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Fulfilling a mother's dream

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them are what make life meaningful.”

We are four siblings and I’m the youngest. I was raised in a family that is not well-off but rich in love. My mother is a housewife and my father is working as a security guard in Hinatuan Mining Corporation-Manicani Nickel Project, but when he is not on duty, he is a fisherman.

It was always my mother’s dream to finish her studies when she was a child, but due to financial instabilities and the school was very far, she wasn’t able to fulfill her dreams. My father on the other hand was able to finish a two-year college course but being a security guard became his stable job for 23 years.

My parents worked in Manila for almost two decades. My mother then was a house maid. But due to over fatigue she stopped working. For almost 20 years of my parents’ hard work, our way of living didn’t improve.

So, we moved to Samar and start a new life there. When we arrived there, it was good at first. Everyone seemed to love us so much and we got everything we needed. But as what they’ve said, people change. True colors will be revealed.

Our life became worse there than in Manila. We just started our life there and it started in debts. In Manila I have P20 allowance every day and when we moved in Samar I got P10 for a week, sometimes nothing. But it didn’t stop me from studying hard and becoming an achiever. I’m still the happy kid that my parents raised despite of all the discriminations that people threw at me.

Then the worst happened. Super typhoon Yolanda hit Eastern Samar and Leyte. I thought it was the end of everything. It was a very hopeless situation. Those days, I really regret why we came into that place. But I still felt grateful that I survived the strongest typhoon in history.

There are many people who lost their lives that day but the Lord gave me a second chance to live. There were many times I thought that I wouldn’t be able to graduate high school on time because our school was totally damaged.

But then, the classes continued after two months. And I did graduate high school as the class valedictorian. I’m very happy that I made my parents proud. I saw the genuine happiness in their eyes that money cannot buy. The very moment my parents put my medals on me made me realized that it is always our faith in God and passion in something that we do that will bring us to the top. Not money.

And what added more to my happiness was HMC helped us in Manicani to build and rebuild our houses. We finally have a house of our own.

After graduating high school, I’m still in doubt if I can continue to college. I know our situation. My parents will be struggling supporting me but I was always praying to God to help me achieve something bigger for my family. I really wanted to finish college, get a good job and give my family a more comfortable life in the future.

Then, HMC announced that they will conduct an examination for scholarship and there will be five slots for those who will pass. And to make the story short, I took the exam and I passed!

The Lord is really listening to my prayers. My parents were so happy that I can continue studying in college with the course Mining Engineering, but they were also sad for I will be away from them. I wasn’t really excited for the opening of classes because I don’t like Mining Engineering. It was always a dream of mine to become a Chemist. But I still trust God. I know this is His will.

The company oriented us about the assistance that they would give us every semester and it differs depending on our performance. If we reached the grade or average that the company has set, then we will fall on Bracket A. But if not it is either Bracket B or C. I sometimes fell on Bracket C and it was really hard budgeting my allowance but I still feel so blessed that HMC did support me in my 5 years in college.

It was a great privilege that I was able to study in a University. I’m really thankful to HMC for the chances that they’ve given me. There is a time where I got 75 in one of my mathematics subject. I was supposed to be eliminated from the scholarship but they’ve given me a chance to continue my studies despite the grade I gained.

Being able to finish Mining Engineering was never easy. There were times where I almost just want to give up, go home and just don’t know what to do next. These things still make me couldn’t believe that I did it. I was able to make that dream come true for my parents and siblings—to have a bachelor degree holder in the family.

My sisters married at a young age and they always reminded me to focus on my studies because love will just come in a right time. Aside from all the reminders they helped our parents in supporting me financially.

My only brother was also there to cheer me up when I feel exhausted in academic aspects. He always said to me that God is our greatest support system and I must always ask Him for more strength and wisdom for my studies. And my parents, they are always there for me all along.

They never failed to support me in every decision I made. They guide me all along and find ways to provide everything that I needed in school. I knew that they were worried whenever I said that I needed money because they can’t give it right away but my Father will just say, “Wag kang mag-alala gagawan naming ng paraan.” Sometimes I would think about my parents’ debt.

I burdened them so much but it made me more determined to strive hard and made them proud. I strived to graduate so that all the efforts that my parents and siblings have exerted would never go to waste. They have given me their trust and I must not break it. And here I am, I made it!

During my college days, I never entertained suitors (char feeling maganda). I focused on my studies and my goals. I didn’t want to be in a relationship then end up being broken hearted for it might distract me on my main goal which is to graduate.

I just enjoyed bonding with my friends during free time. I’m very thankful to have them in my college life because I learned a lot from them and they treated me like a family. When I’m having difficulty in some of our lessons they would help me understand it.

When I miss my family way back home, they would hug me and sometimes would just made me laugh. During times that I have no allowance, they will lend me money. They’re very kind to me.

Remembering everything that I’ve been through really amazed me. It made me realized that everything happened for a reason. God has His own ways on molding us into someone He wants us to be. The process was not really easy but we need to trust Him.

An adage says, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”. Challenges make us stronger and those are what make life more meaningful. There might be people who doubted our potential, judged us and didn’t believe that we existed for a greater purpose, all of those have reasons. Sometimes we need to experience rain to see the rainbow. Sometimes others needed to doubt us for us to fully believe in ourselves.

And last May 15, 2019, I graduated with the course Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering at St. Paul University Surigao which made my heart smile. I made it! I made my parents proud. Though, the battle is not really over because there is still an upcoming board examination. But, I’m very much thankful that I made it this far.

To our Almighty God, everything will never be possible without You. Thank You for everything. Not only for the good things but also for the challenges that made me achieve things I thought I can’t. To my family, you’ve support and love in this journey of mine and this success is all for you.

Thank you for believing in me! To Hinatuan Mining Corporation, thank you for the opportunity you’ve given us. It was truly a great privilege to be one of your scholars. Responsible mining is real! And you have succeeded in giving us a brighter future through education.

Maraming salamat, Hinatuan Mining Corporation! 

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