New doctor takes pride in tricycle driver-dad
Marven Louie Badon Ragay couldn’t help but wax poetic on his Facebook wall on March 23. He thanked his father Benecio, a tricycle driver, for his perseverance in sending him to medical school despite their financial difficulties.
“Your earnings were able to sustain my education. Congrats! A tricycle driver with a son who is a medical doctor. You must be proud of me, father!,” he wrote.
He also posted a photo of him in his toga and his father standing beside his tricycle No. 0053, a day after he graduated from Silliman University Medical School.
Marven admitted that the graduation felt “surreal,” especially when he thought about how his parents beat the odds through loans and promissory notes. His parents had yet to pay fully for the tablet that they loaned for (to lessen his expenses for medical books).
“I am happy for them because their efforts and hard work have paid off,” he said.
Benecio was a farmer who dropped out of college and became a tricycle driver. His wife, Flor Marie Badon-Ragay, works at the provincial agriculturist’s office in Negros Oriental.
Money was hard to come by, but the couple was able to send to school all their four children—Venice Marie, Marven, Danya Ritzel and Kathleen Josela.
They are all registered nurses, choosing the profession not because they want to work abroad. They could save money using the same hand-me-down books.
“We grew up like that [not having everything]. We have been so used to promissory notes and my mother’s loans to pay for our schooling that one time, her take-home pay from her government paycheck was a mere P20 due to deductions from debts,” Marven recalled.
The siblings started going to elementary school in Siaton town, also in Negros Oriental, where the family lived before they transferred to Barangay Banilad in Dumaguete City.
While Benecio’s brother funded the education of the eldest child, the couple were able to send the rest to St. Louis School-Don Bosco for high school and later to St. Paul University-Dumaguete.
In 2008, Marven became a registered nurse. He trained to become a medical transcriptionist while working as a stockman in all branches of Jollibee in Dumaguete. He even volunteered his time for two years at Holy Child Hospital.
His childhood dream of “becoming like the doctors who have vast knowledge and a huge responsibility” continued to haunt him, however. “Doctors know many things and it just got me more curious [about the field],” he said.
Maybe it was prophetic that he was called “Doctor Nerd” back at St. Louis.
Still, his parents were shocked that he actually wanted to pursue Medicine, given their financial constraints. He applied for and was granted a scholarship by the provincial government.
The scholarship program requires two years of service in community primary hospitals in the hinterlands or the district hospitals, or Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital for every year of medical school.
“This means I could be assigned for the next eight years in community hospitals in Dauis, Bayawan City, Nabilog in Ayungon town or in Santa Catalina town, after our one-year postgraduate internship program, and after passing the licensure exam,” Marven said.
At 27, he seems unperturbed to fulfill his contract with the provincial government. “I need to give back to the communities first, then I hope to get training in Internal Medicine after eight years.”
Even when Marven was in medical school, Benecio never failed to prepare packed steamed rice each day for his son before leaving early morning for work. He would also leave money in the toolbox of Marven’s motorbike for his viand.
“My father is just naturally like that. He is very generous with his time and whatever little he has, and it seems to be his routine,” Marven said.
One time, Benecio drove around town looking for homeless taong grasa so he could give them rice, food and iced water in plastic bags. Some bystanders even scolded him, thinking that he was throwing plastics in street corners.
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