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WATCH: This is the story of Norman King, the first Aeta U.P. graduate

WATCH: This is the story of Norman King, the first Aeta U.P. graduate

We often struggle with our identities, dancing through life yet knowing what we’re bound for and what we’re meant to be. There are those who are blessed enough to have their lives set out for them as early as a year old and they would persevere to make it happen. Others simply don’t look back.

IMAGE Courtesy of Safeguard

When Norman King knew he was off to the University of the Philippines for college, he also knew he had to wear a bright red hoodie and sunglasses to his first day of school. He wanted to belong. Belonging seemed so easy. Just wear what the other kids are wearing and you won’t get called names. Struggling with how he was constantly taunted for his skin color and his old clothes, Norman King wanted to change everything.

This video starts with Norman King attending his graduation ceremony at the University of the Philippines. He entered the campus barefoot, wearing only his traditional bahag, a native loincloth, among all his peers wearing a barong or a white formal dress. Guests looked at him strangely wondering if King was just lost or maybe a little confused.

His mom, Warlita King, would always tell him never to be ashamed of his color for the clean heart has more value than physical appearance. When his classmates would taunt him for being poor, his mother would remind him that there is beauty in living a challenging life. These are her pabaon, something he carried close to his heart throughout his journey in college.

IMAGE Courtesy of Safeguard

This is what drove Norman King to embrace his truest self and show people how he was proud of being an Aeta. Sure, he experienced some bumps here and there, doubts, and a strong desire to change, but in the end he knew exactly who he was and he wanted the world to know all about it. He wore his bahag proudly, dedicating his plight and achievement to every single Aeta.

“Kailangan mo ba talagang magbago, para lang matanggap ng ibang tao?” Norman King’s mother understood his struggle but she constantly reminded him that this struggle makes you stronger and will one day bring you back to who you are.

“There is a universal challenge parents face in bringing up their children, having to balance the desire to keep them close and protected with letting them go explore the world to learn by themselves. At Safeguard, we strive to help parents overcome this tension by fostering a healthy independence between parents and children. Essential to this are the ‘pabaon’ parents give their children —be it an everyday lunchbox, the life saving habit of hand washing or life lessons—which will help protect them as they explore the world on their own,” says Alex Vogler, Associate Director, Digital Transformation & Brand Communications for Procter & Gamble’s Beauty Division in Asia Pacific.

“By sharing the touching story of Norman King and the life lessons he received from his mother, we are hoping to inspire parents all around the Philippines to impart their personal ‘pabaon’ to help protect their children in life,” concludes Vogler.

IMAGE Courtesy of Safeguard

Also known as provisions for life, “Pabaon sa Buhay” is derived from the term “baon,” which refers to the money, food or any provision that a person takes from home to set one ready for school, work, or any journey. “Baon” however does not only pertain to material things. It can be the words of wisdom, life lessons, and family values parents teach their kids at home to protect them from the uncertainties of the outside world.

Watch the heart-warming story of Norman King and his mother Warlita on Safeguard’s Facebook and YouTube. Join the conversation and share with us your own “Pabaon sa Buhay” stories online with the hashtags #PabaonSaBuhay and #Safeguard.

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