The Burgos Scrap Collector – Abish Barata

The Burgos Scrap Collector

The first time I met Virgilio and his wife Norma, I can’t help but get intrigued at how they are able to make ends meet. They have a large family and they recently welcomed a grandchild. Their work routine, as I found out, is that “Mang Virgilio” who works as a scrap collector starts his day from early 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM going around Burgos and Mangahan area collecting scrap materials from home or from the streets. Norma, his wife who occasionally works as a laundry woman would help him with the scrap collecting when she does not have laundry jobs. They said they have gotten used to the smell of garbage and do not mind what other people think of them.

With a smile on their faces, they shared to me that there are many times that they have found treasures, literally, on garbage they get to pick. There was an instance where they found actual money on trash and would also find items that would just need some fixing but are still usable. Their eyes beamed brighter when they told me that having this “dirty” job helped them discover a priceless “treasure” – the attitude of gratitude and hard work. Life can be hard many times but they know that keeping an attitude of gratitude has helped them to be resilient in times of the many difficulties they have encountered because they know that no matter how hard life can get, if they will count their blessings, it will remind them of what they have, not what they lack, and with hard work, they would not go completely hungry.