This woman from Tau’t Bato tribe is truly inspiring!
One tribe member from Tau’t Bato, a tribe living in Singnapan Valley, Palawan, became an inspiration and earned praise after graduating in college so she could help her people. Juda Diklay is the first tribe member who completed school.
She recalls how her people struggle when they evacuate to the caves during the storm.
“Napakadelikado po nung mga dinadaanan namin papunta sa mga kweba. Puro bato, at kaliwa’t kanang bangin ang dadaanan para makapunta doon at buwis-buhay talaga. May part pa doon na tatawid ng tulay na kailangan nakabalanse ka kung hindi malalaglag ka talaga,” Juda shared.
Like other ethnic groups, the Tau’t Bato tribe is living a simple yet difficult life as well. Aside from not acquiring a good quality of health care, there were no schools in this remote area. As a result, the tribe is “no read, no write”.
The Youth with a Mission (YWAM), a Christian missionary group, visits the Tau’t Bato regularly to advise them to leave the dangerous life in their village and move to lowlands to acquire education and health care. However, they refused to.
After 5 years, the YWAM convinced Juda and her family. At first, Juda wasn’t really interested and his brother, on the other hand, loves the idea of going to school and learn. At the age of 10, Juda started Grade 1 at Ransang Elementary School. It wasn’t easy for her because she often felt alone and got bullied.
“May mga nagsasabi sa akin noon na bakit daw ba ako nag-aaral eh taga-bundok lang naman daw ako. Wala naman daw akong silbi,” she said.
Juda graduated as her class valedictorian and continue high school. She then moved to the city of Puerto Princesa to continue high school.
“Nung high school naman po ako, may kaklase ako na sinira yung project na gawa ko dahil nauna akong magpasa sa kanila dahil hindi pa sila tapos at nauna ako sa deadline. Umiyak lang ako noon pag-uwi tapos gumawa na lang ako ng panibago at nagpasa pagkatapos nilang gawin yung kanila,” Juda narrated.
But she still got bullied and considering to quit. She would sometimes ask herself, “Masama bang mangarap ang isang taga-bundok?”.
Juda took up Bachelor of Elementary Education at the Western Philippines University (WPU) in Puerto Princesa to become a teacher to help her tribe.
“Babalik na po ako sa amin at magtuturo ako doon. Ipapakita ko sa kanila kung gaano kahalaga ang edukasyon. Iniisip ko pong magturo ng ALS doon sa amin para lahat ng mga tao doon ay makapag-aral.”
As one of the recipient of the Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), she was able to complete her college education.