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80-year-old ‘Tatay Philo’ graduates from junior high

FILIPINO octogenarian Teofilo Bonites Sr. is proving that ill-health is no barrier in his determination to become a journalist – even at age 80.

Bonites trod the muddy and slippery paths for two kilometers on his three years journey every Tuesday and Thursday to attend classes at the Community Learning Center in Bacong-Bacong village, according to a report by Inquirer.

He is now a step closer to realizing his dream after finishing junior high school last July 16, under the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) program.

Bonites, however, credits his wife – 66-year-old wife, Rosaly Frayre – for making the journey to education easier by always accompanying him on his two-kilometer-long walk to the village school.

Former US President Abraham Lincoln has been his source of inspiration to study, said the octogenarian, who is suffering from ailments like diabetes, vertigo, cataracts and hernia of the stomach. 

He quotes a book about Lincoln which states: “Life will be like a roller coaster: sometimes you’re up, oftentimes you’re down. At the end of the day, your destination, where the life’s journey leads you, matters the most.”

Born among nine siblings in 1941, Bonites worked in Manila as a newsboy, newspaper agent and dishwasher for a newspaper company before managing to graduate from elementary school with his brother’s help.

After having put five children through college, Bonites decided to retire at age 77 from his job of selling food supplements and beauty products. 

Fast forward today, the elderly man proved to be a diligent student. He joined the Tagis Baybay (English division) in the 2018 District ALS Tagis Galing in this town and emerged the champion. 

He is now eyeing a bachelor’s degree in communications, major in journalism at the Marinduque State College, in order to fulfill his dream of becoming a journalist.


Staff Report

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