By Mark Raygan E. Garcia, Director, Office of Information and Publications
(Delivered during the graduation ceremony of the Balanced Achievement School of Excellence, Inc.)
Who among you here watches teleseryes? Do you cry when you watch them? Do you laugh? Do they remind you of your teacher, your friend, your enemy, your crush? Do they make you ask yourself: “Can I be like that, too?”
Who is familiar with the teleserye “Budoy”? To those who have seen it: How does the main character, Budoy, introduce himself?
Yes! “Ako Budoy!”
Can you say that you’re Budoy?
In life, we are Budoy. We have to be BUDOY. But BUDOY, as you will find out in my speech, is not just the teleserye actor. BUDOY is an acronym which stands for the characteristics that make you a better person:
I tell you a secret this afternoon. I hope you will not share this with the rest of the world: I have watched “Budoy” and had one point looked forward to what the next scene would be. I stopped watching it though when I learned from the trailer that Jackie, Budoy’s bestfriend (whom I thought was also genuinely in love with Budoy), will end up marrying… Guess who? …Yes, BJ – his so-called brother.
In life, in one way or another, we encounter moments when we question our abilities: “Can I do it? I don’t think I can.” We ask if our parents really appreciate our achievements: “My mother is not proud of me. I won the basketball game. She didn’t say: Congratulations! Instead, she told me: Asus, maayo pag mag-tuon na lang ka para ma honor pa ka.” And we look around and we see people better dressed than we are; playing with nice toys; driving a car when we only take the “easy ride”; eating at Jollibee when we hardly have money to buy fish at the public market; and talking about going on a vacation to Disneyland when we seldom can even visit Robinsons.
What we experience everyday creates that picture of “what we want” and “what we don’t want.” We then ask: “Why can’t I be like them?” “Why can’t I have that kind of life?”
Budoy, to those who are not familiar with the teleserye, is autistic. He had a problem in speaking, connecting his ideas, making friends with the right people. He was someone whose actions were too immature or childish for his age. He was easily called “abnormal” by others. Because of his condition, people laughed at him. His classmates bullied him. He was accused of cheating and lying. He was not loved as much as the others.
But what did Budoy do? How did he react? Did he give up?
All throughout the story of his life, Budoy was being – B-U-D-O-Y (Brave, Understanding, Dedicated, Obedient and Youthful). There may have been a time when he felt sad and was mad about why the world around him did not love him for who he was. But he didn’t put himself down because of his condition. He didn’t cry over the question: “Why can’t I be like them?” He didn’t allow that question to destroy his plans. He performed great in class – got a perfect score in exams. He risked his life to defend his Lola from criminals. He conquered his fear to tell Jackie he loves her and would want to marry her. Instead of feeling bad about how the people around him treated him, he did his best to help. He found strength in and was proud of who he was. In short, he did not give up.
Budoy was B-U-D-O-Y. And Budoy was proud to be Budoy. And Budoy proved that like the rest of us, he also feels, loves, hurts, cries…he wants to make people happy and he can leave a difference in the lives of his family and friends.
Kids: the conditions that we are in right now may not be so good. And so we dream of a nice job, a nice house, a nice car…of eating out at good restaurants. And we want a good life not only for ourselves but for our families as well. (I, too, back then – and even until now – dream of the same things.) Who does not like to live a comfortable life? But despite the trials that life presents, just like Budoy, let us not give up.
I want you to feel proud of yourselves for simply being able to breathe air. For simply being able to dream of a better life for yourself and your family. For simply having the opportunity to do better in school. For simply having the time from now through high school and college to get a good job someday and live a meaningful life.
Once in a while, we stumble. We fall on the ground. We bleed. We hurt. We cry. Everyone experiences this. Even your idols in life – the richest man in the world – Bill Gates; the founder of Apple, the company that brings us iPhone 4s, Siri and iPads – Steve Jobs; and our very own heroes, Jose Rizal and Corazon Aquino – they all experienced problems and hardships. Even on our list of very successful Silliman alumni are people who used to be very poor when they entered college – they experienced sleeping without eating dinner, borrowing clothes because they didn’t have a decent attire for the honors day, and working as student janitors and dish washers for their allowance. But all of them – these alumni, idols and heroes – share one thing in common: after falling, bleeding, getting hurt… they stood up and told themselves: “I can do it!”
And yes, you too can do it! So look at your seatmate and tell your seatmate: “I can do it!”
