Throughout almost five decades of being together as husband and wife, it’s easy for Emilita Santos to say that she completely knows his husband Reynaldo who passed away last January 12. However, after his passing, she found out something about her deceased spouse that hugely surprised her.
Upon Reynaldo’s burial, his wife asked to collect all of his belongings from Tuktukan Elementary School where he worked as a security guard from 1992 until his passing. Much to Emilita and some of their relatives’ surprise, a wallet made of straw fell from one of his boots.
The zipper of the wallet could be hardly closed as it contained thick bills inside amounting to PhP198,000. Apparently, Reynaldo saved up all the money and kept it hidden inside the boot. His family and colleagues in school firmly believe that it was intended for his and Emilita’s 50th wedding anniversary this coming March.
In an interview with “Rated K”, Teresita Reyes Tavares, the officer-in-charge of the school said:
“Si Ka Rey naman kasi ‘di naman ma-ano eh, hindi siya gastador. Siguro talaga lang pinaglaanan niya para sa asawa niya.” Moreover, it was one of Reynaldo’s promises to his wife that he would love no one but her until the end. “Sabi niya, mago-golden wedding pa tayo,” Emilita recalled him saying.
She was then a 21-year-old vendor when she met 20-year-old Reynaldo who was once working as a porter. Their love story began from just a simple teasing.
“Tukso-tuksuhan lang iyon tapos ‘yon nga, nanligaw siya, naghaharana, gumagawa ng love letter,” narrated by Emilita. “Pati nga mga kapatid ko, ‘tsaka mga lola ko, mga tiyahin ko, parang nililigawan din niya,” she added.
Because Emilita’s father was against their relationship, the two fled away together. They tied the knot on March 2, 1969 and soon had four children. But just like any other marriages, theirs was also not perfect and faced a lot of challenges along the way including financial issues and rumors that Reynaldo was womanizing. As a matter of fact, they almost separated three times, but in the end chose to hold on to their love.
Reynaldo was able to support his family for a long time for being a security guard. Even when he had a stroke back in 2007 at the age of 70, he continued to work.
“Iyak nang iyak, ayaw niya maging pabigat sa mga anak niya,” said Emilita. Upon his recovery, the school allowed that he continue his work. “Siya na po talaga ‘yong pinagkakatiwalaan ng paaralan,” said Yolanda Garcia, the principal of the school. “Sabi niya, ‘Hihinto ako (sa trabaho), ano gagawin ko sa bahay? Lalo ako manghihina,'” said Estrella Santos Brillo, one of the couple’s children.
Because of Reynaldo’s kind personality, help for the family overflowed when he passed away. They didn’t even spend from their own pockets for his interment as the monetary assistance they received reached up to PhP200,000. But for Emilita, no amount of money could compensate for her loss.
“Sabi nga ng anak ko, ‘Nanay ang dami niyo ng pera,’ sabi ko, ‘Di ko kailangan ‘yang perang ‘yan, tatay niyo kailangan ko,” said Emilita.
Since their second wedding was not possible anymore, she decided to use her husband’s savings for the treatment of her heart condition.