An orphan from Ilocos Norte is the new source of inspiration for netizens as news of Remnzar Salumbides' cum laude honors, seven years after his parents were murdered, became viral.
Salumbides was 11 years old when his parents were murdered a few meters away from their house in the village of Bingao, San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte.
Two strangers pretended to ask for directions from Salumbides' parents. But the seemingly innocent inquiry turned tragic when the men pulled out guns and fired at the couple.
The young Salumbides' life was completely upended. He was orphaned at the tender age of 11.
In an interview with ABS-CBN Ilocos reporter April Rafales, Salumbides admitted feeling lost as he wrestled with trauma, grief, and uncertainty for his future.
"Noong nawala 'yung parents ko, parang nawalan na din po ako ng pakpak. (When my parents died, I felt as if I lost my wings)," said Salumbides.
He and his half-sister had to rely on the kindness of his mother's relatives to sustain their basic needs. His father's kin had immediately disowned him.
When his relatives cannot pay for his education anymore, Salumbides persevered, approaching strangers and various organizations to apply for scholarships.
He budgeted P100 for his daily allowance throughout his college years. He skipped meals to afford photocopied reading materials, and hosted events to earn extra money.
His hard work paid of on April 5 as he received his latin honors and a bachelor's degree in accounting technology from Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
He plans to take another year in college so he could qualify for the CPA board exam. He already has some pledges for financial assistance, but Salumbides also plans to get certified as an accounting technician so he could get a summer job.
On Facebook, Salumbides posted a thank you note for all the well-wishers and the many netizens who were inspired by his story.