LANY Reformado Sy, born in the little town of Pikit, South Cotabato in April 13, 1960, is every bit of what a success story is all about.
Lany is the 6th child of 12. She had a very poor family buried in debt. Pikit at the time was dealing with guerilla groups and unemployment making the life of any resident much harder.
Her father, Panyong, who worked as a driver did not earn enough to feed 14 mouths. And the mother, Lodie, was a housewife whose being illiterate made it difficult for her to find a paying job. Most of her siblings could not continue their schooling because they lacked funds. It made a lot of Lany’s siblings very depressed.
Their house was made of old wood and water would drip in home with just a little rainfall. The house had only two rooms, one room that tried to fit all 14 people, and the other was their living room, dining table and kitchen all in one. They did not have the luxury of electricity, and they had to walk half a mile just to get to the nearest well for their fresh water.
As a family they ate “bagoong” and salt. They would pair it with rice and on a good day they would add a little bit of soy sauce to their meals.
Lany herself said that one platter of “pansit” was already a feast for their family of 14 back in the day.
As students, they wore worn out clothes and even tried making underwears out of banana leaves. They hardly had a packed lunch because they had nothing to bring, so they usually just eat in the morning, skip lunch in school and look forward to whatever they can come up with for dinner.
The state of her family is depressing and their environment at the time contributed to more agony.
Guerilla groups went in houses to steal and even kidnap children. There were shooting incidents all throughout the day, and the transportation was so hard at the time because of the carnage that was brought by the guerillas and the army.
Those conditions alone could have anyone give up, but not Lany.
There was something about the girl from Pikit that stands out, her heart was just too big to fail.
Lany knew right from the start she had to do something with her life. Relatives and her closest friends attest that she always used to say, “It’s either you do something and change your life or remain the same and be miserable”.
For Lany, nothing was impossible, if there’s a will then there is a way.
At a young age, Lany became an adult. She knew she had to grow up fast not only for herself but for her family as well. She had multiple jobs over the years, and even up to this day she was never ashamed of her humble beginnings.
Lany worked as a maid every weekend in her relative’s house. And on the weekdays, she does the laundry of her neighbors and prepares “yema” for her mother to sell. She was also favored to deliver guns and ammos to camps because she was beautiful and in return she got incentives like food and clothes that she could bring home to her family.
Every penny she earned, she gave it to her family. Never once did she complain about her other siblings not doing anything to help their parents. She even regularly washed her siblings’ clothes, did their homework for them, and reminded them of their faith to God.
All the hardship she went through, all the work she got into, it was all for her love of family.
And despite all that work she still went to school. She knew right from the start, education is the key to her goals, to her success. So packed with a good heart, a focused mind and strong faith in God, she continued to be a working student up to her graduation.
Throughout high school, she worked as a maid to her relatives, and offered to make assignments of classmates for a little extra. She earned a scholarship for college, but continued to work as a student assistant and a waitress in a restaurant.
All the pressure and challenges did not stop Lany from continuing with her goal as she graduated on time. And by the mighty acts of God, the true turning point of her life came in the form of her first love.
She met Bani Uy Sy who eventually became her husband. He was from a prominent family in Cotabato City at the time. He was the heir of a big business in their local town.
They wed after a year and everything changed for Lany from there. It was the start of the better things in life to come.
She had the trust of her husband as he gave her enough money to start her own business. Lany then proceeded by franchising a certain international brand of underwear. It started with just one in Cotabato, but then it became so successful that in five years she had a branch in every major city in the Philippines.
She won multiple awards for her effort, and was named the best in her business for many years. Garnering millions in revenue and profit for the company and for herself, Lany was rising like no other. Later on she went into real estate, hardware and farming. The blessings just kept pouring on.
Even with all her glory, all the money, she never failed to thank God. She always put her faith first, and never forgot to look back on where she came from. She provided her family hope, by giving all of her siblings the chance to finish their studies. She also gave them individual lands to build a home for and even gave them some money to start on their own.
Lany is currently residing in Davao City living with his youngest son. Now a widow, the love and adoration of her children, relatives, closest friends and colleagues always remind her how accomplished she truly has been with her life.
With all the things she had gone through, all the sacrifice she had put up with over the years, and the challenges she faced not only made her strong, but a person that can be looked up to for inspiration. She is a true image of how love gives everything but needs nothing in return.
In a time where everything is in doubt, a gem like Lany restores hope in humanity. (Michael Sy)