“I need to go back to teach and encourage my fellows to pursue their education.“ This was the goal of the simple probinsyano after he finished his Bachelor’s degree way back 50 years ago.
Cleaning grubby hospital grounds and attending to patients was his part time job that provided for his undergraduate studies. The mantra kept him going as he returned to Brgy. Butong, Quezon, Bukidnon to give back and teach to elementary students.
He was teary-eyed but his eyes were filled with happiness, he said, “it is by blood, I am from a poor family. I wanted to help them because I know what they are going through because I experienced it as well. This is why I chose this profession.
Fulfilling his long-time dreams of going back, Orlando Libucay – the simple probinsyano, taught elementary in Quezon Elementary School, for as long as he started a family with his co-teacher Angeles, had children, had a mild stroke, and then retired, he continued to teach and teach.
After suffering from a mild stroke, he was transferred to teach in the High School Department. “Teaching in elementary was very tedious. You need to guide them in every class activity we needed to accomplish. I preferred to teach in High School because you can just instruct them and they would know what to do,” Mr. Libucay describing his colorful experience with his students.
But he did not just stop there, after retiring; Mr. Libucay and his wife spearheaded an Alternative Learning System (ALS) project in Butong, Quezon for the Manobo Tribe. The program ran from July 2010 to January 2011.
He described their ALS episode like it happened yesterday, “We used the tribal halls for classes, there were plenty of students who wanted to enroll and they did not have the normal age range, some of them were 18, 23, 25 – nonetheless they were all ecstatic to study.” The first ever teacher also noted that there were 60 1st year students while they was 40 2nd year students.
Come 2012, the Little Red Schoolhouse was built and the whole community was excited about it. From testimonies, when the people learned about it, everyone was ecstatic to enroll; no one even made door-to-door announcements. Most of the parents, who were not given the opportunity to study before, also wanted to enroll not only their child but themselves also. “Students came here and brought their cassava lunches, sometimes with empty stomachs but they do not mind as long as they never skip a day in school.”
When asked for his wish for the community, the simple probinsyano replied with high hopes, “I hope someday they could put up a college nearby, most of the students I tried to convince but they declined because they cannot afford. The nearest college is about 10 kilometers from here. Even if they enroll, they will have a hard time in managing their finances, especially they will need a dorm.”
“I just want to tell them to try their best to finish their education and for the teachers, please guide them and properly train the students.“
Passion and drive – these are the things you need in order to attain your goals. Someday we’ll realize that some goals are not always about ourselves; maybe helping other people reach their dreams is the highest self-fulfillment of all. Mr. Libucay and his wife are the attestation that good people do exist and that you can find someone you share the same goals with.
Writer: Patricia Lee T. Yanga
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