Strokes of Refined Ashes

The room was silent. The atmosphere was tense. The people were eager. Strokes of refined ashes pigmented the answer sheets like it was staining a blank slate— in a good way. As his hands were firmly holding the yellow wood with lead as ink, the inner revolt in his mind was being splashed in every question he managed to answer… and the rest was history.

The day of the results arrived and verdict has been served. He scanned the overall result of the examination and felt ecstatic when the most familiar set of letters were processed in his eyes— his name.


He got his hopes higher as he scanned the names of those who got into the top 10. And there he saw the identity he’s owned for 27 years. He readied, got set, and went for the top. He is Louie Cantila Divinagracia, Top 8 of the 2018 Geodetic Engineer Licensure Examination.

Among goal kay mupasar mi tanan. Mas fulfilling namo nga nipasar mi tanan. Additional na ug bonus nga na-top,” he shared when asked whether he was expecting himself to be part of the top 10.

Cracking a joke about him not knowing the answers of some parts of the examination and just randomly selected any possible letters, he showed how light he is as a person.

Anybody’s childhood dream can be grasped and accomplished or changed and replaced. For Louie’s, it was pursued.

You might be taken aback when you find out that the dream job of the new Geodetic

Engineer was not to measure data on the surface of the Earth but to build and design infrastructures and buildings on the land, itself. Yes, he wanted to be a Civil Engineer.

And so, he spent his 5 years, from 2007 to 2012, in studying for his dream course. During his journey, he shared that he was like any other student.

Mao man na sa engineering, malipay na ka nga makapasar,” he said dreamily, recalling his past years of being a student. Though he did not graduate with Latin honors, he still was given the Most Proficient Award in which he treasures just the same.

Raised in a not-so well-off family in Cangmating, Sibulan, Louie did what any other striving child of a striving fa


mily would do. He worked hard in everything he does and made it sure that a well-deserved better life for his parents will be served through his grit and determination.

Dodging from his working schedule as a Civil Engineering Instructor in Negros Oriental State University Dumaguete campus II, he pursued his 2nd Engineering course, Geodetic Engineering, in the same institution.

From his challenged sleeping hours to not fully-reviewing for his upcoming quizzes and tests in his Geodetic course, he revealed that it was never easy to do things simultaneously. But with the help of God’s grace,

he managed to balance the equation of his responsibilities and graduated his 2nd degree without ever experiencing a failing grade.

Now, as he fulfills his life in the chosen path he’s embarking, he is wholeheartedly grateful for those people who helped him become the Louie he is right now.

His family, students, the faculty, and his mentors, Engr. Tuballa and Engr. Saga are proofs that in this life full of endless conquests and unpredictable horizons, you need people who will help you achieve the things you want to go for, whether it takes you eight years.

“Never give up on your dreams,” the simple 6-worded sentence


that was inculcated in Louie’s mind. And maybe, sometimes, that statement is all we need to hang on into what we feel strongly about— our dreams.

If we wants it, we should go for it because all great things start with a simple spark. And rest assured, you are a forest fire.

By Riza Mae M. Iso


November 5-December 7, 2018