Alma N. Pangsiw

‘Girls, wear skirts tomorrow!’

Alma told her story in the September-October 2003 issue of Misyon. This article is related to what she wrote then. Alma passed the Civil Service and Teachers' Board exams in 2007.

‘S-K-I-R-T-S!!! Not again!’

Announcements like this during my college days used to make my day glum. It’s not that I hated wearing skirts, but my appearance when wearing them concerned me most and thus made me crawl from shame.

One of my downfalls was that I had no self confidence when it came to my body structures. I didn’t have that ‘Coca-cola figure’ to be proud of. I just had the typical body of an Igorot with strong, robust calves and arms due to heavy work in the fields. That’s why I didn’t have the nerve to wear mini-skirts just like everybody else did. When I tried it once, it seemed that everyone was staring at me and saying in their minds, ‘Hey! Look at that. She’s got no shame at all parading those robust, scarred calves!’ Those sarcastic glares just gave me the strength to dash to my boarding house to change my clothes. So during my high school years, I had my uniform skirts tailored three to four inches below the knee to conceal my calves.

‘I Will Walk With Faith’

By Alma Pangsiw

Alma is from the Mountain Province. She was a strong and healthy person, determined to reach her dreams for her family. But a sudden illness got in her way. Here she shares with us how she continued to walk with faith.

I am the eldest of five and was determined to finish college and find a stable job to help my brothers and sisters through school. Then fate walked in and closed that door.

August 18, 2000. I woke up and felt a sudden pang in my hips and waist. My hands were trembling and sweating. I tried to stand but couldn’t keep my legs from shaking. Yet I managed to get dressed and went to the high school where I was having my teaching practice. I couldn’t keep standing during the flag ceremony because of the throbbing pain. I could also feel both legs getting weaker. After one class I thought the pain would subside but it got worse. I couldn’t bear it anymore. I felt I’d collapse and asked permission to go home.