Budoy, the actor, can be a symbol of the situation that we are in right now, or that situation that we face once in a while in life. Budoy represents challenges of the present in order to achieve the future. Budoy can also be your dreams in life now and it can be that same Budoy that will be your vehicle towards that tomorrow where a colorful rainbow rises above your life. Budoy can be that desire of success but can also be that fear of failing or making a mistake.
More than it all, BUDOY – the acronym, no longer the actor – can be your answer to the question: “What will life be like for me?”
Kids, always remember to be BUDOY:
Let us start with “B” – Brave
Always be brave to face every challenge or problem that comes your way. Being brave does not mean you do not have fears; it means you know your fears and you are strong enough to face them. Being brave means you studying for a very difficult exam: “Dili ra ba gyud ko ganahan aning subject nga Science, pero kaya nako ni!” Being brave means you working hard to win a contest or become an honor student. Being brave is saying sorry when you have hurt somebody. Being brave means you having a strong relationship with God – praying to Him every day not only for blessings for you and your family, but for the people around you. Being brave means whenever you fail, you tell yourself “I will do better next time” and see yourself successful.
Let us jump to the next letter: “U” – Understanding
Being understanding means you think not only of yourself but also of your friends, of your family. Being understanding means you being careful not to hurt people with your words and actions – not saying bad words, not calling your classmates by another name (tambok3x), not boxing or slapping your friend, not throwing things at anyone. Being understanding means when your friend asks for your help with her assignment, you share your notes on your lessons and help her understand them better. Being understanding means when you ask your mother for a cellphone and she can’t buy you one yet, you don’t cry; instead you tell your mother: “Okay lang, Ma, tabangan ra tikaw ug tigom sa akong balon”. When you’re asked the question: “Why do you love to share what you have with your friends and family?” being understanding makes you answer: “Because I care.”
Moving on, let’s talk about letter “D” – Dedicated
Being dedicated is you working hard to achieve something. Being dedicated is you not watching TV when it’s exam week; instead, you make use of your extra time to review your notes and read your textbooks. Being dedicated is, if you love to sing, you giving time to practice with the song hits or the karaoke machine and not giving up even if at some point someone will comment: “Amay! Yabaga uy!” Being dedicated is you saving P5 every day from your allowance for you to buy a new shirt at the end of the month. Being dedicated is you wanting to be an engineer and you listening attentively to your teachers, especially in your math subjects, during the discussions and asking questions when there is something that is not clear. Being dedicated is you having a goal and giving your best to achieve it.
Next in line is the letter “O” – Obedient
Trust me even if I am already 30 years old, I still listen to my mother. (My father died already, but when he was still alive, I respected him.) Being obedient means you following instructions and advice of your parents and teachers. Being obedient means you telling yourself: “I listen to my parents because they only want the best for me and they don’t like me to be harmed.” Being obedient means you knowing what is good from what is bad, and doing what is in accordance to God’s commandments and the Golden Rule: “Do to others what you want others to do to you.” Obedient means you knowing who really matters in your life (your parents, your family, your friends), and you do your best to let them know that you respect them. And usually, it is when we fail to be obedient that we hear the line: “Dah, sana! Gigaba na!”
Last Letter is “Y” – Youthful
Don’t be too excited to get old. It is fun to be young. And even as you move up to high school already, be “young at heart”. Being youthful is being creative – you attach a card to a gift for your father which might read: “Daghang salamat, Papa, sa imong paningkamot nga maka tiwas mi ug eskwela!”. Being youthful is you never forgetting your family values – saying thank you, hugging your parents, kissing or “blessing” on the hand of your elders, enjoying being with your brother or sister in a restaurant, at the park, or just at home watching TV. Being youthful is you exploring your talents may it be dancing, singing, painting, or cooking – and you not being afraid of sharing them in competitions, class presentations, or barangay activities. Being youthful is being willing to commit mistakes and more importantly learn from them.
In everything that you do, keep in mind and close to heart the following characteristics that make you BUDOY:
Remember that the road to being successful is long and the journey tiring, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot walk on and finish it. Success is like the Island of Cebu that we see from here. It seems so far, but it does not mean that we cannot reach it.
Your graduation this afternoon must continue to inspire you to dream bigger. Continue to learn as much as you can. Give importance to education because it will open doors to giving you a good life. Consider high school as another challenge. If elementary was like learning how to walk for a child, let high school be that stage when you learn how to drive a bicycle – and college, when you will learn how to drive a car.
Growing up is a process that involves many steps. And while each step presents something new, there are at least things that will not change: (1) Your parents will always love you and (2) God will always look after your needs.
I look forward to seeing you all successful in life!