When we were told that we have to interview the relatives of some heroes to make a profile on them, I got really apprehensive. My fears even doubled when I found out that we had to go to the home of our interviewee because she could not leave her house to meet us in Econ or any other public place. Going to a strangers’ home with just my partner, I did not know what to expect; I somewhat dreaded it. All my fears and apprehensions went away though as we arrived in Mrs. Thelma’s home. We were welcomed as if we weren’t strangers – with open arms. Even though it was her we had to interview and get to know, she made sure she knew us, too. It felt like we were visiting a grandmother – she even served us tea and really encouraged (even forced) us to eat like what grandmothers usually do!
What struck me the most though was her strength. We were there to ask about her late son, Ferdie Arceo – a noble man who was killed in the midst of Martiall Law. Ofcourse, I was very reluctant to ask her about this. In fact, I was looking for other things to talk about because I knew it wouldn’t be easy to talk about the death of a son and the events leading up to it; to add to that, she was to talk about it to strangers. It was her, though, who openly and voluntarily opened up to us. She talked about how as much as it was hard for her to lose a son, she wouldn’t want to change a thing – how she would still allow her son to leave the home and be with the farmers, if it would all happen again. She talked about sacrificing so much, even her home then to make sure they were safe; she opened up about how she would confront authorities to protect her daughter and fight for the causes her family believes in. With all these hardships, she whole-heartedly said that she wouldn’t change a thing.
We may have gone there to get to know Ferdie Arceo, a man considered as hero. But I left their home meeting another hero, Mrs. Thelma Arceo. She described her son as “a hero in every way.” But these are also the exact words I would describe her. Mrs. Thelma Arceo is a hero in every way.