SINCE 1995, this intersection has witnessed the man that he is: dedicated, hopeful and charming. Under the heat of the sun or the stinging heavy rain, he never failed to report for duty for more than two decades. Under his red sleeves is a humbling and inspiring story of a 70-year-old we aptly call as Bacolod's Dancing Enforcer.
Antonio Nunez Cordero or “Tatay Pau” was born in 1946 in Victorias City. His father struggles between jobs as a carpenter while his mother stays to keep their shanty in the sugar central.
Despite being an only child, getting to school proved to be burdensome. After finishing high school, he decided to work and take on what life has to offer. A little worried about where to start, he followed his guts and pursued his love for the machines. In this case, all things greasy and steering.
For 30 years, he worked as driver of transporting goods and passengers to San Carlos City from Bacolod under a well reputed bus company.
However, in order to spend more time with Ester, his wife for more than 30 years and their six children, he decided to work close home. He was a driver for public utility jeepney for quite some time until in 1995, he secured a certificate to man the streets as a trained traffic enforcer under the Bacolod Traffic Authority Office.
That time, he was already 48 years old and has never shown any sign of hesitation to start over as he comes close to his golden years. Twenty-two years after, and now at 70, without any hint of backing out from what he considers as his life's “greatest career,” he stands like a king in the concrete highways, proving that in Bacolod, Tatay Pau is still the best.
From seven in the morning until past one in the afternoon, day after day, he secures a smooth traffic flow in his designated assignment. With his animated moves and most often, comedic stance, you will never pass his watch without inching a sweet smile.
That is why, as in the words of drivers and commuters alike, the streets of Bacolod are never the same without an enforcer who pedestrians consider as their own Father. Indeed, he is a permanent figure in traffic and a spark of happiness when you are running short of time.
In this small home at Purok Repolyo, Barangay 7 in Bacolod City, we were able to discover why he keeps a very happy disposition under the scorching sun. He lives with so much love for Nanay Ester.
All of their children are leading their own lives now. His income as driver and enforcer earned them a diploma in Commerce and Computer Technology. The rest are short course certificate holders making all six of them capable of providing for Tatay Pau and Nanay Ester who maintains a religious medication for diabetes.
The narrow pavements can testify to his goodness as a person. Like in the streets, in his place, he is also considered as a very helpful neighbor. Well-loved by everyone, Tatay Pau is an inspiration for the young and the old alike. For the young ones, they see him as a great example of living a life of passion and while for the elders, someone who exemplifies a senior citizen who lives a life of significance that many of his age should aspire to follow.
For his close friends Kyle McCormack and fellow enforcer Aldrin Gimarangan, Tatay Pau is a class act that is so hard to emulate. Despite the meager income and the great demand of the job, he works with a very uplifting spirit, thus, radiating happiness to passengers and drivers that meet him along the way.
He keeps a very quiet and peaceful life. At 70, he is blessed with a clear history of any medical emergency. He keeps his self fit by sleeping on time and spends more time being quiet and reflecting. His simple life includes a small business, a meager income, an active pet, a supportive partner and a job that is fueling him to seize life.
Catch his story on Piaya Documentaries, Piaya Network Skycable 35 and Cignal Cable 105 nationwide, 10 p.m. starting Tuesday, February 21.