Retired Pinoy couple says lottery win keeping them from visiting Philippines

By Florenz Legaspi, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Last January 13, the biggest lottery prize in history was split at least three ways by winners from California, Florida and Tennessee — the U. S. Powerball jackpot worth $1.5 billion.

But in Virginia, a Filipino senior was one of more than a dozen lucky ones who matched all five white balls — winning $1 million.

Teofilo Mesina, 82, said he didn’t watch the historical drawing but checked his numbers later that night and was surprised he matched the numbers 4/8/19/27/34.

He said he looked at his ticket multiple times in disbelief and called his wife, Irene, to tell her the news. Irene said she was shocked, to say the least. “I said, ‘Thank you Lord for giving it to us ‘ — if it’s really meant for us,” she expressed.

The Mesina couple didn’t celebrate just yet.  They wanted to really make sure and wanted their win confirmed by the lottery office.  After taxes, they ended up getting $600,000.

Irene said, “We didn’t even tell our two daughters right away, not until after we got confirmation from the lottery office.”

Teofilo and Irene were set to travel to the Philippines for their annual vacation this month. But after being publicly identified when they claimed their prize, they decided to postpone their trip.

“One of my siblings called from the Philippines and told us to be careful when we go visit.  I thought about it and I got worried that people who we couldn’t give money to would get mad. That’s why we decided to postpone our trip,” explained Teofilo.

Teofilo and Irene are both retired. Teofilo worked at a neon sign and light shop and Irene was an employee with the Red Cross. Both said they worked hard all their lives and even managed to buy a condominium in the Philippines with their savings. But their lottery win, they said, would help secure their children’s future.

“I’m having heart problems,” revealed Irene.  “Every night, I would pray and worry about my children.  If my husband and I are gone, what would happen to them?  God answered my prayers and eased my worries.”

Teofilo said he continues to play the lottery to this day and hope he will one day win an even bigger prize — maybe the jackpot.

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  • Froilan Magaoay
    17 March 2016 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    The downside of too much media could be to get you into trouble or give you that popularity everyone wanted, some spotlight shining at you… Especially in the Philippines under Peenoy’s era…You can never be safe when you live in areas like in the Sierra Madre or Cordillera region… It is sad that Tita Cory released all the imprisoned CPP-NPAs so they can continue terrorizing fellow Filipinos. That is a fact and it is indisputable…