Tell us the story of a person who has made a big difference in your life! Maybe it was a friend, teachers, classmates, your parents, grandparents, a pastor, church workers.etc. Whoever they are…Show how much you appreciate them by writing a short story with their pictures! Lets make them shine!
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I may be well known in San Isidro, Bacon District. People love me for being courteous, kind (daw) and intelligent (din daw). Not only for that. People also remember me as the little girl who would always dance, sing, recite poems whenever they would ask me to. I was a ‘bibo’ kid. But you know what people remember about me the most? I am that little girl who would sell rice cakes (puto) around the barrio. In fact, whenever I would kiss the hands of some folk nowadays, they would say: “Aw, daraga na an paratinda ki puto. Hilinga baya an panahon…” I feel proud whenever I hear such remarks. At least, they recognize the hardships I, I mean, we have gone through. I may have gone a long way but nothing has changed. I am still that little girl.
Looking back, I was just a simple student. Stereotype. I would go to school to study, learn new things, play with friends, have fun, obey teachers, all that stuff. I would also do mischief. I became a ‘star’ when I entered grade 4. They started pulling me out from classes and would send me to Balete for contests. I was not a teacher’s pet – that I am sure of. Modesty aside, I would often bring home the bacon. Would it be quiz bees and spelling bees. The biggest achievement I had that time was reaching the flagship level for ALPES for two years. I forgot what ALPES means but it was like an acceleration test.
Other than that, wala na. Pasaway din ako. Sometimes, I would make fun of teachers as well. But I do it discreetly. Nevertheless, I always have high regards for them. Mahal ko silang lahat. I have happy memories of them (except for one and you know who she is). But among them, it would be Mrs. Veronica Digo and Mrs. Escolano I would remember the most.
My elementary days were not always happy. I remember when the super typhoon Sisang hit the country. That left us devastated. It took a while for the people to bounce back. We had no electricity for months. So we had to prepare homework and study at night with just kerosene lamps as the source of light. That was also the time Mama started making puto that we had to sell. I sold puto myself. I could reach Marirong, Malibod, Burad – I have literally explored San Isidro already by selling puto. I could even reach San Ramon, San Roque (as far as Gabao) on Saturdays and Sundays. When I was in grade six, I would sell puto first before going to school (that’s why I would always be late). That is one thing Mrs. Escolano remembers about me the most.
I went to Colegio de la Milagrosa (now St. Louise de Marillac College of Sorsogon) in high school. It was not easy. I was culture shocked during my first few months. I was surrounded by rich kids. I chose to be a loner. I didn’t have the money to cope with the trends, that’s why. Well, Milagrosa was tagged the ‘elite’ school. I only made few friends. My life was a routine – home, school, church. I remember that before going home, I would pass by a small carinderia owned by Mama’s friend to pick up a pail or two of leftover foods. We would feed them to hogs we were raising. On Saturdays and Sundays, I would serve as a dishwasher in that carinderia. Imagine a girl wearing Milagrosinian uniform carrying kaning baboy after school! However, I survived. I graduated with merits, NSAT Science topnotcther and I was also awarded young writer of the year in 1996.
My dreams were not limited to what I could see in the barrio. I wanted to explore greater horizons. I went to Manila. With the help of my brother Arnold, I applied for scholarship. Luckily, I was granted the scholarship. That sent me to FEATI. I took electrical engineering, although I did not really want to be an engineer. I just grabbed the opportunity for me to be able to study. We did not have the money to finance my education. It’s a fact.
It was a big help that I became part of The Featinean, the official school paper of FEATI. It gave me another scholarship and it also gave monthly honoraria which was just a very small amount. I enjoyed writing. It became my passion. And that brought me to places. Writing also gave me the chance to interview luminous personality such as the late Sen. Roco, former president Fidel Ramos, Senator Biazon and some showbiz celebs. It was fun. As a writer, I would write about people, places and events. I did not really dream of having someone write about me. However, on my fifth year in college, Family Magazine interviewed and featured me as one of the outstanding graduating students of 2001, together with candidates from Mapua and UST.
My writing stint in college did not really go to waste. I was given the chance to write for Kabayan. It was a national broadsheet published in Filipino. I also became chief editor of The Featinean. My writing skills were recognized and in 2001, I was awarded Most Outstanding Journalist of the Year. I was not just a writer during my time in FEATI I was also an active leader in my own right and I graduated with Gerry Roxas Leadership Award.
College was the hardest. Manila is far different from San Isidro. It was survival of the fittest. I had to work, basically to live. I had to live with other people and work for them. It was in FEATI that I learned to deal with people from all walks of life – from the janitors to the corporate people. I have seen life from different perspectives. Injustice is everywhere. I became radical. I learned to fight for my rights. It was survival.
After college, I began working. It was not easy landing a job. Although I finished engineering, I did not really practice. I did not even take the board exams. I worked as a researcher for a magazine, I taught and handled administrative jobs. All are not related to engineering. I tried working for a call center as a technical support. It was hard. I had to speak English all the time. Being young and dynamic, I easily get bored with one particular duty. So I kept on looking for greener pastures. It is just fortunate that now, I am no longer a call center agent. Although I still work in the call center industry, I no longer take calls. I am now a Reports Analyst for a Microsoft subsidiary that is based in the Philippines. Hopefully, this will be the greenest pasture for me.
Life may be hard. Life may be unfair. However one has to be resilient to immediately bounce back. I am fortunate that my parents brought me up to be strong and tough. We really have to strive hard to surpass whatever obstacles that come our ways. That is what I have been doing. I may have gone a long way but I would always look back to where I came from. It is with SIES where I gained the foundation of being me. Much thanks to the parents and teachers who, with their untiring patience and guidance, has moulded me to be what I am now. I salute them. For without them, I would never be what I am now.