When I sit back and consider the significant events of my life in the past, the important facets of the present, and the exciting moments that my future may bring, it leads me to think that life is full of surprises and excitements. The diversities and the ups and downs of life, and above all how the Lord created, molded, and prepared me to be what I am now is the story I would like to share.
My parents met sometime in 1963, and out of frustration, my mother decided to be married to my father after a year of knowing each other because she was not able to continue her studies in college due to my grandfather’s traditional belief that women were meant to stay at home to take care of the family. Their union conceived 5 smart and healthy children and I’m the second. My mother is a native of Guimaras but grew in Hinobaan while my father was born in Pontevedra.
I was born in Sipalay Mine since my father was working in a mining corporation during that time. Due to a circumstance that was beyond control, my father experienced an accident that led them (my parents) to make a crucial decision that changed our whole life and the way we live. Our father needed to undergo that so-called lumbar operation and we couldn’t stay and were forced to leave our house. It was a trying moment for our parents but our mother was so strong that she was able to survive and keep us going. As I have said, everything changed. Our mother became the breadwinner since our father couldn’t do anything nor carry heavy loads due to his operation. We transferred to a place where our grandmother was living (our father’s mother), a place known as Bulata near Bulata Beach this time. We learned to live a simple life and our mother learned many things in order for us to survive. She learned the style of buying and selling technique and many other ways just to earn so that we have something to eat the next day. After a year, they decided to buy a rice mill out of my father’s early retirement benefit due to that accident. It helped us to keep going.
One of the things that I could not forget was that when we started to go to school, we all displayed a good performance that made our parents proud of us. Despite the struggles and frustrations, we were able to survive with the help of the Lord. Our father knew the Lord when he was still single, he did not give up because he knew that the Lord will carry us through. Although our mother grew in a catholic church but decided to join our father in the same church. We grew up and learned many things about the Lord and His will for us.
In my early years of education, I learned many things and was loved by my teachers because I learned fast and was tasked to teach my classmates who were slow learners. I also remember when our teacher could not give us the correct pitch when she taught us the song and I gave the pitch and led the song in front of my classmates although I just listened and learned it for a moment it seems that I knew it for a longer time already. I also had another experience about singing, when I attended a DVBS (Daily Vacation Bible School) in our church one summer; I was only 10 years old then. I was just listening to the two girls who were trained to sing for our graduation the next day and I sang with them while they were having their practice. Our teacher had a hard time teaching the other student, when she heard me singing she immediately called my attention and asked me to sing. So instead of my classmate, I was chosen to sing in a duet. When I was in high school, my mother had the opportunity to study since it was her desire to finish college and she took up a Bachelor’s Degree in education.
It was hard for us but our father allowed our mother to attain her aspiration in life and she became a teacher. On the other hand, I studied well and gained the confidence I excel both in academics and extra-curricular activities. I was even chosen to lead a cheering contest and other activities in school. There was one occasion during a barangay fiesta near our school that my classmates urged me to join in the singing contest. I just knew one song since I was not used to singing pop songs, however, I was forced and I sang after a few hours of practicing. Then, after the announcement, I was glad to know that I won 3rd place.
When I graduated from high school I graduated with flying colors, I graduated salutatorian and my parents were proud. My mother felt sad when I decided to study in a bible school for 2 years after graduation from high school. I then worked in a church at a young age while my mother was finding some ways to let me go back and finish college. After 2 years of working in a church, I decided to enroll in college here at West Negros College. The secretary asked me to choose one scholarship since I was qualified to join the Glee Club or join the cream of the crop. And since nobody was there to help me decide I joined the Glee Club. Now, I regret since I can do both and do better if given a chance. Hence, I decided to take up BSEd-English (Bachelor in Secondary Education).
I believe that I grew more, emotionally, socially, intellectually, and spiritually during my 2 years in the Bible School and working in a church for another 2 years than during any other period of time thus far. However, I gained confidence and learned more when I reached college. It was another experience for me and I discovered my talents and skills in singing especially in training choirs and voice training.
A year before graduation, I met Jonathan, who became my best friend. He saw me singing in a concert and was attracted to me for the first time. After graduation in 1992, I decided to work in a church setting in Iloilo while preparing for my board exam. The Lord blessed me and I was able to pass the PBET exam in October of the same year. I looked for a job and was given a chance to teach at Zion International School for 3 years. During the first year of working, Jonathan and I decided to be settled. We were married on Dec. 23, 1993. Our eldest son was born in 1995. Due to financial constraints, I decided to look for a better job and earn better as well. Negros Occidental High School’s principal allowed me to join the faculty as a music teacher since it was needed during that time. I taught for 9 years and was able to form a singing group known as NOHS Glee Club. However, the Lord changed our lives. We had already 2 sons when we decided to follow the Lord’s call in going to Thailand in 2005. An amazing place we never expected to go or even visit. I taught at Hatyai University as an English professor and am glad to tell them that I came from West Negros College and am now a known university in the province with flying colors.
We did community work when we’re in Thailand since my husband loved to help and work with people.
Doing community work is somewhat tiring but encouraging. We traveled for an hour and a half from our city during weekends. We went to a far community, gathered children, and taught them how to sing songs, and speak English as well. Sometimes some of our friends came with us, we found many children near the seashore. There you could see simple people with a big heart for their family and working hard in order to survive for a day. They are known as the people of the sea, preparing their nets to cast and catch fish. We gathered the children, at first, many of them were shy but when we started to give them something to eat, they started to come. After the singing, some of the team facilitated a couple of games for children to enjoy. The last part was so interesting for the mothers because we also prepared some clothes for all ages to take home. Seeing them taking one toy and clothes at a time made our hearts glad and there’s a feeling of fulfillment inside. It’s nice to see them enjoying themselves, especially the mothers. Helping people in the village was something we always treasure and seeing them grow and learn more. These children are really needy and always long for people to help them. I missed those days.