L-Jay Gonzales was fortunate to be able to leave Manila and come back to his hometown of San Mateo, Isabela prior to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine last March.
“Nakauwi ako bago mag-lockdown nung mga March 14, isang araw bago mag-lockdown,” Gonzales told Tiebreaker Times.
Now, for the past four months, the 5-foot-10 guard has been working hard to help his parents at making ends meet.
Monday morning, a video surfaced on social media showing the incoming Far Eastern University junior plucking unhusked rice in a field. His dad Joel and mom Lolita, both farmers, have been struggling in selling their produce during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ito yung pinaka-matagal na stay ko rito simula nung high school,” confessed Gonzales, who transferred from San Mateo High School to FEU-Diliman during his third year.
“Okay naman kami rito, pero mahirap magtrabaho ngayon kasi madaming nagka-COVID na rin dito. Nahirapan na rin magtrabaho ‘yung family ko kasi takot lumabas.”
The Cagayan Valley region has 114 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 45 recoveries and a death as of publishing.
The daily schedule of the 21-year-old guard goes as follows:
During weekdays, he wakes up early to join the Zoom sessions of the Tamaraws. After doing some extra shooting in his family’s makeshift half-court, he then heads to the fields for work.
L-Jay’s allowance from FEU has also been going directly to his parents, since his older sister Crizel Ann recently resigned from her job.
Despite his young age, L-Jay embraces his role as the Gonzales family’s breadwinner. After all, his family serves as his motivation to continue with the grind.
“Sarap sa pakiramdam kasi parents mo sila eh. Hirap naman na tinitignan ko na sila lang ‘yung gumagawa ‘di ba? Gusto ko rin sila tulungan para sa kinabukasan namin,” expressed Gonzales.
“Gusto ko makatulong sa parents ko kasi gusto ko rin suklian ‘yung binigay nila sa akin. Kahit sa FEU, gusto ko suklian ‘yung binigay nilang blessings sa akin at sa pamilya ko.”