My classmate, the farmer: 67-year-old dreams of finishing education

Photo Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol — For Virgilio Ganade Penticase, age is only a number.

The 67-year-old farmer—who first made headlines three years ago by becoming Bohol’s oldest student—is back in the limelight—and for the right reasons.

On the first day of school, the ever-studious Penticase arrived on time at his alma mater Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School (DCPNHS) because he wanted to make a good impression on the new teacher.

Wearing a snappy school uniform, he sat on the seat in the back row and dutifully listened to his lessons for the day.

Three years ago, he was in Grade 7. Now, he is in Grade 10—and he is very proud of it.

Respectfully addressed by his peers as “Lolo” or Tatay,” Penticase said he doesn’t see his age as a barrier to a good education.

“I have no problem with my age because I want to learn,” he said, adding that he even feels the normal emotions of a student such as meeting his new classmates and teachers every year.

Born on June 26, 1948, Penticase shared how he and his brother dropped out of high school to help support their family.

In his youth Penticase used to catch fish with his neighbors before taking care of his parents’ small farm.

In deciding to go back to school, Penticase said he wanted to cure his illiteracy which some unscrupulous people took advantage of.

“It is difficult if you are not educated. You are easily duped,” he said.

Meanwhile, his teachers and officials of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) said they are very proud of him for diligently studying and for not missing a single day of class.

“He will inspire children to get an education, showing that poverty and age should not be hindrances to achieving our dreams,” PTA officer Jun Gutierrez said, adding that the PTA provides him with free school supplies and even gave him a pair of reading glasses so he could read his lessons better.