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Dylene Jee S. Polea: Her Life’s Musical Journey

Kaming mga kabataan karon Ayaw pasagdi’ng mawala…ohhh (We, the children of today, do not allow us to perish…ohhh),” Dylene starts singing her winning song entitled “Paglaum” (Hope).

“Busa palihog agaka Kining among pagpakigbisug Ning lumba sa kapalaran Ika’y paglaum ning kinabuhi (Please guide us In our struggle In this race towards destiny You are the hope of our existence),” she continued singing the lines that made a mark on her at a young age.

Dylene Jee Polea, 2018 Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children regional winner, belts the song “A Million Dreams” during the opening salvo of the 26th National Children’s Month celebration.

“I started joining amateur singing contests when I was five years old. At that time, I did not understand the meaning of the song. Slowly, my father explained to me what the song is all about. Only then that I realized the important message of the song which is about the real situation of children who went astray and faced life’s uncertainties maybe because their parents or guardians had neither guided and nor trained them in the way they should go,” said Dylene in dialect.

Kaming mga kabataan, paglaum sa tanan (We, the children are everybody’s hope),” belted Dylene of the song’s last line, showcasing her singing prowess.

Who is Dylene Jee?

Dylene Jee Polea, 14 years old lives in Barangay Ibabao, Cordova, Cebu.  She is the second daughter of Darwin and Elizabteh Polea. Her elder sister is Sheena, 18 years old and her younger siblings are Darylle, 12 and Wenn, 11.

Darwin, Dylene’s father, is employed in a private tour service as a van driver.

Elizabeth, Dylene’s mother, used to work in Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) in Lapu-Lapu City. But she resigned to take care of her children. To help her husband put food on the table, she manages her own sari-sari store. She also sells food to their neighbors.

Maka-income man sad ko sa pagpaninda diri ug makabantay sad ko sa akong mga anak labi na karon nga silang tanan kay ga-eskwela pa (I can earn through selling, at the same time watch over my children especially now that they are all studying),” said Elizabeth.

Sheene is presently studying at the University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu Mandaue (UCLM) Campus under the Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC) Senior High School (SHS) Voucher Program. Dylene and Darylle, are in grade 9 and grade 7, respectively, at Babag National High School in Lapu-Lapu City. Wenn is a grade 6 student at Ibabao Elementary School, Cordova, Cebu.

Sheene, Dylene and Darylle are monitored children under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Dylene has all praises for her parents whom she described as hardworking despite their hardships just to provide for their needs.

“If I were to dedicate a song to my parents, it would be ‘Iingatan ka by Carol Banawa’,” said Dylene as she likes the lyrics of the song and the crystal clear voice of Carol, the singer whom she admires.

With her melodic voice Dylene sings the chorus of the song, “Iingatan ka Aalagaan ka Sa puso ko ikaw ang pag-asa Sa ‘ting mundo’y May gagabay sa iyo Ang alay ko’y itong pagmamahal ko (Taking care of you Taking care of you In my heart you are my hope In our world There’s someone who will guide you I dedicate this, my love for you).”

“Saying Thank You to my parents would not be enough to express how grateful I am to be their daughter because they taught us the right values and they encouraged us to show our potentials,” Dylene added. 

On being a Pantawid Pamilya Partner-Beneficiary

Her family is receiving a regular cash grant of Php 4,000.00 every two months for their health and education grants for junior and senior high school students. They also receive Php 1,200.00 rice subsidy and a one-time Php 2,400.00 for the unconditional cash transfer (UCT) for this year.

Nakatabang ang cash grant nga nadawat namo gikan sa Pantawid kay nakapuno kini sa pagbudget ni Mama sa mga galastuhon sama sa kung naa mi school project ug uban pang school activities (The Pantawid cash grants help my mother in her budgeting of the family’s expenses especially for our school projects and for other school activities),” Dylene underscored as she is determined to finish her studies and get a degree.

Elizabeth sees to it that the cash grants are put in good use. She ensures that the money is used to its intended purpose – for children’s education, health and food.

Dako among pasalamat sa tabang pinaagi sa 4Ps pero wala mi nagsalig ani kay kabalo mi nga kini nga subsidy kay usa ra sa paagi sa gobyerno aron matabangan ang mga kabus sama namo (We are grateful for the help of 4Ps but we are not dependent on this because we know that this subsidy is just one way of the government in helping the poor like us)”, Elizabeth explain.

“Our children are our source of happiness and every medal or recognition is already an achievement to us,” Elizabeth added.

Darwin Polea teaches Dylene on how to strum the guitar.

Hence, both Elizabeth and Darwin strive hard to find means to support their family.

The couple are regular attendees of the Family Development Session (FDS).  It is there that they learned insights on responsible parenthood, disaster preparedness, values and spiritual formation and other relevant topics.  Elizabeth, as a parent, gives due attention to the roles of parents and the rights of children. She understands the important role of parents in molding a child.

The family is also aware of the value of money and that they should only spend for the essentials and always saves for emergencies. Dylene and her siblings maintain an ‘alkansiya’ out of their meager school allowance.

