My life has practically been a trial and error exercise. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. Otherwise, I wouldn’t learn if I don’t try. We’ll never know if one opportunity is destined for us until we tap into it. As a child, I’ve always been looking for answers in life. One day I was walking with my mother in Kimball, it was a shopping center in Gensan. That was in the 90’s. I remember, there was a bridge that connects the building to the other side which was Chowking Restaurant I believed. We were walking there when I saw a bunch of beautiful barbie dolls as if they were candies in my eyes. So I asked my mother if I can have one of those. She responded to me by saying, “No, put it back. We can’t afford that.” Now hearing that as a child was painful. It was painful because I knew that it wasn’t true. It’s not that we couldn’t afford. Had my mother responded differently, the effect could had probably been less sabotaging to my part. Every word or message that comes out from our mouth brings either life or sorrow. According to Robert Kiyosaki, a negative statement actually closes a person’s mind. Now don’t get me wrong. My mother is a beautiful person inside and outside. She’s very hardworking. She knew how to hustle. And even though she’s now up in heaven since she passed away in 2013. She left me and my family wonderful memories and beautiful legacy which I’m so proud of.
Statements like we can’t afford that or don’t hang out with rich classmates/friends, study hard and get good grades, so you can land a stable job had become a rule or a norm in our household. But as a child, I was always asking “the why” like why can’t we afford it, why can’t I join the party, and etc. I grew up from a working-class to a lower-middle-class family. We were not poor. To tell the truth, we can eat more than 3 times a day if we want to. But we didn’t have that option to get anything we wanted either. Both my parents were working as bookkeepers in an international company which exports bananas and pineapples. After 4 years of working my mother was laid off and decided to focus on being a mother of 3 kids. She was doing all different kinds of hustles. She was farming on her parent’s farm. She was selling Tupperware, Avon, Jewelry, Life Insurances, you name it. I tell you she knows how to make money from anything. While my father kept working as a bookkeeper in the same company for 15 years until he also got laid off.
When my father lost his job, our lifestyle completely went from here to there. It was a total downgrade. In ‘95, our family moved to my mother’s place called Surallah. It’s a small town compared to Gensan which is already a city for so long. There I was raised in a very humble community where farming is the main source of income. Both my parents started farming land from my grandparents. Farming in the Philippines is really tough coming from our own experiences. It’s like gambling in the casino. Sometimes you win but a lot of times you lose. We definitely lost a lot of money and time from farming. Fortunately, my mother found another stream of income and that was buying and selling fruits. That was mainly our source of income since I was 10 until I turned 18 years old. Meanwhile, we’ve also been receiving a rental income from our house we left in GenSan.
Moving forward, life had not been so easy for me and my family in terms of personal and financial areas. But we worked really hard in striving to have a decent lifestyle and we’re definitely experiencing the fruit of our labors in some areas of our lives. If there’s one thing in our family, I think that we’re always sticking together no matter what. It might not be a perfect or ideal family just like many of us, but our abilities to work and stick together is very strong. And surely, we are one in our faith to God. When I was 18, we moved to the capital of the Philippines to get much better opportunities for work. We were blessed to be connected to a very good church in The Fort, where we met wonderful and generous leaders and friends.
If I have to sum up all those experience from living a humble life in the province of South Cotabato to working very hard in Metro Manila, and now starting a family and seizing new opportunities here in Belgium, I’d say I wouldn’t be where I am now if I wasn’t willing to go out of my comfort zone. All areas of my life were definitely tested especially my character. I feel blessed to have experienced all those things whether good or bad because it motivated me to improve and better my own life.
My story is a typical story of every ordinary Filipino. It’s a story of struggle, hope, and determination. It’s a Filipino dream. And this is why Pinoy Real was born. Pinoy Real is a real story of people who are making this world a better place to live. It is inspired by my own real-life story on my journey to Personal Development, Financial Literacy, & Healthy Lifestyle.
Join me in this journey as I reach out to as many people possible who o resonate with my story, those who are looking for answers or solutions to improve their personal and financial skills, as well as having a healthy and comfortable lifestyle. And ultimately, the goal is to tap our highest potential that we were given and become a stream of blessings for other people.