Puto-Kutsinta Vendor Becomes a Teacher, Inspires Others to Reach for Their Dreams

Poverty pushed Benjie Liloc of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental to find ways to earn money even at a young age. At age 13, he would become a vendor, selling puto, kutsinta, and other kakanin to send himself to school and also help earn money for his mother.

He shared that they were so poor that their other thought at one point about giving them away as she could no longer support them all after her husband left.

Photo credit: YouTube / Benjie Liloc

I grew up from a broken family and raised by my mother whose income was only enough for us to eat. Lisod kaayo ang among kinabuhi. (Life was very difficult.) Every day was a survival of the fittest,” Benjie recalled.

It almost reached to the point when our mother thought of giving us away, but her love for us prevented her from doing so.

Seeing that his mother was having a difficult time providing for the family, Benjie decided to help out by selling kakanin.

At an early age, I sacrificed my life and my youth days in order to help my mother and survive,” he recalled.

But selling kakanin was not always easy. There were many days when only very few people would buy anything from him despite the fact that he walked many miles across town to find customers.

Photo credit: YouTube / Benjie Liloc

After one particularly difficult day of walking around Balingoan but earning nothing, the tired and frustrated teenager was ready to give up.

I almost wanted to cry. I took a sit, breathed heavily and told myself, ‘Benjie, you cannot live your lifetime like this, take a rest but do not stop. Get up and keep moving on,’” he recalled.

It was all the motivation he needed. He got up and continued selling.

This also kept him motivated to reach for his dream of completing his studies.

After finding a scholarship, Benjie enrolled at Misamis Oriental Institute of Science and Technology in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental but because his sponsor didn’t pay the tuition fee, he was forced to quit.

Photo credit: SunStar Cagayan de Oro

The following year, he supported himself by selling puto-kutsinta again; all the while also searching for scholarships. Thankfully, he became a recipient of “Iskolar Ko Ni Bambi” (IKNB) of Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano.

I graduated from college. I landed to a noblest job which is teaching, and passed the licensure examination for teachers,” Benjie shared in a testimony during the 12th General Assembly of IKNB.

[My name is] Benjie Liloc. A kutsinta-puto vendor and now a licensed professional teacher, believing, Good things come to those who wait but better things come to those who work for it.

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