By Dhel Nazario
Any successful endeavor is not an overnight achievement. It comes after hard work, pain, and sacrifice.
Limnel Villas, 22, knows that too well. He juggled energy and time for his studies and a job as a fastfood crew. He is relieved every time he can support his needs and that of his family.
As the sixth of seven siblings, he knows the value of hard work. He has three sisters: Jenibel, Lyn, and Janice who are all college graduates and are helping support the family. Lyn works as a private tutor, Janice teaches at their province in Mindoro while Jenibel manages a small business.
His two brothers: Jestoni and Jojit have an inborn hearing disability and both stay under the care of his mother, and his father who is a farmer.
Before he entered school, Villas was already working at a fastfood chain, and the money he earned went to his parents.
In order to enter college to study as an automotive mechanic, he had to rely on the kindness of others and borrow money from a crewmate.
“Nanghiram ako ng pera nun sa katrabaho ko para gamitin kong pangdown para makapasok (I borrowed money from a co-worker and used it as downpayment for me to enter college),” he recalled.
Initially, Villas wanted to study Hotel and Restaurant Management but later turned to this course after gaining interest in it because he and his brother Jestoni used to tinker with bikes and motorcycles.
Thinking about his family’s situation motivated him to strive to get ahead through an education. He endured a tight schedule – starting school at 7 a.m. and working a four-hour night shift. After work, he washed his uniform because he only owned one set.
“Halos alas dose na po ako nakakauwi pagkagaling sa fastfood tapos pag-uwi maglalaba pa po ako pagkatapos mag-aaral pa. Siguro mga 4-5 hours na lang po ako nakakatulog (I get home from work at around 12 midnight and as soon as I arrive, I would have to wash my uniform and then study after. I think I got only 4-5 hours of sleep),” Villas said.
The sleepless nights took much of his energy for school the next day, yet he kept on and persevered.
When he learned about a scholarship provided by the Ford Motor Company in his school, he immediately applied.
The Ford Automotive Technician Scholarship program awards grants to underprivileged but deserving students who have completed their high school studies to pursue a 15-month Automotive Mechanic vocational course at Don Bosco Technical Institute-Technical Vocational and Education Center (TVET). The grant covers the tuition fee, school supplies, miscellaneous and graduation fees.
Villas was accepted in June 2017 and belonged to the second batch of Ford scholars. He later decided to quit his job as a fastfood crew to complete his studies. He said he was slowly seeing a brighter future ahead of him.
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, eto na yun! (“I told myself, this is it!).”
He studied hard and his dedication paid off after he completed the course in November 2018 and in January 2019, Ford Manila Bay, the very branch where he did his on-the-job training called him and asked him to work for them.
Today, he works there as an automotive technician assigned to perform preventive maintenance service on cars as well as general automotive service work.
Villas is thankful to Ford for changing his life and giving him the opportunity to continue his studies that provided him a good life.
“Malaki po ang pagbabago kung ikukumpara po talaga sa dati. Sobrang iba po. Ngayon, nakakatulog na po ako ng minsan 7 or 8 hours tapos nakakatulong pa po ako magpaaral sa kapatid ko at nabibili ko pa yung gusto ko, (It [change] was really huge, if I were to really compare then from now. I get as much as seven or eight hours of sleep these days compared before and I also have the means now to support my younger brother’s studies. I even have the chance to buy stuff that I want),” he said.
Today he looks ahead to the future.
“Sa ngayon, kuntento ako sa trabaho ko. Pero gusto ko ring magkaroon ng mas mataas na posisyon kung papalarin (Right now, I’m content with the job I have although it never leaves my thoughts to aim for a higher position if I ever get the chance),” he added.
Now with the job he secured, he even dreams of owning one of the cars he usually works on. He figured why not, since he now knows that in order to transform his life, there is nothing that hard work could not do.