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I HAD the privilege of addressing the 2018 graduating classes of the University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas in Miagao, Iloilo and UP Cebu last June.  I was happy to see the joy in the eyes of the graduates as they celebrated completing at least 4 years of UP education. They exuded hope and enthusiasm for a future that they are tasked to shape. It’s a tall order but I am confident that my fellow Iskolars ng Bayan are up to the task.

That wonderful experience – walking inside a huge hall filled with graduates and their parents, seeing teachers and administrators beam with pride, hearing their laughters and seeing them cry with joy – is something I will always cherish. And it led me to reminisce my own experiences about graduations.

Not my own graduation – which seemed ages ago – but my children’s. Of course graduations are about the personal accomplishments of the graduates. But I can also look at it from the other side: that of a parent.

I would like to think that graduations are also celebrations for parents. Not in the sense that it was their own success or that it is a sign of relief from the hard work and sacrifices they needed to make sure they can pay the tuition and other educational expenses.

Graduations for parents are a source of pride because finally the children they have nurtured are on a path to success. Parents are excited at the future of their children. That is why parents work hard to get their kids the best education possible.

The graduation of my kids was what I remembered as I looked out into the crowd of graduates and parents. Cynthia and I are the proud parents of three incredible children who are carving their own paths to success.

I remember when Camille went to the IESE Business School of the University of Navarra in Barcelona. We were excited for her because she was the youngest in that MBA class. I would like to think that parents are more proud of their children’s accomplishments than their own.

I would always visit Camille when she was in Barcelona. Although I must admit that it was because I miss her and also partly because I enjoyed the train ride between Madrid and Barcelona. I love trains and I enjoy train rides.

That train ride between Madrid and Barcelona was particularly exquisite. I remember riding it the first time and thinking to myself – as I am sure most Filipinos who have experienced train rides in other countries have – why can’t we have this in the Philippines? I would order a cup of coffee and just watch that cup holding hot, aromatic coffee sit on the saucer without shaking as we speed up to over 300 kph. Impressive.

The family also went to the graduation ceremonies of Mark. The first was at The Lawrenceville High School in New Jersey then he got his bachelor’s degree in Economics, Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. We were also there when he finished his master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago. It’s a different feeling for parents watching their children conquer the world. We were very proud of Mark because we knew he was not done and that he would accomplish more in life.

Paolo graduated from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. We were there to witness him receive his double degree in Economics and Engineering in 1999. We would also visit him when he worked for two years for McKinsey & Co. in the United States. We were delighted when he decided to come home and join Vista Land in 2001.

Some people measure success by counting the medals or trophies they have won, or the number of awards they have received. For parents however, the measure of success lies in seeing you children walk up that stage, receive that diploma and walk towards a journey of a lifetime.

Cynthia and I have three beautiful reasons to feel extremely proud and successful.