Meet the First Tigwahanon-Manobo Lumad to Earn Both a Nursing and Medical Degree!
Kenneth Mheil Mangaya- Ay | July 03, 2020
Photos by Joeffrey Mambucon
At this generation, education is now an opportunity to partake and not to be squandered, not everyone has the chance to walk the path of formal literacy. There is one inspiring story on social media about a life of a native in Bukidnon for being the first Tigwahanon-Manobo Lumad to become a registered nurse and earn a degree in medicine from De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
On Facebook, Joeffrey Mambucon shared his journey as a working student, where he took on odd jobs as a gleaner, weeder, daily laborer, tree trimmer in the mountains of Sitio Opis, Namnam, San Fernando, Bukidnon to earn a medical degree. “Nothing more could ever compare to the amount of pain I have felt for being discriminated against. Yet, these bitter experiences certainly make life more meaningful and worth living,” he said, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Humility is a God-given gift for all of us to be able to love and support seeing each other as equals. Most of all, be hardworking, kind, and a person with true grit because with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Joeffrey did not forget to acknowledge his teachers who climbed mountains and crossed rivers just to reach students like him. To help him earn money for tuition, these teachers also hired him work in their households, continuously telling him that he will succeed and finish school because of his hard work.
After finishing high school, the Overseas Missionary Fellowship Scholarship Committee sent him to Davao City for college. Joeffrey then decided to take up nursing at the University of Mindanao. He finished and passed the board exam in 2010. His work at Bukidnon Provincial Hospital-San Fernando broadened his awareness of the medical needs of his tribesmen. Thus, he made plans to go back to school to be a doctor.
But, it was not an easy road for him. It took him two years to be admitted to a medical school with a full scholarship. “Thank you for opening your doors for us Indigenous People. Your generosity is unparalleled. You truly showed me what it is to become a true-blooded green archer. I am forever grateful for teaching my mind, touching my heart, and transforming our tribe’s life!”
Joeffrey lifts his achievement as a tribute to his parents. “To amoy ku no diyad to langit, inoy woy mgo hari ko para to kanila olin soin. Ama woy Apa nataga kow ko nokoy kadakol ka goinawa ko kaniyu." (To my mother, siblings, and to my late Datu Father who is already in heaven, this is for all of us. Mama and Papa, you know how much my heart beats for both of you always value the importance of education).” Finally, he dedicates his victory to his fellow tribesmen. “Together, this milestone is our success. After this pandemic, we will celebrate with our traditional music, dances and bangkakawan!”
He encouraged everyone, especially the young generation, to make their parents proud because they deserve it. “To those who grew up drinking that am or rice water mixed with Bear Brand and now lost their hopes to study: I say, stop daydreaming and look above with head held high! If I was able to do it, I pray and believe that you can do it too.” Joeffrey will finish his post-graduate internship and prepare for the Physician Licensure Exam. He promised to pass the board exam so that he can join the “Doctors to the Barrio” program of the Department of Health and hopeful to be assigned in his hometown. #ChooseHope