#VoicesOfHope: Following the Great Physician

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I always wondered why my parents never said, “We’re proud of you!” I have never heard them say the word proud verbally. My mom sometimes posts on social media about my achievements, pero iba pa din yung sinasabihan ka ng “Proud kami sa’yo anak.” Some of my friends are professionals already, and nasa stage ako na “Buti pa sila.” Pero sabi nga ng iba, don’t compare your success to others. Yun nalang iniisip ko. But whenever some of my friends passed the boards. “Buti pa si ganto, Doctor na, Teacher na, Lawyer na, Nurse na, etc..” Ang sakit. Everytime naririnig ko yun nag walkout ako. Maybe this is the reason why hindi ako close sa parents ko unlike ng iba.

Back in 2011, I took up the course Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at Bicol University. I just studied there for a year. I even ended up dropping some of my subjects kasi nahihirapan ako. Though I developed software way back then, nahirapan ako dahil sa ibang major subjects na iba yung programming language na gamit. So long story short, my parents found out, and I was dismissed from the University. I remember, umiyak ako sa harapan ng dad ko, and I said, “Pa, pwede pa ba ako mag-aral?” That was the first time that I cried in front of my dad. My dad said yes, and I enrolled in a 2-year course in Associate Degree in Computer Programming and graduated in 2015.

After graduation, I was ready to look for a job in the IT Industry, pero ang taas ng qualifications na habol nila. So I decided to shift my career to the hospitality industry. So aside from creating applications and software, I also love cooking. It was June 2015 when I enrolled in Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Kasi, I planned to work abroad on a cruise ship. So long story short again. I got my Bachelor’s degree in April of 2019.

But a year before that, 2018, I think that year was the most difficult year of my life. I’m always anxious about the future – kung ano ang mangyayari. Iniisip ko “Ito na ba yung para sakin? Magiging successful ba ako sa career na pinili ko? Magiging proud ba sila sa akin?” Isa pang iniisip ko is “this is my second course, marami nang nagastos ang parents ko to send me to school. Ito na ba yun?” It was also in September of 2018 when my girlfriend broke up with me.

Parang pile up na lahat nung 2018, and that led me to want to end my life. I was suicidal. I became an alcoholic to calm myself. I remember when I was ready to jump with a rope around my neck, I was crying, inisiip ko yung mga maiiwan ko sa mundong ito – mga nagmamahal sa akin, my friends and my family. Parang may nag yayakap sakin that time, and I grabbed the bible nung pag bukas ko, “Hebrews 13:5 – I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” And after mabasa ko yung verse na yun, I cried a lot. After that lagi na akong nasa simbahan.

Fast forward to November of 2018 nung bago ako matulog, I remember I was scrolling through the news feed and yung kaibigan kong pari nag post “When you can’t sleep, talk to God.” So I did. I prayed and talked to Him about everything. While I was praying, I felt sleepy (siguro mga 1:30am or nearly 2am na yun). After I ended my prayer at nakatulog ako agad and I remembered yung panaginip ko. I was climbing on a very high mountain when I reached the top, sobrang liwanag. And nung naglalakad ako may nakita akong tao sa gitna ng liwanag and he was wearing a white robe with a red stole – it was Jesus. Sobrang liwanag. I can’t explain the joy nung time na yun. We had a conversation. Alam mo yun, yung naguusap kayo pero gamit lang ang isip. Basta I can’t explain it. So ayun na nga, nung papalapit nako sakanya, may force naman na nag pull sa katawan ko. And just like that, I woke up, and it was 3 am. 1 hour na pala yun.

Later that morning, I told my mom about my experience, sabi nya “Talaga? Ano kaya ibig sabihin nun?”. Ang sabi ng Uncle ko “baka sign yan na mag pari ka?”

Sinabi ko rin ito sa kaibigan kong pari, and same thing sabi niya “Maybe that’s a sign that Jesus wants you to be a priest.”

Fast forward to 2019, which was a year of hope for me. My priest friend encouraged me to enter the seminary. Sabi niya “Try mo lang, kasi diyan mo malalaman kung yan ba talaga ang calling mo.” It was March of 2019 when I took up the exam at Our Lady of Peñafrancia Minor Seminary. I got the result after a month, and I passed the exam. I remember Holy Week noon, sinabi ko sa family ko na I passed the seminary exam. Yung ibang relatives ko masaya sila, pero my mom, parang ayaw niya. But after that, parang I’m still searching for something, or maybe I have a different calling. So I went to Manila in June of 2019 to search for a job. Doon ko na-experience na ang hirap pala mag hanap ng trabaho sa Manila. Almost 2 months straight akong naghahanap ng work. To be honest ready na ako mag give up that time. But God is good. Na hire ako ng isang BPO Company in Pasay on August 27, 2019, two days before my birthday where I worked for almost a year.

I was planning to enter the seminary again in January of 2020. This time it was Holy Apostles Senior Seminary in Makati. It’s a seminary for late vocations and professionals. So nag inquire ako online and nag share din ako ng short background about myself. But I didn’t get a response after that. Siguro di talaga ito para sakin.

By March 2020, Manila was on full lockdown, at hindi na ako nakauwi ng Bicol that time due to the travel ban. So I stayed for almost three months. It was June of 2020 ng nakauwi ako ng Bicol. Noong nakauwi ako sabi ko sa sarili ko, “Babalik pa ba ako dun [sa Manila]?”, but I decided to stay here in Bicol nalang.

When I was young, my teacher asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Sinasabi ko agad gusto ko maging doctor kasi gusto ko kagaya ni Papa, who is a doctor, para matulungan yung may mga sakit. It seemed like perfect timing as CHED waived the National Medical Admission Test this [2020] school year, so I grabbed the opportunity to enroll in Med School and follow my father’s footsteps. Maybe this is God’s way of saying na hindi talaga sa priesthood yung calling ko, kundi sa pagiging doctor. Hindi man through preaching but to save lives.

Nung interview ko sa Med School, sabi ni Dean “Pag doctor ka na, do you promise to serve the poorest of the poor?” I immediately said, “YES!”

Now I am a 1st Year Medical Student at Bicol Christian College of Medicine. I will continue to follow my father’s footsteps to heal the sick as Jesus also did. We serve God by serving others.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

This is my story.

– Djev David Daza

#MentalHealthPH believes that you and your story will help empower other people living with mental health problems and fight the stigma linked to it.
Be a voice of hope! Submit your story here: bit.ly/VOHstory

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