The Speech of Rommel Arrobang, Top UPLB MS Graduate

Good  morning,   everyone.  Honored   guests,  members   of  the  faculty,  my fellow distinguished graduates,  class of 2019. Good morning  and welcome.

When I was informed  by the Graduate School  to deliver  a speech,  I had a mixed-emotions, When I started  writing this speech,  I was clueless.  I don’t know  what to share  and talk about. Then,  I settled  by making  it something from  the heart.  I can’t  tell you the absolute  truth,  but I can tell you what  I believe in.

This is my personal truth…

I believe that all of us have a unique definition  of life. All of us have different paths to take and different journeys  to follow. All of us are different and, yet, we  all  have  one  thing  in  common.   We  have  our  families.  One  way  or another, we belong to one and this is where I gained my truths.

My family is far from typical but mine is the perfect one for me. They are the foundations of my truth. They  are the treads  of my identity.  Thanks  to my grandmothers, Mama  Bebing  and Mama  Bolet,  I learned  how  to wake  up early  every  day.  School  days  were  never  good  to me  because  I wanted some   more   time   to   sleep   but   my   grandmothers  patiently   prepared everything. They made  my breakfasts  and tidied up my things. At that time, all of what  they have  been doing  were a common  thing for me but, now, I realized  that all their sacrifices  made me of who I am today.

I grew up in a place where the shore meets the rice fields. Lolo Carlita went to his rice field before  sunrise  with my childhood friend,  his carabao.  After plowing  the field all day long,  he would  greet  me with a wide  smile  on his face and hugged  me with his muddy  arms as if he was never tired. He is a very hardworking man  and a jolly person  as well. I became  an agricultural engineer   because   of  my  grandfather.  I  saw  his  struggles   growing   up. Planting  rice was never  easy,  but my grandfather was passionate in what he was doing. I remembered him saying,  “Kung hindi ako magtatanim, ano ang kakainin  ng mga tao?” I met so many farmers  just like my grandfather and  they  have  the  same  stories.  Stories  of struggles  but  not  giving  up. I believe   that  it  is  high  time  to  acknowledge  every  Filipino   farmers’   for providing   food  for  everyone   and  that  they  are  one  of  the  pillars  of  our country.  My  goal  is  to  help  the  agricultural sector  uplift  the  lives  of  our farmers.  For my Lolo Carlito,  thank you and I am honored  to be a farmer’s grandson.

My  late  grandfather, Papa  Frank  and  my  mother,  Mama  Mitzie  are  both overseas  Filipino  workers.  I grew up only seeing  them for a short period  of time  every   year.  They   needed   to  work  abroad   to  sustain   our  family. Through  Papa  Frank’s  sacrifices  and  support,  I graduated  in college.  My mother  gave  birth to me when  she was just fifteen  and because  of that, I made  a special  bond  with her. She is my best  friend.  Before  pursuing  my Master’s  Degree,  I suffered  from  a quarter  life  crisis  and  life  was  never good to me. I suffered from depression for more than a year and my mother was my light. Every time that I gave up believing  in myself,  she was there, encouraging me  to move  forward.  For every  “Kaya  mo  ‘yan!”,  my mother cheered  me up. She gave me infinite  second  chances  every time I felt like giving  up.  Thank  you,  Mama,  for  that  unconditional love.  Thank  you  for being my cape when I decided  that I wanted to fly again. Now, I may not be at the top, but I am still going up.

My family may not be perfect,  but they are more than enough.  They are my comfort blankets. They are my strengths.

To  my  other  family  here  in  UPLB,  thank  you  for  all  the  memories and simple truths that I will forever  treasure. To Dr. Rossana  Marie C. Amongo, thank  you  for  being  my  mentor,   I  learned   so  much  from  you,  Ma’am. Sincere   gratitude   is  also   extended   to  the   members   of  my  Guidance Committee, to the faculty members  who became  my professors, to my batchmates and friends who served  as my support  group in this journey,  to the IAE family and the AMD family. Thank you very much!

To all the family and friends who are with us today, and to those who could not be here in person as we celebrate  this momentous event, Thank you!

To my fellow  graduates,  the MS graduating class  of 2019,  I challenge you to  think   of  what  your  purpose   is!    What   are  your  personal truths?   I encourage you to think  about  your families  every  time  you make  a move. For every decision  you make, think about your families.  To those who have children,  think of them.  Think  about  their future.  Make  them  your priorities and you will never be in vain.

Through  the knowledge and experiences, we have  gained  not only in our journey here in UPLB but the entirety of our lives, I aspire that we could use it for the benefit  of all. Upon the acceptance of our diplomas, we have the responsibilities to our society and to the world we are living in. I believe that we have the capabilities to uplift the lives of others. We could make ripples of change.  We should aspire to be the forces that create good in this world for better future of mankind.

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