Ronibats.PH Stories of a Filipino neurosurgeon, teacher, and writer

Five Valedictorians


Today, my youngest sister will graduate as valedictorian of her high school class. As she delivers her valedictory address on the podium, my engineer father and my homemaker mother will be listening from dedicated seats in the front row. He, dapper in his polo, and she, regal in her blouse handpicked just for the occasion, will share the spotlight as my sister accepts her gold medal.

My parents are used to the attention. After all, I achieved the same recognition in 2001, as did my sister in 2002, my other sister in 2005, and my brother last year. My parents could not be any prouder as they march with their fifth consecutive valedictorian (and 5th UPCAT passer, too). It is a feat never before accomplished in our school, and I daresay never to be replicated, considering that 300 to 400 high school students graduate each year.

Baticulon Family
Baticulon Family

Teachers, parents, and students have labeled us a family of geniuses. Acquaintances often ask, “Kanino ba nagmana ng talino ang mga anak n’yo?” or “Paano ba magpalaki ng mga matatalinong anak?” to which my mother or father would reply in polite jest, “Hindi ko alam. Pinipigilan ko na nga mag-aral ang mga iyan sa bahay.”

Truth is, I prefer that we be known as a family of determined hard workers.

Back when I was in high school, my father earned between 12,000 to 15,000 pesos a month working in construction. Even with overtime pay and occasional bonuses, the amount was barely enough for a family of seven, with all five kids studying. On my mother rested the burden of having to budget my father’s salary. On weekends, she sold pancit and other food items in the village wet market to augment our family income.

We lived with my paternal grandparents because we never had enough money to rent or buy a house. Often, my father had to ask for bale (i.e., advanced pay) from his bosses and my mother had to approach relatives and friends, to borrow money for tuition, dormitory fees, or allowance. June (enrollment) and March (graduation) were perennially difficult times. My parents bowed their heads, begged for consideration, swallowed their pride, and bore every harsh word; what’s important was that every quarter our respective class advisers would allow us to take our periodic exams.

Our parents would then say to us, “Kaya mag-aaral kayong mabuti, kasi kayo lang ang pag-asa namin.”

We children never asked for new books or uniforms—these things we obtained secondhand from generous friends we met by becoming active in the student council and other student organizations. We saved part of our allowance if we needed supplies for a school project. Every book, intramurals jersey, field trip, or Junior-Senior prom ticket had to be justified. But in spite of these disadvantages, if one would even dare to label them as such, we never felt deprived.

Despite being obviously tired from work and having to commute to and from his project site, my father would help us with our math and science assignments. His skills always came in handy for school projects that involved woodwork and electricity. And if we wanted to attend an extracurricular activity that had a registration fee, he always fulfilled his promise to find the means to pay for it.

Every morning my mother would wake up to prepare our baon (cheaper than buying lunch from the canteen every day), and every night before she slept, she made sure that we had clean and pressed uniforms to be worn the next day (because we only had two sets each). When we needed formal clothes for school programs, she would ask among her friends till she found two or three that we could choose from. She scoured bookstores for urgently needed project materials and processed our college application forms. My father and my mother have never missed a graduation or recognition ceremony.

The key to raising five valedictorians is that our parents never forced us to study. We studied hard and we studied well because after seeing our parents’ sheer dedication, each of us wanted a better life for the entire family. There was no need to dictate which path to take. We pursued excellence, because at the end of each school year, every medal, plaque, and trophy was a token of gratitude to them.

Having just celebrated thirty years of marriage last December, my parents stand proud with one UP doctor and two UP engineers, all cum laudes, with two more engineers on the way. While debts remain to be paid, life is beginning to change for our family. We have been able to acquire our first car. My youngest brother and sister can go through college without the anxiety of lacking money to pay for tuition. My father can now buy his polo and my mother her blouse without having to worry about scrimping on our budget. And we no longer have to fret about having to divide one liter of soft drink or the pieces of meat in the sinigang equally among five children.

What remains constant is how we learned to rely on one another for support, be it, “Pautang muna, OK lang?” or “Puwedeng patulong ako sa project ko?”

Faced with the tough challenge of having to best four prior valedictory speeches, my youngest sister will brandish the most important gold medal in today’s graduation ceremonies, but there is no disputing that two persons in the audience deserve as much awe.

My father and my mother, for their love and support that know no bounds, to them we owe all recognition.

Ronibats is the eldest son of Engr. Pablito and Rosemarie Baticulon.

Author’s Notes:

  • The eighth person in the family photo is Ate Bel, who helped my parents raised us from the time I was two years old, until she started her own family last year. It’s another story to tell.
  • This entry was reposted with permission by and
  • Shortly after this post became viral, Jessica Soho interviewed our family and featured us in Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. You may view the segment Pamilya Valedictorian on this page:
  • Photo Credit: Ian DV Photography

About the author

Ron Baticulon

Ronibats is a pediatric neurosurgeon, teacher, and writer. In 2018, he won a Palanca award for the title essay of his first book, "Some Days You Can't Save Them All," published by The University of the Philippines Press. You can follow him on Twitter @ronibats.


