“I’m a senior Law student. When I was 10, I had this condition called retinal detachment. It happens when your retina – a layer of tissue at the back of your eye that processes light – pulls away from the tissue around it. Since the retina can’t work properly when this happens, you could have permanent vision loss if you don’t get treated. I have undergone two surgeries, and I then I was supposed to have another one, but we couldn’t afford it anymore.”
“I lost my eyes, but I didn’t lose my vision. I still dream. I still have my aspirations. There’s this line that stuck with me since reading it: ‘The most pathetic person in the world is the one who have their sight but have no vision.’”
You’re taking law, and you excel in class. Given your condition, how do you do it?
“I just do it, just like someone with normal vision does. I browse my notes, I memorize – with my phone. Sometimes I and my friends meet at the library or someplace else and have a group study. They help me memorize. If I’m alone at home, I have my phone to help me. It’s like Siri; it dictates my notes so I can memorize them.”
“My mom accompanies me to my classes. Sometimes my friends fetch me from home – they’re very kind people. We go out at times and have a drink. I can have the best time and not worry about not making it home. I’m just very lucky I’m surrounded with good people.”
If you were to assign colors to emotions, what color would you choose for love?
How about kindness?
“After graduation, I plan to work in the government and join civic organizations that advance the rights of people with disabilities. I just lost my sight, but not my heart. Everyday I always look forward to waking up and doing something that matters – for other people. Just because you’re missing a part of your body doesn’t mean you should stop moving forward. We should be greater than our disabilities. And there is never a hard task with the right amount of effort and determination.”
Photo by DONALD RENTIQUIANO
Interview by RONA LIN & JAN FITZ BULAYUNGAN
Text by JAN FITZ BULAYUNGAN