I Am My Own Pearl

Have you heard this quote before?

The quote made a mark in my life, especially when I decided to venture outside of the Philippines and pursue a life different from what I imagine for me.

It was the very words said to me by my very dear friend – Lolo Etoy. He’s been dead for ten years, since November 2008, but I am very sure he lived a long, fun-filled, fulfilled life for 97 years.

**

The late Hector del Rosario and I met during my UHF and VHF hobbyist days back in the early 90’s.

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Lolo Etoy with white hair was being presented a plaque by another friend – Rey

It was my brother who introduced the radio to me, it being part of his equipment as a radio technician back in the days. But it was my being talkative that brought me to the radio world and their frequencies, and I was schooled on the proper use of the very high-frequency radio. Eventually, I became part of their group and joined in social and emergency activities. That was the pre-cell phone and social media days!

When I decided to accept the job being offered to work in Cambodia, he was one of the first people I mentioned it to. That’s how much respect I had for him that I considered him one of my life’s mentor.

The week before I left, Lolo Etoy shared the pearl quote.

“The world is the oyster, you are the pearl”

That was in the year 2000, my first time to travel outside of the Philippines. He told me that “working overseas would not be easy”, and it was not. He also said that “only experience will teach me to find out who am I and discover my potentials”. And I “should always be the better version of me”.

I realized over the years, that I was given pieces of advice that were full of wisdom before I even knew it. I valued all his advice including those about savings and living a frugal life but it was hard to follow and live up to it sometimes.

Until the time he passed away he was still working. He still goes to work and visits different institutions his foundation run every day even if he doesn’t need to. Without a doubt, he died a wealthy man, leaving behind more than money, he left a legacy.

They were one of the first family to give quality funeral services to the Filipino and over the years, they diversified to include schools and hospitals.

Every time we met when I return home for breaks, I get picked up by his chauffeur – Mang Romy, and we always dine in a five-star restaurant. For a young woman, earning just enough, it was very fancy but he always reminds me that he can enjoy it because he had worked hard for it. And told me I can enjoy it too someday.

He doesn’t look the part of being a wealthy man but every place we go and every people we meet knew who he was and was appropriated the respect his stature and his person deserved.

He showed me how to enjoy life and how to accept myself. He showed me that with perseverance you can achieve what you put your heart and mind into. He showed me that everybody can be good if given the chance.

He was one of the few people that left a mark in my life and will remain in my heart.

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