Israel was my classmate since 2nd grade all the way through high school. Take his story of remarkability and tell me if you agree with me.
When we were in elementary, he was always very kind, very patient and always upbeat. He lived with his Mom and his two younger brothers at least 20 minutes away by tricycle from our school. His dad died when he was in 1st grade.
In high school, he was one of the top 50 students out of about 3,000 students who applied in our school – and for four years he travelled from his house all the way to our school for at least one hour every day. I never heard him complain or share with us his “true struggles”.
But in 2011 when I interviewed for my blog he told me about how at a young age, helped his mother at the farm, woke up at 5 AM and did some farm work before going to school almost everyday so the family could have something to eat. He also told me this statement “I remember when I was preparing for the Board Exams – and I badly needed to be a CPA to find work easily. I developed my own 6-month review program before attending a formal review in Manila. I had to review 14 hours a day – with only a break day during Sundays. I recall one day there was a flood in Camiling, Tarlac which was very common but I forgot to get my book from my Lola’s(Grandma’s) place. Lumusong ako sa baha para makuha yung libro. (I trudged through the flood just to get the book). I did not want to ruin my own schedule. Nastranded tuloy ako sa bahay ng lola ko mag-isa (I then got stranded in my Grandma’s house alone) for a couple of days – reviewing. I thought it was a blessing so that I could concentrate, my relatives thought it was crazy. “
With that kind of determination, Israel ranked number 13th in the 2002 Philippine CPA board examination and that is definitely remarkable!
Today, Israel heads the Accounting Department at Bilfinger Berger Global Infrastructure in Luxembourg. I am very proud of his persistence, his resilience and his ability to want to be great.
For me, Israel Basilio is the closest I could identify myself as being meaningfully remarkable.
So you ask yourself what is it really about being remarkable? Or better yet how can I be remarkable?