by Lady FELE MANN
Luz de la Torre Humm
Luz de la Toree Humm and Fele Mann.
What happens when you are trapped in a dreadful and hopeless situation due to acute poverty and destitution, lack of education, no support from friends and loved ones who are also experiencing trials and severe hardships in life? How do you stand on the face of all these horrible crises and tribulations - run away, hide, quit completely and lead a defeated life or look desperately for someone to turn to for refuge, support, strength, inspiration and survival? Strong people in the third world countries who survived and succeeded brilliantly against all odds, can categorically answer without hesitation and delay “TOTAL SURRENDER TO GOD AND CLINGING TO HIM WITH EVERY FIBER OF YOUR HEART IS THE ONLY WAY OUT” It sounds fascinating and amazing but perfectly true.
An outstanding preacher was greatly applauded by the crowd when he said in his preaching, “God is the only refuge and strength who can deliver us out of darkness for no humans can do it. God’s omnipotent power can pluck us out from the doldrums of crises and deliver us on the mountaintops free from all troubles that cruelly oppress us! With God all things are possible!”
LUZ DE LA TORRE HUMM from Malawaan, Occidental Mindoro in the Philippines, also popularly known as ‘MARGARITA” - (named after a popular wine/liquor), is a classic example of someone oppressed by poverty and destitution, lack of education and whose family and loved ones were unable to assist her because they also were hopelessly in the same situation. There was, however, a big difference among them: Luz was luckily gifted with a fighting spirit and strong determination to get out of the miseries of poverty and destitution, combined with a deep faith in GOD that someday, somehow, GOD would get her out of darkness, along with her beloved family, to see the light at the end of the tunnel and change the pattern of their life together. This fighting spirit gift that she possessed later got her out miraculously of destitution and poverty that oppressed her down and almost out. This amazing life story will be unfolded later which will capture your interest in the drama of life.
Some good friends of mine who are co-workers of Luz in the housekeeping job in Darwin who knows her life story, confided to me that she is a good prospect to be featured in our publication.
I have met Luz a number of times during birthday parties of some friends in Darwin and so my interest was heightened; I searched for her and when I found her made an appointment for interview which she unhesitatingly agreed with big friendly smiles. I saw some politeness and beauty in her which some of of her so called friends could not or refused to see. “Out of the gutter she came from and now has a very good life!” was one of the comments I heard from someone obviously jealous in the group at the coffee shop. Her name was mentioned, that’s how I figured out.
During the interview, I noticed that her house was clean and tidy with some nice decor in the lounge. That confirmed what a friend of hers says - that she is a good and dedicated worker in the Housekeeping department. When I asked where David was, she said that he was in Perth, Western Australia, where he works permanently and with a well paid job. Her husband of 7 years only comes to Darwin to stay with her for sometime and goes back to Perth again leaving her all alone in their nice house. Although sad and lonely at times she has learned to accept her situation as they both agreed to save money for their future.
In my mind, I wished that all the readers would be largely benefited with her unique and inspirational life story and the secrets of getting out of poverty that confronts billions of people in this Universe. After some nice greetings, she prepared cups of nice coffee and delicious cakes which we both ate. Her welcoming and friendly attitude made me think why on earth some enemies call her “ the Modern Mary Magdalene and the lucky girl who rose from rags to riches”. Whatever opinions people think of her I found Luz De La Torre Humm to be someone who holds no grudges against anyone who dubbed her as “a drinker, gambler, uneducated low level woman, etc. Could it be her honesty in accepting situations that differentiate her from those who actually do it and deny - or just her innate character trait of honesty to accept the truth and to change for the better in the end?
Assured when I asked her not to be offended if I ask personal and tricky questions during the interview she said, “I’m not offended if it is the truth. I accept it for the truth will make us free” she boldly said. “How come some say you are a drinker- do you drink alcohol or liquor with your friends? “During parties, yes, I drink socially with them. That’s why my other name is MARGARITA a name of a bottle of wine which is my favorite drink.” she laughed. “AHA, the plot thickens!” I exclaimed and we both laughed loudly but I told her that her honesty in not denying is admirable. And Luz added “There is no point hiding the truth because it will come out anyway and GOD knows everything. After all we are all sinners but still GOD loves us all!’ “God loves the sinner but not the sin” I corrected her and she fully and definitely agreed as she mumbled” That’s very true!”
