VIRAL: Grade 2 student from Samar uses makeshift ballpen for school

Jene-Anne Pangue

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VIRAL: Grade 2 student from Samar uses makeshift ballpen for school
Jan Kim's photo using an improvised pen for school, uploaded by his teacher on Facebook, has gone viral online. Netizens reach for ways to help.


MANILA, Philippines – For 8-year-old Jan Kim Enario, even without a ‘real’ ballpen to write he will still find a way to do his seatwork.

In the photos uploaded on February 27 on Facebook by his teacher, Maricor Baculanta, Jan Kim was using his makeshift ballpen during their class.

Jan Kim is a Grade 2 student of Union Elementary School in Sta. Rita, Samar, a one-hour ride from Tacloban City. 

The story of Jan Kim 

Maricor narrated that she was giving her class an exercise when she noticed that there was something different about Jan Kim’s ballpen. She wasn’t able to find out immediately because he was too shy to show it. 

By the time that Jan Kim got even more determined to answer his exercise, he stopped covering his pen with his other hand. Maricor saw that Jan Kim’s ballpen was only made out of a ballpen ink chamber and tip, rubber band, and a piece of wood. (READ: Donations pour in for student who wrote ‘heartbreaking’ excuse letter)

When she asked where he got that pen, he said: “Akon la maam, ballpen ha amon balay na guba na an balayan.” (I was the one who made it, ma’am. It’s a ballpen with a broken barrel that I found at home.)

Because it still had ink, he improvised to be able to use it as a ballpen. 

“Actually, diri pa dapat hira nagamit hin ballpen. Han nagpakiana hiya kun pwede hiya gumamit hin ballpen, diri man ako maaram na sugad an pustura han iya ballpen. Siring niya ha akon nga waray hiya lapis pero mayda hiya ballpen. Tumugot ako pero siring ko nga ha susunod, lapis na an gagamiton,” Maricor narrated.  

(Actually, for his grade level, he is still not supposed to use a ballpen. When he asked me if he could use it, I didn’t know that it looked like that. He told me that he doesn’t have a pencil but he has a ballpen. I allowed him to use it but next time, he should use a pencil.)

She said that when she learned that Jan Kim was using his improvised pen, she couldn’t help but cry. 

“Pagkatapos han amon klase, diri pa talaga ako nakakamove-on. Pagstorya ko ha akon mga co-teachers, nahingangatuok la gihap ako (Even after our class that day, I could not easily move on with what I saw. I couldn’t help but cry when I shared it to my co-teachers),” Maricor recounted. 

When the photos were posted online by Maricor, she didn’t expect that they would go viral. She said she would appreciate any opportunity that would be available to help Jan Kim and his school. She is also hopeful that maybe someone will even help him finish his studies. (READ: Donate books, help Lumad students finish college)

“Nagpapasalamat ako ha Ginoo nga nagkaada hin positive outcome an akon pagpost. Kunta maging inspirasyon ha mga bata yana labi na ha mga nakakaprovide hin complete school supplies nga tagan hin importansya an ira mga gamit, kun ano man an meada nira yana,” Maricor told Rappler.

(I am thankful to God that my Facebook post gained a positive result. I hope it would serve as an inspiration to the young ones – especially to those students who are provided with the complete school supplies; that they would see the importance of the things that they have now.) 

Determined to learn

After their regular class, Maricor usually conducts remedial classes to her students who’d be willing to learn and practice more on reading; and Jan Kim is one of them. 

Although he’s a soft-spoken student, Maricor said that Jan Kim is hardworking, behaved, shows eagerness to learn, and is always present in class. 

“Siring niya, gusto niya maging teacher (He said he wanted to be a teacher),” Maricor added.

Netizens look for ways to reach out

Netizens admired Jan Kim’s determination and resourcefulness. (READ: Kid studying on Cebu sidewalk inspires netizens)

Other netizens wanted to reach out and look for ways to help Jan Kim.

How to help

In a phone interview with Rappler, Maricor said that donations like school supplies, reading materials such as supplementary and story books, educational flashcards, would be appreciated. Any help to improve their school building and facilities is welcome as well.

Maricor said that donations may be directed to her since the parents of Jan Kim don’t have a contact number or a Facebook account.

Donations may be sent using the following details: 



Contact Number: +639774876571




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Jene-Anne Pangue

Jene-Anne Pangue is a community and civic engagement specialist at MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm.