TESDA SCHOLAR @ GERARDO’S: A TWIST OF FATE FOR AN ORPHAN

“Every success story has a key player…Every key player has a story to tell..”

Let’s take a look on how Edgar Comedia Allado dared to make a difference….
From an orphan to a pickpocket;
From a car wash boy to St. Marcellin Foundation;
From being a TESDA Scholar to being a CHEF.

Chef Edgar as fondly called now was born on the 30th of May 1987 in Barangay Silway, San Juan, General Santos City. He is the youngest among the five siblings. When he was a year older, his mother died from heart attack and the following year his father left them, leaving them to be taken care of by their grandfather. When he was seven years old, the very family he has known also passed away, making him more alone in this world. But it didn’t stop this young boy who has dreams to finish schooling. Though at the very young age, he sends himself to school at Labangal Elementary school by being a pickpocket. When he got three cell phones one day, he decided to use it to pay and sustain his schooling. He was also a car wash boy along Pioneer Avenue to help feed him. At times he had tried to snip rugby.
In 2003, at 17 years old, he was caught stealing and was mauled by the residents of DAREMCO Silway. He was beaten to death and left him. The residents didn’t file a case against him but instead he was put through with such ordeal. It left him so sick. A week after the incident, his brother, who at that time was already at ST. Marcellin Foundation, came to visit him and found him in such situation decided to bring him to where he is. St. Marcelin Foundation is a home for the street children who learn to survive in the streets. More often than not, they are malnourished, unhealthy and exposed to the dangers inherent to street life.
At first he was hesitant because he is used to street life with many people in all walks of life. Here in this institution, they were given a new dimension how to live life who is well nourished, well taken care of and above all taught how to pray. He was even undergone a total rehabilitation from worries, fear and trained not to hold more money than what is needed.
He was trained to be disciplined, how to mingle with other people and build his own self. He was sent to Notre Dame of Dadiangas IBED in Lagao, General Santos City and finished his Secondary Education in 2007.
“I have reached my dream to finish my high school, and yet I was so sad to graduate without my parents. I felt I was all alone.” He narrated during the interview.
After he finished his secondary education, he studied at TESDA taking Automotive but failed to pass the NC2 exam. He was a one semester STI scholar but unable to push through because he needed to maintain a 90% grade to remain as a scholar.
After such failures, he was sent to work at the St. MArcelin’s own bakery, where he was taught to be a multi-tasked employee from baker to waiter, cashier to maintenance and a lot more. He found it interesting. After five months, he wants to go back to school.
His friend name Ronald Anthony Bairoy, informed him about the Government’s PGS Program channeled through TESDA. They both inquired, applied and they passed. They were sent to Gerardo School of Culinary Arts Inc.
When he was enrolled, he realized that this would be his biggest problem. It takes a lot of discipline, study habits and more hard work in order to pass. He said to himself, he would not last. Probably 1st week would be the longest time of his stay. The school admin was so strict.
But thinking of the Eight thousand pesos being paid for them, he said, “I would try harder”. A month after, things have changed. He liked to stay and face the challenges set by Chef Gerry and Chef Faith.
He found out that this is really more than what TESDA has provided them as scholars; they found a partner who really means business to mold persons with quality education and character.
He shared that this is not merely complying for a certificate. These are professionals, it’s difficult and it’s promising. He needs to study more than ever. He remembered that he just spent two hours of sleep because he needs to study and to memorize a number of recipes. “We do not just follow what is the recipe but we need to create as well.” he added.
“With such exposure in this field, I was able to see what I wanted, I want to cook. I want to feel the warmth of the kitchen. I found much joy with the dishes I cooked. I found satisfaction in this expression…food.” He said.
During his internship at Red Trellis Restaurant in Barangay Lagao, his superiors were so pleased of his working attitude, his dedication and his commitment that they would not like him to end his job. Chef Edgar was grateful and yet he turned it down. He has committed to one of his classmates Chef Cherry Odi to work with her as the chef of Little Dubai Kebab Grills here in the City.
After graduation, his life has been changed. “Natarong akong kinabuhi tungod sa TESDA og Gerardo’s. Dako akong pasalamat sa ilaha og unta ipadayon nila ang pagtabang sa daghan pang wala kaeskwela na may tumong na makahuman og maging maayo sila.” (My life has put to right direction because of TESDA and Gerardo’s. I’m so thankful to them and hoping they would continue to help more out of school youth who dream to finish schooling and be the best of it.)Chef Edgar emotionally said.
“I’m grateful too with ST. Marcelin Foundation for saving a lost boy like me, whose only HOPE I have carried with me is to live a good life in spite that I was orphaned and abandon.”He smiled and said now, I helped people at St. Marcelin, and I cooked for them at always thankful too to Brother Crispin P. Betita, F.M.S. Executive Director Marcellin Foundation, Inc.
He was even asked; what if there was no TESDA scholarship…no Gerardo’s School of Culinary Inc., what might have become of you today? He pauses and thinks and said.. : I am a person who would not give up trying to live. I guess I would have been able to be successful too. But still glad and grateful, TESDA and Gerardo’s came into my life the moment I needed it the most. Such dream has not taken me so long to reach.”