September 29, 2023

Laton pay didan is a Kankanaey phrase which means, “Things will be alright/fine.”
I was standing in the terrace of my workplace, when I suddenly remembered the experience of a woman I’ve known; a dark age where there seemed to be no hope for her to achieve her dreams because she was born and raised in a poor family.
She spent her life looking for ways to finish her studies in high school and college. Finding ways wasn’t easy, but she knew she had a mother and God who will be with her while going through life’s trials.
She witnessed the hardships her mother and father suffered. The beliefs and traditions, death, sickness, and family problems added to the difficulties of life. But amidst those trials, she was amazed how her parents overcome and how they keep their faith.
She remembered the word from her parents, “Laton pay didan, umali di agew et mayat, way asi di apo” (Some day, things will be alright. God is merciful.) At a young age, her father died. No child is happy when the head of the family is gone. Her mother raised and sent her to school; she never left her.
I can’t imagine a child going to school without pocket money to buy food and no fare to go home. She walked five kilometers from home to school; no fashionable clothes and shoes. She only had a pair of shoes and uniform. Sometimes, she borrowed shoes from her sister-in-law. She envied her classmates who had allowances and fashionable clothes. But to her, “That’s life.” While studying, she helped her mother and became a working student. In the morning, she attended her classes and in the afternoon, she would sell bananas in the market. She worked most of her free time until she graduated high school.
She was worried if she can enroll in college. She worked in a private mines, in the farms, did laundry; and sold bananas, ice cream, bread, and dry goods at Hilltop, Baguio City to earn money for college.
She took up Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in History. She kept on dreaming and never stopped finding ways to move forward. She applied, and by God’s grace, became member of the school’s basketball varsity team.
She had plenty of reasons for going. She knew time will come and things will be alright. With her mother and siblings, they woke up early to go to Hilltop to sell goods from 4 to 5:30 a.m. From 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., she had her trainings in basketball. After training, she attended her classes and after her classes, she goes up again to Hilltop to sell.
I often ask how she was able work and attend her class at the same time. She graduated and took the Licensure Examination for Teachers in 2002 and passed. No one could decipher how happy a mother was if her child finishes her studies amidst many difficulties; at a time where there seemed to be no hope. But because of her determination and belief in laton pay didan, she overcame the trials and made her family proud.
She is now working with pride and humility. For all her experiences while teaching, she believes sometimes you have to fight to be a man.
This is my story as a woman with determination. I wrote this because I want to inspire the youth to not lose hope in times of difficulties and trials because despite the challenges, laton pay didan or things will be alright. (MARY O. AGINAS)