One of the pride of Tau’t Batu group, Elizabeth Talac, poses for a photo wearing a graduation gown in one of the spots in PSU Rizal campus. (Photo credits to Judith Villarin)

[UPDATED] A 23-year-old indigenous peoples (IP) student is inspiring other Tau’t Batu students to pursue their aspirations and value education, as she looks forward to completing her education soon in Rizal.

Elizabeth Talac, a fourth-year entrepreneur student at Palawan State University-Rizal College Community Resources Development (PSU-Rizal), said she had to work part-time jobs to fund her studies from high school to college.

Despite the obstacles, she is committed to finishing her degree by working in a restaurant and then as a resort maintenance officer.

“Noong elementary ako, nakitira ako sa auntie ako kasi wala na akong tatay. Noong tumuntong ako ng K-12, kailangan ko na mag-working student. So, nag-working student ako noong Grade 12 hanggang second year college, hanggang ngayon working student pa rin ako pero nakatira ako sa boarding house,” Talac narrated.

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“Ito ay problema rin pero para sa akin, pursigido talaga ako na makapagtapos kaya nga masaya lang ako kahit na pagod,” she added.

Talac said that her first choice was to pursue a degree in education but due to the absence of the course program in PSU-Rizal campus, she took up a degree in entrepreneurship.

She intends to get a decent job after graduation so that she can save money and establish her own business using what she learned in her entrepreneurship course.

Talac stressed that poverty is not a hindrance to achieving whatever their dreams are, as she encouraged her fellow youth.

“Para sa mga kapwa ko kabataan, pahalagahan natin ang bawat pagkakataon. Hindi talaga hadlang ang kahirapan katulad sa working student na gaya ko. Hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para maabot ang mga pangarap natin sa buhay,” she said.

She added that she has witnessed a transformation in indigenous peoples’ (IP) views about education in her community over the years. Aside from those who seek to pursue their education, an increasing number of Tau’t Batu in her group are now interested in studying.

“Napansin ko kasi before, noong buhay pa si papa, wala talagang gusto mag-aral kahit na pinipilit sila ni papa na mag-aral sa labas. Pero ngayon dahil na rin sa 4Ps at ‘yong iba ay gusto na rin talaga makapag-aral sa labas. Ngayon medyo marami-rami na ang nakakapag-aral ng elementary. Kaso nga lang pagdating ng high school minsan ay nag-aasawa na rin,” she said.

She also mentioned that, as the eldest of eight children, she dedicates her degree to her family. Her aunt, Juda Diklay, was the first Tau’t Batu IP to graduate from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in Quezon town.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.