Former 'kargador', now a doctor of education

MANILA, Philippines –
Johnny Viray shares his inspiring journey from being the son of a ‘kubrador’ (collector) and working as ‘kargador’ (stevedore) at the port to exceeding his dreams of graduating in college by becoming a doctor of education.

Born into a poor family, Viray suffered a lot of hardships in life while growing up. He had to walk 30 minutes each morning to reach Marulas Elementary School in Valenzuela City, Metro Manila; then walk another 30 min to go home. It was a difficult challenge for the poor kid whose allowance was only enough to buy lugaw (porridge).

He recalled only having grades in the line of “7” – and the only line of “8” grade he got was in Values, exactly 80. He also remembered not having a party after graduation; though wasn’t a surprise to him considering that their family never celebrated their birthdays even once out of poverty.

They moved to Masantol, Pampanga where he expected to study at Masantol High School but his father insisted that he go to Pampanga Institute even if they had to pay Php244 per month.

Going to school with an empty stomach often led to Viray collapsing while in class. There were so many times he would collapse out of hunger that he eventually thought about quitting school because he’s too embarrassed.

Former 'kargador', now a doctor of education
Photo credit: Johnny Viray / Facebook - DepEd Open Educational Resources (OER)

But his Filipino teacher Ginang Juliet “Jhet” Jimenez told him, “Kung titigil ka kase gutom ka, lalo kang magugutom bukas kung hindi ka mag-aaral, may pag-asa pa.”

It gave him the courage to continue with his studies. The kind teacher would also give him food every day, so his fainting spells stopped.

He was able to graduate as salutatorian. Again, they did not have a party at home – and he ended up going to a classmate’s house to celebrate.

Because they were too poor, his parents could not send him to college. So, Viray began working as kargador at the port. It broke his heart but there wasn’t any other option for him.

One day, his former Economics teacher Mafalda L. Manansala (Mafalda Lacanlale Laccay) met his mother. After learning that he’s now working as kargador, the teacher offered to give him a job as working student. He spent his mornings at the office and went to school during afternoons and evenings.

He often walked from Masantol to Macabebe, over 17 km away, yet the young man did not mind. He was determined to go to school. Quite amazingly, he graduated as Magna Cum Laude!

Viray was able to enter the DepEd in 2013. This gave him the opportunity to enroll in Master of Arts in Education Major in Educational Management at Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University. After graduating in 2015, he immediately proceeded to enroll for further studies and managed to become a Doctor of Education.

He has certainly gone a long way from being a ‘kargador’ to a doctor of education! Congratulations, Sir!

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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