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Antique’s first bar topnotcher urges OFWs to reach for their dreams

12 November 2018

By Rodelia Villar

A young Antiqueno has provided a spark of hope to some of her provincemates who work as overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong, when she spoke to them on Oct. 20 at the City Hall grounds in Central.

Irene Mae B. Alcobilla, who topped the Philippine bar in 2014, told members of the Antiquenos Overseas Filipino Workers of how she grew up wanting to make a difference, despite being born to a poor family.
Irene Mae B. Alcobilla (center), who topped the Philippine bar in 2014, joins officers of the Antiquenos Overseas Filipino Workers after giving an inspirational talk.

She said there were 7 children in her family, and her father was a farmer, while her mother was a public school teacher earning only Php7,000 a month.

She related thinking that “someday I make a history, I will put San Remigio, my hometown, in the map.”
Alcobilla with members of the Antiquenos Overseas Filipino Workers.

Alcobilla said she wanted to be a role model for children in her hometown so she aspired to become a lawyer.

But it was not smooth sailing at the start. She lost her mother and a brother in 2008, when typhoon Frank devastated their hometown.

Despite the setback, she held on to her dream and studied hard, until she finished law at San Beda College, and then became the first student, and woman, from her school, to top the Bar.

“If we have a dream, if we have a mission in life, we should just follow that dream so we will not get lost, so that we will reach our destination,” she said. She then exhorted her fellow Antiquenos to work together and always be united.

“When Antiquenos OFW unite and work together, they can make things happen. That’s how powerful they are.”

The young lawyer also said she was touched to have been given a treat by her province mates on her 30th birthday, adding that she will “forever remember this day and time of the year when she celebrated her birthday.”

Alcobilla, who was accompanied by her sister Kristine, was met by some relatives and friends when she arrived at the group’s favorite haunt in Central. She was moved to share her own experiences after group members related hardships working as domestic helpers in Hong Kong.

“I always carry the name of Antique with me, wherever I go, and I wish that all of you can be with your family someday, and together you’ll enjoy the fruit of your sacrifices.”

Among the 70 people who expressed joy at meeting the pride of their province was Lily Victoriano, who said it was great to see so many Antiquenos gathered together in one place.

Roselyn Dolar said she was stirred by the guest’s message of hope, while Amelinde Berbidel said she was touched by her dream of building up Antique and seeing its people achieve their dreams in life.

The young lawyer, who now works as a professor of law at San Beda, proceeded to take took down the names of those who attended the gathering, including the towns where they came from, and promised them legal advice and assistance. All they had to do was to send her a message through Facebook.

The gathering ended with everyone singing “The Greatest Love of All”, and the group launching its first project with Alcobilla, called “Lanas Kang Kaaram sa Antique Organization.” The aim is to support and help poor Antiqueno children achieve their fullest potentials through education, inspiration and service with a vision.

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