Magna cum laude Timalan native hailed among top NCR students

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Si Ariel Joseph Bigalbal Nipas, Top 20 sa TOSP-NCR.

Hunyo 7, 2016 (Martes). Isang taga-Naic ang posibleng mapabilang sa Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) matapos mapasama sa Top 10 ng TOSP-National Capital Region (NCR).

Isa si Ariel Joseph Bigalbal Nipas ng Timalan Concepcion sa tatlong ipinadala ng University of Santo Tomas (UST) upang makalahok sa TOSP-NCR. Nagtapos si Nipas ng BS Accountancy sa UST bilang magna cum laude; at dati na rin siyang class valedictorian noong elementary at high school. Gaya ng UST, may mga ipinadala rin ang iba pang pamantasan at kolehiyo na pinagpilian para sa TOSP-NCR. Hanggang tatlo ang maaaring ipadalang delegado ng isang pamantasan habang dalawa naman kung kolehiyo.

Mula sa application forms ng iba’t ibang delegado, pumili ang TOSP-NCR ng Top 20 finalists na sumailalim sa mga formation at pagsasanay. Napabilang si Nipas sa Top 20 ng TOSP-NCR. Nagkaroon sila ng apat na araw na mga gawain gaya ng mga pagkakataong magsuri ng mga sarili, mahubog ang kakayahang maging lider, at makapagpamalas ng teamwork. Bumisita rin sila sa medium security compound ng Bilibid sa Muntinlupa upang magkaroon ng pagkakataong makisalamuha sa mga bilanggo. Naging daan ang pagdalaw na iyon upang mapalawak at mapalalim ang kanilang pananaw ukol sa mga bilanggo at iba pang kababayan. Tumulong din sila sa paglilinis at pagpipinta sa bilangguan.

Ang huling araw ng mga gawain para sa Top 20 ng TOSP-NCR, na nangyari kahapon, ay ginugol para sa panayam. Ang panayam, kasama ang application form, ay ang mga pinagbatayan sa pagpili ng Top 10 ng TOSP-NCR. Ang panel of judges ay pinamunuan ni G. Arnel Casanova, President and CEO of Bases Conversion and Development Authority of the Philippines. Matapos ang panayam ay nagkaroon ng Awards Night. Kinilala si Nipas bilang isa sa sampung kasapi ng TOSP-NCR, na kabilang na rin ngayon sa TOSP Alumni Community ng NCR.

Si Nipas ay anak nina Josephine Bigalbal-Nipas ng Timalan Concepcion at ni Ariel Nipas ng Bicol. May dalawa pa siyang kapatid, sina Aaron Joshua at Jillian, na kapwa nag-aaral din sa UST. Pumanaw ang kanilang ama habang limang taon pa lamang si Nipas. Makaisang taon naman ay nag-OFW ang kanilang ina. Inalagaan ang magkakapatid ng kanilang mga kamag-anak sa Timalan.

Sa gayong sitwasyon ay nagsikap si Nipas na mag-aral at makatulong sa pamilya. Paglaon, napagtanto ni Nipas na marami sa kanyang mga kababayan ang mas nasa mahihirap na kalagayan. Dahil dito, handa si Nipas upang makiisa sa pagtulong na baguhin ang Pilipinas.

Samantala, tunghayan ang mismong sulatin ni Nipas bilang kanyang realization sa pagiging isa sa 10 outstanding students ng NCR:

To be honest, I never imagined that I will be selected as one of the representatives of UST for TOSP. I never considered myself as someone special and outstanding and being in the same room filled with the best and brightest students of NCR intimidated me at the start. However, the formation taught us that each and every one of us has a lot to learn and that the term “outstanding” is not exclusive. Rather, each citizen of our country is given the chance to be outstanding by doing their best in fighting for the ideals and advocacies they are passionate about.

I also realized that despite of our differences in terms of profession, age, socio-economic standing, etc., there is always something that we can do to serve this country. Nation-building is not reserved for government official and public employees. We all have our own part to do in helping make Philippines a great nation and that all we have to do is to step up and fight for what we think is right. We have to stop being apathetic or “manhid” to all the injustice happening around us. It is time to voice our concerns out and do something about it ourselves rather than complain about it on the government.

Lastly, I was able to confirm my belief that each of us has inherent goodness and that we only stray from the right path because of external circumstances. The prisoners we met in bilibid are actually very nice people. They are preparing for their future once they left the prison walls. Most of them are illiterate but at least they are making the most of the free education that they get inside bilibid. Personally, I was really disturbed by the fact that they don’t have the financial means to get education in the free society and that they have to get imprisoned first just to learn how to read and write. This is a call to us in the free society that we have to accept these prisoners as regular human beings once their sentence is over and to help fix the education in the country so that the regular students in our country could at enjoy education despite of their poverty. Education will decrease the tendency of our less fortunate countrymen to resort to crime just to live day by day.

At the end of this experience, I realized that God allowed me to participate in TOSP so that I will be able to send this message to everyone in my local community. I am encouraging everyone not only in Naic but also in the whole Philippines to work hand in hand and start to fight for a better tomorrow.

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