Henrylito D. Tacio
Mr. Tacio, who hails from Davao, is a correspondent of the Asian edition of Reader’s Digest. He is the first and only Filipino journalist to have been elevated to the Hall of Fame in science reporting by the Philippine Press Institute. In 1999, the Rotary Club of Manila bestowed him the Journalist of the Year award. He is also East Asia’s contributing editor of the People & the Planet based in London.
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I grew up in poverty, although we were able to eat three times a day. My father, Generoso, is a company mechanic who never finished elementary; despite his age, he still manages to work as we already have a machine shop.
My mother, Saturnina, is a plain housewife. She never knew her real family as she was given by her mother when she was still a little girl; all she remembered was that her mother was crying when she left her. She was already in high school when she met my father. She had several suitors and didn’t want to entertain anymore as she wanted to concentrate on her studies.
To discourage my father from coming, she told him that if he was interested, he could bring his family to discuss marriage. He left her and she felt relieved. But two days later, he came back together with his parents. To make the long story short, they were married.
There were already blessed with eight children when I was in high school. After transferring in three different locations, they managed to buy a lot and build a machine shop.
Another baby came – and there were nine of us, With so many mouths to feed, we were barely able to eat three times a day. Our birthdays were just two-family sizes of soft drinks and some bread. We were already having great time with those.
During summer, I had to go to Davao City to sell newspapers, magazines and comics in bus stations. Before the summer was over, I already had enough money to buy schools supplies for me and my siblings. The rest of the money I earned was used to pay the whole year tuition so I won’t have any problem during exams.
When Amafe L. Donaire heard my story, she immediately approached me if I could be their commencement speaker at the school where I finished elementary almost four decades ago. “Are you sure?” I inquired and she answered affirmatively.
I was sharing my story on how I ended up becoming a journalist to school teachers of Davao del Sur who were mentors of journalism students in their respective schools. I told them that poverty didn’t deter me from becoming to be what I am now.
“You will inspire many graduating pupils,” Donaire told me. I was hesitant at first but she persisted and so I relented. I learned a week before the graduation that my niece, Audrey Anne, who was graduating, topped the honor rolls of the five Grade VI sections of Villa-Doneza Central Elementary School.
Audrey Anne followed the distinction which my nephew, Generoso Jr., accomplished a decade ago. The daughter of my youngest brother delivered the thanksgiving speech for the whole batch of graduates, with emphasis on how her parents have supported her.
Now, allow me to share some excerpts of the speech I delivered during the 51st Graduation Ceremony, whose theme was: “Ready to Face Life’s Challenges.”
I am a print journalist and we are supposed to be read than to be heard. But since I have been invited to be guest speaker before this graduating class, I have to speak and to inspire all of you, including the parents and guardians, to pursue to the next level of your education. Let me give you five points which you can apply as you continue to walk in this endeavor called life:
Know what you want in life. This is very important. Because without any objective in life, you won’t go far! You will be contented of what you have in life right now. There will be no challenges at all. More often than not, you may follow what your parents are doing. And before you know it, you are already old and haven’t really accomplish so much in life.
Work to attain what you want in life. It’s pointless if you have an ambition and you won’t work for it. Do the best on how you can attain what you want in life. Yes, there are struggles along the way but all these prepare you to become a better person. Some of those lessons can be used later on when you are already working.
Find a job to attain what you want in life. Sometimes, the college education you may take may not be what you really want in life. There are those who take a certain course because the parents want that course. There are also those who get a course because some friends are taking it. Or, maybe because it is the only course which your parents can afford.
You may not have the profession you want in life but you can do it once you have finished something. Find a job to support yourself. Remember, the choices you make today define who you will be in the future.
Don’t rest because you have already attained what you want in life. You dream of becoming a doctor and now you are a doctor. You work in one of the most sought hospitals and you have helped a lot of people already. So, what’s next?
More often than not, we become complacent in life. When we get something, we stop working. When you get good grade, you seem to enjoy the moment and don’t think of tomorrow. Actually, if your grade is now good, you have to work harder to make your grade much better. That’s why there are others who, after graduating from college, still go back to school and take master’s degree. And there are a few who pursue more – getting a doctor’s degree.
In my case, I have won awards one after another. All in all, I have now collected 31 journalism awards. But I consider those awards as just bonus of what I do. I still write not because I want to get more awards but because I still want to inform the public of the news and features they need to know.
Share what you know so other may also attain what they want in life. It’s payback! That’s how they call it. We don’t exist without the help of others: your parents, your siblings, the teachers, friends, colleagues, and other people. This is the reason why we need to share our blessings to others – in the form of time, talent and treasure. Honor God, who is the originator and creator of all things in this world.
We live in this world only once. If you work hard, look at others who work harder? Remember, being successful doesn’t mean only having cars, big houses, power and fame. It also means being happy, having a peace of mind, and nothing to think about when you go to sleep.
How people will remember you is up to you. No one can do it for you. Will those memories about you be good or will it be bad? Only you can answer that!
Oct 2018 Health and Lifestyle