Thursday, February 21, 2008

A book in the making: Part 1

A book in the making : If I am the Philippine President – Part 1

I admit that among my incredible dreams, to become the president of our ailing country is one of them. Not because I wanted to ride around freely on traffic jams with black, flashing muscle cars nor dine with the famous and powerful people around the world. Not because I want to stay in Malacanang Palace and enjoy the lavish benefits of a chief executive nor fly around the world for free.

I can’t even understand why I want to be a president when in fact I never admired any of them. Not one. They were never my heroes. No exception. No one came close to my idea of what a president should be. No one displayed the heroism of a real Filipino president, a person who will consume all his life for the service of the country.

I grew up watching my father serve our neighborhood as a barangay councilman. 20 years of unwavering public service, 20 years of humble, dedicated and selfless service to a community mainly composed of workers for the country’s biggest sugar mill. The job was thankless. The government allowance was not even enough for him to buy a pair of shoes that he wore out while attending to various concerns of the community. I looked up to him, sensed the pride in his effort to make a difference in our society. He was my first hero and I am sure that along the way, with all the service he gave, he was a real hero to a few more individuals in our community.

I tried to take a dip into politics at the age of 16. The local Sangunniang Kabataan (SK) election was up and with the same willingness and desire to serve the youth in our community, I ran as chairman and lost by less than ten votes to a lady that remained as a close friend.

It was a devastating blow to me and my party. At that young age, I felt bitter but consoled by the presence of friends around me. It might have affected my self-esteem for a while but the most remarkable thing that happened to me was how it opened my eyes to politics even at a small scale. I still thank God that I lost that election ‘cause I never trusted myself to be a good public servant at such a young age when material things and lust for higher government position is a big temptation.

I went to study Civil Engineering in a local university and really enjoyed my college years. I started as a vice-president of a religious organization, Student Catholic Action, on my third year and became a fraternity president the next year of Delta Phi Omega. My last year in college was dedicated as president of the Association of Civil Engineering Students. I joined 5 school organizations, joined school competitions where I won, together with a friend, for the provincial wide contest on original song composition. I played in a band, walked the streets of Bacolod city drunk, fed the malnourished kids at the city outskirts, collared by the city police for having too much fun with friends, shared a good 4 years relationship with a girlfriend, graduated on time and landed as one of the topnotchers of the national civil engineering board exams. My college years can always be replayed over and over again, and I will never be tired of reliving it.

When I was still in school, I made it a point to attend my classes and make sure that I understand the lesson. Once I think that I already understood, I would go out with friends and hang around the campus. But I was also a library client. I don’t just borrow books regarding my class but I also borrow books of special interests. I think my mind is just too restless to settle what’s in front of me. I always wanted to learn more, experience new things, meet good people, extend myself in anyway. I learned to exhaust myself.

During one of the periodic exams, I accidentally left my textbook open under the armchair. The exam was easy not because the questions were simple but I just happened to study the right things that came out of the exams. The proctor watching the exam room was in his mid fifties, military haircut, strict and corny male professor who would sometimes splatter some frothy concoctions in front of the class. He was watching me intently, just waiting for me to look down and look at the open book. I never intended to look since I didn’t really know that the book was open. He was there ten feet away from me, moved his chair across the room so that he can watch me carefully. One little peek and I fail the subject for cheating. I am not sure if I was the earliest to turn over my test papers but just right after he receives my paper, he said, “I was really expecting that you would look down to see your notebook. Next time, don’t put yourself in suspicious situation.”

That incident was the most profound and most valuable piece of advice I still hold dear up to the moment. “Never put yourself under suspicion.” The truth to those words remained to be my guiding principle both at work and play. I always show people my clean intentions to a point sometimes that it becomes a wasted effort. Intentions can be observed in several angles, often, in ways you don’t expect.

End of Part 1

1 comment:

rheaangela said...


This was really good! Heartfelt and well-written!

I look forward to part two.

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