In the Phillipines, it was a common practice to have a signage or tarpaulin made for new graduates and board passers. It does not only serve as a greeting for students’success after their hardwork and perseverance over several years of study but also as a proud indicator for that particular household that they were able to sustain and support such individual to attain an educational degree. Many would agree that the tarpaulin is much more pleasing to the eye if it involved board passers and even more so if the student became one of the top notchers.
Back in the year 2015, a similar scenario went viral when a picture of household displaying a tarpaulin of a recent graduate who accomplished to land as the Top 2 in the recently held Teacher Licensure Exam that year. What made the image more exceptional besides what was written on the tarpaulin was the actual house it was displayed in. To everyone’s suprise and amazement, the house who manufactured the 2nd Top Placer was a simple and humble nipa hut.
According to sources, the proud nipa hut was home to 2015 Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) 2nd Top Placer Iah Bantang Seraspi and her family. Iah finished her degree at Romblon State University. Her father works as local fisherman while her mother took care of the household as a plain housewife. Despite of their status in life, Iah managed to overcame all the odds and finished her studies and even bested the 34,010 other board passer who took the licensure exam. She recalled all her struggles before finally achieving her goal in post she shared on social media.
“I came from a poor family. I am not telling you this to humiliate my family nor to get your sympathy. I just want you to realize how blessed you are if you were able to live a life better than mine. Since I started schooling, feeling ko mayaman na kami kapag nakapag-ulam akong noodles sa agahan kasi usually ang ulam ko ay chichiria, kape, asin, asukal o kahit ano basta lang may lasa ang aming kanin. Imagine the nutrition I get from those foods yet I am an achiever in school. Di naman nila makikita ang laman ng tiyan ko but they will definitely see the capacity of my brains,”
But Iah’s truly inspirational success story did not end there. Fast forward 2019, Seraspi once again caught the attention of netizens after sharing a post with a series of pictures for her 25th birthday.
Her achievement of bagging the 2nd Top placer during the licensure examination paved way to better opportunities after she graduated. Iah received an invite to be a part of the Carl E. Balita Review Center (CBRC) which she gladly accepted. It was the same review center who helped her prepared for the 2015 LET Exams. She now works as a reviewer imparting her story of successs as well as her knowledge and techniques to other fellow board examiners. Her job also allowed her to finally upgrade the viral yet humble nipa house into a modern one. Their new home was built on the very same ground where the hut once stood.
Topping the board examination opened so much doors for me. But I chose to open one door which led me to my dreams. Choosing to stay and work in CBRC may sound selfish for some but I have no regrets: I chose to be practical, I chose to dream bigger, I chose to achieve greater heights. After all, it’s not only my dream at stake. It’s my family’s dream too.
My work in CBRC demanded a part of my life which I willingly gave. Life here has been so good to me but it was never and will never be easy. I may have enjoyed the luxuries of life but I have a little luxury of time to cherish those moments because I chose not to rest even if we were given the privilege to rest. We were given prerogatives to choose our schedule but I chose to work as long as my body can. For my entire three years in CBRC, I’ve been choosing the hard choices because I’m a strong believer that everything will be worth it in the end.”
Iah’s life story of her struggles, hardships and success is a true reminder to everyone that dreams do come true if you put a lot of effort to make it happen.