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  • Your family gives hope. I would just like to suggest to share your articles to more readers. I’m very sure it will touch their hearts. GOOD LUCK and More Power!

    • Yes, to the many families out there who are going through tough times that like we did, there is hope. Thanks! 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your story. Through God’s grace, I also experienced how to be consistently at the top of the class, while also experiencing different challenges in life.

    I do pray and hope that you and your family are seeing God as the source of everything – amidst trials and blessings. Thank you.

  • Your family brings back my faith in humanity. Truth be told, experiences tend to harden and make some of us sort of cynical and pessimistic. Thank you, Ronnie. I cherish stories like this because I know they are true. I am deeply touched with the story of your family life, and looking forward to reading more. 🙂 This is my constant reminder of God’s goodness. 🙂

    • Hi Arbie! I don’t need to emphasize the important role your Mom played for our family. Please extend my regards! 🙂

  • Nakakainspire yung family ninyo. Thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations to the whole family, especially to your parents. 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing this, sir. I am currently studying in UPD, and also had my share of financial difficulties. Truly nothing is more motivating than the thought of giving back to your parents. It is my motivation for studying well po.

  • This is a beautiful tale of hard work, patience, and humility. I admire this family and I hope my students get inspired by this as I want to share this in my homeroom class. Some people are just so lucky to have hardworking parents and some parents are equally lucky that their children are able to return the favor by being good at school. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Congratulations! Very impressive. Quick question…Are your grandparents from Leyte?
    Reason why I’m asking is because my Papa’s middle name (his mother, my grandmother, Lola Anang’s last name) is “Baticulon” so your family is somehow related to our family since it’s a very rare last name :-}

    FYI…My father’s name is Dr. Bernardo Baticulon Remandaban. He was born in Kawayan. Leyte and grew up in Tolosa, Leyte. He got his M.D. degree from UST in Manila where he met my Mama. He then became the first physician in our small town of Tabango, Leyte from 1955-1991 and became Mayor of the same town from 1992-2001.

    • Joel, we’re probably related. Pero my father’s family moved from one place to another when they were young. He was born in Bukidnon, finished high school in Catanauan, Quezon before going to college in UP Diliman. Will ask him about this. Thanks!

  • i am a fan of you since your intarmed blog and for me, this is the best blog post so far. hope this post will inspire more family out there. indeed, there is a hope for everybody.

  • To an alumnus from the same university, I find this to be the most tear inducing post that embodies the values of our beloved university that is equal access to quality education for all for a better future. And may I quote one part which touched me most:

    The key to raising five valedictorians is that our parents never forced us to study. We studied hard and we studied well because seeing our parents’ sheer dedication, each of us wanted a better life for the entire family.

    Selfless pursuance for the a greater good. Kudos to you your parents and your siblings. May all the joys of life come to you and the rest of your family.

  • Amazing is an understatement.. Reading through the article almost made me cry. I felt the hardwork and perseverance to succeed. Before I read your article, I also thought what would my parents felt back then when I always bring home the first honor award. And you, 5 Valedictorians! That’s amazing! Salute!!!

  • Congratulations po sa achievements ng family ninyo. I remembered that you also gave us an inspiring message during our graduation rites last 2010 at PICC. I am also a proud alumnus of Univ. of Perpetual Help in Las Pinas.

  • Amazing, Doc! I’m very glad to have met your parents (SGLive). All your successes are a tribute to how well they have brought all of you up. Kudos to them!

  • though we’re not all valedictorians, i can totally identify with your story. ganitong ganito ang mama at papa ko. sa ngayon ako palang ang nakaka-graduate and with gratitude, i strive to always give back by supporting my four other siblings’ education. sabi mo nga, there are still tons of debts to pay but life is starting to get better. hindi na kailangang manghiram ng damit pang-prom. o kaya mag-agawan sa ilang hiwa ng karne. masarap isipin na sa huli’t huli, ang pinaka-malaking biyayang binigay sa atin ng buhay ay ang magkaroon ng mga magulang na ibibigay ang lahat makita lang na matupad natin ang mga pangarap natin.

  • This is so inspiring! Especially for young parents like us. Your parents (as well as you & your siblings) are very good examples of how determination & perseverance works.

    Kudos! God bless you & your family 🙂

  • As the saying goes,”Exprience is the best teacher” kaya masarap basahin ang stories. nyo. It really leaves a mark to every reader. Thank you for sharing. Looking forward sa susunod na kabanata ^_^

  • Not only an inspiring story but an epic reminder to everyone who dare complain. Kudos to your parents Ronnie! Great job! And may you inspire your children the same way. They don’t require a payback but a pay forward seems more appropriate. If I haven’t sold my tear ducts to a “donor agency” I would have cried too…belated greeting but kudos!

