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November 12 - 18, 2016

There is forever for Estrella & Antonio

The goodness and perseverance of a person is severely tested at least once in a lifetime.

For married couples, two individuals who come from varying background and with different traits, it is how they stay together until one leaves this world. A worthy example of these admirable couples is Antonio and Estrella.

During sunny mornings at the provincial capitol sunken grounds, this retired couple is a regular sight. They walk from their house across the street in Pacu, near the Canturing bridge, go around the inner oval and do simple stretching at the park. What is exceptional about them is that Antonio is a stroke survivor who, with great effort, almost drags his feet to walk. He is patiently assisted by his smiling wife Estrella who still has the youthful energy to do calisthenics by his side whenever possible.

One would be curious and ask, who are they and what keeps them going despite the obviously difficult situation?

Antonio Vacal Leyson is a retired Senior Police Officer 4 in the Philippine National Police. He is 69 years old and comes from Ichon, Macrohon, Southern Leyte. Meanwhile, Estrella Cortel Leyson, is a retired teacher at Asuncion Elementary School. She originally comes from Mambajao, Maasin City. She is now 73 years old.

The Leyson couple will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary next year. They proudly related to us their love story. Theirs was a chance meeting. Sir Antonio was on his way home from work when he saw a house on fire. It was when in the commotion and he trying to help that Ma’am Estrella first met her “forever.” The robust Antonio courted her and it did not take so long that she accepted him.

They dated for a year and got married.

The almost fifty years of being together was not easy. They encountered many problems in their relationship. Antonio who lives the life of a policeman has a strong personality, while Estrella is equally strong-willed but has the trademark patience of an elementary school teacher. And so there were many times that their decisions would clash.

One day, Estrella had a miscarriage. She said that it was the saddest day of her life. And so, even after so much understanding when she could no longer stand the ways of her husband, she gave up on him.

But her husband continued to show his love and did not stop to win her back. It was this time that a friend told her if they wanted to adopt a child and they did. They then believed that the child was given to them for a purpose. This made their bond and family stronger.

Many years passed, then suddenly Antonio had a stroke. This truly tested their love and faith for each other. But this just proved the undying support of his wife Estrella, and the will to live and be strong again by her husband. He perseveres to exercise almost daily at the park even if his body finds it so difficult to do so. He does a mind over matter strategy.

Estrella said that the secret of having a long-lasting marriage is to be patient and to understand each other’s flaws. And most of all, put God at the center of the relationship. She said further…

“We waste time, we kill time, and we long for it to pass. Then we bemoan getting old. Sometimes we beat others because they never learned the value of five minutes. How do you spend your time is far more important than how you spend your money. Money mistakes can be corrected but time is gone forever. Therefore, do not waste time, for time is always here, neither more nor less and always morning at a steady pace. When you do not use time to the best possible advantage to yourself, to society, to God, you are wasting yourself.” (by Gloria Markines Reyes, Jennifer Maraon and Maria Cileca Acero)



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