Archive | November 13th, 2015

One true believer

Among the crowd, you will notice those big, smiley eyes looking at you. Unassuming and just smiling, the charming lass was careful to follow instructions for the preparation of the opening number of the Regional Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children.

In its fourth year of the search, who would have thought that this year’s winner will come again from the province of Occidental Mindoro, making it their third; but then again, it was the bright smile and confidence of a pretty young lady from the municipality of Rizal that captivated the hearts of many.

Cherry Ann says, "Kaya kong hilahin ang kahirapan patungong tagumpay." AS a young achiever, she believes that her dreams will come true with hardwork.

Cherry Ann says, “Kaya kong hilahin ang kahirapan patungong tagumpay.” As a young achiever, she believes that her dreams will come true with hard work.

Cherry Ann Abracia, 14, prefers to stay inside the house rather than play outside. “Nagugulat nga po yung mga kamag-anak namin kasi raw parang lumaki na raw ako at di nga nila ako napagkikita at di po kasi ako pala-labas,” said Cheche as what her family and friends call her.

A good daughter

 Si Cherry Ann po ay isang mabuting anak, mabait po, mapagmahal, maalalahanin sa magulang,” says Charity, Cheche’s mother, while trying to keep her voice still and refraining herself from crying.

Nanay Charity narrates their daily routine in the family, giving a picture of how their day is.

Hinahandaan (ko) ng pagkain pagkagising sa umaga, magliligpit (sila) ng pinaghigaan, magwawalis ng unti, sabay-sabay maliligo. Siya (Cheche) na rin magbibihis sa dalawa niyang batang kapatid,” recounted Nanay Charity.

Then, the children will go to school. Sometimes, Nanay Charity lets Cheche goes to school earlier since their house is far from school.

Minsan ay siya ang una kong pinapaalis kasi malayo ang school nila. Minsan walang service at nagko-commute, minsan hinahatid ng Papa niya. ‘Pag walang sasakyan ay naglalakad na lang siya pag maraming pasahero,” said Nanay Charity.

If a single motorcycle will be used, the Abracia house to Manoot High School will take almost 30 minutes to ride. If Cheche walks, it will take her an hour to get to school.

She doesn’t mind walking that far as long as she can study and learn. “Minsan, ginagabi rin kasi may iba pang gagawin after ng klase, sumasabay nalang po ako sa mga kakilala ko,” says Cheche. Distance does not matter for a heart wanting to achieve her dreams.

Nanay Charity further narrates, “Pag-uwi, minsan wala pa kami sa bahay ay siya ang magsasaing na at mag-aasikaso ng mga kapatid niya.”

Cheche added that she is used to taking care of her younger siblings. She will attend to her siblings’ assignments first before doing her own. “Yung mga bata niyang kapatid tutulungan niya sa assignments, tuturuan niyang magbasa,” says Nanay Charity.

Tatay Alvin could not agree more as he sees how diligent her daughter is in helping them. “Mabait po talaga yan. Wala po talaga akong masabi kundi mabait na anak talaga,” tells Tatay Alvin while keeping himself from crying just like her wife Charity.

Relaxed as they may seem at first, keeping still during the interview, but as Nanay Charity and Tatay Alvin sit beside their daughter, it is seen in their eyes and heard in their voices that they are proud of Cheche.

Cherry Ann sheds tears of joy as she receives plaque and 15,000 pesos for being the 2015 regional winner.

Cherry Ann sheds tears of joy as she receives plaque and 15,000 pesos for being the 2015 regional winner.

An active student

At a young age, Cheche is an achiever. Joining various clubs and competing in different quiz bees gave her confidence. She is a consistent honor student and even graduated as Valedictorian in elementary.

Now that she is in high school, Cheche admits to being more active in extracurricular activities. It is in these activities that she gets to travel in other places and meet new people. After school, Cheche usually practices for their band and lyre and trains for their Arnis Team.

Asked why she chose Arnis, she simply says that she loves it. “Gusto ko po talaga. Dahil ginawa ko yung gusto ko, nakapunta po ako sa iba’t ibang lugar at marami akong nakilalang mga tao,” says Cheche. Her sport paved way for her to gain more confidence in herself.

Minsan pag may gusto siyang puntahan, mag-iipon po yan ng allowance. Minsan, pinapakiusap ko nalang po sa adviser niya at buti nalang po natutulungan din naman kami,” tells Nanay Charity.

Due to financial limitations of the family, whenever Cheche needs to travel to other places to compete, they cannot fully provide for her expenses and sometimes seek help from others like her adviser.

A young dreamer

 Marami po akong pangarap sa buhay. Marami po akong gustong puntahang lugar. Marami akong gustong marating,” exclaims Cheche.

One of her dreams is to be a teacher. “Gusto ko po maging teacher. Gustong-gusto ko po magdiscuss sa harapan at gusto ko rin po magturo, magshare ng mga nalalaman ko,” tells Cheche.

This is not surprising as this is also evident in the way she takes care of her younger siblings, teaching them to read and guiding them in their assignments. She is also often chosen by her teachers to take charge in classes, leading her classmates in some of their lessons.

A young dreamer indeed, when asked where she wants to go, she says, “Gusto ko, someday, makapunta ako ng Paris at Canada.” Asked why, she simply says, “Bata pa lang kasi ako nakikita ko na kung gaano kaganda sa mga lugar na ‘yon, sa mga aklat, mga magazines.” Those are the top places in her bucket list.

It is seen in the way her eyes sparkle that Cheche truthfully dreams of going to the said two countries. It was like seeing a young girl gushing over her crush. An impossible dream for the likes of Cheche’s family considering their economic status but a young believer lives in the heart of this 14 year old girl. With hard work, Cheche believes this will happen. Not only thinking of herself, she says that she wants to go to these places with her family.

As of now, Cheche is making a step in achieving her dreams by studying hard. Slowly but surely, she believes all the things she dreams can come true. “Sa oras ngayon, gusto ko lang makapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Matapos ko yung kolehiyo. Matulungan yung mga magulang ko. After nun, makapaghanap ng trabaho para matustusan ko pa rin yung mga pangangailangan at pag-aaral ng mga kapatid ko,” tells Cheche.

It is these kinds of dreams of people who seem to have nothing, but in the end, achieved it that inspires people and make others believe that dreaming the impossible is possible.

Abracia family poses for the camera with the usual field that they see from the back of their home.

Abracia family poses for the camera with the usual field that they see from the back of their home.

Working for a bright future

 After winning all the cash prizes from the provincial and regional searches, Cheche gave all of her winnings to her mother. As a treasurer in their church that records all the finances, Nanay Charity saves most of her daughter’s winning in the bank.

They plan to buy three pigs that will serve as another source of income for the family in the future. Being farmers, the family’s earnings are seasonal. Cheche’s parents mostly rely on the vegetables that they plant and their everyday earnings in ‘gapasan’. Tatay Alvin and Nanay Charity earn 150 pesos per day per person, at most 300/day/person, if their body can still work under the sun’s heat for longer hours and wider fields.

The cash grant that the family receives from Pantawid Pamilya is just what they need. Not worrying on where to get their children’s expenses for school assignments and projects is like lifting a weight from their shoulders.

Sabi ko po sa sarili ko ay itataguyod ko ang pag-aaral ng mga anak ko,” says Tatay Alvin. He is thankful that his children are hard working. He doesn’t mind working in the field for long hours as long as he can see that his family is taken care of. “Gusto ko makatapos talaga ang mga anak ko ng pag-aaral para hindi lang din sa bukid ang maging trabaho nila,” adds Nanay Charity.

That is why Cheche is determined to finish her studies. She believes that education can uplift their family’s status. More than that, she believes in herself. “Kaya kong makapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Kaya kong hilahin si kahirapan patungong tagumpay,” ends Cheche. She can, and she will, being a true believer that she is. ###

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