We are 12 children in the family and I am the 8th child. My parents did not graduate from elementary and they supported us by working hard in the farm. All of us including my siblings helped them in the farm. Every summer and weekends we went to the farm planting corns, removing weeds or putting fertilizers. Sometimes, before I went to school I had to drop by in our farm to plant corn otherwise my mother will angry at me if I didn’t do my duties.
That was our routine. I was in the 3rd year high school, when my mother told me to stop going to school, we cannot afford to send you in college. You better apply a helper in the city like our neighbours. I cried and told myself “I don’t want to work in the farm forever nor a maid”.
Somehow I prayed to God to enlighten my mind, to give me courage and idea on how to continue my study in college. We live far from the city around 3 hours travel. So I need to rent a room, provide fees and allowance if I pursue my college.
Enormously my parents cannot afford it. I have no other idea but to get good grades to qualify for the application of academic scholarship. Yes, I study harder every dawn time and everyone was surprised that I became the top 3 in the class when I graduated in 4th year whom I never been in the top 10 since primary. I was qualified and accepted as scholar at CHED.
The allowance from CHED was not enough so I worked every summer and keeps the money. I sold any foodstuffs, avon and etc to earn for my allowance during school days. After 4 years, I graduated Bachelor of Secondary in Education major in Science but it was difficult to find work if you are fresh graduate.
While waiting for the LET exam, I helped my elder sister in her canteen. I washed dishes and served food to the costumer. At night, I had tutorial and earned money and help me pursue my masteral studies. I tried to apply in job fairs but I was not lucky.
It was 2003 of October; my cousin informed me that her neighbour working in Brunei as a maid was looking for applicants as sales assistant and cashier. Her boss was an agent in Brunei. I was very excited but I didn’t have money to pay for the agent and for fair. My grandmother lent me 50k. My uncle disagrees because it was an illegal. We didn’t have visa. We travel backdoor from Cebu to Zamboanga, Zamboanga to Sandakan, and Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu.
We waited our visa at Kota Kinabalu for almost 2 weeks. I was astonished when my cousin informed me that I passed the Licensure exam for the teacher. Yet, I had no choice but to continue my journey to Brunei. When I arrived, my imagination of abroad is totally different and that’s how my journey started.
I was not lucky again. I worked as an account clerk cum inventory clerk but the company was about to bankrupt. We did not receive our salary monthly. My salary was $330 during that time. Sometimes, 3months to 5 months we have no salary. If they gave us salary it was only good for 1 month and we needed to write a request letter for our salary. Our agent fee was deducted from our salary every month. Though it was very hard, I sacrificed because I owed money to my grandmother.
We have staff house and free meals during working hours but the food did not taste good. We were happy if it was Saturday because the food was fried chicken. We’re happy when we had 50cents because we can rent Internet for 30 minutes. We waited for 10 in the evening so we can buy at RBC buy 1 take 1 bread.
We’re happy if we had $1 for fare going to church. No problem going back to staff house because I was a member of the Singles for Christ. They arranged transport for us. We were happy if someone brought us to birthday gatherings because we could eat Pinoy foods. I never lost hope and I know that God never abandon me.
When my 2 years contract was about to end, there was an old man who used to be a customer was talking with my Filipino friends and told them that he was looking for a secondary teacher. They just built a tuition school. My friend gave me the number and I contacted the owner. I was interviewed in Malay language and yes I was hired.
I am the pioneer teacher in this tuition school since 2005.I never left this tuition school because it changed my life and reached my dreams. My boss fully trusts me to manage this school and I earned more than I expected. Because of the life I went through, I helped my brothers and sisters.
Our youngest is now a govt teacher. I invested my money in real estates. I am now 33 and I met my husband who is now 36 here in Brunei working as an Architect and we were blessed with 4 year old boy who is studying at Serjana School. We are ready to go home for good but we choose to stay here in Brunei because life is easy, simple, and peaceful and foods are affordable.
Thorns are everywhere as you continue your journey. You will always fall down. They are all blessings if u chooses to stand up and walk with the thorns. It will make you stronger. The next time you fall down and walk with thorns you will smile and said, I used to it and I never hurt anymore. At the end you will all reap the fruits of your tears and sweat. Keep the Faith!!!