Inspiring: How this shoe repairman became a father of 4 engineers and a teacher

A 52-year old Batangueño father who has been repairing shoes and umbrellas for 35 years has something to tell when it comes to managing a household budget.

Emanuel “Manny” Lat, a native of Malvar, Batangas is an outspoken hero to his five children. The hardworking father who refuses to stop repairing shoes said his secrets on how his five children managed to finish college lies on good budgeting.

All of his four sons finished engineering courses at Batangas State University, while the youngest and only daughter finished Teacher Education at De La Salle Lipa. Manny said the secret is correct budget management.

For 35 years, Manny walks every day within the Malvar, Lipa City, and Tanauan City area yelling “payong repair sapatos” repeatedly to attract customers’ attention.

“Minsan sa isang upuan lang nakaka 600 to 700 pesos ako” (Sometimes, in just one spot, I earn 600 to 700 pesos), Manny said. When asked about his average daily net income, he said he never earned lower than 500 pesos. It is always between 600 to 900 and sometimes as high as 2,000 pesos.

“Pag tag-ulan malakas dahil sa payong” (During rainy season, there are lots of umbrellas to repair), he said. Five hundred pesos is his benchmark and any excess amount is considered additional savings.

Let’s take a look at Manny’s household budget during the time when his younger daughter was still going to school a year ago. Although his four sons were helping him, his budget remains the same.

All of his sons are living with their own family so only his daughter and wife are left home and included in their daily budget.

Photo representation only

Daily net income of 500 pesos (three-adult household)

Daily budget
Food – P250 (7,500/mo)
Utility Bills – P60 (1,800/mo)
School Allowance – P90 (2,700/mo)
Clothing – P30 (900/mo)
Savings – P40 (1,200/mo)
His pocket money – P30 (900/mo)

The above figure may seem impossible to someone who works and spend daily but Manny and his family managed to survive and even sent his children to college.

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The above budget is for 500 pesos earnings only. If Manny earns more than 500 (which is happening almost every day as he said his average earnings if computed is about 800 pesos), all excess goes to savings.

“We have a P1,800 monthly budget for utility but in fact, our electric bill is only around P1,100 and water is just around P240 – so we still have an excess of P460.”, Manny said.

“We have a P900 monthly budget for clothing but most of this money was spent only on our daughter. I and my wife seldom buy clothes. 900 is enough for our daughter’s monthly clothing”, he continued.

“Our food budget is always in excess because my wife goes to the public market every three days spending only around 700 each of the time. We always have an excess of around 200 pesos from our food budget”, Manny explained.

“Savings should be a part of the budget and not should be taken from excess. We never actually had a savings of 2,400 a month due to excess. We always have at least 5,000 a month, and my pocket money is always at least P300. I never smoke and I drink only occasionally with my sons, so my daily pocket money budget is also accumulated from time to time”, Manny continued.

Mr. Lat also noted that all of his sons’ tuition fees before were taken from long-time daily savings

When asked if the family also spends money on recreation, Mr. Lat said that ever since his oldest son got a job, the whole family, together with his in-laws are having a family reunion every May on the beaches of San Juan, Lemery, or Mabini, Batangas.

He also said that they spend family Christmas party and spend some money from their savings. His youngest son also brings the three of them to fast foods every end of the month according to his wife, Elenita Lat.

“We are living in a not-so-luxurious but happy life. Our younger daughter is becoming spoiled because her brothers are always giving her something, but I always remind them not to give her money. She has to earn so she understands how to spend. She just passed the board exam and just started working as a substitute teacher”, Mrs. Lat said.

The family is living the above poverty line, but Mr. Lat refuses to stop working.

“It’s my daily exercise. I do this just to make my own money. They all have jobs and they are all earning. I have to earn for myself and for my wife. I return home early at 10 AM so it is not really a big hassle”, Manny concluded.

There’s a lot of people, even single people who are earning more than the Lat family, but because of uncontrolled spending, they struggle to survive.

This story only reminds us that whatever amount we are earning, with proper budget management, we can survive, and can even have a little success in the future.

Mr. Lat also mentioned that his close friend (kumpare) who was also a shoe repairman and sells taho (sweetened soybean and sago pearl) in the morning, now owns a junk shop and 2 passenger Jeepneys. /Jenny Mendoza – Calamba City/

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