I had a lot of fun in my high school days. I had a lot of friends and continued to do well in my studies. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself, instead, I just had fun. I made lots of friends and managed to keep on the right track. I made my parents proud of me because I graduated from high school with honors. I passed two universities entrance tests, went to the Central Mindanao University and took up a course for a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. I studied there for one and a half years and then transferred to a school that was closer to home.
This time my aunt was helping to pay my tuition. My father couldn’t afford to send me to college anymore. As I mentioned before, my father is just a poor rice farmer but he also has a great heart to serve the Lord. He became a self-taught preacher and teacher of the Gospel. He has been a great inspiration and father to all of us. He taught us (children) how to be faithful to God and be specific when praying. I think I’m my father’s pet. At least that’s how he makes me feel.
Since every person has dreams, parents, in particular, are most happy when their kids finish their studies and fulfill their own dreams. In 2002 I completed my studies earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at Urios College, now known as Father Saturnino Urios University, a Catholic school. It was not an easy time for me. Money was still very tight and often I went without food. Even though I was only an hour and a half away from home by bus I still could not afford to go there often because of the bus fare. I only made it home about every month or two so loneliness was my usual companion.
After all the trials and tribulations that I had been through during my five years in college, I finally reaped my reward. It was one of the happiest occasions in my life. Still vivid in my memories are those times when my mother was taking pictures of me when I marched and received my diploma. We didn’t have a fancy graduation celebration. In fact, I’m not even in our yearbook because I couldn’t afford it. The money was very tight at the time and my family was financially drained after the field trip expenses, graduation fees and graduation gown rental. It would have been great if I had extra money to pay for the yearbook but unfortunately I didn’t.
At least I got my priorities taken care of. After our graduation ceremony, we only had two roasted chickens, rice and pop for lunch in the house where I stayed. A month later, my father threw a thanksgiving party for me at home. This time there were two pigs to be butchered. One to be roasted and one for other recipes, a courtesy of my grandma’s younger sister. There was a big feast. Neighbors in the village and churchmates all celebrated with us.