Tagbilaran, Sunday, 11 April 2010 04:26:58
Jardin de Balilihan is the newest Bohol's pride
Eight years ago, I was able to attend the high school graduation of Rebecca "Bikay" Lusterio at Saint Augustine Academy in Panglao. A simple graduation bash was held in a small house her family rented in Tawala. The star of Muro-Ami (for which she won a Best Child Actress FAMAS award) and Panaghoy sa Suba (Best Supporting Actress at a Metro Filmfest) told me that she might not be able to go on to college due to financial constraints. At that time, she had a brother who was still studying in college and she felt she maybe an additional burden to the family if she wished to pursue her dreams.
Bikay helps her poor family and financed her way through high school by selling seashells. Her mama Helen sells seashells on Alona Beach, while her papa Verano has his banca for rent for dolphin watching and diving.
Unlike other people who have showbiz virus gets into their heads, Bikay remains humble and unassuming. In fact, there were several times I saw Bikay on Alona Beach selling seashells to tourists despite of having a name.
Ricky Lo of the Philippine Star was very instrumental in helping Bikay to study in college after I informed him on Bikay's plight. Ricky himself told me that immediately after he wrote about it in his top and well-read column in Star, there were universities which offered scholarships to Bikay and the Star office was flooded in with inquiries from good Samaritans on how they could help her.
Well, Bikay did graduate in college last March, I am sure the veteran entertainment columnist is proud of the island girl and I hope they have met already. Bikay felt triumphant as she relates in the following letter she sent to Ricky Lo and furnished a copy to Bared:
Dear Sir Ricky,
It has been four years since I took chances of coming here in Manila to pursue my college studies. It has been four years since you have opened the window for me to study in Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
According to John F. Kennedy "Remember that our nation's first great leaders were also our first great scholars." It was a humbling experience to attain my college degree as a scholar of one of the best schools in the Philippines, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran. I have accomplished my Bachelor's Degree in AB Communication Arts last March 27, 2010 at SMX Mall of Asia.
I may not be a nation's leader, however, because of you Sir Ricky, I became an academic scholar of Colegio de San Juan de Letran. It was when you published my story four years ago. I have my deepest gratitude on you and to the people who have helped me pursue my studies.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to express my deepest thanks to you and to my Alma Mater Colegio de San Juan de Letran. I would say that I am lucky enough for being able to meet good Samaritans like Fr. Edwin Lao O.P, former Rector and President of Letran for considering me as an awardee of the said scholarship which made me able to enroll in Letran. To Fr. Tamerlane Lana O.P, the present Rector of Letran Manila for continuing the scholarship.
My stay in Letran would never be easy without the guidance of Ma'am Jhenny Villar, she was taking charge of monitoring my performance in school since I have to maintain grades as agreed in the contract I've signed with the Rector for me to stay on the scholarship. I can consider myself as an equipped individual ready to face challenges of the "Real World," and that I owe to my professors who taught me more than enough. And of course my college life would never be complete without my friends. And how can I forget a very good friend Kuya Leo Udtohan who informed me of a scholarship grant and for being my PR person I would say.
College was more than a roller coaster ride; there are lots of twirl and curl, and ups and downs but with the guide and wisdom of my parents, Helen Lusterio and Verano Lusterio, family and relatives, my fellow Boholanos, my mentors especially Letran Institute of Communication family, Letran staff, classmates and friends, I was able to achieve the dream that I have long been dreaming of.
I also wanted to express my deepest gratitude to Director Marilou Diaz Abaya and Cesar Montano for discovering my talent in acting which led me to a brighter future.
It was a real pleasure knowing leaders of our nation who are helping to build the dreams of people like me, and you're one of them Sir Ricky.
From being an Island girl to a proud degree holder! I am very thankful that God never left unguarded by his angels in disguise!
More power, thank you and God bless.
Sincerely yours, — Rebecca "Bikay" Lusterio
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.bohol.ph.
Leo P. Udtohan