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  • Mediatrix Javier

Pasaway and Proud

I learned that you can still be a good person even if you are sometimes disobedient. In this world where I can be anything, I chose to be a pasaway (hard-headed). But let me share with you why.

My parents are quite strict.

This was never really an issue for me. It was no big deal if they ask me not to do this and that—until I joined Ideas Positive.

Since then, I learned that you can still be a good person even if you are sometimes disobedient. In this world where I can be anything, I chose to be a pasaway (hard-headed). But let me share with you why.

When I started on this journey of helping build a healthier Philippines, everything was perfectly fine. Our team, Team BITAG, proposed a mosquito larvae trapper that could help reduce the incidences of dengue in Brgy. Monticello in Baguio City.

Despite the nobility of the cause, I knew my parents would not give their consent. But I joined Ideas Positive anyway, and my participation in the competition remained a secret until we made it to the National Finals. Finally, I had to tell my parents, because I had to ask for permission to go to Manila for the Boot Camp.

My parents gave me permission, and they made no negative comments—until the project implementation started. Then there came times when my parents would call while we were in the community, and they would say “Nasa community ka na naman! (You’re in the community again!). I was pasaway, so I ignored their comments. They couldn’t do anything anyway, since I was in Baguio and they were back in our home province.

When I was at home with my parents, I would think of excuses to leave, just so I would be able to attend community activities. I would say, “Mauna na po ako sa Baguio, para makapagpahinga pa ako. (I’ll go ahead to Baguio so I can rest).”

The truth was that I never really got to rest. In fact, I was very tired. But it was not the I-need-bed-rest kind of tired. I was tired, yet happy. Seeing the smiles of the people in the community was way more relaxing than resting comfortably in bed.

When I graduated from college in June, that’s when the real struggle started. My parents wanted me to start looking for a job right away, but I felt it would be difficult to remain committed to the community while working away from that area.

I decided that I would finish my commitment to Ideas Positive first, even if it meant disobeying my parents. Because of that decision, I wasn’t allowed to leave the house if my parents knew that I was going to the community, which was a 6-hour drive away from my hometown. If only to continue my work, I lied to my parents. I lied for the sake of the people in Sitio Monticello. I lied not for my own leisure or entertainment, but for the lives that I could change if I continued my mission.

There were more activities lined up, and I had to think of other excuses to make to my parents. Twice, I used my credentials as an excuse. First, “Mag-re-request po ako ng credentials ko sa school. (I need to request my credentials from school.).” The second one was, “Kukunin ko po ‘yung mga ni-request kong credentials last time sa school. (I need to get the credentials that I requested from school).” I had to manage my time well, since I had to come up with my excuses and work in the community too. It was hard, but it was fulfilling. After those two instances, I finally ran out of excuses.

Unfortunately, our next activity was a week-long major community immersion. Two days before the first day, I asked my parents for permission, telling them the real deal. As expected, they said no. It was painful, but I had to stay positive. I asked again the next day, and I got the same answer. I tried and tried, until there were only three days remaining for that activity of the team. Pasaway indeed, I asked for permission again. This time, I got more than a “no.” I heard the most painful words I ever thought I would hear from my parents.

“Bakit mo ba binabalik-balikan yang community? (Why do you keep going back to that community?)”

“Bakit? Mabibigyan ka ba ng trabaho dahil diyan ginagawa mo? (Why? Will you get a job by doing that?)

“Anong makukuha mo diyan? (What will you get in return?)”

“Magkakasahod ka ba diyan? (Will they pay you?)”

“Kapag sinabi kong hindi ka pupunta sa Baguio, hindi ka pupunta sa Baguio! (When I say that you are not going to Baguio, you are not going to Baguio!)”

“Walang aalis dito! Period! (No one leaves, period.)”

I cried day and night, as if that would solve my problem. One day, I decided that I would go, even if I didn’t have their permission. My bags were ready, and I was about to leave, when I got a message from my team. They said “Huwag ka daw bumiyahe dito sabi ni Ma’am Dots (our mentor) kung hindi ka daw pinayagan. Baka daw lumala ang sitwasyon at hindi ka payagan sa Finals. Mas importanteng present ka sa finals. Okay lang kami dito, naiintindihan ka naman namin. (You don’t have to come here, said Ma’am Dots, if your parents didn’t give their permission. Things might get worse, and they might not allow you to go to the Finals. The Finals are more important. We’re doing fine; we understand your situation).”

I tried to accept the fact that I wouldn’t make it to that week-long activity, which included the final community visit. But I was pasaway, so I just couldn’t accept it. I felt that accepting defeat without even trying would be a total failure, and a pasaway doesn’t accept failure.

The day before the final community visit, I tried my luck again, saying this would be the last time. I texted my mom, who was at work. I had my hopes up when she said “Yes,” but she added, “Depende sa daddy mo. (Depends on your dad).”

I was nervous and scared, but I had to do it. I texted my dad, and he called, saying the same thing.“Bakit ka pa ba kasi pumupunta diyan? Ano bang napapala mo diyan? (Why do you keep on going there? What do you get in return?)” I was hurt, and I wanted to end the call, but I kept trying. “Sige na po, last naman na, final community visit naman na ito. (Please, let me go. It’s the final community visit. This is the last one.)”

Setting aside the thought that I would have to make another excuse for the semi-finals, I begged until he finally said yes. I never knew how powerful one yes could be, but it was all I needed to be at the place where my heart belonged.

When we received a report saying that there were no more cases of dengue in the community, and that it was thanks to our work, I knew that all the struggles were worth it. When the time for the semi-finals came, I could no longer use the excuse Last na po ito. (This is the last time.)” So I decided not to ask for permission at all.

My mom had an idea that I was going to the semi-finals, since I was able to convince her before the event. But my dad was clueless. I didn’t know what excuse my mom gave to him, since I left the house while they were at work, but she covered for me. The money I used for traveling to and from Baguio, Manila and Ilocos was money I had received as graduation gifts from relatives. I may not have bought anything with that money, but the thanks we received from the people whose lives we touched were priceless. I know I made the right decision.

At the Ideas Positive Boot Camp last February, National Youth Commissioner Perci Cendaña described us, the Filipino youth, as pasaway.

I am not the kind of pasaway who uses drugs. I am not the pasaway who skips classes to go on dates. I am not the pasaway who spends money on unnecessary stuff. I am a 21st century kind of pasaway. I am the pasaway who has the passion to help others. I am the pasaway who will endure everything, just to continue my mission of touching other people’s lives. I am pasaway, and I am proud of it!

Mediatrix Javier is a member of Team BITAG, national finalist of Ideas Positive Run 6. She is a BS Accountancy graduate from Saint Louis University. Her interests include community service and immersions. Mediatrix shares, her parents eventually became very proud and happy to know about their project.

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