The last time I graduated, that was 2010 when I finished a degree in Communications at Saint Louis University in Baguio City. However, that was boring and the earlier graduation ceremonies I had in Sagada were far more thrilling.

I did receive a medal of recognition for finishing my degree as a government scholar in the Catholic-owned school. I got so depressed thinking of my future during that special day so it hit no high note in my head.


Back in Sagada, my parents never accompanied me to the stage during recognition or graduation days to accept an academic award, except one time. I am proud to say that I was a consistent honor student in elementary, then became an irregular part of the honor students list in high school. 

The awards play no big significance in my life since they just represent ceremonial achievements. I want to share the world something more meaningful.

I finished top two of my batch in elementary then top seven in high school. I really did like my high school graduation day because I had other awards waiting for me: Math Teachers Association of the Philippines winnings and Sagada Song Teen Fest second place.

The rule was consistent: I had to get any of the three living elders of our family. My mom kept on saying, "umey mo ilan da alampom ta daida mangkadwa ken sik-a ay mang ala sin honor mo tay siya nan ganas di nabibiyagan da di."






It was either my grandmother Dolores Lizardo, my granduncle Obonan Baniaga or my grandaunt Emilia Baniaga. I was such an innocent kid then who never questioned that rule. None of them turned me down.

There was one morning when I had to rush to see Lola Emilia because Lola Dolores was sick. On that very morning of the ceremony, I saw Lola Emilia preparing pig food. She  had to rush to prepare for the moment at the stage.







I have other cousins who also depend on the attendance of any of the three. My grandmother died when I was in second year high school so it was the patriarch Lolo Obonan who marched me to the stage during my high school graduation day.

Here is a picture taken on my graduation days arranged chronologically: