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PIA Press Release
Monday, January 30, 2012


Feature: It all began with a single step

by Gervacio Dauz, Jr.

Lilia T. Alabat, married, with three children, and currently residing at the Holy Redeemer here did not realize nor dream enough for her tent to be extended. But her single step pushed her later to “a thousand miles” of opportunity in clinching a job of her dream.

Lilia’s parents had no grand foresight of sending her beyond high school; they just contended that “anyway, you will just get married later, so a high school diploma would be fitting and enough for you.”

Nursing a dream of finishing a course, she left her hometown of Buenavista, Agusan del Norte and embarked on a journey to college through the benevolence of her auntie in Davao City somewhere in year 1984.

She enrolled as a Commerce student at the University of Mindanao, and at the same time juggled a weekend part-time job at Gaisano Mall just to make both ends meet. Sometimes, she contented herself by eating just once a day. Because the resources were nil, she eventually fell by the wayside and went back to her hometown.

Still, she attempted to continue her studies at the Butuan City Colleges here taking up Management. But then again, she was sidetracked in the name of love and went on to receive her first certificate from the altar of marriage on the 14th day of May 1987.

To sustain her growing family, she tried having a part-time job as a teacher at the Philippine Electronics and Communication Institute here. Eventually, Emmanuel, her husband, prevailed upon her to focus instead in nurturing their kids and this forced her to stop and took on the reins of being a full time housewife.

While the days marched into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, her yearning for a diploma hadn’t waned. Thus, when she heard about the Pangulong Gloria Scholarship back in February 2009, she wasted no time by grabbing the opportunity of becoming a scholar. She pursued the longings of her heart . . . at the age of 44 at that.

At the Butuan City Colleges (BCC) here, she enrolled at the 356-hour Food and Beverage Services Course and hobnobbed with classmates less than half her age. Due to age disparity, she felt out of place, but then experience prevailed over youth in the long run. What many of her classmates could not perform – whether via oral, written, or practical – she could easily fill in with glamour and aplomb. The tasks of skirting, fruit carving, and flower arrangement to name a few were easy pickings for her. This was so because she got the passion for doing it and the prior experience during her high school years at the Northern Mindanao School of Fisheries in her hometown.

Because of her dedication and solid performance, she handily passed the FBS NC II on the 9th day of May 2009 and graduated as the cream of the crop in her batch on the 22nd day of May 2009. On top of that, she was hired as part-time teacher of her alma mater by no less tha Remedios Famador, who is the School President.

One time, when Famador was dining at the Rosario’s Grill Restaurant, Mrs. Rosalina Go, the resto owner, befriended her and inquired from her if ever she knew somebody that she can endorse to work as Operations Manager at the restaurant.

Without batting an eyelash, and of course confident of her pearly find, she readily proffered the name of Lilia as if without par.

Because of the turn of events, Lilia was ushered in and admitted to her new line of work effective 25th day of July 2009 as the Operations Manager of Rosario’s Grill even before her term as a part-time teacher expired.

Looking back, she divulged to this writer that opportunity masquerading as hardships can be turned into gold if one has the proper preparations to go for it and the proper connections to propel him or her to clinch it. For this good break, she profusely thanked Famador for the opportunity. “I am doubly grateful also to TESDA for giving me the opportunity to hone my skills and allow me the chance of becoming one of its scholars,” she said.

As a penultimate showmanship of her leadership by example, Rosario’s Grill Restaurant went on to be adjudged as the Best New Restaurant for year 2010 by no less than the City Tourism Office here.

Indeed, “Best of Butuan 2010 – Butuanons living in the City and the Balik Butuanons said we do it best,” so goes the accolade.

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