MANILA - Primer Sendaydiego was shedding tears under the scorching afternoon heat, waiting for his name to appear on the screen displaying bar 2017 passers at the Supreme Court compound on Thursday.
His wife Michelle, also in tears, was beside him, holding his shaking hands and hugging him once in a while to calm him down. It was his third try, and failing again would mean another heartbreak.
A friend had already told them that Sendaydiego passed the bar. But they had to see it on the screen to be sure as they came all the way from Dagupan City to personally see the results.
"Sana hindi fake news," the 39-year-old kept repeating to himself, oblivious to the shouts of victory from those around him who had already seen their names.
When his name appeared, Sendaydiego, who was still in tears, was not immediately sure how to react upon confirming that he was among the 25 percent of takers who passed the tedious exams -- his parents' dream for him.
"Parang buong buhay ko na nilaan ko dito. Every year na lang na nagdadalawang isip ka kung magre-review ka," shared Sendaydiego, who first took the bar exams in 2005 after graduating from the University of Pangasinan.
Disappointed with his first bar failure, he rested for several years before trying his luck again in 2008. After failing again, he distanced himself from the dream for 9 years.
But the dream, while elusive, never left him.
"Nanghihina na sila (parents), tapos namatay ang father ko last year. Gusto niya ako maging lawyer someday. So kahit papaano na okay na career ko, may work, may negosyo, pero itong pag-pass ng bar 'yung parang hindi nabibili ng pera," he said.
He took a leave from work without pay for the bar exam review but problems never ceased.
"Namatay tatay (due to pneumonia) ko during the review... Tapos 'yung business partner ko, pinatay ng riding-in-tandem," he recalled.
Sendaydiego said his classmates during the review gave him hope with their kind words. This gave him the motivation to push through until he finally passed.
"Mommy, ito na 'yun! Ito na 'yung pangarap niyo sa akin. Ako na 'yung first lawyer sa family natin," he said, recalling his old and sickly mother who was left in the province.
If there's one thing he learned from his experience, he said it was to never give up.