‘Humans of New York’ features inspiring story of Filipino soon-to-be teacher
MANILA, Philippines – "I think I've already learned a special skill that teachers have to keep their personal problems out of the classroom."
This is what 20-year-old John Patrick "JP" Villanueva said on his 'Humans of New York' (HONY) feature that sums up how inspiring his outlook is in life regardless of how unfair life could be.
JP recently graduated from the Universidad de Manila with the degree of Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Social Science. He was optimistic all along, saying, "my goal ever since I experienced this kind of hardship is I am going to graduate no matter what."
It all started when JP's father was killed on December 21, 2013. JP was used to living in the slum area but this is a familiar place that gives him difficulty since he's afraid the people who plotted to kill his father would come back. "I learned I can die at any moment so I better make the most out of it," he said.
After the death of his father, JP said his mother got addicted to gambling which later on brought financial problems to them. He figured out the addiction was happening because his mother talked about it to people and she had casino card and coupons.
As the eldest among 3 siblings, JP had no other way but to step up for the family. He juggled selling portrait artworks and tutoring elementary and high school students. "The reason why I kept going is because I don't want to put her and my dad's efforts in vain. I don't want my late father to get disappointed," he said.
After a fire broke out last February 17, 2017 at their place, JP and his mother stayed in Delpan Evacuation Center in Tondo, Manila for 6 months. His brother stayed with his friends while his sister lived with their aunt during that time. Unfortunately, JP said they were forced to leave the evacuation center.
He opted to look for a new place to stay while his mother moved to their uncle's house. JP lived at his chuch leader's house and after 2 months, moved to his churchmate's house. In December 2017, his mother got a small capital to start selling calamansi at Divisoria night market. This also paved way for their family to be able to rent a room in the slum area so JP, his siblings, and his mother can live all together again.
JP said his mother changed when she became a Christian. "She repented from being a gambling slave to a hardworking solo parent. She's running the business just by herself."
As for JP's sister, she will graduate on April 6 from junior high school. His brother had to stop going to school last year to give way for him and his sister, and to help the family financially by working as a porter.
Looking back at his studies, JP shared he wanted to make his mother proud and show everyone that she's not useless. "She did well in raising me as a man. I want to help my mom in providing for our family. I was always thinking of my siblings' future and my future back then. I kept in mind, 'what would happen to them if I am going to give up?'"
JP wants to have a job as soon as he can now that he has graduated. He's looking forward to save money to pay for a review center and later on take the Licensure Examination for Teachers. "I want to be a teacher because it's a lifetime service for the country. I love to touch people's lives and educate them, not just to teach them," he said.
Reacting to his HONY feature, JP said he feels privileged. "The fact that I can make a little wave for the ocean to create bigger waves is amazing. I feel honored to share to them my life and how God's grace works in me."
As an aspiring teacher, JP keeps the fire burning in him. "It is the sense of professionalism in the field of teaching. You can share what you have learned and experienced but they must not see that you are affected by it. You are the role model for future generations. If you show them you are weak, you're like teaching them how to give up when times of hardship come. Teachers enter the classroom as if they don't have anything going on in their lives, and still continue to teach as if they're okay even if they're broken inside. Teachers are very collective and that's what I admire the most." –Rappler.com
To help JP and his family, you may send him a message on his Facebook or contact him at 0906-813-1009.