Former Maid Inspires after Graduating from PMA, Becoming a Navy Officer

Poverty is not a hindrance to success.” – Anonymous

We hear a lot of people complaining about being poor and unable to study; thus, they remain poor and unable to feed their children properly because they have no jobs.

On the other hand, there are a lot of poor folks who have found a way to change their destiny by working hard and trying to go to school, no matter how difficult it might be. Today, their lives are so much different than when they were still kids!

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Meriam Libongcogon is one of these inspiring people who didn’t let poverty get in the way of success.

The second of seven children born to poor couple Florida and Mario Libongcogon from Bambalan, Cebu, Meriam lived a difficult life even right from the very start. The family was poor and could barely make ends meet; thus, the children learned to help out and find money even at a young age.

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At 9 years old, Meriam was already working by gathering sand, wood, rocks, and coconut shells as construction supplies used by workers in their area. She recalled that she earned Php20 per week for that job, yet it was already a big help for the poor family.

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After graduating valedictorian from elementary, Meriam received scholarship at a Catholic high school in Cebu City. She graduated from that school, but because she wasn’t offered a scholarship for college, she decided to become a housemaid so she can earn money to send herself to school.

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But health reasons stopped Meriam’s dream from coming true in Cebu City. She was studying Computer Engineer while also juggling time to do all the housework and taking care of her employer’s kids.

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,” she recalled.

So, she had to stop school. Then, she had the opportunity to find a job in Baguio City after 3 years of being a housemaid in Cebu. Although she was also working as housemaid in Baguio for a kind woman she fondly calls Nanay Rose, the old lady saw potential in her new housemaid and encouraged the young lady to apply at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) located in the city.

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Nanay Rose even helped her gather her credentials and enroll at the PMA!

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,” Meriam narrated.

Once in the academy, Meriam experienced a lot of hardships, yet she never thought about quitting.

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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,” she shared.

After the years of hard work and facing a lot of challenges, Meriam was finally able to graduate! Wow. The former housemaid is now an officer in the Navy. Isn’t that inspiring?

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So, if you think you are having a very difficult time, don’t quit! People like Meriam are living proof that things can still change for the better…

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