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Iah Bantang Seraspi: 2015 Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) Topnotcher, Despite Poverty


Back when I was still in school, things were not that easy for me. I almost provided myself everything when I was in college. It felt so devastating having limited resources during those days. Well, cutting the story short, I have survived.

Though our story will not focus on my childhood, thanks to that, I hope you’ll be inspired on what you’ll read next ;-)

Meet Iah Bantang Seraspi. Soon, you’ll realize that though hardship is so harsh on reaching your dreams, there’s still more reasons to pursue.

When a young student wanted something badly enough, not even hunger would stop her from chasing her dreams. You’ll find yourself having lunch with shared food or worst, you’ll skip your lunch to save money for your transportation going home.

Iah Bantang Seraspi, a Romblon State University graduate, placed second in the September 2015 Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) for the secondary level. She scored 90% in the exam, while the top score was 90.20%.

The post shared by the Biliran Island Facebook page showed a tarpaulin congratulating her attached to the side of a small hut, and a snippet of Seraspi’s speech during a testimonial dinner.

Seraspi’s speech detailed her experience as a poor student. She said a normal meal for her would be rice and chips, coffee, salt, sugar, or anything that would give rice some taste. For her, having noodles was a luxury.

But, despite the lack of nutritional value in her food, Seraspi was able to do well in school.

A snippet of Seraspi's speech posted on the Biliran Island Facebook page focuses on the LET passer's ability to overcome hunger to succeed in school.



“‘Di man nila makikita ang laman ng tiyan ko, but they will definitely see the capacity of my brains,” Seraspi said. (People may not see the inside of my stomach, but they will definitely see the capacity of my brains.)

Seraspi’s father is a fisherman and her mother is a housewife. According to Debbie Esquejo Garcia, on her Facebook account:

Friends and family, just want to share with you some of the highlights of Iah Seraspi's speech during the Testimonial Dinner in her honor for placing Top 2 in the recent 2015 Licensure Exam for Teachers..in our reflection, maybe we can get a lesson from her life's journey to become a topnotcher..what can I say???..really,poverty is not a hindrance to success..

Iah Seraspi, Registered Professional Teacher
Looc National High School Class Valedictorian - Class of 2011
Romblon State College BIOSCI Class of 2015 - Cum Laude
Top 2 - 2015 Licensure Examination for Teachers

" I came from a poor family. I’m not telling you this to humiliate my family nor to get your sympathy. I just want you to realize how blessed you are if you were able to live a life better than mine. My father is a fisherman and my mother is a housewife. Since I started schooling in my elementary years , feeling ko mayaman na kami pag nakapag-ulam kami ng noodles sa breakfast. Most of the time, chichiria, kape, asin, asukal at kahit ano lang basta’t may lasa ang ulam ko. Imagine the nutrition I got from those foods. Yet, I was an achiever in school....Di naman nila makikita laman ng tiyan ko eh but they could definitely see the capacity of my brain. During my high school years, I had to tutor kids to augment my family's income..Siguro, di rin kayo maniniwala kung sasabihin kong I was already 21 years old (only this year, April 2015 ), when we had electricity in our house. Literally speaking, I was really burning the midnight oil, I should say for those years just to study my lessons .Kaya napakapalad niyo kung pinanganak kayo na may liwanag na ang buhay. Make the most out of it to improve your education. And never think na dahil sa Romblon State University kayo nag-aral, wala tayong laban sa mga prestigious schools. If you have doubts in the quality of education you are receiving, fix your mind on our University vision: Romblon State University as a premier institution of higher education in the Mimaropa Region for a globally competitive province of Romblon.

It takes a village to create a topnotcher. At this point, allow me to extend my gratitude to everyone who contributed to my success. First and foremost, to God for making a mighty miracle in my life. To my parents, Tatay Miguel and Mama Susan, to my siblings for the unlimited support and understanding of all my plans in life. Thank you also to all of my mentors from Elementary to College level who molded me to become what I am now.

I would also like to thank Ate Deborah Esquejo Garcia who financed my college education and my review, I will never experience this joy if you did not help me achieve my dreams in the first place. I also extend the same gratitude to Kua Rodom, Kua Kristoffer, Kua Ercleo, and Kua Francis for treating me like their own sibling. Also, the same gratitude to Ate Nieves Fiel Alvarez who helped me in my highschool education .

To those who are dreaming to be the next topnotcher, commit yourself and be ready to sacrifice. Have a strong motivation, be it intrinsic or extrinsic. Try to bargain with God. He blesses us fairly without expecting something in return but He knows the intentions of our mind and the desires of our hearts. Lastly, never doubt the power of prayers. God answers, big time! Congratulations to my fellow BLEPT passers. We are now officially teachers. It’s a great pleasure for me to bring honor to our university and province. Onwards Alma Mater dear. Onwards Romblon. Thank you and to God be the glory."



Debbie Esquejo Garcia financed Iah’s college education and review. Seraspi said she had to tutor children for her family’s extra income.

She added: “I came from a poor family. I’m not telling you this to humiliate my family nor to get your sympathy. I just want you to realize how blessed you are if you were able to live a life better than mine.”

Seraspi also asked people to make the most of the blessings they have. “Make the most out of it to improve your education,” she said.

To those who also had big dreams, Seraspi had words of encouragement: “To those who are dreaming to be the next topnotcher, commit yourself and be ready to sacrifice. Have a strong motivation, be it intrinsic or extrinsic.”



As of posting, the post from Biliran Island was shared nearly 50,000 times and generated more than 115,000 reactions. Netizens commended Seraspi and also shared their own experiences of overcoming hardships.

No matter how hard it is to reach our goal, our perseverance and hunger to attain that should always be greater ;-)

Cheerio!

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