Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Materially Pervasive Existence

7:28 AM

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When I threw my hat in the ring for BS Accountancy four years ago, people kept talking about us from PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) Taguig being ‘lucky’, for some reason. And not just the people from PUP Taguig, specifically – people from other branches of the PUP system, people from other schools, too. Basically: people who knew something about Accountancy all thought we were lucky.

I would later find out that all this fuss was because of the woman we’d been lucky enough to have teaching us – Ma’am Cecilia Mercado, CPA (Certified Public Accountant), professor, auditor, and one-time dean, who’d taught for our branch ever since the very start of things. Everyone and anyone who’d had the chance to meet her couldn’t help but adore her – and why wouldn’t they? With her demure smiles, impeccable knowledge, countless stories, and too many achievements, she had always given off the aura of someone to look up to, someone who was always just there, the rock our entire college rested upon.

So when we heard that she’d fallen sick and had to take a break from teaching, to say that we were shocked would be an understatement. We’d honestly feared for the worst, back then – but after around a year out of the teaching scene, she’d just stood back up and didn’t let anything stop her.
“Teaching is my passion,” she’d tell us sometimes, during class, “and I feel that it is God’s will that I can still teach right now, because I still have a mission to share my knowledge with you.”

Ever since she taught us Fundamentals in first year I’d always had a nagging thought at the back of my mind that she’ll always be a role model to me somehow – and I know I’m not the only one, not when the number of students who could say they love Accountancy because of her would definitely be hard to quantify.

They say that one must love their job so they’d never work for the rest of their life, and while this path – Accountancy – isn’t for everyone, it definitely is for her, and while I’ve grown fond of thinking that it is the path for me, as well, the confidence behind that thought of mine is definitely thanks to her. 

As it just so happens, the hasty despedida we threw for her before her overseas trip (that ended up surprising us more than it did her, as a matter of fact) fell a week short of our batch’s graduation day, and it got me to thinking about things. Short-lived as my time as one of her audit assistants may have been, it opened my eyes to the ‘real world’, and everything living in it entails. One thing led to another, and so here we are, sitting down to talk about beginnings and endings, teaching and learning, gratitude and passion.

(Or, well, less poetically – here’s what we managed to talk about until the ice cream ran out.)
~
First question po, ma’am – paano po kayo nag-start magturo?
Actually, passion ko magturo. Sa...parish, nag-start ako magturo ng catechism. During the summer, when I was in high school.

'Yung sa Sunday school po?
Yes, sa Sunday school, bago mag-communion. Tapos pagka-graduate ko nun, college...during the time na estudyante ako, naging teacher ako sa mga kaklase ko. Kapag may nagpapaturo. Pagka-graduate ko, naging CPA...during the review, nagtuturo pa rin ako sa mga kaklase ko sa review. . After that, nagtrabaho muna ako sa private construction company. Ang problema sa construction company: every day, papel ang hawak mo. Ah, yung interaction sa tao, nawala. So nung nagkaroon ng invitation yung PUP, ginrab ko. Bumalik ako sa PUP, nagturo ako. Dun nag-start.

Since...mahal niyo po yung pagtuturo...di ba po, nung second year kami, nagkasakit kayo ma’am? Ano po yung naramdaman mo nung sinabi nila sa inyo na kailangan niyo muna mag-stop sa pagtuturo?
Wala naman silang sinabing ganun...ito yun. Nung una, yung deanship. Pag tinanggap ko yung deanship, hindi na ako pwede magturo sa branches. Nag-request ako. Sabi ko, walang magtuturo sa Taguig kung iiwan ko. Kasi I’ve been teaching Taguig ever since the time of the first batch. Tapos, yung nangyari, nung nag-dean ako, nagkasakit. Nung nagkasakit ako, wala akong intensyon na maghintong magturo. Nung na-revive ako...nagpahinga lang ako. Nung nagbigay sa akin ng go- signal yung doktor...

Nagturo na po uli kayo kaagad?
Hindi ko inisip na baka hindi ko kayanin. Kasi – laging nagtha-thank you yung doktor ko. Na blessing daw dahil yung memory bank ko ay hindi naapektohan. 

So, yung sunod po, kapag sinasabi namin na inspirasyon kayo samin, na dahil sayo mahal na namin yung Accountancy...ano po yung nararamdaman nyo?
Maligaya. Kasi yan ang hindi nababayaran ng pera. 

Tulad po nung sinabi nyo sa amin dati?
Feel ko yun, na kailangan nyo [ang tulong] ko, kaya kailangan [ko rin kayong tulungan]...di ba? Pinipilit ko..

Yung last na lang po, ano pong message nyo sa amin, bilang mga estudyante mong graduate na, pati na rin sa ibang...kahit hindi nyo estudyante, na gusto nilang tahakin yung landas?
Ang message ko ganito: yung...di ba ito na, na second, ano ‘to, second chapter na ito ng life nyo. Ipagpatuloy ang pagaaral, para maachieve yung board. Tapos pag nalagpasan nyo na yung board, magiging professional ka na. Wag mong kalilimutan, no...tignan ang pinanggalingan. Ha? Kasi ‘yan ang tutulong sa inyo. Tapos yung mahalin nyo ang magulang. Si Lord. Kasi sya ang gumagabay sa inyo.

Thank you po, ma’am.
~

...truly, thank you, for everything.


Article by Trish
Art by Maia
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Trish is an accountancy grad with a fic-writing habit. She's older than she seems to be at first glance (don't let the height fool you), tends to go rambling off at the worst of times, and can't really see the appeal of consistent sleep patterns. Save for a one-time stint at her high school paper, The Thing is her first foray into non-fanfic-related publication. She has a twitter account, @postscriptress, where she spoils her own writing and keeps reminiscing about the time when she was trilingual.

Maia Sevilla loves chocolate cake, napping, and her dog, Fender, more than most things. While she dreams of being the perfect cross between an astronaut and a pastry chef, she is willing to let that go in order to be a fully functional 19-year-old Fine Arts student out to save the world.

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