Small Man, Big Heart

While patiently waiting for The Hobbit House to open and to begin his shift, he was sitting down, constantly looking and pressing keys on his phone as if conversing with someone. At first glance, one would think that he wouldn’t respond if they tried talking to him. He looked like a man with few words, a mysterious man with a small built. But, as they always say, what you see isn’t always what you get.

This hobbit is one to look forward to. Despite his stature, he never fails to amaze anybody with his talent, qualities, and story. With what he has, he contributes to what makes people come back to the Hobbit House, making the establishment known in the area. This is kuya Edward’s story.

Born and raised in a family of nine siblings, he is the only one born with dwarfism – a genetic condition which impairs the genes of a person in terms of height, making him a person with a short stature. To some, it may seem absurd, but actually it’s one-of-a-kind.

Kasi sa amin, ako lang ang ganito, eh. Siguro dahil ako na ‘to,” he says. (Because in our family, I’m the only one looking like this. Maybe, because this is who I really am.)

Despite being the unique one among his siblings, he is still thankful about his state. He never fails to make ends meet for his family, even when it was a struggle for him. At 39 years old, he is a provider to his wife who is 6 months pregnant and with two kids.

He shares, “Yung asawa ko matangkad. Dalawa yung anak ko, yung isa matangkad, mana sa nanay niya, yung isa sa akin.” (My wife is tall. I have two kids, one is tall like his mother and one is like me.)

Working in The Hobbit House for 23 years now, he still remembers how he stumbled upon the institution, the impressions and the memories he had working for them.

“May kaibigan ako na nagsabi sa akin. Siya yung nagdala sa akin dito,” he recalls. “Nung nakita ko ‘to, siyempre nagulat ako. Akala ko kasi kaunti lang kami, tapos ‘yun pala may katulad ng Hobbit House na marami akong kasama,” he adds. (My friend told me about this and also brought me here. When I saw it, I was surprised. I really thought we were just a few but then I found a place like the Hobbit House and more friends.)

Hobbit House Manila is a bar situated in Ermita where kuya Edward and more people with dwarfism work as servers to their customers. This is what makes them stand out among other bars in the vicinity. This offers work opportunities for people like kuya Edward to provide for the needs of his family.

So what is his favorite memory with his co-workers?

“Yung favorite memory ko dito siyempre yung masaya kami palagi, yung nagkasama-sama kami,” he relates. (My favorite memory here is when we were always happy, when we’re together.)

Despite this, there were also times that he had differences with his co-workers. But, he never lost his spirit to continue working there because more bonds were deepened rather than poison trees planted.

After working as a waiter for 23 years, he says that he never had an instance when he felt like he wanted to give up. He said that maybe that was how he lasted for more than twenty years in the business.

Even if people are amazed by this man’s features, some people are still indifferent and continue to criticize him for how he looks. Despite the insults, he serves as an inspiration for people like him because of his courage and resilience to withstand the criticism.

“Para sa akin, sanay na kasi ako sa ganun na tawag sa amin. Pero ang sa akin lang, wag nila kaming sasalingin, yung masasaktan kami. Iba na kasi ‘yun eh.” He says on people who judge him. (For me, I’m already used to what people call us. Just don’t hurt us physically.)

He considers his physique a blessing because, according to him, it is God who creates a person and they have no fault for looking the way they are. Also, he said that it will always depend on the person on how he will live his life. For him, it’s also a blessing because he found a job in the Hobbit House that he considers his family.

Moreover, people may not be aware, but kuya Edward has also been sidelining as an entertainer and actor. He and his friends do cameo roles in some movies and television shows. They have starred in various all-time favorite teleseryes with hobbits, like Engkantadia. He makes people proud because simple as it may seem, to him it’s another means to make ends meet for his family.

His coworkers also feel the same way towards him as they see him every day for work. They feel his warmth as a friend, a father and a husband.

“Nakikita ko yung sarili ko sa kanya. Mahal namin ang mga pamilya naming kaya lahat papasukin namin para maibigay yung pangangailangan nila,” Ate Lorna, the assistant manager, shares. (I see myself in him. We love our families very much so we will do everything to provide for them.) “Hindi naman makatotohanan kung sasabihin ko na wala kaming hindi pinag-aawayan, pero ang mahalaga naman inaayos naming ito agad para hindi na lumaki,” she adds. (I would be a hypocrite if I say that we don’t have differences among ourselves, but what’s more important is that we deal with them straightaway to avoid more complications.)

“Okay siya. Napakabait niya. Siguro kasi pare-pareho kaming may pamilya rito, kaya ramdam namin yung pagmamahal ng isa’t isa,” Ate Mary Ann, the general manager, reveals. (He’s okay. He’s very kind and caring. Maybe because, we all have families here that’s why we feel the love from each other.)

