From difficulties to a beautiful reality

POINT OF VIEW - Loriedel C. Baclayo - The Philippine Star

It takes 12 hours, with no shortcuts, from my place in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte to Mindanao State University. Just like my road to summa cum laude, I traveled it with hardship but with a view as a weapon, among other weapons, to fight against the viruses of the most challenging time. My view is philosophic – the reality of being thrown into the world of difficulties but with the power to transform these difficulties into a beautiful reality with utmost humility.

Martin Heidegger, a German philosopher of the 19th century, once said that we must transcend from the thrown-ness of our lives. Being thrown means the world is already there. But what is the place of human freedom in a world where misery or struggle conditions our life?

We are Batch Malaya. Malaya is our name because we have survived the time of uncertainties. We have freely transformed our struggles into what we are today. We are forced to better our situation through the immortality of the compassionate Mindanao State University.

I would like to request the graduates to give a resounding applause to Mindanao State University, a major reason behind our going into the world to create a good future. At this point in time, we graduates continue to be an integral part of this one big MSU – a university which you and I dreamt of, a university that provides us hope in our struggles, especially our economic struggle.

I am a daughter of a tricycle driver who has been driving for almost 15 years. Rain or shine, I never saw my Papa give up on us; he is driven to keep our family together and to sustain our needs. For the family, every coin that Papa Delio earned, matters. My Papa Delio earns P300 to P400 a day, and we value this amount so much. Papa attained 3rd year Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation in Butuan City. He did not finish his college degree due to financial constraints, but I can always remember how he supported me in my studies. He would always encourage me back in my high school days to wake up early in the morning, at 4 a.m., to study. He was always there to guide me in my studies such as memorizing text, even the periodic table of elements. My Papa has the best memory. He is updated about happenings in the world. He is my constant teacher.

I am also a daughter of a barangay health worker/first responder/caregiver and a caretaker. My Mama earns P3,000 a month as a health worker. Just as with my Papa’s tricycle earnings, we are so thankful for the blessing. My Mama is a high school graduate. She had to work at an early age to help her family. She may not have earned a Bachelor’s degree or experienced college, but she is a critical thinker who has a solution to every problem she or our family may encounter. My Mama has good initiatives in life that always leaves me in awe. I am from a simple family with a home full of values and love.

We really are financially challenged but God did not leave us behind. The incentives that I received from winning regional and national competitions have actually helped my family. I kept and saved them, including my monthly allowances for being an MSU full academic scholar, to sustain my educational needs and to lessen our financial burden. I remember how my saved allowances saved my family from financial crisis brought about by the pandemic. I became an instant provider in the family because Papa was not able to drive his tricycle. Maybe without MSU our economic misery would have doubled.

As I reflect on the philosophy of thrown-ness, I realize how man’s willingness to pursue a good life, which is the real essence of Malaya, has turned negativity into a mindset and a heart full of vigor and life.

As the wheels of our tricycle keeps on moving, here I am doing my best to make my Mama and Papa proud. To know more about myself, be free from negativity, to influence, inspire, help and to understand others. Here I am, a proud product of the K-12 program and a survivor of the challenging online classes. We are thrown into this situation, yet we worked hard and made it. As a matter of fact, I am grateful for the K-12 program/senior high school because it introduced me to the beautiful world of Philosophy.

To my batchmates, let us all be proud that we made it, this success is 17 years in the making. The K-12 program shaped and prepared us for the bigger wave. We graduated and gained these Latin honors not because we experienced years of online classes. We finish our Bachelor’s degree and gained these honors because we strived, we sacrificed, we had sleepless nights and we cried. We know for ourselves, as well as the others who witnessed our efforts and perseverance, that we deserve this! Let us not forget where we came from, the part of us, of what and who we are right now and who we will be in the near future.

I shall end my valedictory address by requesting you to picture an image of a tricycle. The tricycle in general is MSU, the wheels are our family, professors and friends. The natural energy that influences the drive is God. We graduates are the drivers with the freedom to direct our journey! Congratulations!

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Loriedel Baclayo earned her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree as valedictorian of the Mindanao State University-Marawi Class of 2022 with a GPA of 1.133.


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