In the article I’ve posted yesterday (Famous Batangueños: From the Pages of History and Beyond), you’ve read about our kababayans who became popular in their chosen field.
You’ve read the names of national heroes, public servants, celebrities, literary genius, etcetera. I have one name which I intentionally did not include. Actually, it was because of him that I came up with that article yesterday. He is Arnel Casanova. A Batangueño in Harvard University.
I’ve read his story yesterday in TheManilaTimes.net and so I thought of sharing his story with you guys.
You can treat this as the sequel of yesterday’s post – minus the popularity meter. Arnel Casanova grew up in Padre Garcia where his family used to live a struggling life, swaying to and fro on the poverty line. He went to a public school for his elementary education. This was where his eyes were opened to the biases in the society; to the hurtful truths distinguishing the line between the fortunate and the less fortunate.
From the walls of the seminary, where he finished high school, he was determined to attain a higher education. Arnel realized he was not shaped to become a priest. With strong determination, he discarded everything that blocked his way to achieve what he long wanted – a UP education. From Batangas, he moved to Manila and juggled from one job to another in order to sustain his college education.
Because of his hard work, he finished his degree in English. A year after graduation, he decided to enter UP College of Law. And so he did. He worked at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process while studying. On his fifth year in the college of law, he moved to the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA). From Head Executive Assistant, Arnel climbed his way to being the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.
It was in BCDA where he was faced with grueling challenges; with unwanted issues of bad, unethical leadership. But once an activist, always an activist. Despite gaining enemies, Arnel stood still, holding on to his principles.
Until the opportunity to study in Harvard came his way. Arnel got in to John F. Kennedy School of Government where he took up his master’s degree in Public Administration. He is currently the executive director of Asia Society here in the Philippines. Asia Society produces young leaders, just like Arnel Casanova.
With all these, I hope to meet him someday. So if anyone of you knows him, please let me know. =)
This is Arnel Casanova. An achiever. A global leader. A Batangueño.