God is Not Deaf After All

2008 – San Lorenzo Ruiz Academy of Polomolok, Junior Year

My usual days as a junior in high school mostly comprised of excitement for extracurricular activities to happen and dreading Chemistry. This was also the year braces conquered my overlapping teeth.

I remember how bad I was at the subject that one of the most memorable memories of this year was me getting my one and only grade of 76 in my entire history of going to school. After the distribution of our report cards and upon seeing our grades, my best friends and I sat on the floor, outside the classroom, right along the corridor. Next thing I knew, we were bawling our hearts out for fear of getting serious reprimanding from our parents and from disappointment as well. Our grades were in ascending order. Jas (my ex-best friend) got 75, I, 76, and Zyra (my bff) got the highest at 77. Nonetheless, we were crying until we realized how ridiculous the three of us looked. Guess, we reaped what we sowed after all those times we slept in Ms. Kathy’s Chemistry class.

In case you’re wondering, things did get better for the three of us in Chemistry when finals approached. And while we were on the road to achieving this, I also became led to another path to betterment. You see, God actually heard me.

One morning before I went to school, I got a call from my grandmother, who was then a high school principal at Irineo L. Santiago National High School in General Santos City. Now, I’m not going to prolong the suspense any longer – she got hold of an exchange student scholarship and was in the process of faxing the Department of Education’s memorandum and the scholarship application form to our school principal. There were no words to describe how I felt that time. Having access to that application form already made me feel like I just won the lottery.

Of course, what happened next was that I applied. Oh and by the way, it took me a week to finish it because I knew there and then that every thing had to be perfect – from answers to every question to showing off leadership roles and achievements down to my handwriting. I even had my essay checked by our school publication’s adviser to make sure that I answered the question and I had no technical errors. All of it just had to be flawless.

After a few days, I was informed that I qualified for the division screening at the DepEd Division Office in Koronadal City. I remember being there with only one other applicant who had a stellar list of achievements and extracurricular activities on her form (yes, I peeked when she wasn’t looking). Mine only had a humble amount including the one I made up (I lied about having a role in the Red Cross Youth organization at school and I can’t even stand the sight of blood in the first place). The assigned coordinator praised both our applications as she endorsed us to the Division Superintendent. Man, I had a good feeling about my application mostly because the coordinator flattered me before asking me if I printed out my application because the penmanship was too nice to actually be hand-written.

The two of us, being the only applicants, obviously passed the screening process. Before the regional screening took place, the other student who applied apparently backed out because her parents suddenly didn’t permit her to, so I was on my own.

Next stop, Cotabato City (and more missed classes in Chemistry)!

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From the left: Zyra (bff), Jas (ex-bff), and me (brace-face). This is the three of us just trying to survive Chemistry.

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To Dream The Impossible Dream

2006 – San Lorenzo Ruiz Academy of Polomolok (High School, Sophomore Year)

In one of those afternoons coming home from school (when I would usually head straight to my room and text people), I heard my mom calling my name in a “get-over-here-immediately” kind of tone. Irritated like any teenager who’s interrupted from her texting spree, I took a pause from the clickety clack of my Nokia 8850’s skinny keypad, and headed to the living room where she was currently watching the afternoon news.

“See that girl being interviewed? She’s a distant cousin of yours,” she said. “She’s leaving for the US soon to be an exchange student. You should do the same in the future, too.”

I listened to the interview for a bit longer and answered, “Sure. I just don’t know how to, though.” I remember doing my best to look cool and not care that much at that time; however, deep inside, I was bursting with so much interest for what seems like a one-in-a-million chance of getting this kind of opportunity. That night, I couldn’t sleep. I was too busy thinking about how I could get my hands on an international scholarship being someone so young and, well, average. So, I tried to brush the idea off my mind.

The next day, I went to school (late, as usual), last night’s thoughts came back and I felt so giddy about it that I knew I had to share this to my seatmate at that time. During one of our classes, I told her that I wanted to be an exchange student and I thought I definitely could be one. She chuckled, telling me it would really be difficult considering there are not a lot of opportunities out there and if one pops up, I’d be getting into a tough competition. Trying to feel unaffected by the remark, I agreed and went back to listening to the ongoing lecture.

For days, I couldn’t drive the thought out of my head, so I prayed hard (despite not really being that religious). I remember the prayer going like this, “Dear God, I know I don’t talk to you often and I apologize for that and all my other sins. But, You know deep in my heart I am so thankful for every blessing, big or small, that You shower upon me and my family. I’ve known You to be the most Generous and Merciful One, which is why I want to ask for Your help in being able to have the chance to land an international scholarship. I am aware that this is too much to ask, but all I’m requesting is an open door and I’ll do the rest of the work. I also promise to be a good child from now on. Amen.” In case you’ve noticed, I follow the ACTS pattern in prayer – something that has been taught to us by our Values Education teacher, Mrs. Perez.

So what happened after that? Well, nothing really. But, just when I eventually forgot about it and moved on with my hormonal adolescent life, then came junior year.

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My best friend, Zyra, and I in our sophomore year in high school. Don’t worry, puberty did us right.

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