Given these, what is his advice to everybody?

“Ang masasabi ko lang, yung mga walang kapansanan, sana wag nilang laitin yung ibang may mga kapansanan. Kung lalaitin niyo siya, sana huwag na lang kayong magsalita kasi ‘yun na siya eh. Nasasaktan din naman kami,” he expresses. (All I can say is, to those who don’t have disabilities, do not judge those who have. If you will just judge him or her, stop because that’s what he or she is. Mind you, we also get hurt.)

After talking to Kuya Edward, one will feel a mix of emotions because of the amazing stories and pieces of advice he has shared. He might not be a man of many words, of a tall stature, but his big heart can certainly encourage others to be like him.

Kuya Edward’s story is definitely one of the most heartwarming and inspiring story which may be brushed off quite often. People may think this is a common “I’ve been bullied but I will not be ashamed of what I am” story, but truth is, this is more than what meets the eye. He believes that everyone should be given a chance to prove themselves and to provide the needs of their families without being hindered by their disabilities.

People, even without disabilities, cannot say that they have no insecurities. All have insecurities, whether be it physically, mentally, or emotionally. This, is the true disability of a person. It’s up to him or her to be hindered by the insecurities, or to use them as an inspiration to do better.

Lastly, one cannot judge others for what they see physically. They have to know the person for who he really is because beneath these layers of skin is a much deeper meaning of the body, the soul. May kuya Edward’s story remind each and every one to be more loving and selfless, because that should be man’s purpose.

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19 comments

  1. Abigail Moreno · October 7, 2015

    Truly a heartfelt story. Great job using Kuya Edward’s story as a representation for that minority group! I commend you on relating his real-life experiences with the questions that you have asked. What I would like to suggest is that aside from his share of emotions, there would be yours too so that the article would have been more heartfelt. Getting a glimpse of what you felt can also have an impact on the readers emotions thus being able to convey the message of your article. Also, emphasizing important points like how they were deprived of so many things in life, how he deals with everyday life as someone with an illness, etc. Another suggestion is that there should be more on how his family thought of him including his children, so that it created more of an impact.

    Like

  2. Amber · October 9, 2015

    “Small man, big heart” indeed! Thank you for sharing Kuya Edward’s story and for bringing attention to people like him who have dwarfism as well. Likewise, I think it’s great that you related his real-life stories to the questions you asked. It would have been even more wonderful if we had been given more of your personal input on the issue and on the struggles Kuya Edward faces on a day-to-day basis. Nevertheless, this was still a wonderful article, and I’d like to once again thank you for sharing his life with us.

    Like

  3. Camille Joyce Billones · October 9, 2015

    This is a truly inspiring story, worth reading. We cannot deny that a lot of people nowadays, discriminate others base on how they look. Even in our educational attainment, employers keep an eye on those who graduated from well-known universities. All the other skills, despite one’s great achievements, are being neglected just because of the school one represents. I have noticed minimal errors on the text. The first one is the translation of the quoted speech in Filipino to English. The writer used the term differences whereas the speaker meant arguments. Another, she could have rephrased the clause: whether be it physically, mentally, or emotionally. Lastly, in the last sentence of her article, she typed ‘may’ instead of ‘my’. Overall, it was well-written and spoke of good advocacy.

    Like

  4. Christianne B. · October 10, 2015

    It’s a really heartfelt story for me. I was deeply moved by the way you shared kuya Edward’s life. He is very inspiring. His story is a reminder that equality is for everybody in society. Though there is a lack of personal emotion, you gave us a lesson through kuya Edward that we cannot be hindered by our physique, no matter how we look because it is a blessing for us which is good because a few people are like that in today’s generation. It was well-written for me despite a few technical errors because the content really spoke to me. Good job!

    Like

  5. Adrian Bandelaria · October 10, 2015

    This is such a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing kuya Edward’s story. His story inspires me and a lot of people, I suppose, because having dwarfism must be really hard yet he didn’t let it bring him down and hinder him from being a good father and a great person. I have relatives who have dwarfism too and it didn’t stop them from being nice. As a matter of fact, it made them stronger so I believe that kuya Edward is a really strong man. Once again, thank you for this story. Two thumbs up.

    Like

  6. Erika Casanova · October 10, 2015

    Beautiful words have been said about a beautiful man. I may not know Kuya Edward personally, but after reading this article I felt a little closer to him and to all those who are suffering from dwarfism, just like him. Let’s face it, life is unfair. It throws lemons at us and what matters is if we turn those lemons into lemonades. Accolades must be given to a man like Kuya Edward for withstanding all the trials in his life despite the disability he was given. He serves as an inspiration to those just like him, an even to those who suffer from different kinds of illnesses. Kudos to you for telling us a transcendent story worth sharing, one that hits so close to home.

