Meriam Libongcogon grows up in a poor family in Bambalan, Cebu. As a result, Libongcogon and her other six siblings have to work to make ends meet for their family.
Libongcogon started to work at the age of six to help her breadwinner father support their family. At the age of nine, she would collect sands, woods, rocks, and coconut shells to be used as construction supplies in their area.
Even though life was hard, Libongcogon graduated as a valedictorian in her primary school and managed to secure herself a scholarship in a Catholic high school.
“I graduated a valedictorian at grade 6. That was my gift to my parents, even though we were poor, I could make them happy,” she told ABS-CBN.
However, luck was not on her side as she did not manage to get a scholarship to pursue her college degree. Determined to pursue her dreams, she worked as a housemaid in order to send herself back to school.
She transferred to Baguio City after being a housemaid in Cebu for three years. That was where she met her kind employer and foster parent, Nanay Rose.
She encouraged Libongcogon to follow her dreams and encouraged her to apply at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) located at Baguio City. Nanay Rose even helped her to gather credentials to enroll in the academy.
This academy offers free education to students and provides them with monthly allowances and this has immediately lessened the financial burden on Libongcogon.
Financial issues were also not the only problem that Libongcogon had to face.
Her mother was against her wish to join the navy. Her relatives also did not want her to become a soldier as it is a very dangerous profession.
Needless to say, graduating from PMA was not easy.
The academy trained the cadets for their physical, emotional and mental endurance in order to prepare them as the country’s top military officer but Libongcogon barged through all the obstacles.
“Resigning from the PMA never crossed my mind, because I was used to hardship. I also prayed to God for help,” she said to ABS-CBN News.
Today, she is a proud graduate of PMA and has joined the Philippine Navy.
She is looking forward to building a house for her family in Cebu too.
Libongcogon’s story is an example of perseverance and endurance. She teaches us that in order to be the person that we want to be, we need to work hard for it. After all, success is earned and not given.
Credit: ABS-CBN News