VILLASIS— Who said selling fish ball cannot possibly amount to anything? It can, and it has.
Claro Verzosa, 69, had been selling fish ball for over 30 years and now has four college graduate daughters to show.
Twenty-year old Girlie Verzosa, youngest daughter of Claro and his wife Genoveva Verzosa, 62, of Barangay Lipay this town, recently earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, major in Human Resource Development in Central Luzon State University in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
Her eldest sister, Gladys, completed a computer course; the second child, Janice, earned a degree in Commerce while Ivy, the third, was a graduate of Computer Science.
To all the girls, finishing their college education is the greatest gift they could give their parents, especially to their father who did all, as a fish ball vendor, to enable them to earn an education.
Girlie’s Facebook page told of the family’s struggles their family, particularly hers, and the sacrifices their father made to make ends meet, and she did so “to prove to him that I am proud he is my papa”.
“Oo, anak ako nang mag fi-fishball,” Girlie unabashedly wrote in her post on July 4 that has since earned more than 19,000 views and still counting.
Girlie said her papa has been selling fish ball for 30 long years, from using a pushcart to a motorcycle with an improvised sidecar equipped with a cooking stove, frying pan, cooking oil, utensils and other items for the family’s livelihood.
Her papa is the sole breadwinner in the family as her mother had suffered stroke many years ago.
When she was in elementary, she recalled how her classmates teased her for being a daughter of a fish ball vendor “only”. She graduated as class salutatorian.
She said her father taught her and her sisters to be what they could be even as he trained them all in selling fish ball. They learned not be ashamed being seen by their classmates because we were taught there was “dignity in our work.”
In high school, she knew her classmates never gave her much thought given their shoddy house and the sight of her father selling fish ball on a pushcart.
Yet, Girlie recalled how she and her siblings enjoyed joining their father vending fish ball, kikiam, kwek kwek, palamig on the street during fiestas, basketball games, graduation exercises, beauty pageants, cockfights, among others.
“I continued to do that even when I was already in college, unmindful of the scorching heat and the cold rain to help earn for the family,” she said in an interview.
Even as “citizens of the streets”, Girlie said ” every human deserves a right to education because it is a treasure that can not be taken away from us”.
“Kung anak ka ng magbubuko, magpuprutas , tindera ng gulay, tindera ng inihaw sa daan, tindera ng tinapay, tindera ng hot cake, palamig … o tindera ng balut at kung ano-ano pa, tandaan mo …may karapatan kang makatapos mag-aral hindi ka “LANG” kundi ikaw ay ikaw,” Girlie said.
She proudly pointed out that “fish ball only” enabled four siblings to finish college so “there was nothing to be ashamed of.”
“Yes, it is not easy but it is worth the tears once you receive your diploma,” she said.
While she admits she still cannot consider herself as being successful in her undertaking, Girlie said, “But the secret to success is loving your parents and dedicating your passion for them.”
In one of her posts, her dad was shown wearing her graduation cap while her mom wore her graduation gown when they attended her graduation.
“Because they did not finish their studies, that signifies that through us, they realized their own dreams by having us finish our courses,” Girlie intoned. (Tita Roces)