“Graduation to sa akong anak sa college, samtang nakita nako akong anak nga nipaso sa stage ug nidawat sa iyang diploma, grabi kaayo ang akong kalipay. Nakahuna-huna dayon ko, unsa kaha kung ako or kami sa akong bana makadawat pud og diploma, malipay ba kaha sad among mga anak (I was overjoyed when I saw my daughter marched and received her college diploma during her graduation rites. Right then, I asked myself that what if me and my husband will also receive our college diploma, will our children be happy for us?)

This was the life-changing question for Mrs. Florenda Narcana, an active parent leader of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), after witnessing her daughter reaping the benefits of her hard work.

Proud parents, Mrs. Florenda and Mr. Raul take a pose with their daughter who graduated from Bachelor of Physical Education in SDSSU in 2019.

Getting a diploma nowadays is a bit challenging especially if you came from a low income family. This is because getting into school can pose insurmountable financial burden for a poor family who even have a hard time addressing their basic needs. But, for 45 year old Florenda, she took the challenge to pursue her college diploma even if she had to juggle her time as a wife to her husband, a mother to five children, and a student – for herself.


 Mrs. Florenda, who works as a Barangay Health Worker (BHW), lives in Barangay Bolhoon, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur together with her husband Raul Reambonanza Narcana, who is Barangay Kagawad. They are blessed with five children, namely Kim Marie, who is currently working as teacher at Surigao del Sur State University (SDSSU), Briethney currently taking up Bachelor of Science in Criminology as 1st Year Student at the North Eastern Mindanao State University, Paul and Ram Jay enrolled at Bolhoon National High School as grade 9 and 8 respectively, and lastly, Alwin Rich who is enrolled in Bolhoon Child Day Care Development Center.

Before Florenda became a 4Ps beneficiary, she was preoccupied doing household chores and taking care of her children. She is a caring housewife then and very much dependent on her husband’s decisions-making especially when it comes to matters with their family.

When her family was identified as a poor household during the DSWD Listahanan household assessment, they became eligible for the 4Ps. Right then, Mrs. Florenda was chosen as parent leader (PL). In the program, beneficiaries were given the opportunity to become leaders within their community. She attended several trainings and capability building activities for Parent Leaders hosted by the department which impacted her life as.


 In 2019, the couple attended and witnessed the graduation rites of their first born Kim Mary, who graduated Bachelor of Physical Education at Surigao del Sur State University as scholar for the Expanded Students’ Grant- in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation or (E/SGP-PA).

Seeing their daughter wearing a black toga with a blue hood and a cap, made them proud parents. They were proud that amidst their financial struggles, they were able to support her through the help of the program. It was during that event that Florenda had a life-changing question about her future.

Nibalik akong interest nga mo eskwela atong pagkakita naku sa akong anak nga ni paso sa stage, isa sad sa mga nag papush sa akoa ang akong mga natun-an sa akong mga naapilan nga mga trainings sa DSWD ug sa FDS kay permi didtu ipa remind nga dapat jud makahuman ug eskwela (My interest to pursue my college studies arose when I saw my daughter march on that stage. Another reason also that pushed me are the learnings I gained from DSWD trainings and from the Family Development Session (FDS) where it highlights the importance of education),’’ Florenda recalled.

She opened her initial plan of going back to school with her husband. Luckily, her plan was supported by her partner. Although there are doubts in their minds specially that they have children that need attention and their jobs are not stable, but the couple pursued their plan as this will be critical for their future as a family. However, as they went along with the plan, hindrances started to arise.

Aiming to earn a college degree, Mrs. Florenda looks good wearing her North Eastern Mindanao State University-San Miguel Campus uniform.

“Daghan kaayo og babag sa among plano nga mo eskwela, nabuntis ko kadtu ra nga tuiga, problema nasad mi ug kinsay mag bantay sa bata ug manganak ko. Peru wala jud ko nag patintal sa mga babag, desidido na kaau ko nga mo eskwela, bisan buntis ko, nag pa enroll gyud ko kauban akong bana. Bachelor of Agriculture Technology among gi kuha duha (Our plan to pursue our studies was met with many challenges. I got pregnant and we were worried on who will take care of our baby after I gave birth. But we did not let these things hinder our plans, we were committed to our plan, so we both enrolled and took up Bachelor of Agriculture Technology),” she narrated.


 The couple enrolled in North Eastern Mindanao State University-San Miguel Campus, this while performing their role as parents to their children and workers to their barangay.

 When ask about her life being a student-mother, she said that life wasn’t easy specially that they both did not stop from being parents to their children, and she also had work at the barangay centre selling harvested crops from their small farm.

Dili jud lalim mahimung studyanting inahan, naa may mga time nga wala nay halos tulog, dli na halos makakaon sa subra ka busy labi na ug ting exam, kailangan jud nimu ug time management arun ma plastar ang mga trabahuon (It was never easy being a student-mother. There were days when I was deprived sleep, there were times that I skipped meals because I was too busy, especially during exams. You need to master time management to put things in order),” she said.

Mrs. Florenda admitted that there were times she almost wanted to give up due to the pandemic and typhoon that affected their livelihood. But her husband, who becomes her constant encourager, reminds her of their goal – to earn a degree in college.

Sa nagdagan ang panahon, niabot ko sa point nga naka ingun ko nga mo undang nalang ko ug eskwela kay gikapoy naku ug mo abroad nalang ko tungod sa among kawalad.on. Tungod sa pandemic ug sa mga bagyo nga nilabay, among mga tanum wala nay nabilin. Peru akong bana ang nag encourage sa akoa, giingnan ko niya nga gamay nalang gradauate nata ug ang pag undang mahimong saying ang tanan. Didto ko na challenge pag usab, ug ni padayun mi sa pag eskwela (As time went by, I was tempted to withdraw from my studies and just find work abroad. Due to the pandemic and a series of typhoons hitting our area, our crops were destroyed. But my husband encouraged and reminded me of our plans to finish college. I was challenged when he told me that we are about to reach our goal and giving up was not an option),” she added.


The Family Narcana celebrating their holiday season in 2021 together.

The couple learned a lot of things at school which they applied in their farm since both of them are also farmers. They also shared their learnings to their neighbors who also did farming.

Florenda’s decision to continue her studies boosted her self-confidence as she was able to share her knowledge and opinion during meetings or trainings. Also, the couple now share the responsibility of deciding what’s best for the family, Florenda was no longer too dependent on her husband’s decision.

Today, the couple started their On-the-job-training (OJT) and are scheduled to graduate this coming June. Soon both of them will be able to wear black togas and receive their college diplomas.

“Kani nga akong pangandoy nga makahuman kog eskwela, dili raman ni para sa akong kaugalingon, para ni sa among pamilya, para makita sa among mga anak nga bisan tigulang nami duha sa ilang papa naningkamot mi para makahuman ug eskwela para ma proud pud sila sa amoa (This dream of mine to finish college is not just a dream for myself, but for the whole family. I want my children to see that even if we are already old, we strive hard to continue our studies so that our children would be proud of us),” Florenda shares. ### Social Marketing Section

Print Friendly, PDF & Email