    • Thanks, Sir Rodel! And no, there’s no need to cry. This is, after all, supposed to be a happy story. 🙂

  • So inspiring naman ronnie.. I think you’ve more or less mentioned in previous stories about your family’s plight but still it’s so good to read about it again. 🙂 I wondered though why it’s only you who ventured into medicine, tapos lahat sila engineer.. Anyway, looking forward to following your stories again. See you around when I drop by in PGH.

    • Gen, I would have become an engineer too (the second one, next to my father), kung hindi ako nakapasa ng INTARMED. Hehe. See you! 🙂

  • ASTIIIG! daig nito ang 5year-peat ng ateneo basketball. CONGRATULATIONS for the achievements! THANKYOU for sharing your story. AMAZING!

    • Thanks a lot for publishing your family’s inspiring story, my daughter said that one of you is her orgmate in UP…
      I can fully relate to your family’s story…if only I can write as good as you, I would have published our story too. Coming from a family of ten siblings, with poor and a first year highschool graduate father and a grade five mother who were able to send all to Manila to finish college, though not all are honor students, is already a big feat but their determination, dedication and dreams for their children are worthy of emulation, our father is one of the first occasional OFW, I said occasional because his work abroad is not permanent and my mother managed his income so well’…our three daughters all graduated from UP, 2 magnas and one cum laude and like your parents, these were also because we were determined to paved the way for them to be independent, hardworking and responsible, though not as difficult as your parents have experienced…I salute you and your parents for all the hard work to be able to achieve such a feat…may it be an inspiring story for all….Congratulations and God bless you all…

  • Wow! Congratulations to your family. Especially to your mom and dad. May God bless your parents with many many years of happiness. Fruits of their labor finally within reach.

  • Inspirational!
    This one is the best
    “Truth is, I prefer that we be known as a family of hard work and determination.”

  • hi doc. you dont know me. i got to read your story thru a friend in fb. it is so inspiring!!! im also from up eons n eons ago! hahaha! lol na ako n i wish my apos wld have the same attitude as you n your siblings have. i wl share your post ha.

  • Oh wow. I was moved by your story. I’ve always had a soft spot for parents doing their very best for their kids, and the children, eternally grateful for the values they learned from the parents through actions post-graduate. Congratulations to your family!

  • I know it’s a happy story, but I am crying while reading this. I’m a single parent who’s been raising her 4 kids for many years since my husband died in an accident, a couple of years short of a decade ago. I read what both your parents have to do to – waking up early, working hard, scrimping, expert budgeting, swallowing their pride, borrowing instead of buying for school events. I go through all this by myself, and more not mentioned. I haven’t read your article on how your family apportions its food among you, but I would think it’s much the way we do it at home. I needed to know the best ways to maintain great health and nutrition the natural way, so that we don’t have to spend for doctor or hospital visits. I use the cheapest yet healthiest extenders available to stretch the food budget. There is absolutely no waste, and when that happens, it is indeed a big sin.

    I am lucky that like you and your siblings, my children show that they value their schooling, by getting the highest level of grades attainable at UP. We shall strive to have our youngest be worthy of admission to UP, too. There are many difficulties in parenting alone, yet the rewards like this come sweet and much savored inspite of them.

    I wish more people and students, specially, put a huge premium on their hardworking parents, their supportive friends and relations, their health, their education, and on maintaining positive relationships and pursuits. Congratulations to your family for being so worthy of emulation, Ron. Keep going!

    • I could not help the tears wet my eyes while reading yours and Ron’s stories as I too went through the same, every bit of it. I was just so fortunate to have passed the UP High School admission test and later on, UPCAT. If not, I would not have been provided access to quality education from this country’s premier university and received the best trainings available to me. My profound gratitude to UP High and College in Cebu, faculties, teachers, mentors, classmates and friends that were very instrumental in my success by providing me food, materials, and lending me money for my needs both personal and scho requirements when my meager stipend comes short. But now I am a father myself of a 1 year old daughter and a 7- month on the way, I cannot help but wish when my wife and I would be where the Baticulon parents are now, always seated on the front row come graduation or recognition day because our children will deliver their valedictory addresses. Thank you for this article, post. It’s very inspiring. Hope this will inspire more children and parents.

  • RON!!!! Galing.. Please tell your parents, they did a great job! The best is yet to come. They have planted the seeds… time to harvest na. During my valedictory speech, my parents were teary-eyed.. I can imagine your parents experiencing that so many times.

  • What an incredible story. I never comment but was moved to tell you that I extend my deepest congratulations to your sister, you and your siblings, and most especially your loving and dedicated parents. You are all a true inspiration. Happy Easter!