During the conversational interview Luz unfolded her life story in a nutshell and with no holds barred - From a life of poverty and destitution that ended in a comfort and luxury as a result of long time struggles, hard work, lots of trials and hardships tempered with patience, endurance and perseverance. There was no room for the word “QUIT” in her vocabulary as she firmly believe in the saying -” In this world there is survival for the fittest and elimination of the unfit” She opted for survival and true to her word she survived truly and well. There is a moral and good lesson to the weak minded people in this world.
Luz did not or could not present any resume that I asked but she gave the following data for her life record. She was born on December 10, 1958 in Paranaque, Rizal, Philippines but was brought up in Malawaan, Occidental Mindoro. Her poor but loving parents - the late Rafael Escapano and now 93 years old Mom - Felicidad De la Torre reared their children Paterson, Reynaldo, Jocelyn and Luz to love GOD and serve Him sincerely and to trust Him strongly. They managed to instill in their children’s hearts that although life can be relentless but if you struggle with all your might to survive and make things happen and not just to wait things to happen - success will come in the end. Luz remembered this advice and lived it in her journey through life . She found it to be absolutely true when success was presented to her which she readily and happily embraced.
At age 13 Luz ran away from Occidental Mindoro and went to Manila to look for a job as a housekeeper or baby sitter. In her young mind she was deeply convinced that if she stayed in Occidental Mindoro with no prospect at all whatsoever for a brilliant future she will be trapped permanently with no way out. The sad state of poor people around her was a tangible proof so she had to make things happen. The city of Manila came to her mind and she envisioned to get a job there which motivated her to run away from home even if it deeply hurt her heart.
With lots of hardships and difficulties she worked as a housekeeper in Manila for 10 years till she went to stay with a family friend who lives in Olongapo city to babysit the son of an American Negro whose wife was a Filipina. After only 3 months she was sacked because another Filipina, the best friend of her Boss, was so jealous of her because her boyfriend fancied Luz who found her beauty irresistible. She had no where to go when she got out of the house, and the only way was to work as an Entertainer at a Club whose duty was to entertain American customers, mostly soldiers, served alcoholic drinks and liquors and was paid by commission - 50% for the club and 50% for her. She was not allowed to go out with customers. Life in the club was not easy but a very demanding one - full of intrigues, temptations and troubles. The other waitresses started to get jealous of her because she stood out as the favorite of the American customers with more commissions and tips than the other ones. Arguments and troubles were secretly the order of the day in and out of the club. It slowly dawned on her that this kind of job is not something to be proud of and deep inside her the desire to get out of this pit was getting stronger by the day.
“Were you involved in drugs at all as is customary for a club where you worked?” I asked seriously. After some silence she nodded “Yes, I took drugs so that I have the courage to talk to customers and to improve my English. I learned to speak English by talking to them all the time. It also came to a point where I knew all the names of drugs - SPEED, VALIUM, MARIJUANA, SYRUP and other drugs because I used them so with other waitresses in entertaining the costumers. I was also rated by the American customers as the ‘TOP ENTERTAINER” during the US Festival Club from 1981 to 1984 at the GENESES CLUB in Olongapo from 1981 to 1984. There I drank my favorite wine called MARGARITA, a lovers’ drink which I enjoyed very much and which was why they called me Margarita as my nick name. I had the highest commission among the waitresses; I received more awards like the ‘GROCERIES AWARDS” which the club has strongly promoted and which I earned more commissions”.
But in spite of more awards in money and vouchers that she received which earned her much more money to save and send to her parents and family in Occidental Mindoro in order to survive, deep inside there was an acute emptiness, sadness, agony and turmoil for some reason or another. Something was terrible missing in her life and she started to figure out. When asked about her religion, she said that she was in the Church of Christ and even was an active singer and member of the Choir for a year in Manila in 1973. Deep inside she prayed for consolation, comfort, refuge and deliverance. She has figured that the job she had was an entrapment of some kind and that she must get out to live quickly and live real and a holy life.
