Two years after I graduated in elementary another tragedy struck our lives. It was November 1987, my three months old sister Lyn was suffering from Asthma, so Mama and I had to rushed her to the hospital. That day, the weather condition was bad because of the typhoon Sisang, the sea was already wavy, the gushing wind was strong and rain was pouring heavily.
That night, the worst nightmare happened. The roofs of the hospital was tearing apart, the glass on the window were breaking, thunder and lightning was terrifying. We had to transfer from one room to another, it was horrible. After the storm we've learned that we lost everything back home, our house was wiped away by a tidal wave. But we're still thankful that all of us are alive.
Papa said that they had a horrifying night too, the four of them (my 2 brothers and a sister and him)we're not able to evacuate soon so when the tidal wave came they held hand in hand just to escape the powerful water. He said that he thought that was it for all of them. But God is so great, they managed to hold on to a tree and stayed there for hours and hours until the typhoon was over. What a tragedy and yet a miracle! We lost everything, the only thing we had were the clothes on our body.
We started anew, Papa built us a shanty to live in for a while out of the woods and stuff we found at the seashore. We don't have food to eat, the local government gave us ration of rice but it was limited. Not enough for a big family so Mama had to cook it with lots of water (we called it lugaw) to make it plenty enough to feed us all. Eight months had passed and it was enrollment time. I asked my parents if i can enroll to high school but they hesitated due to the fact that we don't have stable income that will support my studies. So I said, OK.. But without my parents knowledge I sneaked out and enrolled myself.
When Mama sent me in town for some errands, I went with my friends who enrolled in a comprehensive high school but I didn't enroll there because I can't afford to pay the miscellaneous fees. So I went with my other friend to another school which is a vocational one, this school was just beginning their operation so the fees are minimal. I think I only paid 10 pesos. So I got enrolled, I was worried in telling my parents. How can I afford to buy my school things, my uniform,the rent for the boarding house and my food?
Whew, it was so tough but I can assure you that God always watches over and take care of us all the time. My friend whom I went to enroll was the answer to all my questions. She told me that her half sister who lives nearby the school was needing a housemaid. So I asked my friend if she can introduce me to her sister and tell her my situation. Luckily she agreed to pay for my stuff in exchange with my services to them. When I told my parents about it they're happy though still worried but I assured them that I will take care of my needs.
On my Sophomore year I met this teacher from Legazpi City (Mrs. Arizala - thanks Madam!), she was newly transferred to our school and she asked me if i would be willing to live in a boarding house where she lives. I took the opportunity because she and her daughter were the only ones I would have to serve compared to the big family i was living with. But she had to transfer to another school again at the end of my junior year, so i was in a big dilemma again.
Our Supply Officer Mrs. Venus, offered a lending hands to help me finish my schooling (I thank God so much!). My entire high school days was spent with just going to school and work. I was so determined for my goal that I set aside most of my teenager life. On weekends that I don't have school, I always look for a day work or two just to earn some money for my projects. Its either doing someone else's laundry or pulling off weeds on a rice field.
During summer vacations, I go to Ligao Albay and have seasonal jobs like planting rice and picking tomatoes or beans. Before summer ends, I already bought not only my school things but also my sibling's school supplies. I wasn't born smart but I think because of my perseverance and hard work, I graduated with honors. I thank God for all the blessings He had given me especially the people who helped me, the people who don't believe in me - saying that I won't achieve anything because my school wasn't a popular one, and my parents who stood by me and supported my dreams.