OUR DAILY CENTS

“Every centavo counts” as economist would basically say. But rather I vividly remember these words coming from a very straightforward yet soft and gentle reverend who was once a parish priest of one humble church back then in my birth town. When it comes to the parish’s financial details, be it simple or complex, he’s one furiously I reckoned with on it. One centavo difference or unexplained deficit on your suppose thorough list of financial statement is a taboo. So just make reservations. Expect to be scolded. Believe me, when it comes to money expenditures, he’s too judicious. Most of the time, too inconsiderate and uncompromising but that is, if you fail to justify the missing single cent. He’s no economist or either an accountant. For two simple reasons:  First, “Honesty” is his ultimate policy and second “Transparency” is foremost obligatory. He isn’t acting stingy or cheeseparing either. That’s how he is… He’s learned it from his mother of how important single centavo indeed during his younger days. For money is earned with blood and sweet. Should one single drop of cent is much of its worth. That’s a great learning coming from a humble man.

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But in an ordinary days, these coins seem appear treated so very least than much of its face value. More likely you see them lying on streets and corners yet being snubbed, if not totally ignored. Few are still shiny which as good as glitzy new, but numerous are defaced by repeated trampling. Mostly there are five and ten cents. There’s very few twenty-five centavo also but that, too, is often ignored and flouted for the same reason. Such pity that even street children and beggars along sidewalks just pass them by and wouldn’t even care to pick them up. I retrieve these poor coins whenever I see one or few lying along my way. Yes, even for the most traffic of people rushing along the sidewalk, I too am dignified to stoop down, pick them up and handed it over under my pocket. Really, no one is picking these lowly centavos, except me (I guess). And, I put those found-coins on a small canister whenever I’m home. Such habit I came to develop for quite some time. My canister, at this point, is almost full with coins ranging from 1, 5 and 10 cents. Some are 25’s. Several are still shiny but mostly are battered and rusty. By estimation, I think it’s more than a hundred pieces already. That’s by just picking them up from lowly streets. I wonder what people are thinking about these kinds of deprived coins. To think, it is still considered money no matter how small the value is…

Here’s for real: One time, I ask my younger sibling to buy a pack of ice worth a peso. Then she went in the nearby store to buy one by bringing up these cents with her. When she came back, she brought nothing and told her that they won’t accept the money (which I gave) because it’s all centavos. It was a bit absurd. I asked the reason why but she had no idea nonetheless…

Curious, I went by in the same store to do the same except trying to buy other stuff out of it. Of course, I used those pitiable coins. True! I asked them why but a simple “not acceptable” was the only answer they could reason out of.

To mention, even small vendors in streets and in parks won’t accept it. Centavo coins are no longer valuable anywhere in the community’s. It’s totally “useless”, completely unusable. As I remembered, coins on their marred conditions lying on the street seem treated like a piece of trash. Thrown away in the garbage bin because of “no-value”, that is. How pity. You can’t even buy a piece of sweet tooth lollipop out of it and or sugary menthol candy for you to enjoy with. I wonder if our little nephews, nieces, and godchildren toddlers would be happily accept these monies as gifts. I wonder if young carolers during Christmas seasons would be delighted if some of these coins are given to them. I wonder if people in the church, the ones collecting the alms and offerings, would be pleased to account it. I wonder what could be the reaction of your co-church goer seatmates if they saw you giving some of these lowly centavos on coin baskets during mass offering services. I wonder if our long fervent wishes will come true if you offer and throw these centavo coins on a “wishing-well”.

For some reason, I keep on retrieving these unheeded coins on streets. Somewhere in my heart is telling me to pick it up. It’s not only more than that of a hobby and or more of that on mere fascination. It’s beyond giving respect to the coin itself. I still recognized its worth because the face value remains the same. Even in blighted conditions, a coin is a coin used for intended purposes. They need to be used to be useful.

Accordingly, these can be of used of in payment for groceries in big stores. My mother used these for payments on water and electric bills. To think, the Government and the Central Bank continually produced centavo coins. In fact, they spend millions of money buying specific metals from other countries just for reproduction and public used for its economic activities and functions. Yet, most people don’t seem to care. They just threw it away anywhere like a piece of dirt.

Whenever I see a centavo coin being snubbed, am reminded of the good reverend I once knew. But beyond from that learning, I have thoughts of a mere possibility that, at any moment of our lives comes, we may be like such of these wretched coins lying on the lost dirty corners and filthy streets treated the same as worthless and rubbish. That people whom we thought we care too much about might strode, ignore and reject us all the way. Because, that in our image, we might seen less of a value yet more of a burden to their account. At some point in our life, we may feel unworthy and undeserving. We may feel very small. But it does not mean we are less important. Like our daily cents, we may barely recognize and soon be out-of-circulation, but know the value isn’t utterly lost. We are always part of something big and much greater. Hence, what we need to put on is to give a chance to be useful and worthy once more. Would you care and dignified enough to pick them up?

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