Sunday, July 8, 2012

Playing Turtle Principle Molds Me

Sometime in 1960, when I was in grade one, a memorable incident took place and became the greatest influence of my life and made me of what I am today. It started when I was playing with the two tiny turtles from our improvised terrarium inside our classroom.

The Racing Turtle
Principle of Racing Turtles
When I was in Grade one, I belong to section 7, the last section.

Early in the morning at that day, we attended the flag ceremony. After that we proceeded to our humble classroom. Our class adviser, Ma'm Dolores Acot formed several groups and assigned them to their respective ground assignment to clean. I wasn't given any group to work with for I was overlooked. What I did is to look for something to do. Thus, I picked some dried or withered leaves from the bushes along the foot walk, and weeded out and cultivated some ornamental plants at the back of our classroom.

Dolores Acot, my grade one teacher
Ma'm Dolores Acot
Curiosity Pops Up

I finished my work earlier while some of my classmates were busy cleaning everything in the surrounding in the vicinity of our classroom. I entered the room and put my things on top of my chair. I noticed an improvised terrarium at the corner with two tiny turtles which were craning their heads out. I was curious. I observed them attentively. Then a thought popped up!

"Gilbor! What are you doing there?" a voice overcame the room.

"Nothing!" I answered back. As I looked back, I saw Ma'm Acot was in the room getting some stick brooms from the broom box.

"Excuse me, Ma'm. Why are we busy cleaning the school surrounding?"  I asked.

"We're expecting some visitors within this week." Ma'm Acot replied, "Why are your asking?"

"How I wish everyday the school will have visitors so that our school is always cleaned." She just smiled with my suggestion.

Ma'm Acot reminded me if I'm not yet through with my work outside I wouldn't tarry inside the room. After she left, I took the turtles out of the terrarium and brought them outside. Just across our classroom door was a two-and-a-half meter drinking fountain which hadn't been used for quite sometime. I put those tiny amphibs in a row and had them race each other. Their heads and feet gradually sticking out and they started moving. Then I shouted, "Faster! Faster!"

"Gilbor! Gilbor!" shouted Ma'm Acot, "Return those turtles back to the room."

"Yes, Ma'm."

Biggest Life's Question

Then she came over to me and tapped me on my left shoulder and said, "Turtles are not to be played with. Those who used to play it will become dull. So you want that?" I had to reason out, but I held myself back.

"Why?" was a big question that bothered me while I got back to the room, carrying the two small turtles.

At the end of the first grading period, I received my report card. I noticed from the teacher's remarks that said: "Doing work without being told to do so." This is what I got when I used my initiative in what to do without getting instruction from my teacher. This remarks didn't bother me.

What kept on bothering me is: "why I become dull caused I played with the turtles." From that time on, 52 years ago, a challenged to myself was hatched. I wanted to prove to our class adviser that playing with those turtles won't in anyway affect my studies and won't make me dull.

When I was in Grade Two and Grade Three, I was in Section 3. In Grade 4, section 2, and in Grade Five and Six, section 1. Until I finished high school, I belong to Section 1, the highest or A-1 section.

And I did it practically!

My Achievements

I finished my Grade  Six with flying colors. I was the most outstanding grade six graduating pupil in Industrial Arts.

In college days, I garnered scholastic accolades. I was the consistent honor students in Commerce and in Education and even in my Secretarial Course.

In my first year in ROTC, I was the gold star awardee which is supposed to be given to the second year ROTC cadets.

I completed my Commerce and Education Courses in a separate years with a full scholarship grant as the Editor-in-chief in The College Voice, the official school organ of La Carlota City College.

Before I graduated in my Commerce course, I was sent to Central Bank of the Philippines for training by the Rural Bank of La Carlota, Inc., which I underwent my apprenticeship. I didn't march in our graduation rites, but when I went home, I already got my job in the said bank. I worked there for 5 years. While I was working there I pursued my Education course every off office hours and I completed it.

When I graduated my education course, I took the teachers' board once, then I passed it. I took also the Civil Service Examinations earlier. I passed it too.

My Great Mentor

I would like to thank my late grade one teacher, Miss Dolores Acot for challenging me that "playing with the turtle will make me dull" which eventually molded my life as a successful individual in which I proved her wrong. Instead, this became my springboard which dared me to use my latent talent and wisdom to excel. And I did it.

From bank employee to classroom teacher like her, and now a school principal of elementary school in the division of La Carlota.



  1. That makes turtles the motivation tool... Hope I had played with my brother's turtles when I was in my first :D

  2. Its been said by our elders that turtles makes us dull, i think it depends on how a person sees a situation.with you sir, you take it in a positive way and yes, turtles in any way, do not make a person dull. :)

  3. That's very nice! This is one perfect example of turning the negative into positive. Some people who gets negative feedback are often shoved into shame, and later on, failure.

    It's nice seeing that you conquered, and look at you now, a successful man.

  4. congratulations on your tenacity and determination :) you HAVE succeeded!

