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‘Tubig Queen’ to get mayor’s special award

CEBU, Philippines - A special award will be given to the most popular water vendor in Cebu City who has inspired the youth in his journey to getting a college diploma despite the challenges in life and poverty.

Jay Khummer Teberio, 21, will be among the recipients of the Mayor’s Special Award in this year’s Cebu City Charter Day celebration.

Teberio is graduating next month at the University of Cebu. He is taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health.

Teberio managed to juggle school and selling bottled water for 10 years to provide for himself and his family. He is often seen vending along A. Soriano Street.

Despite all the adversities in life, Teberio was able to prove to himself that poverty is never a hindrance to success. He said he stayed positive and determined to reach his goal.

His parents, Juanito and Flor, were also street vendors outside SM City at the North Reclamation Area. He said his father used to sell bottled water but stopped because of hypertension. 

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Teberio said he has since assumed the responsibility of his parents to provide for the family because his three elder siblings did not finish school. Their eldest also got married early.

“Daghan man ko’g challenges, positive thinking lang gyud ko kay I’m happy person, daghan ko problema pero wala lang nako gi-mind and then katong nagkasakit akoang papa naproblema mi ato, promisory note mi ato, nagkautang mi ato, kaluy-an nakahuman na gyud ko hapit,” he told the FREEMAN.

Teberio said he can save as much as P500 from selling bottled water in the street. He said he did not expect to be recognized.

“Happy and shocking, ma’am, wa ko kibaw nga ma-in ani ni, super shocking, sa kadaghan inana, bless kaayo ko,” he told The FREEMAN when asked of his reaction of the award.

He was grateful to the city government for the recognition.

“Thank you so much for being part of this journey, hindi ko to makakalimutan sa buong buhay ko, in a billion, billion thanks,” Teberio added.

He advised the youth to keep on dreaming and stay focus to achieve it.

“This is my message to other people or youths nga ang ka pobre gyud dili babag aron dili ta maka-eskwela, kun duna tay kalisdanan sa kinabuhi kailangan paningkamot aron makab-ot nato ang pangandoy sa kinabuhi, never give up, go lang ng go,” Teberio said.

He will receive a plaque and a cash prize tomorrow during the 80th Charter Day celebration of the city. Teberio said he will spend the money for his graduation on March 14 and for his family’s daily needs.

After his graduation, he will continue to sell bottled water on the street. Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña said that the water vendor was inspiring.

“Because he has shown his determination ba that he wanted to do…he wanted to go to school, he sells water, he’s inspiring and good things happening ba,” she said.

Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission Officer-in-Charge Bryner Diaz said that Teberio serves as role model to other youths. (FREEMAN)

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