KIM D. Limosnero, 21, grew up in a family of chicharon (deep-fried pork rind) vendors in Palo, Leyte.
Although his father, Loe, died from liver cirrhosis before he entered grade school, Limosnero already has a clear memory of how his parents manufactured and sold the popular Filipino snack to support the family.
“As small children, the only help my two brothers, sister and I could offer was to pack chicharon pieces by hand into small transparent cellophane. A pack of chicahron is normally sold for P2 in small sari-sari stores,” he recalled.
With the untimely death of his father, Limosnero looked up to his mother, Rosalina, as his source of strength and inspiration.
His mother, became the breadwinner of their family, successfully managing their chicharon business by herself despite not being able to finish college.
“Throughout the years, I have seen how my mother untiringly supervised alone the operations of our family business. My mother is one of the most hardworking persons I have ever known -- even more diligent than I am,” he said.
“Every morning, she would wake up around 4 a.m. to start managing our business -- estimating how many packs and bundles of chicharon she could sell for the day, communicating with our suppliers regarding the availability of the primary inputs to our manufacturing operations, transacting with numerous wholesalers and retailers, and at times negotiating with them on quantity discounts,” added Limosnero.
According to him, his mother regularly leaves their home, riding their family-owned multicab occasionally driven by his older brother and during other times by a paid driver, to deliver bundles of chicharon to their customers in Samar and Leyte.
They travel hundreds of kilometers in each delivery cycle, he said.
As he doesn’t really want his mother to “spend so much” for his personal needs and education, Limosnero also tried selling chicharon to his classmates at Palo National High School where he finished as valedictorian and at the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College (UPVTC) where he successfully topped in the entire graduating Class 2018 as Magna cum laude, with cumulative GWA of 1.256, in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy.
When the emcee started to call the honor graduates during the university’s 42nd Commencement Exercises on Tuesday, June 26, her mother, who was sitting in front, shed tears of joy, completely surprised about the overall academic achievement of her son.
“To my mother, the summa cum laude of my life, you have sacrificed so much to bring me to where I am today. Hindi ka na nakahanap ng ‘forever’ sa kakatrabaho mo for over 15 years, since Grade 1 pa lang ako, and halos wala ka pang masyadong pahinga araw-araw para lang maitaguyod kami ni Kenneth, JR, and ate Loelie,” said Limosnero as he delivered his valedictory speech.
“Kahit di ka man nakapagtapos ng kolehiyo, nakakamangha na nakaya mong buhayin at pag-aralin mag-isa kaming apat na magkakapatid sa loob ng labin-limang taong iyon. At ang mas nakakamangha pa dito ay nakaya mong i-manage ang sarili mo, na manatiling young, beautiful and parang walang ka-stress stress. Ikaw nga talaga ang tunay na summa cum laude ng buhay ko.
“This sablay and medal are for you Ma. Sorry if I never told you that I was graduating as the valedictorian of our batch. I intended to make this day super special and memorable to you by surprising you on this day of the graduation.
“By passing the CPA Licensure Examination this October 2018, I hope that I can finally lift up the burden on your shoulders and help earn income for the family and contribute as well for the education of my younger brother,” added Limosnero, who turned emotional during his speech.
Limosnero is also a review scholar of SyCip Gorres Velayo & Company (SGV & Co.), the country's top multidisciplinary professional services firm.
Message to fellow ‘Iskolars ng Bayan’
While expressing his gratitude to the University and to all the professors for the “values of honor and excellence” they inculcated to them, Limosnero urged fellow scholars to “always remember that we owe our UP education to the Filipino people.”
“Currently, the state of the Philippines is rough. Several million Filipinos are still unemployed. Great inequality still exists across income brackets, regions and sectors. Public resources and facilities are still not equally accessible to the people. Moreover, the Philippines’ political landscape continues to be challenging and unstable. Truly, our society has become complex, confused and divided,” said Limosnero, who was also an outstanding student awardee.
“These problems that our country faces are real and extensive. As Iskolars ng Bayan, it is our responsibility to extend our compassion for the oppressed. We should always be ready to be engaged with our fellow people, ready to listen to their daily struggles; because by understanding their current situation, we become more motivated to do something for our country,” he added.
According to Limosnero, it becomes increasingly important for the UP scholars “to remain vigilant and aware of the actions of the government and various socio-political groups, so that we can provide our support and our criticisms.”
“After all, the common end that we seek is a productive and well-functioning society -- a country that prospers not at the expense of the minorities and the underprivileged, but an all-inclusive nation that leaves no one in a poor state,” he said in his speech. (SunStar Philippines)