In light of the graduation season, let us pay tribute to the thousands of students who will be graduating this month.
On this special day, it is customary for graduates to wear a toga during the ceremony. However, this Mangyan student decided to make his graduation even more memorable by wearing a traditional ‘bahag.’
Anthony Suday from Sablayan town, Occidental Mindoro, received his diploma while wearing a loincloth.
On the stage, he is not only representing himself but the entire Mangyan community as well.
Wearing a ‘bahag’ serves as a symbolic gesture since Suday is also the first-ever Mangyan indigenous person to acquire a college degree in Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC).
According to a report from Manila Bulletin, Suday took a degree in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.
Aside from wearing a loincloth, the 24-year-old student also proudly marched on the stage while barefoot. He was accompanied by his father, who willingly endured a two-day trip just to witness his son’s graduation day.
Behind Suday’s success is a philanthropist named Rene Sausa. Hailing from Balasan town, Sausa and his wife supported the education of a dozen of Mangyan people including Suday. Right from the start, Sausa already saw potential in Suday since he can already read and write, unlike their other scholars.
However, Suday’s success was almost thwarted.
A year before graduating in college, he almost did not finish school after having a child with a girl from his tribe. At that point, Sausa considered sending him back to Mindoro. But after seeing Suday’s determination, he decided to give him another chance.
Now that he has achieved his goal, Sausa only wants one thing in return: For Suday to give back to his community.
Hopefully, his story of success will also inspire other Mangyan people to pursue their education. On the other hand, once he returns home in Mindoro, a job from the local government awaits Suday.