The Americans in the US were not the only ones paying tribute to their loved ones who perished in the different events that made up what we call the tragedy that changed the world, Sept 11.
Maybe unbeknownst to many Filipinos, there was one American married to a Filipino who died that day. And her legacy lives on in a once squalid and reeking with garbage slum in Manila turned into an orderly village that bears her name with 50 brightly one-storey colored homes built in her memory by her husband.
As the world pays tribute to their fellowmen in the US, residents of Marie Rose Abad GK Village offered roses, balloons, and prayers for their benefactor.
According to her Philippine-born American husband Rudy, he had it built in her memory in 2004 as a tribute to their 26 years of marriage and her unfulfilled desire to help the poor in the Philippines. This she saw when they first came here in 1989. After having described to her the Philippines as a paradise, they were appalled to see the squatters, the shanties and the poverty. And she vowed that she would find a way to help which he fulfilled. After drifting for almost 3 years, having lost his other half, he decided to contribute $60,000 for the construction of a village for destitute families in Manila’s Tondo slum.
For Rudy, September 11 transformed him and taught him about suffering. The tragedy opened his eyes and made him want to do something far and beyond. He has become an advocate of philanthropy and continues to urge rich Filipinos to help the poor beyond giving alms.