  • Aww! this blog made me cry… really inspiring! i can truly relate. this reminds me of our own experiences when we are still studying. congrats to you and the rest of your family. more power! 🙂

  • I cried while reading this post because I can relate so much. We pretty much came from the same situation and my parents are like yours, caring and loving unconditionally.

    Thank you for this post, It gave me the moral boost I need right now. It made me remember that sacrifices that my parents gave for me and siblings.

    Every child should be grateful to their parents no matter what.

    God bless you and your family. Thank you for inspiring us.

  • This is really inspiring. Congratulations to you and your siblings. I salute your parents for doing an incredible job in raising all of you. All your achievements attests to that. God Bless!

  • Wow! Super big congratulations to the whole family! I would like to interview you guys. Yours is one amazing story. And it’s very timely that you shared this piece in the midst of all the brouhaha about the suicide of a UP Manila student. Indeed, parents’ unwavering support works its magic. Mabuhay kayong lahat! May I request you to please email me re my request. Maraming salamat!

  • I am touched by your story. somehow it matches my story. Congratulations to your sister but please tell to your parents that I really salute them God Bless your family 🙂

  • Inspiring…but I have to say, it’s not only pure dedication. Kung bobo kang tao, kahit anong gawin mo, di ka mgvavaledictorian!

    Congrats Ron, your siblings and parents! Your family is a combination of raw intelligence polished by dedication and hard work using excellent example from your parents. Hats off to them!

    • Hi Chibby,

      That’s Ate Bel, who helped my mother raise us for more than 20 years (from the time I was 2 years old, until she started her own family a couple of years back). She’s another story to tell. 🙂

  • This really made me cry. It made me look back to where I came from. Although I am an only child but I was raised by my mother who was a single parent. And who then still needed to help my grandparents financially. Proud UP graduate too. Kudos to our parents!

    I hope everyone will continue honoring and giving back to their parents. Never forget the people who has given their everything to help you where you are now, IT WILL TAKE YOU FARTHER THAN YOUR DREAMS.

    Congratulations to your parents, not because they have raised 5 valedictorians, but because they have raised five individuals equipped with wisdom in conquering life’s challenges.

  • very moving piece… reminded me of my early days … thanks very much for sharing your beautiful and inspiring story…

  • What a wonderful story! Thank you very much for sharing it! 🙂 congratulations to your parents! God bless you and your amazing family always!!

  • Medyo nateary ako, kasi I can relate with your story. Sana ma-meet ko ang family nio like fan nio na ko! Thank God for His wonderful plan in your family. At least all are learning from every struggles. I’m happy for all of you! Regards to all your family Ronibats. You all are so awesome! Great article. It moved me 180 degrees turn. I want to dream big again and again. This is such a good instrument to dream and to be thankful of what you have in life. Congratulations to your loving parents. Kiss me to them. They did a good job!

  • Indeed a very inspiring human experience….nakaka-inspire talaga…congratulations to your parents…..I am also proud and thankful to my mama and tatay who taught me how to pray and value education!

  • I can relate … I also have 5 kids … maybe not as bright or as studious as you guys. Education is the best pamana.

  • Naiyak talaga ako. Bilib ako sa parents nyo. While we also came from a working family (where only the father works and the mom stays at home), 2 lang kami sa family. But 5? And all valedictorians! You are soooo blessed kasi pati ang mga younger siblings, which usually nagloloko na kasi medyo nakakaluwag na sa buhay, have maintained the standards in your household.

    I salute your parents, bilib talaga ako sa kanila! 😀

  • Great and inspiring story! Hard work and determination are important ingredients to success!!

    Maiba lang:

    Why are there 8 of you in the picture? Who’s the extra person?

  • The power of perseverance. Talagang sa pagsisikap at pagtitiyaga at pagsusunog ng kilay may ginhawang kapalit. Napaiyak ako habang binabasa ko ito.

  • Wonderful story! Hope you write more of your stories to serve as inspiration to many. God Bless your family!

  • Congratulations on your parents and to your siblings.

    Thought of my parents too, there’s 9 of us all were able to graduate bachelors degree and 1 MD. My mom is the best housewife, she was able to budget everything, same with your family have to borrow t ay for tuition too. But all debts were paid.
    Thank you for sharing your story, very inspiring and no excuses.

  • Congratulations to your whole family and thank you for writing this!
    Found your article on Facebook and was very moved by it.
    Even without your medals, you all are winners because of the way you love each other and care for others! : >
    I ‘m sharing your blog on my FB wall too : >

  • a daughter’s (chem eng uplb) short comment about ‘real people’ on her fb account led me to your page first thing in the morning. and i felt a lump in my throat. your story is most refreshing, disarmingly simple, unpretentious, so humbling and so, very inspiring. your story would heal the wounded and comfort the scarred, having shared it. thank you, doc.

  • I’m absolutely amazed with your family’s story. Intelligence, hard work, and perseverance make a fantastic mix for success. Our family has a somewhat similar story, but we started well-off until misfortune hit our business.