“In 1984 I met PAUL PRINGLE, an Australian born whose parents lived in America at that time. We fell in love and got married as we felt we belong to each other. I believed that Paul was the answer to my prayers who took me out and away from a chaotic life which I realized later on to be worthless and empty. I became an Australian citizen after 2 years of our marriage. Sadly, our marriage didn’t work out and was finally over in 1989. Paul went back to America to join the Navy while I firmly decided to stay in Australia where I wanted to stay and settle peacefully for good. I was not in the mood anymore for another adventure in America and besides that Australia is my dreamland.
When Paul was gone Luz had to work really hard doing physical jobs for many hours as a Housekeeper in different businesses: El Dorado Motor Lodge in Tennant Creek. Northern Territory, 1986-1987, Hot Gossip Restaurant as kitchen hand in Darwin - 1988-1989, Value Inn for some time and Mediterranean Hotel in 2005. Angus Apartment as a Housekeeping Supervisor in 2009 -2010. Her savings were improved a lot and she was able to send money to her aging mother and the families of her brothers. Luz supported her sister, JOCELYN, in her 4 years of studies and now her sister found success in her career in ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, as COMPTROLLER of a 5 star hotel. She greatly thanked and acknowledged Luz for had a permanent job in Perth, Western Australia, and because he reckoned he couldn’t get a better and nicer job with high salaries as in Perth where he worked with a high position, they both agreed and decided to continue working in Western Australia while he traveled to Darwin to stay with Luz for some time in Darwin then go back to Perth again to work. As life is full of challenges, trials and mysteries which none of us can understand, their married life came at a breaking age. Distance, homesickness, irretrievable differences were some of the causes that affected their relationship and marriage and David personally agreed to give Luz her share as part of what he called “alleged property settlement” - a substantial amount (the agreement was not settled in court).
Luz couldn’t understand why all these things happened in her life? Who will ever understand the intricacies of life which only GOD can?. The only big comfort and consolation of Luz is that with her personal earnings in her many jobs through the years she was able to buy big blocks of land - more than 3 hectares which produced land plantation, etc, a nice home for her big family her brothers and their families where they no longer starve in poverty and destitution and the success and eternal gratitude of Jocelyn, her sister in Switzerland, as a comptroller in a 5 star hotel because of her solid support to her in her studies.
With the personal earnings in different jobs in Darwin through the years and the added significant amount of share which David gave to Luz last year (Luz regarded as a gift from him) she succeeded in bringing her starving family out of destitution and poverty which was her long cherished dream in life. It was indeed a dream come true and she thanked God for it all.
“What do you think to be the MASTER KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS IN LIFE, LUZ? FROM POVERTY TO COMFORT AND LUXURY, THAT IS? I smiled at her as if to share with her joy.
“TOTAL SURRENDER TO GOD IS MY GREATEST WEAPON AND DELIGHT, Ate Fele, because when I was almost down and out, I cried to GOD in desperation and He answered me. I never lost my hope because I know He is always there to answer us in times of need and despair.”
“’AND WHAT WILL YOU DO IN ANSWER TO HIS MERCY AND BLESSINGS?” I smiled at her. With the sincerest remorse and repentance seen on her face said,” I WILL NEVER EVER GO BACK TO MY SINFUL PAST AGAIN. HE HAS GIVEN ME CHANCE TO LIVE LIFE ANEW, I WILL DO IT IN RETURN FOR HIS GRACIOUS LOVE FOR ME. I ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AS MY SAVIOR AND BECAUSE OF THAT I GAINED EVERYTHING THERE IS TO GAIN”.
“WOW!” I exclaimed inwardly. With those words, I remembered 3 great women in the Bible: MARY MAGDALENE who followed our LORD JESUS CHRIST on His way to Calvary carrying His cross to save humanity from eternal damnation, the SAMARITAN woman who went to draw water in the well and whom Jesus met her needs and will no longer be spiritually thirsty and the REPENTANT woman who kissed Jesus’ feet with tears and who continually wiped them with her long hair showing great remorse and deep repentance.
The above 3 women who repented and found great favor with GOD were joined in by LUZ DE LA TORRE HUMM for her determination to live life anew and who surrendered everything to GOD when everything was dark and when she was down and almost out.
After hearing and writing her life story. I wished fervently that all women in similar circumstances will turn to OUR LOVING AND MERCIFUL GOD for help and deliverance like the above 4 women AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART. TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!