The greatest pain a mother can endure is the death of her child. For Inglay Capuyan, this pain came on February 22, 1992.
“My son hanged himself. He placed a hook on the ceiling and with a plastic twine, hanged himself… His toes were touching the chair he used,” said Capuyan in a memoir she wrote, and which she shared with theAsianparent. Capuyan is an Igorota from Sagada, Mountain Province, and a mother of five.
“Grief was unbearably in control of me. I would wake up at nights…looking for instances where I might have gone wrong,” she said. “I wished death to take me that I may join my son. I forgot that I have four other children,” she added.
Read: Suicide Prevention – Know the Warning Signs
But life went on and Capuyan slowly came to terms with her son’s death. In her grief, she turned to God. She not only survived the pain of losing her only son. She embraced it and allowed it to shape her into the woman she is today—a tiny point of light that refuses to fade into darkness.
These days, Capuyan is busy with a thriving law practice. She is also the Administrator of Cordillera Quest: Center for Complementary Education and Social Work, Inc.; a real estate broker; Chairman of the Peoples’ Law Enforcement Board of Buyagan, La Trinidad, Benguet; retained lawyer for the Department of Social Welfare and Development Cordillera; and Vice President of the Philippine Association of Social Workers.
Inglay stands in the middle of her organic garden.
This woman of many hats has also bagged numerous awards throughout her professional life. In 2004, she was one of the ten awardees of the Outstanding Social Workers of the Philippines. She was likewise recognized for organizing the community of La Trinidad, Benguet to fight against syndicated squatting.
But Capuyan is not just a formidable and well-respected professional. She is also an avid baker and a successful business woman. In fact, in 2005, she was recognized for her involvement in the making of the Giant Strawberry Shortcake, which landed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Find out Inglay’s unique nickname on the next page.
The Filipino Cinderella
The fifth of seven children, Capuyan did not have a privileged life. Her parents taught her the value of hard work, humility, and trustworthiness.
As a young girl, Capuyan loved working in the rice fields and vegetable farms of her home town in Ambasing, Sagada, Mountain Province. People who knew her fondly called her Cinderella, because she loved cleaning their house, and raising chickens and hogs.
This Filipino Cinderella learned business skills while helping her parents in their family store—a skill that would later play a crucial role in her struggles as the main breadwinner of her family.
Capuyan’s first business attempt was in Grade 4 when she started baking banana bread to sell to her classmates.
“Allowances were never part of our upbringing,” she explained. Years later, as a scholar in Silliman University, Capuyan partially supported herself by selling sweaters and blankets in Dumaguete, Dipolog, and Zamboanga.
When she became a mother, Capuyan’s sound business sense supported her family. She opened an outlet for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a grocery store, and a restaurant.
On the next page, Inglay Capuyan opens up about being millions in debt and surviving an abusive husband.
Capuyan’s life is a long tale of mistakes and triumphs, resentments and forgiveness, love and anger, life and death. She has endured much of life’s beatings, including a failed marriage from an allegedly abusive husband, being 9.3 million in debt, and the death of Leo Marquez, whom she believes was her soul mate.
Read: My daughter gave me the courage to get out of an abusive relationship
“We enjoyed each other’s company. Making love was not the ordinary kind of making love… Our relationship was something we didn’t know how to classify. We called it TOAN meaning we don’t know,” she wrote in her memoir of her two-year relationship with Leo.
Leo was shot to death one afternoon in December 2007 shortly after Capuyan’s marriage was annulled. He was on the phone with Capuyan, who heard the muted sound of a gunshot. “I heard a swishing sound and then he stopped talking,” she said.
“As I relive the past, I now realize … I nurtured my children. In the process of years of nurturance, they in turn gave me joy. The joy I got from my children kept me going through my marriage, marriage that caused me so much pain,” Capuyan wrote.
But perhaps the greatest lesson Capuyan has learned is this: that she was created in the image of God and must, therefore, bring back honour to him.
“There’s no better way of manifesting honor to God than being industrious, humble, trustworthy, and caring for others.”
Capuyan uses her businesses to reach out to others. Her law practice focuses on social work and helping children who have been physically and sexually abused.
She is also the owner of Inglay Restaurant in La Trininad, which proudly incorporates the taste of Igorot home cooking in many of its specialty dishes. Through the restaurant, Capuyan hopes to provide her fellow Igorots with a place to dine in fashion without fear of discrimination.
On the rooftop of the restaurant is an organic garden, which provides fresh vegetables and herbs for many of the restaurant’s dishes. The organic garden is Capuyan’s way of winning souls for Christ. Here, Wednesday evenings are spent in prayer and Bible study.
Inglay’s rooftop organic garden
“God is light. We are created in His likeness so we must be of Him and by Him. We are tiny points of light, all connected with Him and with one another. Depending on how one journeys through life, one’s light either radiates in brightness or fades into darkness.”
And so Capuyan journeys on, never letting her light fade into darkness.
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