Year 0: The Start
22 years ago, on this same month and day, a baby boy was born in a simple shack in Bugallon, Pangasinan. Adhering to his immediate family’s tradition of having similar name letter beginnings for siblings of the same gender, his uncle gave him a name that starts with letter ‘R’. He completely accepts that name up until now.
His mother is a humble dressmaker while his father is a very industrious chef cook on countless restaurants where his father had worked. They are six siblings in their family; five male and one female (the eldest). He is the youngest among them and everyone except him already have their own families now.
First 7 years: Childhood Days
Though born in Pangasinan, he grew-up in the cold mountain city of Baguio.
He was then a very lanky, sickly, naughty, talkative, and playful child — some of these traits still remain true until today. He’s a typical boy who would cry over toys in toy shops and candies in candy shops. He would even quarrel with anyone who would dare to watch the television during telecasts of his favorite cartoon shows.
Before going to regular schooling, his Nanay already taught him how to write. This and his age ahead for schooling were the reasons why he did not attend kindergarten and went straight ahead to first grade in primary school. But he’s quite anxious then that he did not know how to identify basic colors unlike most of his classmates.
Science is his favorite subject and was always curious about the what, how, and why of all stuff under the sun.
Addicted to computer games, he would always go with his friends to computer shops and arcades after school. Those were the times when PlayStation 1 rent shops still exist. This continued until he went to high school and college. Foolish as he is, he would even make dummy cushions covered with blankets on their bed as if he’s sleeping soundly just to escape from their house to play computer games with his friends.
11 years in cartooning
He first discovered his God-given talent in drawing while he was still in the second grade. From there on, he joined art competitions and fortunately won several of them.
Every after school year, during summer, he would scribble on the unused pages of his notebooks. His thrifty Nanay (mother) would even scold him for such waste because he could still use the blank pages for the next school year.
In grade school, he started drawing political cartoons for their school publication, The Breeze. He still remembers the time when he first went out-of-town without his parents. This was when he joined several competitions for press publications, also known as schools press conferences. He particularly joined cartooning.
2008 was the high of his student cartooning. This was the time when he humbly won in the Nationals. This was really his dream since primary school.
Four (4) years of financial support
He pushed himself through college with the help of scholarship grants, financial supports, and on-the-side projects.
For the first two years, he worked in a hotel and restaurant in Baguio to get his college expenses covered. There, he learned a lot about life and was forced to be self-supportive at a young age.
There he met an American commissioner who supported him every semester and would compensate him for every political and cartoon comic strip that he would make.
Since the higher years of college was so demanding, he forego his part time job and depended on the financial support and scholarships that he received.
He also tried writing online articles but stopped after a year.
He believes that education is a powerful tool to change lives, communities and even a whole nation.
Thank you for reading Part 1 of my autobiography! Please stay tuned for the next part!
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