    Your sister looks familiar. I think I was able to work with her during an election campaign for the UP College of Engineering Student Council. 🙂

  • Brod congratulations sa inyong lahat. I’m happy you shared this and that Facebook is useful for something other than games and food pics. 🙂

    • Bai, thank you. You know very well how much you’ve helped me earn money to save for residency, just after I graduated. Sobrang laking tulong during those times, and I am eternally grateful for that. 😀

  • MAHUSAY!! Mga magulang at mga anak — tunay na maipagmamalaki at ulirang mga halimbawa ng pagmamahalan, respeto at pagpapagal sa buhay. MABUHAY ang pamilya ninyo at patuloy kayong pagpalain ng Panginoon.

  • Ang galing! Sana ma-feature sa Maalaala Mo Kaya or some tv show para mas madami ma-inspire…
    Wish ko lang ganyan din kami sa pamilya kaso super hindi…

  • Dok, nakalimutan kong tanungin, nagtatago ka pa rin ba ng id pictures mo & mahilig sa chowking mantao? Natutuwa ako sobra na nagsusulat ka pala ulit, college pa lang ako sinusundan ko na panulat mo…

    • Hi Ma’am! Thank you po for reading. I think nakuwento ko na sa inyo nun when I was teaching why I was doing it (to save money for residency). Looking forward to going back to the lab and the classroom. Ingat po lagi and thanks again 🙂

  • Hi Ronibats!

    Tagos hanggang bone marrow ko ang article mo. Like your situation, iginapang din kami ng mga magulang namin para makapagtapos ng college.

    Thank you because after reading your article, it fueled my passion and desire to help my family more. 😀

    God bless you and your family! 😀

  • your story is so insipring 🙂 thank you for sharing 🙂 God bless you and your family, especially your parents. Though i think God has already blessed them with 5 valedictorians 🙂

  • 2003
    Lightning Crashes : Meeting Memory
    “This one is for liberty… (You know why. *wink*) ”

    From somewhere Memory would tell me. Ü

    Magiging masaya na naman ang pagbabasa.

    • I can very well relate to your story. My parents were both public school teachers , and perhaps I can say that although we were not as bright like you and your siblings , all of us made good in school. One did graduate cum laude, and another one made it as class valedictorian, the rest also were honor graduates and enjoyed scholarships one way or the other. While my mother was branded by some relatives and friends as “mayabang eh hindi naman kaya” and “ambisyosa ” simply because they could not really afford to do so and were already finding it difficult to send us to school , still all seven of us graduated from the best schools there were during our time- two from UE,both CPAs , two from UP , one from MAPUA, one from UST and the youngest since we could already afford went to DLSU and finished two courses . I remember that both Itay and Inay told us to just study and not to do household chores during weekdays but during weekends we divided the m among ourselves . I was assigned in the kitchen since I am the eldest girl. Knowing that to be an honor student ,participation in extra curricular activities counted a lot , they still encouraged us to join even if they meant additional expenses for costumes, outings,etc.They too were always there for us during contests and presentations. Through it all ,my mother was the more daring one, and this my father had only but admiration and pride . She negotiated with the Jesuits that all payments made for my brothers’ enrollment at the Ateneo de San Pablo be paid in 10 monthly installments -tuition, miscellaneous and books including uniforms when what others paid all at enrollment and only the tuition in installment. I was there with her whenever she had to wait for the loansharks to borrow money for our tuitions .Fully aware that they were making a lot of sacrifices for us, we perfectly understood what was expected of us. And that we did not fail them . We never asked what we saw in our classmates, new shoes, wristwatches, at that time my friend was wearing Seiko today and Rado the next day. I got my first wristwatch only after getting my first salary. She told me so.
      I can write a book about our own and that I intend to do so later when I retire . The short of it is all of us are doing good in our work and in our lives. Because of our GINTONG AMA at INA . They were awarded such honors and it was good that they were still alive when they got them.

      Thanks for sharing your story . It makes me feel good and proud too.

  • congratulations to you all, you are truly an inspiration. I pray God will continue to bless your family. My sincerest Congratulations to your parents, your sister 😀

  • Amazing, your parents must be very proud. They are lucky to have children like you but you are blessed to have them as parents:-)

  • I always admire well written personal accounts and yours are truly heartwarming. I am a peds upcm 79, and my kids are upcm also(2010, 2011, my husband 1977.
    You make us proud to be fellow alumni!

  • When I first saw the title, I was a little concerned that maybe whoever wrote this would come off a little too proud and bragging… sa loob ko baka naman magyayabang lang ito…

    But low and behold you shared your family’s story with such humility and dignity. thank you for sharing this. it’s what educational awards should be about. not about simply competing against fellow students and making the thousand others seem irrelevant.