On Education and Academic Excellence

The benefits of education are far-reaching and innumerable.  Being educated and informed is a good way to get out of poverty.

Dylene must have realized this when she throws her heart out to attain good education. Her tenacity and perseverance in studying is rewarded by honors and recognition in academic excellence and climbing up the school stage every commencement exercise has become her tradition. All these made her parents beamed with pride and honor.

Dylene said that she gives her all in her studies.

Ganahan ko magtuon kay plano nako mamahimong Doctor aron makatabang sa mga bata nga adunay sakit (I like studying a lot because I want to be a Doctor someday so that I can help the sick children),” Dylene said.

She said that to excel in class, one has to attend the class always for missing even just a day makes a difference. Her secret weapon is to take down notes on important points and not just rely on memory. Nothing beats focus and hard work.

Elder sister Sheene occasionally tutors and mentors Dylene on subjects she encounters with difficulties. In return, she also helps her younger brothers in their assignments.

The Song Bird 

She is dubbed as the “song bird” because of her exceptional singing prowess.  She is exposed to singing tilts inside and outside school. Her family began seeing the potentials in her when she was only four years old, when she just hummed sounds and created harmonies. She used to mimic singers despite uttering inaccurately the lyrics of the songs.

Her teachers also saw her as a promising singer and afforded her the opportunities to shine by inviting her to sing during school programs. She even became the regular school representative in singing contest.

Recently, she joined the “Your Face Sounds Familiar” contest in Babag National High School wherein she impersonated KZ Tandingan and rendered the piece, “Two Less Lonely People in the World”.

Dylene admits her passion and inclination towards music. It is her way of expressing herself and letting go of suppressed emotions. Music is life for her, so to speak.

“I believe that music is a universal language and I use this God-given talent to promote peace and advance my advocacy against cyber pornography, bullying and drug addiction,” she said.

Known for her good leadership, Dylene got elected as one of the class officers in her school. She uses her influence to promote peace and order in her class. She serves as a good role model to her classmates in terms of diligence and takes a strong stance against drug addiction, cyber pornography and teenage pregnancy.

Dylene makes it sure that she answers her school assignments.

“As a junior police in our school, I am part of the elite team who knows the whereabouts of the students and monitor their absences and cutting classes,” said Dylene.

Her Advocacy

Dylene and her family live in a place where there are known cyber pornographic activities. Despite not being involved in the illegal activities, the young Dylene also suffered the stigma of having lived in the place. She does not deserve to be affected by these activities and she could only hope there is still remedy for this unfortunate situation.

“I am angry to those who are engaged in cyber pornography for ruining the future of the young and innocent lives and for tainting the name of Barangay Ibabao and the Municipality of Cordova,” said Dylene.

“To fight cyber pornography, one needs to be informed so that they will not be easily lured by easy money,” she added.

She believes that internet is helpful but she is also aware of its bad effects to the youth.

In her own little ways, she takes an active participation in the barangay affairs in particular in Purok Makugihon Youth and Ibabao Youth Circle. She renders service in feeding programs and clean up drive and attends in symposiums, seminars and youth jamborees.

Dylene may just be a child but she makes sure she has a voice. She does little things in the hope of creating a ripple effect in the near future. “I will use my small voice to campaign against cyber pornography and tell them that there are many ways in earning money and not the way of selling one’s self,” Dylene said.

She and her friends who are Sangguniang Kabataan Members carry the slogan “Ang kausaban magagikan gayod sa kaugalingon (Change starts from us).”

Faith in God 

Dylene knows that her skills and talents are all God-given.

Kining akong boses kay gihatag sa Ginoo aron pagsangyaw sa maayong balita (My voice is given to me by God to proclaim the good news),” she said.

Dylene attends regular church activities and joins bible studies and sings in the music ministry.

She particularly likes the worship song “How lovely is your dwelling place”.

“Blest are they refreshed by springs and by rain When dryness daunts and scathes

Behold my shield My king and my God,” sings in her angelic voice.

Dylene shares to other students of Cordova National High School her views on a topic discussed during the Information Campaign on Awareness Raising About Online Sexual Exploitation to Children and Anti-Child Pornography.

“The song is a reminder of God’s love and protecting presence and I share this good message to my friends as well,” she added.

Even though the family cannot attend church activities together since they have different religious beliefs, Dylene said that family members respect each other’s belief and conviction.

Dylene and her dreams  

Just like every child, Dylene has her dream and she holds it in her heart. She wants to become a doctor and a singer. A singer doctor, perhaps.

Kanang doctor nga mukanta sa iyang mga pasyente aron madali ilang pag-ayo (A doctor that can sing to her patients so that they can easily be healed),” she said.

Daghan man ko og damgo sa akong kaugalingon ug para sa akong pamilya. Puhon makab-ot naku ni aron makatabang pud ko sa ubang nga nagkinahangalan (I have many dreams for myself and for my family. Hopefully, I can achieve those dreams so that I can help those who are in need),” said Dylene as she remembers a popular song entitled a “A Million Dreams”. ###

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