  5. You are really admirable on how you get little challenges to motivate you. A consistent achiever and you owe it to your own initiative as a child. You didn't end up dull but you keep challenging yourself to be better in life.

  6. Turtle is like a portrait of "patience and determination". It is slow but sure and smooth in its moves ~

  7. We cannot allow others to decide our fate by their perception of us and what we do. You have clearly shown that.

  8. An inspiring story. It just shows that determination will surely get you somewhere.

  9. wow! thats the positivity in life!!! inspirational! xx

  10. whenever I read your blog, I also learned from you. Like this one, though it happened so long ago, yet you pursued something out of that comment of your teacher.

  11. Sir, I admire you for you never forget that event in your life. You have such a good memory. I love your story about the turtle, very inspirational.

  12. It's funny cuz the first teacher that comes to my mind whenever I stumble over a throwback article regarding school always happens to be my kindergarten teacher. It's funny cuz of all the teachers I was with during my entire school life, it's usually the first one that I could only remember the full name. Is this the case of anyone else?

  13. Such an inspiring story. Who would've thought that turtles could shape one's destiny? :)

  14. This is very inspiring. I love the turtle story. It helped you succeed in your life in a way. Thanks for sharing!


  15. I have never heard anything about playing with turtles making one dull. I am still a bit confused and keeping asking the question "why?".

  16. Another inspiring story.
    You're really impressing, Sir.
    Btw, I never knew playing with turtles makes one dull. Anyhoo, I'm not superstitious.

  17. made me wonder too. So how do we become dull by playing with turtles?

  18. That's a really inspirational turtle tale.

  19. Very well said sir. I've heard that stories before. But some people even have turtles as their pet - but they are not dull. In fact, some of them feels like having turtles are lucky pets. Thanks for sharing po.

  20. such an inspiring story. we have different ways to motivate a person and some just are not effective. it seems it was effective you.

  21. I love anecdotes like yours..truly inspiring!

  22. You are smart, bright and a person with a talent that truly amazed me. Your flying colors reminds me when I was in my Elementary and Highschool but not anymore in college... hehe..

  23. I like your way of blogging. You are a natural storyteller. Way to go. :) Teachers should really inspire their students. They can make a big impact on them.

  24. This is a very inspiring story, Gil! I'm glad you used your teacher's words as a challenge to pursue something better in life. You are an achiever! Thanks a lot for sharing valuable life lessons that younger generations could use.

  25. Playing with turtle and just by looking at them makes a person think and throws a lot of questions about how marvelous the creature is. Like how smart and great the turtle's instinct that they'd quickly popped-in to their shell when they feel danger.

    For sure, Ms. Acot took the limited understanding of what a turtle is. She only thought of the slowness of a turtle and that could make a person dull. She forgot how determined the turtle when he raced with the rabbit. :)

    That characteristic of a turtle is somehow bestowed upon you Mr. Gil, from humble beginnings to what you are now, a successful molder, teacher and a Principal!

    Great post!

  26. Turtles are far from being dull. They actually have very sharp vision to compensate for the lacking ears, I guess. They always strike me as gentle creatures (except for snapping turtles hehehe) but they signify strength and endurance.

    I suppose, it all boils down to perspective...if we tend to see the positive in everything, we in turn get some sort of inspiration in life. :-)

  27. Maybe, it is just the reverse of making you dull, thus it will make you smarter playing those turtle. LOL.
    Kidding aside, sometimes, there are people that keeps on motivating us in order to be successful in life, we should really go back to them and thank them for what we are today.

  28. I once heard that saying too--that turtles are 'malas' and should not be played with. But then it always reminds me of the fable "The Hare and the Tortoise", which at the end of the story, but turtle won the race. It's amazing how you made that realization for such a young age, sir! :)

  29. what a great accomplishments, i don't believe in malas things :))

  30. You really have a lot to share about life. This one made me think and realize some facts of my life that I need to change,,

  31. When I grew up, narealize ko na madaming bagay na sinabi sakin nung bata ako, are bull**** (haha, sorry for that).

    Kaya naisip ko, when I have a kid, I'll try to be as honest as possible.

  32. Our attitude towards life is what matters most. that story of the turtle only reminds us that no mater what negativity is being thrown upon us, it all boils down on how we convert that negativity into a challenge exactly the way u did!

  33. The poor little turtles :( my grand-relatives & even my old fashioned uncles & aunts tell me that turtles are "malas" because it slows down life (or something~). They're just turtles! grr

    Anyway, I see your teacher has the same mindset as my relatives XD It's great that you didn't get discouraged by what she said. Sometimes we just have to trudge on our own paths noh? even if other people don't understand our ways. This is an inspiring read. Thanks for posting!~

  34. you really write well sir... and i find it comforting to read a blog from somebody who had soo much experience already... parang thoughts from a lolo... don't take it negatively po ha... pero natutuwa ako to read your posts... lalo na those that make you recall your line of thinking even waaaayy back your elementary days... :-)

  35. I'm sure she would have been very proud of you, Gil. Nice story.



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