Faith, Magic and the Technical Education In-Between
Dualtech Commencement Exercises, January 2019
Picture a young man, after hurdling over unstable jobs- from chicharon to balut vendor who wandered seemingly endless nights as contractual employee, trying to make ends meet to help support his family, finished a two-year technical program, at the top of his batch, and, assured, a regular position in his dream job.
Picture an older man who came from a well- off family who followed his childhood dream of starting a theme park- the country’s first of its kind; a place so thrilling and magical in his eyes when he was nine.
Now, picture them together, in one Saturday morning of January 2019, sharing their stories in front of about 66 Dualtech graduates, inspiring them in pursuing their dreams and persevering despite adversity. And most importantly, never, ever, forgetting to pray.
Many may probably recognize the young man, Mark Laurence Ibo of Batangas, as the “new student” who chooses to study at Dualtech Training Center in one of its audio-visual presentations. His is the story of juggling several jobs to have food on his family’s table. Though his everyday routine was not an easy feat, his spirit remained high. The tough luck became a daily chance to strengthen his faith. His head, bowed with humility and sacrifice.
“Ang pinakamahabang paglalakbay ay nagsisimula sa isang hakbang. Kapag mayroon kang pangarap o ambisyon at nararamdaman mong ito ay mahirap, sa paisa-isang hakbang, mapagtatanto mo na narating mo rin ang iyong patutunguhan” he shared, citing reference from a father’s advice in a television commercial he once watched.
Step- by- step, he landed in the first and world- class theme park in the country for his company training, Enchanted Kingdom. The skills in electronics, electrical and mechanical that he never thought he would learn before Dualtech became the fire that keeps his passion burning towards the undertaking. His hard work has paid off. From a simple balut vendor, he is now among the first batch of Enchanted Kingdom trainees who are now employees of the same company.
The spirit of sacrifice and gratitude, intensified his unwavering faith and love for his family. This is what he considers the reason why he keeps moving forward despite the hard knocks. “Binago ng salitang gratitude ang pagtingin ko sa buhay. Ako ay nagpakumbaba sapagkat lahat ay hindi “entitled” sa kahit na ano sa buhay.”
On the other hand as a young boy, Mr. Cesar Mario O. Mamon, Chairman and President of Enchanted Kingdom where Ibo stayed for a year, dreamed of having a theme park. However, following the footsteps of his father, he had to venture agri-business and studied agriculture, field irrigation and tractor driving to manager their farm land. For some reason, the areas around the parcel of land he was managing started to become industrial, commercial and residential. For his father, it was a heart break.
For him, it was a sign to find his way back to his childhood dream. He woke up at the middle of the night in 1992 because he had to sketch up his vision of the park which lurked at the back of his mind. He drew, he erased, he crumpled, he threw. He remembered how he was fascinated by the lights and the rides and the music his young eyes glazed upon in the amusement parks his father would bring him to. He started again.
Truly, everything didn’t happen overnight. It took more than two years before that small piece of paper which contained his plan became an 11- hectare land in Sta. Rosa. Twenty- three years after, in 2019, his childhood dream became the first world- class theme park in the country, covering about 40 hectares of land, catering to more than a thousand families everyday to give “enchanting experience- away from day to day realities of life.”
“Enchanted Kingdom started from the sheer grace and power of prayer and hard work. Like many of you, I have also dreams when I was growing up.” he recalled. “I share with you these dreams and aspirations of mine so that each one of you may also dream big for your future and work towards making them a reality. Inspire others to do the same so that we can reestablish ourselves as a nation of dreamers and believers in the power of prayer, motivation, perseverance and hard work.”
Picture yourself- a young man, an old man, a breadwinner, an executive- whatever your situation now, life, as Mr. Mamon said, has a way of throwing challenges and obstacles when we least expect it. These challenges are the blessings from above delivered in big and small packages- an opportunity to run check our faith, determination and attitude.