a significant chunk from his monthly salary.

He also adds that he can still shoulder the family’s expenses so that his wife can focus on caring for the kids. Emman also emphasized that what’s important is that he is able to provide food on the table for his family and have a roof over their heads.

He explained that when the children are old enough, his wife would look for a job so that she could also help out too with their everyday needs.

“Despite the challenging situation that we’re in, we’re happy that we’re in a better state than before. I couldn’t risk my family’s safety and security in our old home that’s why we moved to a Habitat house in Laguna. You just need to put in a lot of effort in your work and persevere until it pays off”, he shares.

Emman is currently looking forward to earning enough just so that he could establish a business near their home and prepare for his children’s college education.