Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Speech Project 1: My Seven Goals & Wishes in Life

My fellow Toastmasters, good evening!

As I read my diaries last night, I have come across this page which was written four years ago. It's about my seven goals and wishes in life. As I saw again these seven simple dreams from my online diary archive, I only felt two things, happy and motivated. I felt happy knowing three goals have been actually fulfilled and also I felt motivated because at least I am still living, with full of hope, and still capable to continuing with my humble and challenging life. You might wonder what my seven goals and wishes in life are? Honestly, in those seven simple wishes, I'm not actually asking to become a rich person someday, nor to be a handsome guy, nor be a real man, nor to be a well-known person, all I humbly ask are seven simple dreams that touches my heart -- seven dreams that I really felt the only things that could make my life worthy. Those seven goals are (1) To be able to graduate successfully; (2) To be able to find a good job; (3) To be able to help my family; (4) To be able to develop a new system of education; (5) To be able to develop new technologies; (6) To be able to publish books; and (7) To be able to clarify and understand the mystery of the world.

I am so happy that my first goal of graduating successfully is already a dream come true. I think what i mean with "graduating successfully" is having graduated with flying colors. The second goal looks nice to me as I have now found my third "good" job as a Software Engineer in Accenture. The third goal which is to help my family is already in progress wherein aside from giving them a monthly support, I am also sending my brother to college. The remaining four goals are still in the hands of God and destiny. I'm sure, you wouldn't be able to understand what those seven dreams mean to me if you don't know my life's story...

Did you know that I am just an ordinary person who came from a very simple family in the remotest mountainous place in Bicol province? But, how did I get to live and work in this city? How did I get into to this big company? I think that in this room, I’m the only person who actually lived in a mountain! Imagine living in a mountain where you can only hear owls at night and no near houses! Pretty scary, but that’s the kind of place where my family lived when I was still a kid. If you see the landscapes in the movie “Lord of the Rings”, that’s the kind of place where I have lived --- trees, rivers, forests, carabaos, farms… this is the kind of place where I first see this world. I am so lucky to have experienced living by nature and see how it differs with living in the city.

As someone who came from a place with no electricity, no jeepneys, no TV and no money, and with all the achievements in my life right now, I can't help but smile when I imagine myself as a boy coming from the remotest mountainous barangay who has now gradually climbed up and surpassed enormous challenges and finally graduated in college successfully and now part of very competitive outsourcing company. There are times when I just cry whenever I trace when I came from, remembering that very far away barrio called Banao. You might wonder where that place is? To give you a hint where it is, from Cubao you ride a bus for 13 hours going south till you reach the end of Luzon island, ride a jeepney for 2 hours going to the town passing through the Albay Gulf, and ride 2 hours again going to the barangay passing through rough roads and lastly, walk 2 kilometers to reach my birth place. My family was then contented with an ordinary living through Kaingin farming, illegal logging, and coconut planting in our small farm. Everyday, I will wake up early to take a bath in a spring a kilometer away from home together with my brothers and cousins. This scarce and poor type of living in our barrio helped strengthened my perseverance and to strive hard in studying. Everyday, i used to walk two kilometers from home to school with my "baon" wrapped in a banana leaf and with my thin slippers stepping on rough rocky roads. My family's life seemed so miserable during those elementary days that my family even went to Manila to find work. I studied in Manila during my 5th grade. But since my parents and my siblings didn't have a job, we returned to the province in my 6th grade to go back to ordinary farming such as planting root crops and coconuts. This poor type of living is not only the one that affected me most, my life has been under a family which doesn't have enough happiness and caring. My father has always been my nightmare! He's more of a shame-causing and doesn't take responsibilities in raising us as he is always drunk every second of his life.

