Volleyball player turned lawyer fulfills promise to late dad
MANILA, Philippines — After three years since graduating from San Beda College of Law and three takes, Jin Tungol is finally a bar passer.
Tungol, a former volleyball wunderkind from De La Salle-Dasmariñas, not only fulfilled her dream, but also kept her promise to her late father Richard when she passed the 2019 Bar examinations on Wednesday.
“Inalay ko talaga ‘to sa dad ko,” she said. “May friend si daddy na nag-send ng picture niya sa nanay ko and nakalagay dun ‘congrats anak.’ Grabe ‘yung hagulgol ko ko nung nakita ko ‘yun kasi pakiramdam ko siya mismo nagsasabi sa akin.”
(I dedicate this to my dad. Daddy had a friend who sent a picture of him to my mother and it said ‘congrats anak.’ I wept after seeing it because I felt like it was really my dad who told me that.)
Her father died three days before the start of the Bar exams in 2017, and even though she was an emotional wreck, Tungol pushed through with her review and exams that year.
Unable to come home to Cavite because of the exams, she carried her emotions with grace and aplomb until she finally saw her dad resting in his casket after the first Sunday of the bar examination.
“Nakakapanghina lang kasi ginagawa mo nga ang pag take ng Bar para sa parents mo and ‘di pa niya inabot,” said Tungol, who had to go back to Manila on Tuesday afternoon after her father’s burial.
(I felt really weak because I took the bar for my parents and yet, my dad didn’t even make it and see me do it.)
Almost but not quite
Tungol almost passed the Bar exams in just one take. But coming so close to reaching a goal and only to come up short in the end, made the outcome even more painful to accept.
She was just .05 shy from passing the Bar exams that year.
“Feeling ko ang bobo bobo ko kasi lahat ng friends ko pumasa na, ako lang hindi pumasa tapos nalaman ko 74.95 grade ko then pinakamababa kong grade first subject ng first Sunday, which is Political Law, and yun pa yung time na namatay dad ko.”
(I felt so dumb that time because all my friends passed and I’m the only one who didn’t and I learned that my grade was 74.95 and it was the first subject of the first Sunday where I got my lowest grade, which was Political Law and that was the time my dad died.)
Still, the result never discouraged her from trying a second time.
“Medyo malakas loob ko para sa second take.”
(I felt good going for a second take.)
Another lost set
Coming to terms with the same failure was a lot tougher than dealing with it the first time around.
After failing for the second straight year, Tungol felt hopeless.
“The second take kasi, sobra yung feeling na defeated ka, despaired ganoon, at una kong sinabi baka hindi para sa akin ito kasi second take ko na and ‘di pa rin nangyayari,” she said. “Na-depress ako for a time kasi pangalawang take ko na eh ‘yung mga kasama ko pumasa na sa second take.”
(Failing in my second take made me really feel defeated and hopeless because it was already my second take and it still wasn’t for me. I got depressed for a time.)
“Siyempre hindi lahat ng tao na nasa paligid mo naiintindihan situation mo, nakakadagdag pa panghuhusga ng mga tao, depressed talaga ako at hindi ako kaagad nagkaroon ng lakas ng loob. “
(Of course, not everyone around me understood my situation and it also didn’t help that people were judging me that’s why I was really depressed and it took a while before I got back up again.)
But it was her second heartbreak that made her think about going back to her first love, which is to play volleyball, despite having already stopped playing competitively for quite some time.
A collegiate standout at La Salle-Dasma, Tungol finished with the silver medal in the 2014 Petron Ladies Beach Volleyball Tournament. She was also a four-time MVP for the San Beda College of Law.
But keeping her word to her father by becoming a lawyer carried more weight than picking up where she left off in volleyball.
Not even the chance of playing in the Philippine Superliga after being recruited by her former college coach Darwin Campana was enough for Tungol to keep her from reaching her goal.
“Naisip ko rin na realistically speaking sobrang hirap ng training sa volleyball na naranasan ko nung college talagang military style,” said Tungol, who trained under Norman Miguel and the legendary August Sta, Maria who oversaw University of Santo Tomas’ iconic title runs in the 1980s and 90s.
(I thought that realistically speaking, the training will be very challenging like the one I experienced when I was in college where it was military style.)
“Pag na delay ako lalo akong masasaktan, grabe ‘yung doubt ko, sobrang depressed ako nun.”
(If I get delayed, it would only make me doubt and feel depressed even more.)
Third time’s a charm
Despite the hurdles, Tungol kept going and was finally rewarded on her third attempt.
But until she saw her name on the list of bar passers, Tungol was sitting on pins and needles up until the Supreme Court released the results on its website Wednesday afternoon.
“Mahirap i-explain kasi ang na feel ko talaga is relief na di na ulit ako mag te-take ng Bar kasi sobrang hirap talaga,” she said. “The night before nanginginig ako at may anxiety attack pa.”
(It was tough to explain but what I felt was relief that I’m not going to take the bar again because it was really hard. I even had an anxiety attack the night before.)
It was an unexpected call on Wednesday that woke Tungol up and a notification on her phone that had her come to a realization that she had finally made it.
“My message to all other takers who’ve had similar experiences like me is parang volleyball lang, kapit lang. May mga friends din akong makakapitan at tatagan lang ng loob kasi sila rin ‘yung mga kasama mo sa journey,” she said.
(My message to all other takers who’ve had similar experiences like me is just like in a game of volleyball, you just have to stay the course. I also have friends I can lean on who helped me stay strong throughout the journey.)
“Huwag nilang kalimutan sarili at ‘wag mag doubt kasi ang tendency nun ay mawalan ng confidence. Tiwala lang sa sarili nila, kaya nila ‘to. Maraming beses na maiisip mong matatalo ka so pag dumating sa point na ‘yun, kumausap ka ng mga taong may pagpapahalaga sa’yo. Sila rin ang nagpapalakas ng loob mo, alam nila na kaya mo. Ganito rin sinabi ng coach ko dati, bawal sumuko.”
(Just don’t forget to believe in yourself and never doubt because the tendency is you will lose confidence. Just believe in yourself that you can do it. There will be a lot of times when you’re going to lose so when you reach that point, be with the people who value you. They’re the ones who are going to give you strength because they know you can do it. Never give up—that’s what my coach told me.)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.