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Dancing to the rhythm of life

Hip-hop, R&B and K-POP those are just few of the music genres that a simple girl named Abbie expresses her feelings toward her friends, neighbors and loved ones.

The rhythm of the music symbolizes the different high and low points in her life and the way she dances to the different music signifies her flexibility to adapt with the different situations in life.

For Abbie Sumagang, dancing is her way of coping from stress and pressure which a typical teenager faces nowadays. She also does this as a medium of promoting an active lifestyle and camaraderie among the youth may it be in school or in her neighborhood. Abbie said “I dance often not only to develop my talent and be known for it but through dance I gained new friends.”

Abbie is currently a grade 8 student at Campalanas National High School.

Para nako ang pagsayaw kay usa ka paagi aron ma-express imong self (For me dance is one way of expressing one’s self),” Abbie said in mixed English and dialect.

Ever since she was young, Abbie participated in many school activities and even performed during their town fiesta celebrations.

According to her, she likes to join to a lot of academic and extracurricular activities in school and in the community because it enhances her inter-personal skills.

Abbie is the youngest among the four children of Abner and Helen Sumagang from Sitio Balogo, Barangay Campalanas, Lazi, Siquijor.

Abbie’s residence is the end sitio of their barangay, about 18 kilometers from the town hall. She recalls that every day she walks the rough hills road with her schoolmates from their house to her school that is why she wakes up early in the morning and helps her parents prepare her things.

Abbie finished elementary as the Class Valedictorian and she continues to be on top of her class even up to this day.

Athlete and Volunteer

Aside from her academic achievements, Abbie has also put a name for herself in sports during intramurals as she was among the school’s representatives in the chess competition during the District Level Competition.

An active member of the Girl Scout of the Philippines (GSP), Abbie wants to become an accountant someday. “I want to become an accountant, because it deals more on mathematics, which I love especially problem solving. I always love helping my classmates on problem solving,” explains Abbie.

She has been very helpful to her classmates and is not selfish to share her knowledge in Mathematics and Science. In fact, she has won various awards in the Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines (MTAP) Math challenge both in the district and division levels.

She has been an active volunteer in their barangay and participated in some community activities such as clean-up drive and tree planting.

One of her major extra-curricular involvements is in the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. She shares that her involvement motivated her to assist in times of emergency situations. Abbie tells that her place is identified to be a hazard prone area. Furthermore, she said the council is the prime mover in times of school disaster drills, accidents during intramurals and in the information campaign on disaster preparedness at school.

Abbie says “Ang kapobrehon dili kini pagalantawon isip usa ka babag sa pagkab-ot sa mga pangandoy apan usa kini kahagit sa atong kinabuhi (Poverty should be viewed not as a hindrance in achieving one’s goal but rather as a challenge in life).”

She never falters to strive to achieve her dreams because she considers every difficult circumstance as a challenge to herself rather than a reason to surrender.

Family

She is grateful for her family that despite of their simple living, they have maintained a healthy relationship. She recalls her parent’s conviction that “bisan makaagi mi og kalisud, problema ug mga pagsulay ang panaghiusa isip usa ka pamilya gayud ang matigbabaw (Despite the hardships, problems and challenges, solidarity among the family members should rise above all).”

Vina, Abbie’s elder sister, expresses that she considered Abbie an achiever. “We are proud of her because not only she achieves her aspiration as a student, she also performs her household chores well.” Vina added that Abbie never forgets to do her household chores before and after school.

As a form of family bonding, the Sumagang family maintains a small backyard garden at home that also serves as their source of food supply and income. They family helps their neighbors by sharing them vegetables and corn cobs every time they harvest.

Abner, Abbie’s father, is a carpenter and at times, works at their farm for additional income. Her Mother Helen, who hails from Pampanga, is a simple housewife and maintains the family backyard garden.

The couple often wondered how they were able to send all their children to school given their limited income. Before Abner went to carpentry, he used to be a fisherman and they struggled a lot financially before they became a Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiary.

Lisud ang trabaho sa usa ka mananagat kay kung bati ang panahon o adunay bagyo dili makapangisda si Papa (A fisherman’s work is difficult because if the weather is bad and if there is a typhoon, my father cannot work),” Abbie recounts.

When Helen decided to work in Manila as a housekeeper in one of her relatives in order to sustain the needs of the family, Abner had to assume both roles as a father and mother.

Abbie exclaimed “Si Papa ang nibuhat sa mga trabahuon nga gitrabaho pud ni Mama sama sa pagluto, paglaba ug uban pa (My father had to do the household chores as my mother did like cooking, washing laundry among others).”

However, the family did not lose hope and continued to strive for the betterment of their family coupled by prayers.

When they become Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiary, Helen came home to take care of their children and on the other hand Abner was also able to find a better job that would augment their family needs.

Abbie Sumagang (leftmost) together with other Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children from Central Visayas Ma. Janica Delusa, Jhefrell Casido and Dylene Jee Polea during the 2018 Araw ng Kabataan at the SM North EDSA Skydome.

It was shared by Helen that the program did not only help them financially but it has also strengthened their family relationship with the aid of the Family Development Session (FDS) where they learned to be more responsible and mature in handling their children and family as a whole. They are now aware of the different internal and external resources in the community giving them easier access in finding better solutions to address the needs of their family.

At a very a young age, through the guidance of her parents, Abbie was able to balance her personal, family and social life in school, church and community. She hopes that one day, all the children in their community will be able to finish their education and reach their dreams in life.

She continues to inspire other people to help others in the simplest way they can. She and her family upholds to the mantra “Kapag may itinanim may aanihin (What you sow, so shall you reap).”

With this, she created her own meaning of the acronym 4Ps. One has to have Patience, Persistence coupled with Passion in everything he/she does to achieve Perfection.

Life is full of happiness and tears. And for Abbie, whatever comes her way, she just have accept it, be strong and have faith.

There are many kinds of music out there and so are life’s surprises, but with her values, experiences, and with the people who love and support her, Abbie believes that she can dance to the rhythm of life. ###

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