Quantcast
Latest Stories

Top grad makes it after 25 yrs

He sold ‘balut,’ etc. and never gave up

By

TABUNAR: I want my children to be proud of me. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

It took Dante Tabunar 25 years—a time spent raising a family and taking different jobs, including selling balut—to finally achieve his lifelong dream: a college degree.

And the father of two didn’t just settle for a so-so finish.

Tabunar, 44, graduated at the top of his class on April 23 at Quezon City Polytechnic University (QCPU), with an average grade of 1.24 in his major, entrepreneurial management.

THE TOP graduate (left) receives a citation from his alma mater, Quezon City Polytechnic University, during the April 23 rites. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

His 81-year-old mother Zerenaida was onstage to pin the Gawad Galing Akademiko medal on her son. “I wanted to dedicate this to her. It was her dream to see me finish college,” Tabunar told the Inquirer in an interview on Saturday.

Juggling his time between school and everything else, he completed his studies in just three and a half years despite the pressures from home and work.

But the milestone was made even more momentous by another celebration in the family: Tabunar graduated at the same time his son finished Mathematics at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. His other child, Camille, finished cum laude in Economics at the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2011.

It took longer for the elder Tabunar because he was forced to quit school when he was 19, after his mother fell ill and he had to earn a living for the family. He got married at age 21.

He took on several jobs—house helper, printing press assistant, balut vendor and security guard—before finally getting a more stable employment at the Quezon City office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and later at the public affairs office of the city government.

It was in 2009 when Tabunar decided to go back to school. “Not a day passed without me thinking: ‘I want to earn a degree. I want to study. I want my children to be proud of me,’” he recalled.

He first enrolled in QCPU’s information technology program but eventually shifted to entrepreneurial management under a special study program for city government employees.

For three and a half years, he reported to work during the day and went to school at night and on weekends. He took six to seven subjects per semester.

But unlike the other students, Tabunar felt that he had to give it his best shot. “When I should be sleeping, I would still be doing research for my paper. I would go to work with only three hours of sleep,” he recalled.

Aside from dealing with the usual “terror professors,” he said, he also had quite a hard time in his physical education classes; he was already in his 40s, after all. Fortunately, the teachers were “considerate,” he said.

“My philosophy is this: I am going to do this anyway, so why not give it my best?” he said. ‘’But I didn’t know that I would get the highest grades in the class. It was a pleasant surprise.”

But the academic road doesn’t stop here for Tabunar, who plans to enroll in UP for a postgraduate course either in community work or public administration.

“Learning never stops. I want to have a sense of fulfillment. If my children can do it, so can I.”


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Dante Tabunar , Education , People




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Tagle: Christ’s resurrection a message of hope to faithful
  • Aquino vows to intensify anti-corruption drive further
  • Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  • Nepal calls off search for missing guides on Everest—official
  • Pope’s Easter Message ‘Urbi et Orbi’
  • Sports

  • Rain or Shine grabs No.4, sends Ginebra to 8th
  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement