Meriam Libongcogon of Bambalan, Cebu formerly worked as a housemaid for 5 years but when a foster mother encouraged her to enter the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), the young lass was able to conquer all the hardships – and is set to graduate this Sunday! Isn’t that awesome?
A brilliant young girl who finished her elementary as valedictorian despite her family being so poor that she had to help in the farm at age 6, Meriam received full scholarship as a high school student. Even then, she continued to help her father who is a farmer and a carpenter while her mother is a housewife.
“Dahil po sa karanasan na iyon…Parang nag-graduate po ako ng grade 6 na valedictorian. Iyon po ang gift ko sa parents ko, na kahit mahirap po kami, kaya ko po silang pasayahin,” she told ABS-CBN News.
But because the family’s income wasn’t enough to sustain their daily needs and also send her to college, Meriam worked as a housemaid while also juggling her studies in BS Computer Engineering.
Sadly, the demands of her course and the hardships in her job made it very difficult for her to finish her studies. Since the family she works for had very young kids, Meriam had to wake up extra early to get the kids bathed and fed before she brings them to school; only after that can she go to her own school.
“Mahirap po kasi iyong mga bata, maliliit pa po. Iyong parang pasaway pa po sila, tapos kailangan ko gumising ng maaga para paliguan iyong mga bata [at] pakainin. Tapos ihahatid ko muna sila sa paaralan bago ako pumasok sa paaralan ko,” Meriam recalled, without a hint of bitterness.
After 3 years of working for that family, she was transferred to Baguio City where her foster parent, Nanay Rose, encouraged her to attend the PMA upon learning that she’s a brilliant student.
Meriam revealed, “Ginamit po ni Lord yung mga nakilala ko sa pagkakatulong para makapag-aral dito sa PMA. Tinanong po nila kung ano yung grade ko. Tapos tumulong po sila na kunin yung credentials ko sa Cebu.”
While studying at the PMA is definitely not a walk in the park, Meriam managed to conquer everything because she was focused on reaching her goals.
“Hindi ko naisipang mag-resign kasi sanay na po [ako] sa hirap. At saka lagi po akong nagdarasal sa Panginoon na tulungan niya po ako,” the Cebuana said.
Thankfully, after years of training, Meriam will be among the graduates who will march this Sunday at the PMA grounds. Among her first goals after graduations? Build a house for her parents!