“Anak ng isang kasambahay at barangay-tanod magtatapos bilang cum laude”
A fresh journalism graduate from Tanay, Rizal just thought of the fitting headline to the story of his victorious journey through college.
Jhonrick Art Catindoy Orense, a cum laude graduate with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from International Peace Leadership College in Tanay, Rizal, wrote the very words in his viral Facebook post last Saturday, April 6.
Orense told INQUIRER.net that because of their family’s status in life, he had to bear hearing the following words from his parents, after he graduated from high school: “Nak, mag-TESDA ka na lang.” (Son, just go to TESDA.) “Magtrabaho kana lang muna.” (Get a job first.) “Wala pa tayong pera.” (We do not have money yet.)
“Andun na po yung tampo, pero ako po yung gumawa ng first step para mag college ng hindi nila alam,” he admitted. “Dun po ako nagsimulang mag-apply sa iba’t-ibang scholarship programs at magtake ng entrance exam sa iba’t-ibang colleges and universities.”
(The frustration was there but I took the first step to be able to study in college without them knowing. I started applying for scholarships and taking entrance exams in different college and universities.)
Though he was able to enter college and earn scholarships, Orense still faced financial difficulties while studying.
“Since hindi naman po ganun kalaki yung kinikita ni tatay sa pagiging tanod, at kasambahay ni Inay. Madalas pong kumukuha yung nanay ko ng advance payment sa amo para may maipambayad po kapag may biglaang bayarin,” he said.
(Since my father’s salary as a village safety officer and that of my mother as a housekeeper, are not that big, mother often asked her boss for advance payment, especially when there would be urgent fees that need to be made.)
Orense took part time jobs, like making murals for schools, and designing logos for clubs and organizations. He used the money he earned for his allowance and other payments in school.
Despite financial difficulties, Orense was a consistent Dean’s Lister up until he graduate, a fact he never told his family because he wanted to surprise them, especially his parents.
“I surprised them after ng deliberation po namin. Iyak po ng iyak. Kasi akala po nila gagraduate lang ako. Sobrang saya po nila nung nalaman na may Latin honors po ako,” he said.
(I surprised them after our deliberation. They cannot stop crying because they thought I will only graduate. They were very happy when they found out that I have Latin honors.)
Orense, the only college graduate among four siblings in his family, has inspired his fellow students, proving that poverty is not always a hindrance to success, as long as one has faith and works hard. JB