A Grade 10 student from Victorias City, Negros Occidental, who was captured on camera answering his learning module beside his “balut” cart, dreams of becoming a policeman someday.
The photo of Julius Barbosa, 15, taken by netizen Vanessa Belonia on October 4 went viral on social media as he was one of the millions of public school learners in the country who went back to school this week through distance learning amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Top photo: DISTANCE LEARNING AT WORK. Julius Barbosa, 15, is photographed by netizen Vanessa Belonia answering his learning module beside his “balut” cart on the night of October 4 at the public plaza of Victorias City, Negros Occidental. The Grade 10 student of Victorias National High School dreams of becoming a policeman someday. (Photo courtesy of Vanessa Belonia)
Since school has started, the student of Victorias National High School said he has to squeeze his studies in between selling “balut” at the public plaza.
“Balut” is a boiled delicacy of fertilized duck embryo, which is a favorite among many Filipinos.
The boy said while it is difficult to earn a living and get an education at the same time, he is working hard because he wants to help his parents provide for their family.
“My dream is to become a policeman,” said Julius, the eldest among nine children, who started selling “balut” when he was only seven.
His mother is also a “balut” vendor while his father is a part-time tricycle driver.
At the time Julius was photographed, he was answering a Technical Livelihood Education (TLE) learning module.
He is allowed to sell “balut” at the plaza from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. because the city government has enforced a curfew.
However, since he also helps with the household chores and is tired after going home, he can only find time to answer his learning modules while waiting for customers.
“Magsikap din sila sa pag-aaral para makatulong sa kanilang pamilya (They should study hard so they can also help their family),” Julius said when asked what he can say to his fellow students.
After his photo went viral, the teenager said he will accept any kind of help from kind-hearted individuals expressing interest to assist him, adding that he needs a replacement for the side wheel of his “balut” cart.
Since the wheel no longer works, he sometimes had to push the cart going to the plaza and back home. (Erwin Nicavera, PNA)