Defying the odds: An Obu-Manuvu architect’s story

FOR an active IP (Indigenous People) youth leader, life definitely is not a bed of roses. According to him, for one to succeed, he “has to overcome adversities that are thrown in the path, not by limping over them, but rather, by facing them at full throttle.”

This is his story --the story of Architect John Paul Aloy, or JP, who placed eighth in the June 2018 Architect Licensure Examination with a rating of 82.50 percent.

Proud of his Obu-Manuvu roots, JP is the youngest of three children of Apolonio Aloy, a retired government employee, and Elisa Morada, a housewife. He grew up in Baguio District in the hinterlands of Davao City and dreamt of becoming an architect someday.

As a young boy, he loved to draw and often doodled on the back of his notebooks. This talent did not go unnoticed by his teachers at Baguio Central Elementary School and Baguio National School of Arts and Trade, who always encouraged him to join in poster making and other art-related contests. He graduated as class valedictorian in both schools.

Entering college was a big challenge for JP. He passed the admission test at UP but financial difficulties prevented him from enrolling in the state university. However, he got a scholarship grant under the Educational Assistance Program for Indigenous Peoples of the National Commission of Indigenous People and was accepted as university academic scholar at the Ateneo de Davao University’s BS Architecture program. But adjusting to the university life was difficult.

“My first year in Ateneo was not easy, I was in culture shock,” JP narrated. “Everything seemed so new, knowing I am from a public high school.” Though he gained new friends and learned to adapt to the “Ateneo way,” studying Architecture was still very demanding.

“There are numerous requirements to be complied: plates, projects, and some conflicting minor and major subjects. I felt worried every time because of the grades to maintain,” he recalled.

“There are days without enough sleep and no social life at all.” The most challenging episode of his college life came when he was doing his thesis. His parents did not have enough money to expend for this final academic requirement. His family incurred many debts as a result.

Fortunately, he emerged as semi-finalist in the ArchiNext: HCG Young Designers Competition, an architectural design contest among Architecture students nationwide, and was awarded as competition scholar. With the money he won, he was able to repay his family’s debts.

Despite the odds, architect Aloy graduated cum laude from Ateneo de Davao University in 2016. One person so overjoyed about JP’s graduation was his father, who was very excited that his son will soon be taking the board exam and eventually become an architect. However, less than a year after his graduation, the elder Aloy passed away in January 2017 and this proved to be the most painful moment in JP’s life.

“He was one of my great inspirations,” JP remembered of his father. “He never questioned me and supported me all the way, together with my family.” But before his father died, JP promised to him that he will try to top the board exam. That promise was one of JP’s greatest motivations when he took the Architect Licensure Examination last June.

Now that the promise is fulfilled, JP laments that his father is no longer around to witness his success. “He didn’t see this but I know he is happy of what I have achieved,” the Obu-Manuvu architect said. (Ericson P. Europa, FUAP)


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