Does a tragedy have to mean the end is near? For some of us, it is always a choice to give up or fight. Antonio Ramon Alfabeto, a 17 year old boy, managed to begin a whole new lifestyle with great opportunities despite his tragic past.
Antonio or Arman is the eldest in the family. Born from a family with parents who always stay out of trouble, Arman has lived a peaceful life. He has a sister and brother whom he finds both very intelligent and lively, he has always seen them more active and they used to being with different people every day. Unlike any other usual set of parents, Arman’s parents are quite very different since his Mother is the one who is working and earning for the family while his father is the one at home, taking care of them. But more than that, he values and treasures his family the most.
Even a family that lives without trouble has their own experiences that test them. Arman’s family was one of those families that were affected during the typhoon,Sendong. Even if their house was completely washed out and nothing left to save, Arman doesn’t consider himself as one of those who were very affected.
At that night of the tragedy, like everyone was doing, Arman and his family were out celebrating a Christmas party in his mom’s office. When they were about to go home, one of the people told them that it was dangerous for them to go home since the water was getting high and it was hard for them to get through. They decided to spend a night in their Grandmother’s house. By the time that it was safe to go home, they’ve realized how tragic it was when they found their subdivision completely covered with mud and water.
After the tragedy, Arman’s mother saught help from her officemates and from every connection they could think of but instead of receiving and using the donations for their family, they gave it to their neighbors who were also affected. Arman said that their neighbors were much more deserving of the donations since their experiences in tragedy like climbing in a tree just to survive was far more tragic than they’ve experienced.
“We were even lucky to spend our Christmas Party while our neighbors climbed a tree just to survive.” Arman said in vernacular.
Even without nothing left, they still chose to give out donations and help other rather than keeping it to themselves.
Arman’s family was one of those families who were given a chance to permanent house at Xavier Ecoville, one of the projects of Xavier University that helped Sendong survivors who needed a new place to live. They are given a chance to have a house that they could treat as their new homes.
While at Xavier Ecoville, Arman wasn’t one of those teenagers who were active and participative about the activities in Ecoville instead, he just observes and watches on the sidelines. But what made his stay very memorable is when he was given an opportunity that could change his life.
Even after the tragedy, Arman’s school was at stake, having numerous absences and missing a lot of school work. Arman even mentioned how he almost flunked some of his subjects. But with every determination to finish and graduate high school, Arman manage to graduate from his alma matter, Assumption Montessori School.
Arman met a lot of people at Xavier Ecoville who helped him in finding a sponsor for a scholarship. With the help of the Xavier Ecoville management and his mother, Arman applied for several scholarships at XU.
Arman thought that it was easy to apply for a scholarship but then he was wrong since it was tiring for him to go on different offices just to confirm his scholarship, When he finally passed his application forms, he was told to wait for a few days for a confirmation and then he waited.
Days have passed when Arman thought that he needed to check and update the office about his scholarship until weeks came and he thought how it would never be approved.
He was hopeless, until one day, he got a confirmation about his scholarship and how it came with free books and tuition fees. Arman couldn’t express how happy he is to finally be given a big opportunity that he was eager of.
“Hard work pays off” said Arman which his mom who had gone for too many times to the office concerned, just to check on his scholarship.
Arman wasn’t one of those scholars who were pressured by their parents or the grade they should attain. He took Agricultural business Because his mother wanted him to and with this course; he started his College life full of new beginnings.
Arman has not had a difficulty in his schedules or subjects but what bothers him the most is the traveling time between his school to their house, It takes him 1 hour and 30 minutes just to reach XU from Baranggay Lumbia. He also mentioned how he leaves by 6 am and still gets late for school and by the time that he comes home by 8 pm, he always feels tired about it.
“The amount of the traveling time will actually consume the time I actually give for my studies,” said Arman.
A Big Thank You
Even with some difficulty in college, Arman surely won’t waste the opportunity that was given for him to finish his studies.
“I’ll try my best to not put this opportunity to waste,” said Arman.
He sees this as a debt towards the people that helped him and promised them that he’ll become successful one day and will surely pay them for what they have given for him.
ArmanAlfabeto, who’s been through a tragedy that he sees as a chance to begin a new life for his family and for him to finish and achieve his dreams. Arman also said that his dream was simple,
“To travel the world,” he said with determination.