In the Pursuit of a Dream: The 41-year-old Future Educator and Chicharon Vendor Jesus Fuentes

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Many things go through your mind that spiral out of control. Before you know it, you tend to believe that you cannot do something that will lead you to fail and cannot pursue your dreams. However, for some people, it is still possible to accomplish your aspirations in spite of difficulties, whatever your age or financial situation.

Jesus Fuentes, a 41-year-old chicharon vendor from Barangay Labangon in Cebu City, has shown that there is no upper age limit to achieving one’s goals in life. He is a father of four and the family’s sole provider.

Fuentes will earn a Bachelor of Elementary Education degree from Talisay City College in August 2022, demonstrating that financial difficulties should not prevent someone from pursuing their dreams. As the youngest of his father’s original six children, financial limitations prevented him from finishing high school on time or from enrolling in college after he graduated at the age of 22. Before beginning to sell and distribute chicharon for his supplier, he worked as a gas station attendant and a promoter at one of the nation’s cosmetic companies to support his family.

Despite his current situation, he has never lost sight of his desire to complete college and ultimately decided to go back to school in 2018. After knowing that classes are held at the university every day, he decided against enrolling at the main campus of Cebu Technological University because it would only require him to report there at least three times a week. This would have given him more time to distribute and sell chicharon to sustain his family. At the moment, they are housed in a modest temporary structure in Barangay Labangon, on the corner of PU Abella Street and Salvador Extension.

Fuentes acknowledged that he still finds it hard to comprehend that he has made it through the previous four years of his quest for a degree. He claimed that although he was successful in getting accepted into the public college, he also had to cope with his wife, who initially did not support his intentions.

“Mag-away lagi mi at that time katong first year pa. Kay mao to musamot daw mi og kalisod. Pero, bahala’g magyaw-yaw siya, eskwela jud ko,” he said.

(We used to argue when I was in my first year since she claimed it would be a hassle, but I was determined to finish my studies regardless of how much she babbled.)

When asked about his plans, he replied that he would take any employment chances that may present himself. He is doing this while he waits for the opportunity to review for free and take the Teacher Licensure Examination. In the event that he decides to pursue a career in education, Fuentes stated that he would want to work in their province of Malabuyoc, Cebu, where he could care for his father while simultaneously working.

Meanwhile, he is making a request to anyone who can help him, financially or in kind, to fix their temporary home, which serves as their refuge, particularly during this rainy season. For those wishing to offer assistance, you may call his cell phone number: 0932-497-7907.