LOOK: First Aeta graduate from UP Manila receives diploma in traditional “bahag” | The Summit Express

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LOOK: First Aeta graduate from UP Manila receives diploma in traditional “bahag”


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MANILA, Philippines - BA Behavioral Science graduate Norman King has recently made history after becoming the first Aeta to graduate from the University of the Philippines Manila (UP Manila). During the university’s 108th Commencement Exercises held on Wednesday, June 21 at the Philippine International Convention Center, King received his diploma wearing a bahag or g-string, his tribe’s traditional attire.

First Aeta graduate from UP Manila receives diploma in traditional “bahag”
PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook/Axl Caesar Marcelo Ofrecio
In his interview with ABS-CBN News, King revealed why he decided to wear “bahag” instead of traditional “Barong Tagalog” during his graduation ceremonies.

“Nung umakyat ako ng stage, I’m doing this not simply because for show-off. No it’s not. It’s a matter of representation ng mga Aeta,” King explained.

Becoming the first Aeta to graduate from UP Manila wasn’t an easy feat for King. In fact, the scholar flunked Math five times.

“Maraming adjustments, di ko kinakahiya na madalas ako bumagsak noon sa Math,” King recounted.

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But through hard work and perseverance, King finally earned something his community could be proud of. With no plans of leaving the country, the photography enthusiast intends to help his family as well as members of the Aeta community.

“Magfofocus muna ako sa community ko. Aetas don’t do keep written records. From time comes sabi ko I could write that book,” King said.

King, who offers his achievement to his grandparents and mother residing in Macapagal Village in Mabalacat City, Pampanga urged fellow Aeta youth to prioritize education.

“Sa mga kabataang Aeta nasa kultura naten yung mag-asawa ng maaga. Unahin niyo yung edukasyon. I-equip yung sarili naten nang sa gayon makasabay tayo sa pagbabagong darating sa hinaharap,” King added.

In his Facebook post, he wrote: “Ang pinakamasayang yugto ng aking buhay kolehiyo. Maraming salamat sa lahat po ng taong sumuporta sa limang taon at kalahati na pananatili ko sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Manila. Sulit ang makasaysayang paglakad ko sa entablado habang inaabot ang kasulatan ng pagkilala. Sa crush ko na hindi ako nakapagpapicture, sorry beh, hanggang sa huli torpe pa rin ako sayo. ~ Salamat UP



-- Mini, The Summit Express

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