As I continued my miserable life during elementary days, I felt so many personal, emotional, and social changes in my life. People even look at me as a person with no hope but my mother believed in me and supported me as I gathered all the honors and medals in every recognition day. High school days came, and i said to myself i should not let others downgrade me eventhough life is getting difficult for me. There are times that i almost cry because of so many problems that faces my family but i still continued on studying. I even treat my home as my school and my school my home... ignoring my pleasures of living as an adolescent who usually plays and stays with the friends. Hunger for the search for knowledge was my only life during those times. Science books flavored with tons of knowledge & wisdom have been my favorite dish during those days that I've read all the books I could read from my cousins' imported-American-hard-bound books. I don't care about the things i have missed but it never makes me feel regretful because to be able to graduate as a valedictorian is my only wish during that time and my only prayer everyday revolved on how to make myself a difference. I want to show my parents and relatives that even I'm like this, I can really make a difference! I know that if I will be able to graduate with flying colors, it would open new opportunities for me especially the scholarships which is I think the only way I can continue with my studies. But, I haven't heard of any scholarhips in our school. Maybe, i'll just apply in a college in Legaspi City. I did not think of where to study in college... i just did my best in everything and every seconds of the day no matter what. To tell you the truth, God really knows where I am going. I can always feel his love and guidance amidst insurmountable challenges in my life.

During my elementary and high school days, my life revolves in praying, wishing, studying, going to church and avoiding things that would hinder my dreams. Dreaming and wishing are the two powerful batteries that powers me to move on with my life especially in high school. I feel so good when other people talks about me. But, when my mother talks about me in front of other people i feel flattered and somewhat unhappy coz they dont have the financial capacity to send me to college. Eventhough I am now expecting to graduate as the valedictorian in high school, going to college is what really bothers me. A month after my graduation in high school, I realized being a Valedictorian and having many medals are not yet enough. I was already desperate that my only choice to continue with my studies is to enter the seminary. But I can't imagine myself as a priest. So I prayed "Lord, kung saan nyo po gusto ako dalhin at kung saan po tingin nyo ako magiging mas makakatulong sa pamilya ko, kayo na po ang bahala sakin." And as always, God really never let me down and praying has always been my lucky charm... After a month, I received an application form from the Department of Science and Technology - Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) scholarship. So, I went to Legaspi togeher with my classmate and Salutatorian to take the examination. Luckily, i was the one who passed the exam granting me a full-time five-year engineering scholarship in Manila. I was overwhelmed by the opportunity i got... but, I just dont know where in Manila i'll be studying coz there are no accredited schools in Legaspi that time that offers an engineering course. So my mother and I immediately went to Manila. You know what my first choice of school was? I have Ateneo, La Salle, UST, and other class A universities my first choices of school. I was so excited that I will be the only person in our family to take up college and not to boast of, I will be the "only" person in family generation to take up Engineering. "I will be the first engineer in our generation", i thought as I motivate myself. So we went to the DOST-Bicutan office to sign-up the contract. They suggested that I can take my course in TUP coz it is accredited by the DOST and not to mention it has a very low tuition fee, though it is not a prominent university compared to my "Ateneo" dream or "La Salle"dream. You know what, we even went to La salle to inquire but I almost got a heart attack by the very high tuition fee that time "10,000" pesos. Where in the world would my family get that money if not even a 500 pesos is saved in our pockets? As I learned to accept that I can only study in a state university, i have refrained from dreaming for a famous school. I just thought that the name of the school is not very important as long as you study very well. During this stage of my education, i've learned so many things that powered me to strive further in my studies.

My fellow toastmasters, as I stood in front of you right now, I just want to share to you that "if you want to be successful in life, you must have the art of perseverance, the power of dreaming and the science of praying." To tell you, I have come to realize that perseverance, dreaming and praying is a very powerful set of tools that any person can have. Due to my desire to achieve a specific goal, I always bear it in mind and make sure that it is my focus. I even wrote my dreams in my diary, in my notebooks, and even say it silently and secretly to plants hoping they can hear me and spell a magic wand to make my dreams come true. I even say it to the moon and the shining stars upon the moonlit night. My dreams have persuaded me to study harder and finish elementary, high school and college with flying colors. “I once wished I can be a valedictorian”, and I did became a valedictorian. “I once wished I can be a teacher”, and I did became more than I ever expected as Electronics Engineer and Software Engineer. “I once wished I can be a Cum Laude”, and I did became a cum laude. “I once wished I can travel to other countries”, and I did crossed the Pacific and stepped into the Japanese, Thai, and American soils. How about you, what are your goals and wishes in life?

Good evening, fellow Toastmasters!

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