    I come from the other extreme, the “average student”. Or in high school, yung “pasang awa”. So I never truly appreciated students like you 😉

    Now I do.

    So thank you, and keep inspiring others to see it the way you do.

    God bless you and your family 🙂

  • Isa ako sa tagahanga mo sa pa hanggang sa nawala ang site at nagkaroon ka ng sariling site. Pero noong nag medicine ka na at nag frat, bigla kang laglaho. Natutuwa ako sa nagsusulat ka muli. Sister ko at brother in law UP PGH graduate. Malaking utang na loob ko sa mga doktor ng UP dahil ibinabahagi nila ang expertise nila sa mga magulang ko (di ba masyado sa akin). Tuwa ako di lang sa kwento at larawan mo dahil alam kong magbabalik ang mga kwento mo. Nasa libro na ba ang iba? Happy Easter Doc.

  • A very inspiring story indeed! Thank you for your uplifting share of experience, Sir!
    I am the second child of three in our family and my parents rarely tell us of how they struggle to make money to send us to school. Ever since my parents have both started working abroad, leaving the three of us here in the Philippines, it had been a challenge to my older brother and I to stay humble in terms of acquiring what we want — having Mom and Dad always providing us what we need and “nagpapadala ng mga gusto namin”.

    Nevertheless, I am continuously trying hard to make my parents proud by doing well in school, not just in academics but also in extra-curricular activities (like joining the Student Council and aiming to be a student-leader). My younger sister is still at Nursery, so pretty much the pressure of being a success for our family rests on me (my older brother has stopped studying because he got tired of it; he’s finding a job right now). I hope someday all this hardwork and commitment will pay off so that my parents can be proud of me, of us. Only then I think shall I be proud of myself and my siblings also.

  • I cannot help but post a note after reading this. Congratulations to the family! To me, the key is having parents who allow their children to think on their own without emotional stress (they seem to be a cool family who share a lt f laughter), allowing the children to appreciate the life that they have and dream of a family together in the future enjoying the fruits of shared achievements. This is a hard feat to duplicate – all valedictorians. My own family can only relate on the 100% UPCAT conquest which us just the beginning of a fulfilling life ahead because jobs are easier to come along after graduation. I pray that everyone in the Baticulon family will achieve the dreams they have started to chase and may they remain close especially when their parents need them most in their later life. And finally, may they continue to offer all praises to God and life will be a wonderful journey.

  • Omg it’s you, Ronibats! I used to visit your blog when I was in high school, and you were still a med student back then. I frequented your blog because you were really good in Adobe Illustration (it was Illustration, right?) and in web design; also, I enjoyed your stories then. And now you’re a Doctor already! So happy for your family, Doc. Your family’s story is truly inspiring.

  • I can relate so much to this article. I am also blessed with loving parents, an older brother and five younger siblings. 4 of us are from UP, my brother working to be a pilot, and two highschool kids left. My parents married later than most people so even at an age where they should be retiring, they spend so much time working and trying to manage 4 of our 24 hour food chains just so the remaining 6 finish college. It’s hard to look at because I want them to rest but whenever I tell them to, sinasabi rin nila saken ang sinasabi ng parents mo in this article, that education is their only pamana to us and that we should work hard. I always keep that in mind. Love them so much. Congrats to all of you!

  • Bai, lubos akong natutuwa sa tagumpay mo at ng iyong mga kapatid. Tunay na kaiinggitan ang iyong mga magulang. Biro mo, sa amin isa lang (brod mo pa, hehe) sa inyo – lima! Mabuhay kayo!

  • Almost tears in mah eyes, Sir Ronibats!

    OT: Ngayon na lang ako nakabalik. Matagal-tagal ko ding hinahanap ang inyong Trodat. Andito na pala kayo.

  • My Tatay is also an Engineer so I could picture how your dad was when you were growing up. They did tell us that our only job is to study and when I was growing up I experienced having a uniform that had a slightly darker dulo (tupi) than the rest of my palda because it was let out from last year. My mom worked and she also had to make loans and was practical to a point that she was able to have three college students who did not live where they lived paid for school, dorms and for everything else we needed and they needed at home. We were kids who took home medals too. My parents were a little odd though. They never pushed us to be exceptional but for some reason that is what we became in school. We couldn’t and I couldn’t related to the super hyper pressure other classmates got from their parents. My parents just wanted us to finish school and get a great job. But now as an adult, thought I am not a doctor or engineer I acknowledge that the reason why I can get a job even during a recession is because my parents always supported us even after we graduated. They didn’t ask for the medals and they didn’t ask for recognition. I remember that my mom was surprised during recognition day (it’s the day parents go to school for a mock graduation ceremony and they practive how to go up the stage for medals). My mom asked me why I didn’t tell her that I would get so many medals. I didn’t know either and tol her so. In the end I had the same number of medals as our valedictorian, granted his were somewhat bigger. But to me those medals were not for me, they were for my parents. They realized that Hey, my kids are actually exceptional. My younger brother got into Pisay then Diliman. Then my younger brother went to UPLB like me. So before my parents realized it they had three UP graduates. And though in one side of our family we would likely be considereded the poor relations when it got down to asking about children, my mom is slowly realizing the rewards of her having to rush around to get our allowance together and the tuition fee paid off. I never had to ask for a loan and I feel that it was my mother’s goal to never have us feel the pressure of earning money. I wish she had. In most things I feel like my life is good and I learned to dream for things not for myself. My dream is to be a writer but a day job pays better to help me with my real dream, to be able to give my mom money for her to spend on something COMPLETELY unbudgeted and not matched to her monthly breakdown. I am still working on it though. I hope I can do it soon.

