Aguilar: Dream big

Against the current

ON SUNDAY, June 16, the world celebrated Father’s Day. It reminded me of my dad. While he was never around in my growing years because of his work, I have always looked up to him as a man of vision.

I have always known my old man to be well-grounded and well-directed, but when it comes to dreaming, he dreams big.

As I was growing up, my father would always tell me “when you dream, dream big!” He even had a way of making sure that I always set my standards high. While I was in my elementary years he would buy all my perfect exams for a good sum of money and offered me vacation trips if I finished the year as top of my class. Although I never really managed to be first, it nevertheless conditioned me to be always competitive and to always aim higher.

When you dream, dream big. What made that statement harder to ignore was that my old man puts his money where his mouth is. With what little we had way back then, he would never hesitate to spend for anything that hones our skills and develop our personalities; from piano lessons, to taekwondo, and even to expensive excursions. He even periodically brings us to his humble beginnings so that we could appreciate what we have as well as see for ourselves how a dream can change a life.

My father is a self-made man. Whatever he has right now came from his dreams. In fact, his success is quite a story. Let me share it with you.

Daddy Dan (as he is fondly called by his grandchildren) was born seventh of eight siblings in a remote place in Antique, although his father’s roots are really from Cadiz. He was very poor then as his father was only a carpenter and his mother was a plain housewife. When famine hit the Visayas in the early 50s, their family had to move to the fertile soil of Cotabato and then to Bukidnon. At a very young age he experienced waking up early to look for something he can cook for breakfast otherwise he’d be hungry all day.

While the rest of his brothers dropped out of school to till their small piece of land, Daddy Dan knew that education was his only way out of poverty. Armed with nothing but his intelligence and a strong spirit, he would walk some five kilometer distance barefoot everyday just to reach the nearest public school (I trekked his route one summer and it took me roughly two hours due to the rugged terrain).

Many times he had to pass opportunities to represent his school in competitions because he’s got no decent clothes and shoes to wear for those events. Despite his confines, he always managed to finish each year as an honor student. He even recalled that during awarding of honors, while the rest are in their Sunday’s best he would be the only student to get his awards in borrowed slippers and tattered clothes.

His experience of poverty fuelled him to dream even bigger. And there was nothing or no one that could stop him. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Forestry at Central Mindanao University. When he got hired by the CVRP of DENR-IIV, his project got awarded number 1 in the whole country. This was when the World Bank took notice of his expertise that he was eventually hired as its consultant.

At the peak of his career, one would think that he has had enough. Yet for him, that was not yet it. He further took the brokerage licensure exam and established his own realty (Danrel realty) after his stint with the World Bank.

Starting from scratch, he built his name with real estate developers in our locality and competed with seasoned realtors. In less than a year his company was recognized as one of the top productive firms in the city.

At age 71 he said he is far from over. He also ventured into yet another dream he always has; a farm to run in his retirement.

If there’s one thing my father has taught me, it is that dreams do come true.

So when you dream, dream big!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!


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