CEBU CITY, Philippines – Help came for Cebuano wonderboy Daniel Cabrera since 2015, when a photo of him studying outside a fastfood chain to take advantage of free electricity, went viral.
He has graduated from grade school and, on Thursday afternoon, May 16, guess where he held his graduation party? This time, inside the restaurant – at McDonald’s North Reclamation branch in Mandaue City.
Daniel, now 13 years old, graduated from the Subangdaku Elementary School last April 3. He will be moving up to grade 7 in June. (READ: #InspireCourage: The education of Daniel Cabrera)
“To celebrate Daniel’s achievements, McDonald’s Philippines, through its charity of choice, Ronald McDonald House of Charities (RMHC), treated him to a graduation party in McDonald’s North Reclamation, Cebu – the same branch where Daniel was snapped by Joyce Torrefranca studying.” The RMHC press statement said. (WATCH: McDonald’s ad features Cebu street boy’s story)
RMHC has been supporting Daniel by providing him with allowance, school supplies, and uniform. (READ: Cebu street child story gets UN education envoy’s attention)
Daniel said before that he wanted to be a cop someday, and the Philippine National Police pledged to help support his studies when that time comes.
When asked why he wanted to be a cop, Daniel told Rappler that it was his father’s dream to be one. Because his father is gone, for almost 7 years now, he wants the dream of his father to live on.
He said his life changed so much after his photo went viral. “Sauna kay wa mi suga, maglisod kog tuon, karon daghan kaayo ni tabang nako, dili nako magka lisod,” Daniel said. (Before we didn’t have electricity, studying is a struggle, now a lot of people help us, I don’t have a hard time anymore.)
Father Melo Diola, chairman of the Dilaab Foundation Incorporated, pays for the family’s monthly rent.
Daniel said his dream, aside from being a policeman, is for his family to have their own house and never go hungry again.
Christine Espinosa, Daniel’s mother, used to work as laundry woman, but she had to stop due to health reasons.
“Sa unang panahon kay lisod kaayo kay sa usa ka adlaw kausa rami mo kaon. Di man kaayo pirmaninte makakita og kwarta,” she said. (Before it was really difficult. In one day, we’d only eat once. We couldn’t really find money regularly.)
Christine encouraged her sons to continue on the path they’re on and to always “seek guidance from the Lord.”
As he graduates elementary school, Daniel remains hopeful for the future.
“Bisa’g unsa kalisod ang kinabuhi, mag tinarong lang gihapon ta’g eskwela. Kay og di ta mag tinarong sa eskwela, naa raman gihapon na sa unahan nga maka-ingon ka nga maypag ni eskwela kon makahuman unta ko,” he said. (No matter how difficult things are, I will still study hard. Because if we don’t study well, it’ll be something I’ll regret in the future. I don’t want to say I wish I had studied hard.)
Below are some photos of his graduation party: