A week after celebrating the Day of Valor on the fourth month of the Roman calendar in the year of Rat, I was born one evening in a city called the financial capital of the country that was colonized by Spaniards for more than three hundred years after it was discovered by a famous Portuguese explorer. My first name Johanne is a variant of Johanna which means “God is gracious” and my second name Victoria means victory – hope my life goes well as my name. My parents, Victorino and Wilma, were a hard working couple who works as an employee of a private company.
They produced of our own kind six times in eleven years having five boys, leaving me no sister to have a bonding with. Since I’m the only girl, they call me Princess or sometimes Negneg, short for negra, because of my dark complexion. It’s not that dark like people in Africa but it’s the darkest complexion in my family but it’s alright because I have these black tantalizing eyes, a good set of teeth and a slim body that makes me look like a Filipina beauty queen. I spent my seventeen years of existence in a city known for being a major cultural entertainment hub in Metro Manila.
I studied my first five years of my primary education in Nicanor Garcia Elementary School, Makati. After my hit-and-run 50-50 accident case when I was in fifth grade, God gave me my second chance to live and finished my elementary course in Rizal Elementary School in Laguna. I have to transfer because of the severe fracture in my right leg causing me to have a hard time going up stairs. I have recovered from what had happened and continued my secondary education in General Pio del Pilar National High School in Makati. In elementary, I always make my parents proud of me by giving them a numerous medals every end of the school year.
I’ve been a consistent contestant in Mathematics Quiz Bee and I made my school proud after qualifying twice in Mathematics Trainer’s Guild, a program to train gifted Filipino kids for international competitions. Aside from Math, I’ve also been in various contests regarding Science and Journalism. Considering me as a dynamic student, I was fairly awarded at the end of the year. When I stepped high school, it was the most exciting part of my life. Having crushes, love team ups, courtships, prom night were the things that could really make you giggle.
But the most remarkable incident that shaped my character now was improving my leadership skills. When I was in third year, I ran as the president of SMILE (Students Movement for the Improvement of Leadership and Empowerment) Party List for the upcoming Supreme Student Government election. I taught I’m going to win because I’m from the star section but I’m wrong. I lost. I’m so ashamed. Because of that, I don’t feel like going to that school again. But there was a Non-government organization that invites the students to go on camp in Iba, Zambales for free.
Of course, I joined and that made me forgot the pain I felt. On the first night of the camping, everything has changed after the moment I received Jesus Christ as my personal savior. When I got back in school, God blessed me so much that He gave the Hi-Y Club (a high school based club of Young Men’s Christians Association) in my lead. From that happening, I really appreciated the quote: “After the storm, there’s a rainbow. ” I taught the door of opportunity to explore more in leading has closed for me, not realizing He has opened the window for me to experience the chance I thought I lost.
Because of this club, I learned to balance my mind, body and spiritual aspect of my life. Creating programs, helping community, serving others and volunteering were some of my experiences that really made my heart swollen and would like to share to others to inspire them. Aside of being a Y’er, I’m now a Christian and started serving Him like sharing the good news, being a part of dance and drama ministry, and helping other Christian to grow in their spiritual life. I feel over joy and satisfaction every time I see myself volunteering on the camp where I was saved.
After the enjoyment of high school, I took one step forward in the reality of life. I face the truth that my life will rotate in complicated solutions, brain-whacking terms, millions of numbers, struggling calculators, statements to finish, stability of study, life-long practice, thick books to read, rushing late night work, ugly eye-bugs, unbalanced sums, financial reports, constant lack of sleep, accurate solutions, and heart-stopping result after deciding to take Bachelor of Science in Accountancy in the first polytechnic university in our country.
I know I can make it through because I believe that “what the mind can conceive, the body can achieve”. I may not be the cream of the crop in our class but I will manage to pursue my dreams step by step because I cling to God’s promise: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future. ”(Jeremiah 29:11).