Breaking the Barriers

posted May 14, 2010, 8:06 PM by Eleonor Sioson
                   From boredom to stardom


March 11,1968 when the first cry of an angelic baby girl was heard along the busy streets of Olongapo City. She is the daughter of proud parents Wiliam Robinson and Asuncion Mercado. The truth is, she is one of those children deprived to have an ideal family set up. Due to poverty, her parents separated. Her father left. It was only her mother alone who raised them and tried to give them education.

Indeed, it’s really hard to grow up without a so called “father-figure”.

      Due to the fact that she belongs to the Aeta family, she has a very dark complexion, curly hair and manners that deviate from the usual physical features of other young girls of her age. With this, she suffers from extreme racial discrimination from her peers and from her classmates as well. She tried all the means to continue her education in spite of the painful teases she heard from her schoolmates everyday she went to school.

      In spite of her courage and determination to finish her studies, financial constraints blocked her way to success. Her perseverance faded out when her stomach cries. Without having a choice, she stopped schooling and was able to finish only Grade II.

            Until she met the man of his life in the person of Oscar Manzana. They were blessed with three siblings. But this time around, she did not want her children, Ryan, Cris and Eric George to suffer the same. She gave high importance to education that she was able to send her children to school. To be particular, one of her children is enrolled in Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School (OLLES). This superwoman mother was able to support the education of her children by accepting laundry chores from neighborhood during the day and selling ‘balot’ at night. They work hand in hand with his husband who is a tricycle driver.

The long wait is over. Her daily routine will be changed for a while. For the meantime, her laundry chores will be set aside. She has another mission to accomplish.

As OLLES launched its Search for Mrs. OLLES 2010, she was chosen as one of the candidates. In fact, she represented the Grade IV parents. Without having any hesitation, she accepted the challenge. Even if she knew beforehand that… again, her childhood nightmares will be back. But this time, she is determined enough to face the odds.

       Believing that she can contribute for the school’s mission, her courage never ceased until the last canvassing. Her true friends and supporters gave their unwavering support all the way.

     At the end of the day, it’s time to harvest the fruit of hard labor. Ladies and gentlemen… “MRS. OLLES 2010” is no other than… Mrs. Cristina Robinson Mercado Manzana. A woman of principle… A woman of courage… you really deserve such stardom!