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Angelica – an Interesting Little Girl (revised)

About a week ago, I needed something welded. With all my contacts, a welder was not on my list. A friend was visiting and when I mentioned my need, he informed me of a welder in his neighborhood. I followed him home and we stopped at this neighbor around the corner from his house.

The man and his family live in a small home down a walkway from the street. He does not have a welding shop. Instead, he has an empty lot with a canvas tarpaulin over the welding machine. There is also a covered area with a wooden table and grill where, in the evenings, his wife sells vegetables and grilled fish.

He is a nice looking man and his wife is very sweet. They have enough ability in English to communicate well. I left my item and headed over to my friends house to spend some time while the item was being welded.

On my return I had the pleasure to meet is little 10 year old daughter Angelica. This little girl has an extremely good knowledge of the English language and is outgoing and talkative that we sat and talked for about an hour. She is so respectful that she used “Sir” many times in a conversation.

I was so surprised of her use of English I inquired how she is so competent. It turns out her father understands the need for a good education and even though they are in the lower income status, they scrimp and save to keep Angelica in a private school.

Angelica informed me in her school, Immanuel School of Davao, all students have to speak English except in Tagalog/Pilipino class. If they are caught speaking Tagalog or Bisaya any other time, they get a “stick” (demerit) and once they reach ten sticks, they have to pay a one-peso fine.

I also found out there is a small internet café in her neighborhood where she does her research and assignments. To prove she was a little girl at heart, she was shy to tell me she gets in trouble and punished since at times she plays online games at the café.

While talking to her, her inquisitive nature was refreshing. She asked me who my favorite American inventor was and at that moment, all I could think of was Thomas Edison. In her perfect pronunciation she replied “Oh Thomas Alva Edison, he is my favorite since he invented the light bulb.” She then asked me if I know where Marie Curie was from. I told her I was not sure but thought since she was referred to as Madam Curie, I would guess France. She stumped me when she asked me what radiation is.

Later, while talking with her father too, I asked her if she had and profession dreams. She looked to her father and then told me her father said she should become a lawyer since she liked to talk so much. I laughed because the same was told to me when I was a child. I looked at her father, told him that his daughter is very intelligent, and would probably find her way, as she got older. It is best if she found a profession that suited her intelligence and interest. It is best to have a profession that you enjoy and not what others want you to be. Both Angelica and her father smiled and agreed.

This week I needed something else welded and returned to their home. I also brought a box of Pop-Tarts for Angelica. I also went online and printed out a short biography of Marie Curie and a description and definition of radiation.

As soon as I gave them to Angelica, she sat at a table and as she ate, a pop tart for the first time was very engrossed in reading the information. Later as she thanked me, she said of the two gifts, the printed information was the best of all since she could use it for her schooling.

Angelica also informed me, her father only allows her to speak Tagalog or English since those are the only two languages used at her school.

I am so impressed with this little girl and the dedication her parents have for her education. I told them that if Angelica ever needed assistance with studies or computers, they are welcome to call me or visit my home.

I hope this is not an isolated case and there are other families here that put education as a priority in their live over even substance.

26 Responses to “Angelica – an Interesting Little Girl (revised)”

  1. vicki says:

    What a delightful little girl! Thanks for sharing Bruce. I enjoyed your article.

  2. It is stories like this that are nice to hear about. I have a met few kids like this on my travels throughout the Philippines and it is really refreshing when they have this attitude. It is so sad when sometimes kids don’t attend school for some reason.

    • Bruce says:

      Stefan,

      Many do not attend because the parents cannot afford the fees while attnding or need their children to work or beg to support the family.

  3. Evelyn says:

    what a cute story u have here ,bruce,about angelica..
    she’s a very interesting lil girl..
    please tell her to be good and to finish her studies..

    • Bruce says:

      Evelyn,
      I do. Today I told her and her father that I had heard the top 2 graduates from the better schools can apply for full scholarship and she should work hard. I told her her future is most important and play and adventure can come after she graduates and has a good occupation.

  4. SteveinDavao says:

    Bruce, it’s nice to hear a positive story about such an intelligent and inquisitive little girl. Sometimes we adults get so tied-up in our worlds, that we forget what it was to be young and wide eyed. Thanks for a very bright spot in my week.
    Good luck to Angelica!
    SteveinDavao

  5. Well Bruce, I have talked to many families all over the Philippines with young family members not attending school for the reasons you stated. It is of cause money related in 99 % of the cases. Sad but true.

    • Bruce says:

      Stefan,
      You are right. Even though public school is free here, there are always the hidden costs for supplies, books and labs.

