Monday, March 31, 2008

Was it only last year that I stood in front of my son's high school graduating batch? SIS High School Batch 2007. I was the guest speaker ( more likely jammer) in the batch's Testimonial Dinner. I was to pay a tribute to the graduating batch. No, not the toll or tax tribute but the complimentary and honor one. Here is an excerpt from my speech.

At this point, I would like to ask
you two questions. My first question is, have you set your priorities?

Education should or must be your priority now. It is now your responsibility to pursue further education to help you in the future. As I always tell my children, “ang pera nauubos, ang pinag-aralan, hindi”. (You can lose money, but you cannot lose what you have learned). Last week, I was in UP. My son is being drafted to the volleyball varsity team and I had a talk with the head coach. The coach said UP cannot offer my son any monetary compensation. He said that all UP can offer are free tuition, a complete set of uniform and a superior education. He got me at “superior education”. The coach then pointed out to me 2 boys and a girl who are also varsitarians. Player #16 has to work from 9 pm to 3 am hauling vegetables, sometimes hollow blocks, to earn money for his "baon." Player # 12 buys food once a day, eating half of it at lunch, the next half after practice. Player #5 never goes to team building or team outings that falls on a weekend. She has to take in laundry during weekends for her to have "baon" for the week. Many a times, the coach has to shell out money for these kids’ transportation and food.

I felt humbled and ashamed of myself after hearing these stories. You see, for the past weeks I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because I do not have enough funds to buy my son a car when he goes to college. I guess most of you are now thinking what kind of cell phone, laptop or even car, to buy in readiness for college life. Let us all set our priorities. We can do without the extravagant extras. Let us think of those 3 students who have put so much value in their education. I believe that for these 3, half the battle has been won.

My second question is, what is your goal? Do you want to be a doctor, a teacher, a computer engineer, a prima ballerina, a fashion model? What ever your dream is, be it your goal. What ever your goal is, aim high. My eldest daughter took the medical board exams last February. She said she was aiming to place in the top ten. I said, it is okay not to place in the top ten. Passing the board exams is enough. She said, “No mom, I aim high so in case I fall short of my goal, I still pass the boards”. She passed the boards and is in the top 10 of her batch if not of the whole lot of examinees.

For last, I have one advice. Think you can, and you can. I have instilled in my five children the importance of positive thinking. If you think you cannot, then you’re halfway in failing in whatever you want to achieve. In the ladder of life’s experience, you are in the bottom rung. There will always be failures and problems be it in the form of failed relationships, failed grades, failed expectations, failed aspirations, and others. I do not believe that failure is the opposite of success. I consider failure an integral ingredient to success. It is in failing and surmounting seemingly impossible problems that you grow strong, wiser and experienced.

Success is not measured by financial achievement alone. I suppose success can be measured also by how much you’ve gained in terms of experience; how much you’ve given to others and your impact to the society you move in. I have a daughter who has been offered jobs abroad. The compensation is quadruple the amount she receives at her current work. With much thought and deliberation, she rejected the offers. I asked her why she declined the offers. She said that “mom, I did not become a teacher to go abroad for the money. I want to teach here where I can be of service to my country. I was about to say “ok ka lang?” for I thought she was only patronizing. I saw she was serious and I respected her decision. My 2nd daughter values her current work because of the professional growth and the feeling of fulfillment she gets in teaching. This is success in its purest form.

My dear graduates, you have a long and winding road ahead of you. Waste no time. Remember to always ask for guidance from the Lord. Bear in mind that we, your parents, are not the enemies. We are your allies and in full support of you and your aspirations. Keep in mind to give back to the less fortunate. Do all these, and you are on your way to becoming fine citizens of the world.
Posted by desperateblogger On 3/31/2008 08:44:00 PM 6 comments


  1. How true it is that success is not measured by financial achievement alone. Unfortunately it seems to be a cancer in Philippine society to think that every thing can be solved by money. Even getting a good education is focused on getting a stable job (and thus financial security) after schooling. The "fundamental motivations", the "real reasons", are forgotten, and we focus on externalities -- on increasing the amount of money in the bank, on being a star on television, on being famous and respected. But at the end of our lives, what is really important is how much we have helped, how we have contributed to our society. I'm happy that you have children like them.

  2. yes, it is sad that success is evidently measured by how much money you make: going abroad seems to be the answer; putting up illegitimate and immoral businesses is another answer... never mind the contributions you make to the society.

    but then, can we really blame these people? times are hard and when you have no money for your basic needs...
    anything is possible...

    thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. =)

  3. Yeah, that's absolutely correct - you can lose money, but you cannot lose what you have learned. I admire the values you instilled in your children. on how much they valued education and their chosen careers as well.

    i can relate to the story of 3 UP students you have mentioned in your speech. napagdaan ko rin po yun eh, working student po ako dati at kahit mahirap, na-maintain ko pa rin ang scholarship ko.

    God Bless po!

  4. tnx wena. so you were a struggling scholar then. but look, every hardship paid off.

  5. i used to own a restaurant, one of those 24 hrs sizzling plate place in mandaluyong. if i'm short of staff i am the cook, cashier, waitress or dishwasher. during one of those busy days i covered, na-late ang staff for the second shift for two hours! i had to confront them. the answer? my cook had to wait for the other chef to return to their shared room so he could use his shoes! they shared one pair of shoes, goodness sakes! neither one of them wanted to come to work in their slippers :0( i was gobsmacked to say the least. and yes, napansin ko they both wore the same shoes, day in and day out.

  6. wow, im impressed with your speech. my grandfather has a different term about education and money. he said that money can be stolen but nobody can steal what's in your brain or knowledge you have. what you said in your speech are true and i hope those graduates always remember what you shared with them. :)


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