Carlos Saladaga, a 72-year-old farmer known as Tatay Carlos or "ALO," shattered societal stereotypes by graduating from senior high school on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Despite his age, Saladaga's achievement at Daantabogon National High School highlights the idea that education knows no boundaries.
Saladaga, hailing from Muabog, Tabogon, Cebu, pursued the General Academic Strand (GAS) under the Alternative Learning System (ALS) alongside 44 other determined individuals. Overcoming financial difficulties and facing criticism, Saladaga remained resilient in his pursuit of knowledge.
Reflecting on his past, Saladaga revealed, "I had friends, and among them, I was the only one who didn't go to school." Recognizing the value of education through his work experience, he remarked, "I realized that it would have been better if I had access to education."
Lymar Cueva, Saladaga's former ALS teacher, commended his dedication, saying, "He is a hardworking learner, always eager to learn and expand his knowledge. He is always active during our class activities, and if he has any confusion about our discussions, he never hesitates to ask me."
When asked why he pursued education at his age, Saladaga responded, "I want the youth to see that it is never too late to educate ourselves. I even went to school even if I am old. The teens are even more capable because they are still young and can still work. Also, they can use whatever they learned at school for their future."
Saladaga's aspirations extend beyond high school graduation. With a passion for agriculture, he aims to become an agriculturist and support organic farming practices. Expressing his desire to contribute to the farming community, he stated, "I want to help the heroes of the land who, like me, love organic farming."
While pursuing his senior high school studies, Saladaga continued his agricultural activities, actively planting crops. Looking toward the future, he expressed his intention to pursue college, dependent on the family's financial capacity.
Saladaga shared advice for those who have paused their education, saying, "Whatever goal they have in life, they should continue to study. They have to endure it."