  6. John in Austria says:

    Hi Bruce, Good for you! It is great to help the ones that really deserve it and are interested in furthering their education. Maybe you can get her to teach you Bisayan! 🙂

  7. Per says:

    I would love to meet this person!

    I hope to come to Davao this year, and it would be a thrill to meet her!
    And her parents too, as they must be exceptional people to have such a child!

  8. Michael says:

    Great article. I was working in my yard recently and was approached by an 8 year old neighbor boy who introduced himself to me and asked if I was the father of the home. I was impressed with his command of english and after a short conversation, the importance he put on education. So, there are a few youngsters out there who have learned, or been taught, the road to success.

    • Bruce says:

      Michael,
      There are many families that see the importance of an education and with the call centers and jobs abroad, a good knowledge of English is important.
      Even just living here in the Philippines. Road signs, government applications and many advertisements are in English.

  9. Sintea says:

    Hi, Bruce.:-) I would sometimes read your blog for the latest scoop on Davao (where my family is still based). I could not help react this time to your positive and delightful post. It’s true that Filipinos really the value of education that it’s not unheard of to hear about families selling off the family carabao just to send a son/daughter child to college (hope you catch the Pinoy humor there). By the way, I happen to know one of the owners of Angelica’s school and encouraged her to read your post. It should encourage them further in the great work that they do. As for you, maraming salamat po (thank you very much) for all your posts and all the best with your blog!:-)

    • Bruce says:

      Sintea,
      I am glad you vist and hope you will visit and comment as often as you like. As for Angelica and her family, I am so proud of them and her for their interest in a better education and the need for English in life here.

      I command her school, the teachers and the administrators. Maybe if they read this, they will invite me to visit their school for a feature article about them.

      • judih says:

        Hi Bruce! I am Angelika’s class adviser. Thank you for writing a positive article about Angie (that’s how I call her). When our school principal informed us about the article that you wrote about our student, we were so delighted. In fact, that was not a surprise for me because I already knew the girl. She is truly blessed with brilliance and of course with good attitude. When she was baffled or confused, she would really come to me for an explanation and would listen attentively. She is just one of our best English speakers at school. She can express her thoughts, ideas and feelings confidently. I don’t have any qualms that Angelika will reach farther in her education in the future. I thank God because the instruction which we have given to her has worked to shape her in many aspects. With the world steadily heading towards globalization, it is essential that English is taught and understood in school. I definitely think that speaking English in our school is indispensable.

        • Bruce says:

          Judih,
          Thank you for visiting my site and letting me know about your thoughts with Angie. I see you are as impressed with her as I am. I hope she can receive scholarships in her future so she can continue with her education and become all she is able to accomplish. As a Filipina from a poor family, it would be nice for her to achieve a greatness to take care of the parents that have dedicated to help her find and achieve her dreams. I hope someday I can visit your school and meet all of your very capable teachers and administrators and to share it with my readers.

        • candice says:

          by the way,i’m candice, schoolmate of angelika.,

          we are proud to have angelika as part of the ISD family.,.

          we were honored to know that she reached this far,,

          she is really fluent in english.,in fact, she would warn me if i spoke vernacular words.,. i know this girl wud grow up with respectfulness. its our hobby to say sir/maam to visitors or people we dont know at all…

          this is candice from gr. 5 joshua

          • Bruce says:

            Candice,
            Thank you for visiting my website and enjoying my story about Angelika. I hope you and more from your school will read and enjoy my articles. Look back in December about the Christmas party at Agdao. There are photos and video too.

  10. Tom says:

    Bruce –

    Your experience mirrors mine as I visited family in Malaybalay City, a few hours north of you. I sat, simply rapt, by a conversation with a boy, aged 10 or so, who attended the “english school” in town. Not only could this boy hold a coversation, his accent was impeccable and his command of the language was complete. It’s rare that I hear anyone talk like this, usually only people who have studied English or who have read a lot of Dickens.

    My family is struggling to privately educate our children and this struggle could only be undertaken by a Filipina. No American woman would make this kind of sacrifice.

    • Bruce says:

      Tom,
      Yes, it is wonderful how some famililies here know the importance of a good education and are willing to sacrifice to give their child a better education. Most wait until the child is at college age to get them a higher education. What Angelica’s family realized, the earlier they teach their child this importance, the better she will be by the time she attends college and might even get a scholarship.

  11. Shania Angelika says:

    thanks for supporting! specially uncle bruce. I promise to do my best at school.

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