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Public debut speech as a new lawyer

Reposted from I.F. Domina Kaye’s blog, “Revealed.”

Original Posting: June 16, 2011

I remember the story about a woman who was standing by the road. She was tossing a stick up into the air. A motorist came by and asked her why she was doing that and she replied that she needed to know and decide which road to take. The motorist then asked her “how many times do you need to toss that stick to come up with the right decision?” The woman replied “Until it points to the road that I want to take.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been confronted with that same dilemma. I’ve spent so much time pondering and searching through the depths of my heart which road it is that I want to take: whether it be here in Masbate or in Manila. In that search, I even had to post in facebook asking my friends to guide me as I decide. Many advised that it is wise to go and start my practice in Manila for it is the greener pasture. It is, for them, where better opportunities await me as a lawyer. Truly my choice would be from among the most prestigious of law offices in the country if I would go for it. On the other hand, some of my facebook friends have said that Masbate needs me so I have to be here. Not much explanation given, just that.

Before I give you my decision, allow me to take you through a short journey of my experience as I went through law school and the bar. When I entered law school, we already had two daughters. I then had to give birth to two more – our sons. Not to mention, two elections for Vince, my husband, that came along. Neither giving birth nor the elections stopped me from pursuing my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer even if it meant longer days and longer nights. I remember giving birth Nov. 5, and on Nov. 19 I had to go back for second semester. I was even able to breastfeed for three full months without mixing and two more months with mix.

At night I was sleepless, but everyday I was still filled with energy. God filled me. Persistence and passion— a passion that was made possible through faith in God fueled me. He has been my guide in all four years of law school as well as during the bar exams. God has been with me – not yearly, not semester per semester but every step of the way. I have sought God’s grace and it was given me. The same goes with my fourth pregnancy, I forced myself to give birth day after Ondoy so I can take advantage of the no classes for 1 week, then after that I have to take the final exams.

Come bar exams, Vince ran for re-election. Of course I had support him with all my heart, and so I was delayed by about two months in review. I missed review classes that when I began reviewing for the bar, several subjects lectures were already done and people were already starting with their second reading while I was just about to start with my first. I was even hesitant whether I would push through with taking the bar. I want to be ready and take it just once, so with faith as my guide, I studied double time. Sleep was a scarce necessity.

I also chose not to eat that much too to prevent sleepiness. My food—was my food for the soul. Along with the law books was my most precious book of all—my Bible, which I am thankful to my parents daddy Juancho and mommy Modette Gerona Celera for teaching me the value in reading it and sharing with me their faith. It is the best thing that I got from them. I remember when I was a child in my school years, I have been told that the best thing that parents can give to their children is education. But mine was not only that, in fact I think it was better than that—for beyond education— it was Wisdom. Thank you Daddy. Thank you Mommy.

My dad is here, Daddy please stand to be recognized. Thank you for teaching me that it is through Him, with Him and in Him that all things are possible. That is indeed beyond anything else I can get from the world. Now that I am a parent myself, I know for sure that the best thing I can give to my children will be that as well—faith and wisdom.

I also thank the JZSES and MNCHS, my beloved teachers in these institutions who equipped me with a good foundation and prepared me to be ready for college and law school. I am most grateful to you sirs and ma’ams for you have believed in me and taught me to be confident with my capabilities and faculties. In these schools I remember being taught to be the best not only in academics but also at extra curricular activities. We were told that being smart is not just being that in the four corners of the classroom.

Hence, when I was at UP Diliman for College, as a scholar ng bayan, I did not only strive for what was offered within the class, but I opted to be aware and share in the plight of our countrymen.  It is there that I realized that the socio-civic relevance of each citizen of the country should never be underemphasized. My passion to serve burnt within me.

Sigma Delta Phi

Bilang isang iskolar ng bayan sa aking dugo ay nanalaytay ang mula sa kaibuturang pagnanasa na maglingkod sa ating mahal na inang bayan.

Then I sought higher learning and decided to take up law. I wanted to be with the best and also at the same time get the feel of both worlds, so I went to Ateneo de Manila University for law school. Here I was taught that in order for me to maximize my potentials in becoming a woman for others I would have to always strive for excellence in all things that I do.

Ex Gratis 2010

I was so excited with it that even when I was still in law school, I sought for an instant application, hence the sorority I founded— yes I am the Intitiator Founder of Victoria in Lege of the Ateneo Law School, a sisterhood of women who seek to HONOR GOD through the values of faith, integrity, wisdom and service.

I believe that God has given each and everyone of us a calling to serve whichever field it may be.

I would not be who I am right now if it were not for others services too—my parents, the Gerona-Celera families, my teachers in school, our public servants in the government, my in laws-the Abelita, Bajar, Revil families and each and everyone of you here who has made an impact and has inspired my life as a Masbatenya. Truly, no man is an island.

And with that, I have chosen to give it back—

Ladies and gentlemen, I have chosen the road going back to Masbate. I didn’t have to toss the stick again and again for I know in the beat of my heart that it speaks Masbate to me. This road may be less traveled, but together, as we who are here put our hearts and minds on serving our Province of Masbate, we know for sure that we can make a difference.

I am not sure yet where in particular I would find myself here- whether it be at the PAO, the Courts, the Prosecutor’s Office or in private practice. One thing I am sure of though is that “Masbate I have heard your call”.

“Magserbi, magpasurugu-on, magpamati.”

Opo Masbate, fellow Masbatenyos, it is my privilege, Atty. Jo Kristine Celera-Revil, at your service.

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