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A Portrait of a Respectful Boy

"When a child experiences respect, he knows what if feels and begins to understand how important it is,” says a line I read somewhere.

Angelo Z. Culibra is one of my graduating pupils come April 1, 2019. I believe his life story could be used as an exemplary of respect among the millenials in today’s world where a lot of challenges continue to confront the moral fibers of our society.

As Angelo’s adviser in Grade Six-Bonifacio, I learned how consistent he is towards his classmates and teachers in manifesting respectful manners. He would always be courteous when talking to teachers and his peers agreed to this as they call fondly him “kuya” as a way of endearment and admiration for his polite manners.

Despite the challenges that came with being a product of a broken family, he remained positive and carried on with his responsibilities as the eldest of his two other siblings. Their parents abandoned them so he had to earn money to fend for themselves by selling vegetables in the neighborhood. He could have chosen to do full time work to provide for their needs but he kept his studies and decided to work part-time after class. He would wash dishes and kitchen utensils in a nearby carinderia and would sometimes sell barbecue for his baon in the succeeding days while also giving some to his younger brother and sister. He values getting good education because he believes that he would have a better chance to have a stable job not only for himself but more importantly, for his younger siblings.

Interestingly, I do not see any sense of negativity in his disposition nor a tinge of resentment towards his parents even when faced with abandonment issues. During one of those random moments in my social media newsfeed last December, I chanced upon his picture giving a gift to a woman whom he embraced and kissed. When asked who she was, he replied, “Ma’am nanay ko po. Kahit po iniwan nya kami, nanay ko pa rin siya. Kahit masakit po sa akin na iniwan nila kami, mahal na mahal ko pa rin siya at hindi iyon magbabago.” Hearing those words touched the core of my being as I reflected on the impact of his words on the profound maturity and respect he has for his mother. It brought tears to my eyes after realizing how his past experiences did not blur the love he felt for this mother.

The past few days found me worried for Angelo who had been absent for three consecutive days. I decided to visit him at home to validate the private message he sent to me through messenger to explain his absence. Instead of an excuse letter, he sent me a picture of his grandmother whom he needed to accompany to the hospital for medication and therapy. Even if in the midst of another family crisis, he would see to it that he could make up for his missed classes just so he could finish his studies.

His story reminds me of a distant past that serves as a testimony of how hard work pays off. He may be one of those academically challenged brought about by poverty at a young age but his resilience and strong value system is worth retelling to a large audience of people especially of his age. For me, that is one child who deserves to be recognized for his admirable sense of positivity. He can see hope beyond difficult circumstances. I am proud to see the same amount of respect he has for his mother and grandmother in our school every time he chooses to be polite to his teachers and classmates. Or every time he appreciates and listens to the opinions and suggestions of those around him. Or even at the times he would admit to his mistakes and say sorry for the unpleasant things he has said or done.

Allow me to share with you some screen shots of his Facebook account that narrates his gentle and loving soul. I just pray that he could maintain this hopeful disposition that can spark joy on this side of the planet.


Teacher III, Sta. Lucia Elementary School


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