Mom paid for 2 months’ worth of taxi rides with 6-year-old daughter: Yuki is a 28-year-old Filipino-Japanese tattoo artist and Cosplay artist residing in Manila.
She seems like any other 28-year-old interested in alternative culture, except that she has a most unusual story: When she was six years old, her mother bartered her for a P20,000 contract with a cab driver.
She remembers that fateful day clearly: It was 1996 and she was with her mom Debbie, her younger sister Shoe, and the cab driver Mang Ramon. They were in Mang Ramon’s living room when her mom wrote the contract.
“Iiwan niya ako doon sa tatay-tatayan ko. Akala ko po kakain lang kami ng kapatid ko. Nagulat na lang ako nung tinawag niya ‘yung kapatid ko at sumakay po ulit ng taxi, lumayas sila ng tatay-tatayan kong taxi driver. Naiwan na po ako,” Yuki narrates on “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho.”
Yuki is the eldest of three daughters of Debbie Lopez Garcia, an entertainer in Japan who got deported in 1996 after overstaying. “Pagdating namin sa Pilipinas, siyempre una po na-culture shock ako. Tapos ‘yung mama ko po, akay-akay kaming tatlo, sumakay po kami sa taxi sa NAIA.”
Her mother made a deal with the cabbie: For P20,000, he will chauffeur her as she looks for her relatives. But after a few months and no relatives found, her mother’s money ran out.
Debbie surrendered her youngest daughter Chimmy to the DSWD, while she bartered Yuki to the cab driver. “Sabi nga po nung tatay-tatayan ko, ‘Ipinambayad ka ng mama mo sa akin dahil wala siyang pambayad. Pinangakuan niya ako ng 20 mil pambayad sa taxi.'”
Life wasn’t particularly hard for Yuki. Mang Ramon was kind, even proud of his ‘alagang Hapon.’ But every time Yuki would ask about her mother, Mang Ramon would answer: “‘Yung nanay mo kasi magulo kausap, papangakuan ka…”
It led her to wonder: “Dahil lang ba talaga sa kabayaran sa taxi kaya nandito pa rin ako?”
Yuki eventually left.
She would go on to live with one friend to the next, trying to make ends meet. She would become a tattoo artist, and in her search for that love she never quite felt, would give birth to three kids.
It was while talking to her firstborn when the idea of looking for her mother dawned on her. “Tinanong niya po ako nasaan daw ‘yung mama ko. Nilihis ko na lang ‘yung tanong niya na sinabi ko, ‘Soon makikita natin ‘yung lola mo.'”
She went back to Mang Ramon to get some of her personal documents, including the contract her mother and Mang Ramon drew up. She later learned that her real father had already passed away.
Just last October, Mang Ramon also died. Losing hope she’d find her mother, Yuki approached KMJS and asked for help.
The team found her Tita Minica and Lola Rosita, from whom Yuki learned a lot about the stranger that was her mother. She learned Debbie wasn’t her mother’s real name. It was Rowena. She learned that Rowena left the Philippines in 1987 to work as an entertainer in Japan.
Yuki was told that her tita used to take care of her but Rowena took Yuki away to Japan after being petitioned by her Japanese father. That was the last time the family saw Rowena.
It's a strange, if sad, story. But at least now, Yuki is with her lola and her tita who vowed to help her look for her long-lost mother. — GMA News