    Please tell your Inay and Tatay, congratulations po at salamat po dahil ang sipag ninyo ay nagbibigay ng mas marami pang mabuting bagay sa mundo.

  • God Bless You and Your Family Always…(Wala akong mapulot na salita sa magandang nagawa ng Family ninyo…ganyan din parents namin, A teacher and a homebody nanay…nakatapos din kami na ang loan mower lang di napasukan ng loan para makatapos…we are so lucky to have them).

  • Hi, there! This is so heartwarming & inspiring. I am very sorry pero i’m too excited to re-blog it po bago nyo pa i-approve ang request ko hahaha! God bless your family.

  • This is one of a few inspirational posts I will read to my daughter (and hopefully son soon) in the future. I am proud to have one of you Baticulons as my classmate. Sadyang mapagmamalaki. Congratulations to your parents and also to you their children for making them proud. 🙂

  • your story put me in tears..somehow i could relate rin…congratulations! naka ka proud ung story ninyo…i will never forget your story..

  • Congratulations! Your family beat ours . . . we had 3 valedictorians and 2 salutatorians in high school. Everything else about our families are similar. We should thank God for all the blessings.

  • I am speechless regarding what your family had gone through, all I can say is that you really have an admirable perseverance and that’s something important nowadays. God bless your family!

  • Congratulations!

    Sa mga parents, God’s blessings po ang magkaroon ng anak na matatalino, masisipag at maunawain. Sa kabila ng kakulangan nakuha nyo na mapapagtapos sila ng may karangalan. Nailabas din yong tinatawag na pigil hininga na matagal ng nasa loob ng diddib.

    Sa mga anak, salamat sa pagmamahal at pangunawa nyo sa inyong mga magulang.

    Salamat po sa napaka gandang balita ng inyong pamilya.

    God bless po sa inyong mag anak!

  • I appreciate how you presented your story – the title is amazing and the content is VERY INSPIRING.
    The story is actually not about the five of you graduating valedictorians during your respective graduation years BUT about two individuals who inspired you to become valedictorians. Your PARENTS are really amazing…

  • I saw the segment about your family on kapuso mo jessica soho. I was teary-eyed as I listen to what you were saying. I am really moved. Very inspiring. May you and your family be continually blessed and madami pa sana kayong matulungan. I am your fan! 🙂

  • You inspired me before with your works in Nung huminto kang magsulat doon pati na sa website mo nalungkot ako kasi wala na akong aabangan na bago mong article. Sobra akong natuwa ng naishare ng isang kaibigan FB itong site mo. Salamat sa inspirasyon Ronibats! 😀

  • Amazing family…napanood ko lang sa jessica sojo kanina at hinanap ko agad sa social media….I salute you sir ronibats

  • beautiful, inspirational

    I hope that this story of determination, hard work and love will push everyone going through challenges to embrace to challenges as tools of improvement.

    Bravo to your parents and your siblings 🙂

  • What an inspiration! Stories like this make my heart swell with happiness and hope for struggling Filipino families. Thank you for sharing.

  • remarkable family triumph. unpretentious writing. searing if taken introspectively. light style yet moving. must-read. must-share.

  • Siyang tunay, hindi po hadlang ang kahirapan upang makamit ang tagumpay. Binabati ko po kayong lahat. Salamat po sa inspirasyong naibahagi ninyo. God bless & Mama Mary loves us all po.

    • PS

      Sana’y magsilbi po kayong inspirasyon sa mahihirap at maging sa kabataang laki sa yaman ngunit hindi pinahahalagahan ang edukasyon.

  • Wow!! very inspiring.. tlgang pinanuod ko story nyo kagabi sa kmjs.. very inspiring story.. tama sila daig pa ang tumama sa luto!! congratulations sa parents nyo Sir. Hope makita ko kayo sa personal.

  • I watched you and your family in KMJS…kagabe…
    =) ..your amazing guys!!!
    kagaya nga ng sabi ni inuyasha…
    ako din,,ahahah,
    kaya hinahap ko agad si Dr.Ronibats!!!
    pati sa fb..ahahah..sana pwede i-add…
    GOdbless to your family po!

