CYRIL Blanco Bergado of Cebu Normal University (CNU) is not your average board passer. She is visually-impaired but passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).
Bergado is one of the 85,717 takers who successfully hurdled the LET, results of which were released by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) on May 19, 2023.
"I know there are limitations to people like, but we are more than the limitations we possess," she said in an interview with SunStar Cebu on May 23.
The 25-year-old licensed teacher who is from Mahaplag town in Leyte is also a Cum Laude graduate. She earned her degree in Bachelors of Science in Special Needs Education in June 2022.
She said the LET exam was not printed in Braille. The PRC appointed a staff member to read out the questions and shade the answer sheets while she dictates her responses.
Her exam was also videotaped from beginning to end to demonstrate the validity of her responses. The recording and her answered papers were subsequently sent to PRC central office in Manila.
Bergado said she was born healthy and without a disability, but when her right eye started to blur when she was in her fourth grade, she was diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy characterized by acquired loss of retinal ganglion cells and atrophy of the optic nerve.
Years after in her second year of high school, she developed the same condition in her left eye, resulting in her total blindness in 2011.
"It really was hard accepting the reality of my situation that I can no longer see. I grew up with my both eyes working, I was having a hard time accepting," she said.
She said she had to stop two years in school, which means putting her dreams on hold.
But she made the decision to return to school and complete high school, and it was her brother who became her eyes.
She also emphasized the sacrifices her family had to make when she decided to pursue her dream to become a teacher, though it meant that she and her mother would have to leave their hometown for her to attend college in Cebu.
"This achieve is not for me. There are a lot of people who congratulated me but my nanay and tatay deserve all the praises," Bergado said.
Bergado hopes that her story will serve as an inspiration to others, especially to persons living with disabilities (PWD).
"We do not need to focus on our disabilities. Why not try to look at the possibilities?" she said.
She admitted that having things that are out of the ordinary is not always a good thing, but "negative things or negative situations can turn into positive things."
Bergado said that she plans to pursue teaching PWD children, especially those with visual impairments, in the future since she relates to the struggles that these kids experience.
"As a blind person, I can relate to their struggles and also give them the education that they deserve," she said.
The story of Bergado had gone viral on social media after her professor in college, Gino Sumalinog, posted about her on Saturday, May 20.
The post has gained almost 9,000 reactions and more than 6,000 shares, as of May 23, 2023.
In April, the country also welcomed its first blind Bar exams passer, lawyer Anthony Mark Emocling from University of Baguio. (KJF)
Cyril Blanco Bergado of Cebu Normal University (Contributed photo)
May 29, 2023
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