Message from a Summa Cum Laude Graduate of BSMT

by | Last updated Aug 21, 2023 | Career Guide | 0 comments

We can be the best if we will give our best.

It’s the first time I had an interaction with a known summa cum laude graduate coming from our profession. Many seafarer students are usually easy-going and carefree with this course.

But not this guy. He has one of the most inspirational life stories and we will hear from him today.

Mom holding her son when he was just a kid.

Rock Bottom

I experienced one of the worst episodes of my life when my family broke up during my childhood. It was a misfortune that drove me to avoid repeating my father’s mistakes. At a young age, I witnessed and endured the hardship of being abandoned by someone I love.

I watched my tireless mother, Marilyn, work tirelessly to provide for us. We hit rock bottom during that time, but strangely, rock bottom provided an ideal foundation on which to build a new home.

My mother met a man named Sebastian Jr., who treated me as his own son and supported us in every way. They went on to have my little sister, Jazzie Mae.

Even now, we don’t have a house that we can call our own, but my family turns every place we rent into a true home. I was born into poverty and have been working hard to achieve a better life.

Graduating as the Valedictorian of Bato NHS opened the path for me to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Transportation at Palawan Polytechnic College Inc., thanks to a full-merit scholarship.


Fellow graduates, I hope the years you’ve spent in college, learning your subjects, have equipped you to sail away as masters of your own destinies.

Each year, graduates are like ships embarking on their maiden voyages, bound for various destinations depending on how well they’ve prepared.

Our life journeys as graduates are akin to knowing our intended destinations, yet we can only see the horizon with our naked eyes.

Graduating as class Valedictorian of Bato NHS paved the way to finish my Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Transportation at Palawan Polytechnic College Inc. through a full-merit scholarship.


Fellow graduates, I trust that the years you’ve devoted to your college education have been substantial enough to empower you to navigate through life as the captains of your own destinies.

Each year, graduates resemble ships embarking on their inaugural voyages, charting courses to various destinations based on their level of preparedness.

Our life journeys as graduates are akin to having a clear sense of our intended destinations, even though we can only glimpse the horizon with our unassisted vision.

With my classmates in college.

Whatever your plan is, always remember this:

Good things come to those who wait, but even better things happen to those who go out and get them.

The real world is filled with competitors who have amassed experience over the years, and tomorrow, you’ll be among them. To thrive, you must seize every opportunity.

Wag patulog-tulog. Wag pabagal-bagal.

We Continue to Fight!

Keep moving forward. Never halt, because each day is a battle between you and time. Every day, you either emerge victorious or concede in the pursuit of your aspirations.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an overachiever or not, financially secure or not, or an alumnus of a prestigious institution or not. What truly shapes your future is how you utilize your 24 hours every day.

Time is the world’s ultimate leveler. Across the globe, 7.6 billion people possess varying potentials. From the most underprivileged individuals to the wealthiest CEOs and business owners, we all share the same 24 hours daily.

With my classmates during high school.

We are wasting so much potential when we are idle. Always set a deadline for everything you do. A life full of pressure is bound to make an impact.

Focus more on goals

Don’t let social media steal your time.

Remember, you become what you consistently do. But don’t anticipate becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg if you’re consistently glued to Facebook. Ensure that your screen brightness doesn’t outshine your future.

For the third consecutive year, the Philippines has secured the top spot for the amount of time spent on social media. Sadly, we wake up to our phones, spend the entire day with them, and they’re often the last things we see before drifting into slumber.

While social media can be a valuable tool for communicating with distant acquaintances, it can also fracture your attention from those in close proximity.

Job Hunting

Looking for a job is like joining a raffle draw. The more entries you have the more chances you get.

Apply to as many companies as you can. It may be hard and may take too long but don’t lose hope. You’ll never know how close you are to achieving that goal if you give up.

No backer? No worries. Open your mind and be creative. There are cadets out there who got hired even without a backer. If they can do it, so can you.

In the shipyard with the Maersk Warsaw on the background.

Sabi nga, susuka pero di susuko.

Keep on Pushing!

We are all like ships cruising toward success at different speeds. You may slow down because the road might get bumpy but don’t stop. If you stop, it’s gonna be hard to gain that momentum again.

When you stop, you’ll be floating around without direction and it won’t take long to lose control of your own life. Circumstances might drift you off somewhere and you might lose everything you’ve worked hard for many years.

Always Learn Everyday, Everywhere

Don’t stop learning because investing in knowledge pays the best interest. Read and learn continuously.

There are many Kabaro who will tell you, “sa barko ka nalang matututo, matututunan mo lahat yan sa barko.

While that’s partially true, having knowledge before entering the real world is vastly different from knowing nothing about your job. Plus, you’ll likely impress your officers, earning their trust and gaining more learning opportunities.

Having prior knowledge makes learning on the job easier; it’s like comparing notes rather than starting from scratch onboard.

Jonel with a selfie of the whole graduating class.

Truly Grateful

Graduates of 2018, it’s truly an honor to graduate alongside all of you, and I sincerely wish each and every one of you the very best! Congratulations to us all!

Thank you once again to:

  • God
  • My Family, Relatives, and Friends
  • PPCI’s President, Madam Aileen A.
  • Alterado and the Alterado Family
  • Tita Tess and Ate Sandra
  • PPCI’s Members of the Administration, Faculty, and Staff
  • Capt. Nieto and C/E Renz
  • Anglo-Eastern Univan Group
  • Capt. Manrico O. Dalusong
  • Capt. Anthony C. Carin
  • C/O Juanite, C/O Ruena, C/O Ty, C/O De Villa
  • All My Officers and Ratings Mentors

Without any of you, I will not be where I am today and graduate as the first Summa Cum Laude of my Alma Maters PPCI and BNHS. Thank you for all the greetings. The photo below is my biggest and grandest selfie ever. God bless us all!

#todaymylifebegins #notwithoutGod

Click here to see Jonel’s original post.

And may the winds be in your favor.



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