  • hi doc ronnie… im glad that your family was featured sa KMJS last saturday… ang galing pala nyo. anyway, i am one of your patients po sa PGH na nag-undergo sa transphenoidal surgery last july 11, 2012 .i was diagnosed with cushing’s disease. . . kayo pong dalawa ni dr. gap legaspi and gumawa ng operation.. at present ok naman po ako. ill be having my check up po ulit jan sa pgh next week with dr. iris isip-tan…hope to meet you again po and im so grateful po sa inyo for the success of my operation last year….GOOD LUCK, doc. . . .

  • Congratulations especially to your parents! Keep us posted you might end up all members of Phi Kappa Phi? 🙂 You know of families where everyone is a member of this Society? 🙂

  • strange pero parang binabasa ko rin yung story ng family namin (except yung valedictorian part lol )
    we were only consistent honor students and just last week, our youngest graduated cum laude
    napangiti po ako sa part na “Kaya mag-aaral kayong mabuti, kasi kayo lang ang pag-asa namin.”
    kasi yun din ang laging bilin ng parents namin sa amin
    hindi po nila kami pine-pressure mag-aral
    natutuwa din po ako to know that you’re working in PGH
    instead of working in a private hospital
    saludo po ako sa inyo doc
    congratulations to your parents, mr & mrs baticulon! 🙂

    P.S. natuwa po ako sa icon nyo, si pineapple hair, abarai renji haha 😀

  • i don’t usually make comments when i read posts like this, and somehow this kind of stories have become common to me, but this one is different, this one is unique. It made me pause for a while to contemplate on how really good God is and how blessed your family is. I know your used to hearing these words but for what its worth, I am a fan and I am proud of you guys. Study, work, party hard but pray harder,always. Godbless! More power!

  • please continue writing and inspiring other people… honoring our parents by studying hard is the best gift that we could give them… i was never a valedictorian and didn’t aim to be one… i just go with the flow of my life and learned from it… tried new things, got distracted and failed….with my failures i didn’t lose hope and tried to adapt… i shifted my gear a lot of times… life is dynamic… one must be able to adapt to live.

  • 5 to 6 years after..ill be expecting another post..five cum laudesssss..your story inspires us in many ways..and your achievements keep you grounded..i salute you sir

  • to be honest with you…….naiyak ako while reading your story! maraming salamat sa pag post ng makabuluhang kwento ng buhay nyo, very inspiring! GOD BLESS YOU and your family too!

  • Your story is so inspiring, it made me cry. God bless your parents for raising you and your siblings well. May God continue to bless your family as you continue with your journey of love.

  • Congratulations to your family. Very impressive! Your father was my classmate at UP civil engg. say regards to him .

  • Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing your stories.

    Some children, while growing up, may fail to realize the hardships our parents go through just so they can provide for us. It is only when they have children of their own that they realize this.

    I applaud you and your siblings. Nothing else best compensates for all the sacrifices of our parents than to see their children succeed in life. And I congratulate your parents for raising five wonderful children. God bless you and your family!

  • Hello Kuya Ronnie!

    After watching Jessica Soho’s segment where your family was featured. It inspired me to go for the best, to aim for gold, and to pass UPCAT (which is my biggest problem right now). But I hope with the help of God, that I can do this. Thank you for the inspiration, God Bless you.

  • I choke back tears while reading your story in Saludo sa mga magulang nyo at sa inyong magkakapatid.

  • I actually was smiling and crying while I read your article. Inspiring and heart-warming. Congratulations to your parents! Mabuhay kayo!

  • I am an avid follower back in peyups days, sa Lightning Crashes! Grabe ang tagal na pala na parang kahapon lang! Naaalala ko nage-mail ako sa iyo ng pasasalamat sa inspirasyon na dala ng mga sulatin mo, makalipas ang ilang araw may sinulat ka tungkol sa salitang naguumpisa sa “S” double meaning ang title pero “Salamat” ang tinutukoy mo sa artikulo, pakiramdam ko noon isa ako sa tinutukoy mo, ang saya ko. Three days ago a friend shared one of your posts sa FB, nagulat ako, Dr. Ronnie Baticulon, sabi ko sobrang familiar ng name, so nag-stalk ako, ang dami ko pala na-miss after peyups! Neurosurgeon ka na pala! With Palanca award! Sabi mo noon kung yayaman ka malamang dahil sa pagsusulat ng libro hindi dahil sa pagdu-duktor, nakakatuwa! Na-KMJS ka na din pala, so pinanood ko yung youtube video, finally nakita ko din ang mukha at narinig ang boses sa likod ng mga kataga sa peyups! Looking forward to buying your book, sana maging available dito sa Baguio soon. Ingat, Doc! And God bless you!

Ronibats.PH Stories of a Filipino neurosurgeon, teacher, and writer