At a time when the dust settles, we will realize people who really mattered and things which brought significance to our feat. After the world’s allurements and thrilling euphoria, there is that moment of coming to a true reality in order to find ways of moving on into the ordinary world. Coming to senses, a time to touch base with the self and one’s soul must profoundly forthcoming. A space and a moment to connect the dots of life’s experiences can also be considered as a worthy reward. After a month of etching his name as bar topnotcher, Atty. Jocelyn Bajar Fabello now savors this unique recompense. Joey, to many, looks back to the role of prayer and family in her journey to land 5th in the 2019 Bar Exams.

On God’s Plan
Atty. Joey did not dream to become a lawyer when she was still a child. The desire to become one came at a later time in her life after a period of discernment, self-assessment and search for meaning. She decided to go for it after praying over it. Fast forwarding, it was not in her prayer-radar to end up at the top of exams either. She entrusted everything to God. Joey would even challenge God to help her pass the bar when He (God) thinks she is ready. All told, Joey claimed, “What had happened to me is all God’s plan for me… l have very simple dreams. Yet, He made me top the bar.” She is not the kind to waste such great blessing though. This time, she in turn is challenging herself before God, quoting, “To whom much is given, much will be required.”

On Praying
What was more grueling for Joey was to be uprooted from the comforts of Palawan and from her loving-supportive family in order to review for the bar in the big city (Manila). To say the least, she got somewhat desperate adjusting to the populous city (noise, traffic, heat, etc.). She admitted to shedding tears over her living condition. What made her stick and strong all along? Prayers. She prayed to St. Jude. Upon waking up early in the morning, before hitting her reviewers, she would first pray to the saint. Too, she would pray to St. Jude before bedtime. She even installed an app of the saint on her phone. Visits to San Sebastian Church was also a respite for her. Reading Bible verses every so often strengthened the future lady-lawyer. She would consider God’s Word as God’s promises to her. The wall in her room would be so filled with post-it’s Bible verses. Of all, she held on as favorite from Isaiah 43:18-19, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing… I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

It must go without saying that the Fabellos back home prayed the Rosary, recite Novena and offered Holy Masses for the success of their “bunso” in the family.

On Being Family
On the day of the result, the family had late lunch. They were unbelieving, overjoyed, in tears, receiving congratulatory calls, hugged each other.. and prayed together before having lunch. This scenario is somewhat reflective of the Fabello family… togetherness. Being together is also helping each other.

Joey has this to relate: “Physical family support came when I started opening up about my challenges in the review to the family.”…. “My sister in Manila lent me some of their appliances, furniture, etc and helped me set up my bare apartment.”….”My sisters in Palawan sent me muscle relaxants alongside cooked food through a courier.” “I also wrote a letter to Our Lady Of Fatima. My sister brought it with her when she made a pilgrimage to Portugal and Spain.” And last but not the least, while she claims to be independent when it comes to her needs and plans, during the bar review she ran out of budget and had to ask her father for help. (As for Jovic, only brother to the Top 5, jokingly told me, “Magastos. Hindi naman ako ang topnotcher, pero akin ang blowout.” If that is not support, then what is?)

On What the Future Holds
Truth be told, that topping the bar did not change her plan a bit. Amidst attractive offers from the greater Manila and from some reputable firms, Joey is set become a servant of justice just in our Palawan neighborhood. Surely, she will bring a lot of inspiration many. At this point, she is taking this first step… then to the next … and make every step as an unfolding fo God’s plan for her.

On a personal note – I chanced upon one morning conversing with her father, much-revered Johnny Fabello, while I jogging along Baybay. With him then was the well-loved matriarch of the Fabellos, Mrs. Virginia Bajar-Fabello, who was then for a longtime been wheelchair-bound. To make the story short, Sir Johnny shared with me about the sickness that his wife was suffering from. It was “Progressive Supra Nuclear Palsy.” He related further to me that it was a very rare kind of a disease. Rewinding time-capsule, it was actually a dream of their mother that Joey would someday be a lawyer. The mother-Fabello must be beaming from the heavens now for the rare feat her daughter coveted. If by any consideration, her rare circumstance is now feted with a rare distinction that her beloved “bunso” is the first bar topnotcher that Palawan has ever locally produced,