JUST like any mother, she wakes up early to fix her household. Before the sun is even up to shower its golden rays in the quiet and charming place of Concepcion in Talisay City, Judith Malan has already accomplished a bulk of her many tasks: clean up the house, run the kitchen, start their casual coffee session and do a multitude of things only a super woman like her can.
Their house, and so as the whispering trees that abound the fertile soil they inherited from her husband's family, can attest to her dedication as a mother of four, a skillful dressmaker, a woman of faith to her husband Roberto and the ever loving Nanay Dith to her four grandchildren.
At 58 years old, she aspires to become more. Driven by the ambition to achieve what the be medaled wall in her home symbolizes for, two years ago, she decided to put on another role apart from being a wife and mother – she puts on a uniform, carries a bag of books, and walk towards an ambition she longed to accomplish for nearly 40 years – that is to finish college and hang her own diploma at home.
"I wanted to push myself and prove that I can do it. I worked hard for my children and now that they are settled, it's time to pursue my long time dream," she said.
The self-made woman is enrolled at Carlos Hilado Memorial State College in Talisay City as a sophomore student, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology.
Being the oldest in her class has advantages and otherwise. The odds, like memorization and perform usual student obligations are draining her energies at times. However, she sees herself as her only toughest competition day after day. And so, her improvement has been notable, as shared by her close friends, whom she considers as her "children" in school.
"She is very caring and looks after us like her own children. On times that I have no money to get some food, she would lend a hand without saying anything. She is a great woman and it shows everyday in school," said Mary Joy Alabata, classmate of Judith.
Without a hint of hesitation to be close with her during the first meeting, they find the dressmaker as an inspiration to achieve more in life. One thing that her adviser, Ma’am Lourdes Hagos, also thinks of her. Despite her age, she stands unafraid to face her fears of rejection and physical limitations.
The inspiring story of Judith caught the attention of scholar John Rey Jimenez. They came up with a short film about her story and eventually reaped awards during the inaugural staging of their school's student film festival.
The short story focused in the love of Roberto and Judith and how they succeeded to raise their family. From the struggles of Robert being an OFW and the aspirations of Judith to provide for their four children – these, among other interests, contributed to a picture essay that Judith would surely relive forever.
Judith looks forward to finish her bachelor’s degree in two years time. By then, she shares, she will don her own creation and match it with so much pride.
She will be 60 years old in 2019, and she will receive the most precious treasure in her lifetime – a diploma for Judith, a senior citizen.
"No one is too old to start over again. Our God is a God of many chances. We just have to discover his mercies daily and push our limits to achieve our dreams," she ended.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 07, 2017.
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