Not like any other kids his age, Benjie Liloc from the city of Balingoan in Misamis Oriental, Philippines started to find ways to earn money at a very young age. Instead of thinking about finishing his studies, Liloc understands poverty very well and he knows that his family is having it hard.
Due to poverty, Liloc shared that his mother once had the thought to give him and his siblings away because she was overwhelmed after her husband left them. Because of this, Liloc started to become a vendor at the age of 13 and selling all sorts of sweet pastries like puto, kutsinta, and other kakanin.
He wanted to help his mother earn some money and send himself to school.
“I grew up from a broken family and raised by my mother whose income was only enough for us to eat. Life was very difficult. Every day was a survival of the fittest. It almost reached the point when our mother thought of giving us away, but her love for us prevented her from doing so,” recalled Liloc.
“At an early age, I sacrificed my life and my youth days in order to help my mother and survive.”
But selling food on the streets was not an easy thing to do. Despite walking many miles across the town to find customers, only a few people would buy. One particularly difficult day, Liloc was tired and frustrated, ready to give up.
“I almost wanted to cry. I took a sit, breathed heavily and told myself—’Benjie, you cannot live your life like this, take a rest but do not stop. Get up and keep moving on’,” told Liloc to himself.
That was all the motivation he needed.
So he got and continued selling. This is also what motivates him to reach his dream of completing his studies. Liloc found a scholarship to enroll at Misamis Oriental Institute of Science and Technology in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, but his sponsor didn’t pay for the tuition fee. Unfortunately, he was forced to quit.
Since hardship is nothing new to Liloc, he supported himself by selling puto-kutsinta (sweet pastry) again—while searching for another scholarship. Thankfully, he became the recipient of a scholarship from the Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano.
“I survived my first year in college pleading with my teachers to let me take my exam and make promissory notes but still I keep on searching for a scholarship.”
After years of hardship and never-ending hard work, Liloc finally graduated from college and immediately took the licensure examinations for teachers and passed.
“I graduated from college. I landed to the noblest job which is teaching and passed the licensure examination for teachers. I am Benjie Liloc, a puto-kutsinta vendor and now a licensed professional teacher.”
“Believe that good things come to those who wait but better things come to those who work for it.”
Liloc is now currently teaching at the St. Mary’s Academy of Talisayan.
Indeed, hard work never betrays anyone.