Some people say that “when opportunity knocks, answer it and if not build a door.”

In my opinion, everyone is given lots of opportunities in their life. The question is: Will you ever have the chance to make that choice? If you are a panganay in your household, you will not always be able to grab it.

Opportunity knocked a lot of times in my life, but I could not choose it while it was there, and that is just sad. Being a panganay in our household meant sacrificing your dreams to fulfill your family’s needs and to be able to support them. I am not the eldest, but I am the responsible one, which means I had to be the eldest son my parents could rely on.

When I was 11 years old, I wanted to take culinary classes. Back then, I was so sure I wanted to be a chef, but due to lack of resources and knowing how expensive going to college was, I made a last-minute choice to change career paths, opting for a more practical course that maybe I would come to love in time. I chose to fill in Accountancy as my course since it is also a good pre-law major.

I knew that one day I have to take on the role of family breadwinner. I graduated from college on time, found a decent job during the pandemic, and now I am able to cover some small household expenses. All that is left to do is to succeed in my career. It scares me a lot because there is too much pressure. I simply cannot fail—my father is getting old and is still working for us, my mother cannot work, my elder brother did not finish college, and I have three younger sisters who still need to finish their schooling.

I wanted to continue to graduate school for further studies, but I had to give up that dream because I needed to start working for my family. I wanted to start my own business and go into investments, but I don’t have much savings since my earnings are mostly spent on my family’s needs. I wanted to celebrate my small wins, but I decided to save the money for more important things. I chose not to commit to any relationship because I have to focus on my career at this time, for my family’s sake. I feel I will have to sacrifice a lot more things in order to make my family’s dreams come true, and it is a very heavy responsibility.

I always rewatch “Four Sisters and A Wedding” because I can relate to Bea Alonzo’s character, Bobbie, and how much she sacrificed for her family. I can see myself in her. I was really impressed at how great the character was portrayed, and how it reflected my role as the responsible child in the family. You won’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only option, and that shows a lot of character which is mostly expected of us.

Sometimes, however, you do just wish that someone is also there for us, who would look out for our dreams and what we want in life. Gusto lang naman natin magpahinga para makahinga. Kahit saglit lang.

I always have this thought in my head—“But how about my dreams?” But the next day such thought is gone. Because every morning, my sisters will knock on my door, wake me up or try to play with me. And I realize every time that they are my hope and strength to go on further. While I do hope that one day I will get a chance to make my own dreams come true, for now I live and cherish the moments I have with my family, and do the best I can for them.

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