Mrs. Erelyn Rengquijo-Academia
A Life Inspired More by Foster Care
Poverty may be the reason why some people become homeless or lose great opportunity to go to school, earn a degree, get employed and lead a better life. However, for some, it might just be the driving force to strive hard, create goals and push oneself to attain them.
“I believe that disability or even poverty should not be a hindrance towards achieving one’s goals and dreams and success in life,” said she, the woman who grew up in a foster home. Because her parents couldn’t afford to send her and her three siblings to school, each of the kids was placed in different private and government centers that provided foster care.
In her case, she was sent to Kalauman Development Center, the center that provided moral and financial support until she graduated in Silliman with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication in 2001. Her sister Alne, the second of four siblings, was sent to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The third sibling, Alyn Joy, who was born deaf, was sent to one of the foundations in the city which caters to children with disabilities. Their youngest, Erna, on the other hand, was supported by the three sisters until she finished school.
“Mama seemed to know where to place her kids, just so we can live better lives. She brings us to these centers, then picks us up at the end of the day”, she said.
Mrs. Erelyn Rengquijo-Academia, known to colleagues as “Err-Err”, is the Secretary of the Divinity School (DS). (She was a student assistant at DS while still in school, from 1997 to 2001.) She first served the DS as Office Assistant after graduating from college. In 2003, the assumed the post Secretary after her predecessor passed away. This 2012 marks her 9th year with Silliman.
Err-Err is married to Mr. David Academia with whom she is blessed with a daughter named Sophia Daniela.
(As to the rest of the Rengquijo siblings: Alne is employed as Cashier with Cangs Inc.; Alyn Joy works as a Data Processer at a construction company in Cebu, while Erna is a call center agent working at SPI Global Company.)
Let's get to know Err-Err more beyond the four corners of her table.
Describe yourself in three words.
Appreciative. Patient. Thoughtful.
What is your mantra in life?
Live life to the fullest!
What makes you laugh/cry?
Talking to my friends and watching Tagalog movies make me laugh. I cry for our ailing Mother Nature.
What’s your favorite time/day of the week and why?
I like that moment before falling into deep sleep, because it is the time when I recall all the things I’ve been through the whole day. I love weekends, when I get to spend time with family and also do my “me time” — shopping at my favorite ukay-ukay stores!
What do you love doing when not working?
Just relaxing — soaking my feet in a basin with calamansi squeezed in warm water, which I rarely do.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
My favorite place in the campus would be the Amphitheatre because it’s a perfect place for meditation. Sitting in one of the anchored benches facing the Silliman Church gets me to reflect on God’s goodness, and, while I take a peek at its opposite side, breathing in the distance the cool sea breeze gives me an ambient of serenity. But before my eyes could reach the sea, I take a quick glance at the SU Administration building which reminds me of my work. The street that divides the two quadrangles, mean to me that days pass by, life is like a road — it always goes on. That part of the campus has greeneries that soothe my eyes, giving me a cool feeling, reminding me of Nature.
What makes you blush?
If you were an actor/actress, who would you be?
Nothing in particular. I don’t pay much attention to actors/actresses, but on the story of the movie itself. I like those that I can relate to, something that uplifts my spirit, movies that focus on love and family. One particular movie that I really like and will never forget is the “House of Flying Dagger”. It was a love story full of martial arts action which centered on a deaf character. The character’s disability didn’t stop her from loving and falling in love and being the best of what she does – Martial Arts. Having a deaf sister created my interest in watching such kind of movies. I believe that disability or even poverty should not be a hindrance towards achieving one’s goals and dreams and success in life.
Tell us a fact about yourself?
I want to own a good bicycle someday — like what professional cyclists use. In my wildest dreams I want to join triathlon competitions, but not to compete; I just want to simply join for the experience.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
Siatong, bato-lata, takyan and harang-taga (my most favorite). After playing, with a stinky smell and sweat, I drop by an area on my way home where Talisay tree stands, pick up one of its fallen fruits, smash that fruit with a stone, and eat that peanut-like thing inside it.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
A relaxing day for me would be no work, no paper works clogging my mind.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
I grew up in a foster home, Kalauman Development Center. My parents couldn’t afford to send me and siblings to school. We four girl-siblings all grew up with the assistance of foster care centers. During that time, my father worked at the pier, while my mother at a tailoring shop. Mama sent me to Kalauman, my sister Alne to DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), my deaf sister Alyn Joy to one of the foundations in the city that treats children with disabilities, while Erna, our youngest, we helped finished school. Although, Erna, was a scholar at St. Paul University because she was part of the school’s varsity team. Mama seemed to know where to place her kids, just so we live better lives. She brings us to these centers, then picks us up at the end of the day.
The Kalauman Center helped and assisted me and my family until I finished college in Silliman. I never felt deprived. I was well-provided by the Center with food, bags, clothes and school supplies. Even my medical and dental needs were provided. Now, the four of us are working professionals. Alne is employed with Cangs Inc., Alyn Joy works as a Data Processer at a construction company in Cebu, while Erna is a call center agent working at SPI Global Company.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Thank God for my life, whether I’d be in a positive or negative circumstance, family and my job.
What’s your idea of a family?
My family is my life. It is where love and forgiveness resides.