    Like

  7. dainty cariaso · October 10, 2015

    i feel like the line “Despite his stature, he never fails to amaze anybody with his talent, qualities, and story” shouldn’t be at the very start immediately??? or should be worded differently??? other than that, I really like this article 🙂

    Like

  8. Sarah · October 11, 2015

    “He never had an instance when he felt like he wanted to give up,” this line was the one that got me the most, it is like despite everything he never blamed anyone for those and he never thought of giving up, this is a good thing to convey to other people that is dealing with their own problems too, that they should never think of giving up, because life is too short to give up on it without meeting seeing where it would lead to.

    Like

  9. Lea Cabeliza · October 11, 2015

    Very inspiring! In a world that values body image, this article shows that what’s really important is a man’s heart. Kuya Edward is living proof that obstacles, when treated as blessings, can do more good than harm. Thank you for sharing his unique, insightful and heartwarming story. Although a few tweaks in this article’s form will do, it is a good read.

    Like

  10. Jan Christian Uy · October 11, 2015

    A truly wonderful read. I love the detail used to describe Kuya Edward. The writer is able to bring Kuya Edward’s story to life with such detail and meaning. The writer ends the article with an epiphany that anyone can connect to. Overall, great job! 😉

    Like

  11. Jake Laguador · October 11, 2015

    Introducing an interesting feature story could be more effective if you brought in to life both the subject and the setting of the story to the readers’ imagination. Emotional description sets the scene of the story to let the readers feel more the ambiance with its dramatic tone. Putting more senses in the flow of question and answer must be observed. You never mentioned in the story about his talent that makes the establishment known in the area, but I don’t think his story could make contribution (his qualities, yes) “to what makes people come back to the Hobbit House” as you have stated in the article because people might never know his background and struggles in life.
    The lesson in the story was significantly conveyed and expressed directly the information to the readers. This is very inspiring and everyone may also be enlightened as how I was moved by the story that we should never judge anyone just based on what we have seen but rather on what we have learned from their experiences that sometimes could be greater than from what we have surpassed and achieved in life so far.

    Like

  12. carmina m. tolentino · October 11, 2015

    nowadays it does not matter at all how a person looks… people learn how to appreciate what God has given to each one of us… if i’ll be given the chance i would like to visit the Hobbit House and witness with my own eyes how beautiful and amazing life is for these people… people despite of their stature find ways to earn in a very decent manner… this very heart-warming story should be known to all and serve as an inspiration to everyone…

    Like

  13. mischelle (@sweetmicayla) · October 11, 2015

    A very inspiring story. I was deeply moved by his story and this is worth sharing! Being different from others is really hard, but he proved that he can make a difference and inspire others. To each and everyone of us, we should remember that judging a person does not define who they are..it defines who we are. Same is true with what I saw in one ‘Coca-Cola’ label: Labels are for cans, not for people.

    Like

  14. Devy · October 12, 2015

    Very inspiring story. Always try your BEST, God sees your work, your passion and persistence.

    Never give up HOPE! Hebrews 10:23

    Like

  15. Cecile P Cosca · October 12, 2015

    This article is well written and awakens everyone’s awareness that we are all God’s creation and physical looks don’t matter. It is not only applicable to them but to anyone. We can’t judge anyone by their physical looks. A small man with a big heart is better than a big man with a small heart.

    Like

  16. Ben Camba · October 12, 2015

    It made me reflect on myself that we should be always grateful despite all the things the world throw at us, after all it is God who designed us. Kuya Edward being a handicapped person but able to support a family, now that’s a tough hobbit or a real man I should say.

    Like

  17. Angel Cuala · October 13, 2015

    This should serve as an eye opener to all of us, that disdvantages can turn into advantages if we really want to. Kuya Edward’s story is not only inspiring, but also reminds us that happiness is a choice. We can choose to be sad for the things we don’t have, but we can choose to be happy with the things we have.

    I also love the way the writer has shared his story. Besides being keen with her words, she did not make the readers pity the guy but rather to admire him for his courage.

    Like

  18. Minette · October 13, 2015

    Very inspiring! A story that should be told over again!
    No matter what your status in life is, whether you’re the richest or the poorest, or middle class, you do not have the right to judge anyone by just how they look, how they dress, what food they eat, or what kind of house they live in. We are all different in so many ways and that’s how our Creator made us. Out of our differences, is how we learn to appreciate things; we learn to move on and be better each day; and serve as an inspiration to others.

    Like

  19. 7-Draco Mom · October 14, 2015

    Very inspiring story. This article reflects that even if people may have their own disabilities we still have to give them the utmost respect, care and equality. Kuya Edward may be small in his stature but he has the principle,integrity and everything as a father and husband. More inspiring story dear! Congrats! 🙂

    Like

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