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Mario Balibago

AmCham Foundation Alumni
ACFPI Scholar 1997 - 2005

Last March 30, 2005, I finally received my diploma after four years of study at the Philippine Normal University (PNU) with the degree of Bachelor of Education, Major in English.

As what most guest speakers often say in their speech during the ceremony, this is an end and a beginning. It is indeed the end of our formal training in the institution and the end of our dependence to the people supporting us in our studies, and the start of facing reality -- the real world of working for ourselves and for our family. We will soon reap the fruit of our sacrifices and hardships, and sooner we will earn for our family and for ourselves as we serve the community and apply what we have learned.

As I look back, I can still remember all the challenges I have gone through: How my family strove hard to make both ends meet and how I managed to accomplish the requirements from high school to college though we have no financial means. Many wonder how my mother, alone and old, supported my education despite the fact that since I was 12 years old, no one in the family earns to finance my study.

I admit things were very difficult. There were times that I practically submitted to the idea of getting a job instead to help my family. But because you were always there to support and guide me in my study, financially and morally, I endured everything! For many years, eight to be exact, you were there serving as one of my inspirations. Because of you I’m about to fulfill my mother’s ambition for me and I am about to realize my dream. My only regret though, is that I wasn’t able to get the honors I’ve always wanted due to my shortcomings in my studies. It could have been my token of appreciation to all your good deeds but I hope my diploma is as good in exchange.

Thank you very much!

Words are not enough to express how grateful I am for the kindness and trust bestowed upon me. I could have been nobody now if it weren’t because of you. I am very thankful to the program and all the people behind this successful service towards people in need. I may not be able to return the favor to you but I’ll try my best to pay it forward. I will never forget this.

God bless you all and thank you!

Sincerely yours,
Mario B. Balibago

P.S. My family also wishes to thank you, especially my mom, Maria.