Mary Rose, together with three younger siblings, lived with their paternal grandparents in the province of Biliran, Visayas. She has very little recollection of her parents who separated when she was very young. At the age of 5 yrs old, she and a younger sister were picked up by a woman who claimed to be her mother and they were brought to Manila, only to be left once again with an aunt, for a few years. They were not treated well in the home, so she left and was found roaming around Sampaloc, Manila. She was brought to the DSWD office by a concerned citizen, and in turn was sent to Boystown Complex, Girls Home Unit where she lived for the next 8 years. She was never claimed by any family member and efforts by staff to search for her relatives proved futile.
At the age of 12 yrs. old, despite living with other orphans in the Girl’s Home, Mary Rose realised that she had no real family and felt so alone. She was very bitter about being separated from her grandparents, whom later she found out had passed away, never getting over the sadness of losing her and her sibling. She decided to focus on her studies instead and relied on her inner strength. Her grades in school were above average as she was industrious. She consistently received awards in school and was helpful in the Girls Home. She could be relied on to care for the younger children and assist the housemother in feeding and bathing them. They looked upon her as ‘Ate’ (big sister) to the little ones.
Because of her excellent performance in school, she was recommended to ILEA as a high school scholar where she is presently in Grade 9. She wants to take up Mass Communications and be a journalist. She feels that her experiences and trials in the past has made her a strong person. She is very guarded when asked about her feelings. Instead, she puts up a brave front and is confident in the knowledge that she has her intelligence and talents to fall back on. Mary Rose is now 16 yrs. old and has another 7 years to graduate from college. Her simple wish is to have her own ukulele and write music, hoping that she can put into words and song, her gratitude for this opportunity to get an education and make something of her life.