Wala namang bata o matanda sa pag-aaral. Ako, after my retirement, pwede rin akong mag-umpisa ng panibago. The 57-year-old PPSAT graduate, Rolando C. Visabella, proved that age does not matter in education. With all eagerness, Rolando shared the happenings that led him to be one of the inspiring graduates of PPSAT.
Life would sometimes bring us to places we never dreamed of going. This is supported by Rolando who claimed that studying in PPSAT was not part of his original plan. While arranging his work documents in preparation for another trip to Malaysia, he inadvertently heard somebody talking about the program offerings in PPSAT. To maximize his time and productivity, he visited the school and inquired. He described, Nabasa ko sa flyers niyo, OFW saka retirees. Aba pwede pala ako dito. So nag-enrol ako. Rolando used to work as Productions Supervisor at Tabwood Sowmill Company in Malaysia since 1984 to 1997 and from 2003 to 2015. In January, he enrolled in Bread and Pastry Production (BPP) NC II.
The sense of pride and perseverance radiates in Rolandos eyes as he explained, Kahit nahirapan ako, tinitiis ko kasi gusto ko mag-aral. Filled with gladness, he got a little teary-eyed when he said, Hindi ko sukat akalin na ngayon, graduate na! He also expressed his satisfaction and gratefulness by saying, Kuntento talaga ako sa pagsasanay ko dito (PPSAT). Sa isang buwan mahigit lang, marami akong natutunan. Saka yung mga teacher, magagaling talaga. Mga trainors namin, very professional.
Rolando also wants to infuse the value of technical education to young people, especially to the out-of-school youth. He conveyed, Ang gusto ko sana yung mga OSY makapasok sila dito para mapabuti naman ang kalagayan nila, buhay nila in the future. Kasi hindi lang nila alam, ang TESDA maganda! So advice ko sa kanila, mag-aral kayo kasi mga bata pa kayo. Like many of the Filipinos, he believes that education can improve the quality of life of the people. He further described, Gusto ko sana lahat ng mga nag-aaral dito (TESDA), makatapos silang lahat, para umangat din ang pamumuhay nila. Magtrabaho abroad o dito sa atin.
Moreover, many might presume that taking technical courses is easier than studying academics. However, as per Rolandos account, learning new skills is also challenging. He uttered, Yung tiwala ko, talagang nasa loob ko. Kasi matagal na rin ako talagang hindi nakapunta ng paaralan. Dito ko nalalaman yung maraming mga lectures. Marami rin akong nakuha sa Basic and Common (training modules). Parang na-refresh ako. Saka, na-challenge din ako sa pagluluto ng tinapay. Ironically, the difficulties he went through were the very reason that motivated him to surpass the assessment. Also, the affirmations of his loved ones further magnified his positive experience in PPSAT. The sense of joy can really be seen in Rolandos manner of talking as he described his paramount experience as a trainee, Yung experience ko yung unang pagluto ko ng tinapay, yung pinatikim ko yung tinapay sa mga kapatid ko. Masarap!
Euphoric of the result of his educational struggles, there were moments when his eyes tried to reveal what his mouth could not utter. When asked about his motivation to persevere in life, melancholy finally set in. He stated, Bata pa yung mga anak ko, kung wala akong trabaho, paano na sila? Rolandos eldest child is 20 years old, while the youngest among five is only seven years old. According to him, the legacy that he wants for his children is education.
Moreover, the improvement of their socioeconomic status is what motivates Rolando to double his efforts as an OFW. Aside from working abroad, Rolando still looks for further opportunities to meet the needs of his children. Diligence and discipline are embodied in Rolandos strategies to provide additional income for the family. While working at Tabwood Sowmill during daytime, he planned, Sa gabi ako ang magluluto ng tinapay, yung misis ko naman ang maglako sa araw. According to him, his training in BPP fuelled his dreams to be an entrepreneur in the future. He stated, Hindi ko alam na dito ko pala matatagpuan ang hinahanap ko. Kung bigyan pa ako ni Allah ng mataas pa na buhay baka in the future, magiging successful din ako, successful businessman. Kasi yun talaga ang pangarap ko. His training in PPSAT provided him a dose of optimism. Aside from the regular programs, the school also offers Entrepreneurship course. This program is conducted to provide further options to students after graduation.
Rolando also puts high regard on excellence. He does not want to just settle to typical way of doing things. When asked about whether he considers himself successful, he humbly answered, Sa akin, hindi pa talaga. Kasi plano ko pagbalik doon (Malaysia), magsasanay pa akong mabuti, sa sarili ko. Para makuha ko yung pinakamasarap na tinapay, maibenta ko doon sa kanila. Ma-share ko sa kanila yung mga experience ko dito sa pag-aaral. Rolandos response offers an unconventional definition of success. Instead of measuring ones achievement according to wealth and possession, Rolando anchors his victory on acts of kindness and selflessness.
Rolando is a picture of a man filled with hope, idealism, altruism, and determination. He proves that despite prime age, it is never too late to dream and start anew. He exemplifies desirable mindset and positive character that people of all ages ought to emulate.