Finding the way to success-A A +A
Saturday, July 21, 2012
A FORMER overseas Filipino worker (OFW) found the way to his heart when he exchanged his passion for basketball for a better tomorrow.
Glenn Neri, 33, born and raised in the municipality of Talakag in Bukidnon, could have been the next superstar of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) if he did not left the country for 10 years to find the true meaning of life.
This 5’9” bachelor has all the qualities of the likes of James Yap as he was already a varsity player since high school in his native town of Talakag.
Since childhood, his trainings and concept is to become a basketball player which will help him achieve his dream and provide a good life for his parents.
Glenn is the youngest of four siblings to parents Dehsan Sr. and Evangeline Neri, both natives of Talakag. His brothers are Dehsan Jr.; Abner, a music professor in Dubai and Wilbur, a dentist.
He started his career as an accounting student and a varsity player at Xavier University in 1995.
Because of his passion for playing and ability to throw balls, he was then recommended by different universities to play for their team, such as the University of Bohol, University of Visayas and Cagayan de Oro College (COC), to name a few.
Glenn could say then that being a varsity player is his ticket to fame and to the PBA. But with life’s twists and turns, right after graduation in 2004 at COC, Glenn’s childhood dream vanished into thin air after he left his hometown Talakag and his beloved country to search for the true meaning of life. And he found it in Iraq.
Glenn shared that when he left the Philippines and gave up his dream of becoming a basketball player, he could feel a different emotion inside that he tried to hide from his parents. He wanted to be strong. He doesn’t want to leave but he has to. It was his only chance to achieve his dreams and repay his parents for all their goodness.
“Life as an OFW is not a bed of roses. I have my share of trials and sacrifices,” Glenn shares.
Right after stepping out of the Philippines, he was “imprisoned” inside his agency for one month in Dubai with only one meal a day. When he was released, he was transported to Iraq where he became the personal gym trainer of a general.
His first job has opened doors to good fortune. But Glenn says he did not stop there. He studied Occupational Safety Health Association (OSCHA) that landed him a better job as safety officer of Fed-Ex, an American company handling dangerous goods in Iraq.
It was the hype of war in Iraq where Saddam Hussein was to be captured. He was then transferred to the American base in the area where he worked as safety officer of the soldiers.
Glenn says his salary increased in exchange for his life. Every day, he always pray that he will not be hit by mortars fired by their enemies.
To keep him safe and alive, Glenn always wears his life vest even when he sleeps and when going to the comfort room.
“I was earning P300,000 a month in Iraq but I considered my life there a hell, serving other country and risking my life,” he says.
He claims that living in a foreign land requires perseverance and a sheer determination to succeed.
“It was a ‘survival of the fittest," Glenn shares.
It’s where he learned to become totally independent, to cure himself when he is sick, eat alone, go to places alone, entertain himself and just trust himself.
“I came to a realization that I couldn't simply rely on anyone and I also couldn't just trust anyone that much. Sad to say,” he says.
Aside from the salary he receives, Glenn tried to have “sidelines” for extra income as he wanted to earn more and buy something for his family.
He shares that he gave all his three months’ salary to his parents as his way of thanking them for their support, love and care.
After 10 years of working abroad, Glenn came home to his hometown in Talakag and put up his own businesses.
Now, Glenn is the only distributor of Pepsi Cola in the whole province of Bukidnon and manages an island hopping travel agency. He also has a 28-hectare rubber plantation in Talakag town.
All these he achieved at 33. And he is still single.
He may be considered as the wealthiest bachelor in his town, Glenn still managed to be humble and set aside his earning for the poor and those in need.
Right after typhoon Sendong hit the city last year, Glenn volunteered and joined a team who provided pyschosocial interventions to survivors.
As another chapter of his life unfolds, Glenn says he wants it to spend “progressively” in his hometown.
“I want to share to other people what I have learned in other country and help my hometown become the most progressive town in the Philippines,” he humbly says.
With hardwork paired with humility. Glenn is indeed, worthy to be emulated.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 22, 2012.