Faces of Cebu Life!

FACES OF CEBU: Primrose Pacenio-Kong, mother, bar passer

CEBU, Philippines— Being a mother is already a tough job.

Add to that the challenges of taking the bar exam, and that’s what Primrose Pacenio-Kong, from Carcar City, has gone through.

But she withstood all these challenges, proving that she is one tough mom, whose story is worth sharing.

The dream of becoming a lawyer

Kong dreamed of becoming a lawyer when she was still in high school but decided not to pursue it back then because of financial instability.

In 2016, Kong graduated from college with flying colors, finishing with a cum laude distinction.

“I was 25 years old then when I graduated from college. I stopped schooling in the past years due to financial deprivation. I worked to support my family and financed my siblings with their studies,” she said.

It was at this time when she finally realized she wanted to chase her dream to become a lawyer.

“It crossed my mind that ‘why not enter Law school?’ I thought I could cope,” she said.

Challenges

Despite the hardships she encountered while practicing law, she was determined to surpass all these challenges.

Kong was a part-time working student during her first and second years in law school. She was an acoustic singer in several hotels in Cebu.

“Sayang man ang gigs sa acoustic band if I will refuse, pang dag-dag sa gastos palit og law books,” she said.

“I travel every day from Carcar to Cebu City and vice versa, so I am usually home by at least 1 am. I read my books, assigned cases for tomorrow’s recitations, and make case digests. I usually slept in the morning and woke up at noon. Then I prepare myself to travel to school,” she recounted.

It was the summer of 2018 when she got married to her long-time boyfriend.

Her husband was very supportive of her studies, ”Of course, as a freshman from married life, I have to adjust also with my schedule that I also need to fulfill my wife duties, helping my husband with the business.”

Graduation and Bar exams during the pandemic

Kong graduated from law school in 2020 and was supposed to take the exam in November 2020. But was postponed due to the surge of COVID-19. It was moved to November 2021 and was postponed once again because of the continuous rise of cases.

bar passer

“But then I always believe that God’s timing is perfect and so I realized that maybe things happened for a reason. Wala nadayon ang November 2020 exams because I got pregnant and delivered the baby via CS section in March 2021. I needed to physically recover, and I was exclusively nursing and taking care of my baby, so I thought the postponement of Nov 2021 Bar exams was maybe a blessing because, to be honest, December 2021 nako naka review gyud until the final date of the Bar came, Feb. 4 and 6, 2022,” Kong continued.

Bar exam review and responsibility as a mother

Kong juggled her time during her review and at the same time fulfilled her responsibility as a mother and wife.

“Before I decided to take the Bar exams, I already set my priorities. I really wanted to be a lawyer but at the same time I didn’t want to set aside my responsibility as a wife and a mother,” Kong said.

Multitasking with love was her superpower as she managed her very hectic schedule in reviewing while attending to her breastfed baby.

It all paid off when Kong pass the Bar exams.

“I tell myself it was indeed the #bestbarever. As what Justice Leonen said during our oath-taking ceremony, ‘you (we, new lawyers) went through difficulties which no other lawyer in this country had gone through to take their Bar examination, not even during the world war, yet you persevere, yet you conquered.’”

bar passer bar passer

Her message to all the moms?

“Keep the faith. Always believe that God hears your cries at night, at times when we you feel like you’re alone, tired from being a mother and at the same time from striving to be a better version of yourself. Always believe in your capabilities. Get out of your comfort zone. Know that being married or being a mother doesn’t end there. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Improve what you have and can do. Accept what you cannot. You should also speak up your mind.

“It’s in the trying and challenging your capabilities that will help you know how far you could go. Trust me. Financial instability is not the number one factor that could hinder us from progress. It’s our doubts and fears.”

As we celebrate Mother’s Day today, let us honor all the tough mothers out there. Moms like Kong, who, despite all the challenges, still managed to fulfill her dream with courage and faith.

/bmjo

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