By Herbert Vego
HAVING finished a two-year course in Aircraft Maintenance, he might have “flown higher.” Before he could claim his college diploma, however, the Gumayan School of Aeronautics in Iloilo City suddenly shut down without leaving a forwarding address.
“I got frustrated,” Jonathan Cabrera, 46, told this writer, “because I could not find any school official who could have handed me my graduation certificate.”
But as destiny would have it, Jon has become a very successful media personality in Western Visayas. Aside from being founder of Aklan’s first multimedia company, Todo Media Services (including Todo Radyo), he is the spokesman and media relations consultant of the Iloilo City-based MORE Electric and Power Corporation.
No less than MORE Power President Roel Z. Castro tapped him to devise ways and means to keep the company closer to its customers through the mainstream and social media.
He earned the honor of being one of the “finest dozen” Western Visayas’ personalities for 2022 in an awards ceremony held at SM-City-Iloilo.
What more would he want?
“An elusive diploma,” he enthused with a glow in his eyes. “There’s still a chance I would have it.”
To cut the long story short, he is now enrolled in a 10-month online course (for 10 hours every Saturday) at the La Consolacion College (LCC) in Bacolod City, known as the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP). The courses there may lead to degrees in Business Administration and English Language Studies.
As mandated by Executive Order 330 promulgated by former President Fidel V. Ramos, ETEEAP is available to working individuals (20 years old and above with at least five years’ experience at work or in business) who want to earn a bachelor’s degree without going through traditional schooling methods.
It’s not as easy as it sounds; it requires a thesis on a topic to be submitted by the student for the school’s approval.
Cabrera would be at home with any of these four topics: Why Akeanon is different from other Visayan dialects; effect of tourism on preservation of the native tongue; evolution of language in information technology; and “laymanization” of terminologies used in power technology.
Upon finishing ETEEAP, he may take up a postgraduate Master of Arts (MA) degree.
As to how he landed in the broadcast media, he recalled, ““I embraced media as my way to wage war against ignorance, to lift and inspire radio audiences, and to help make a difference in people’s lives.”
First, he auditioned for a reportorial job with Bombo Radyo (Iloilo City) in 1997 and made it. In 1998, the network sent him to Kalibo, Aklan to work as news writer. It did not take long for him to morph into assistant station manager of Bombo-Kalibo.
There was also a time when the regional GMA-TV tapped him to be its Aklan-based reporter for the then famous “Ratsada” newscast.
He has scored 26 years in the media profession.
There was a brief period when he served as Aklan correspondent of the Daily Guardian.
He is a teki (Filipino slang for the technically advanced) who could broadcast on his radio station anywhere here and abroad via the internet with the use of portable gadgets.
Jon Cabrera was born in Paluan, Mindoro on June 19, 1977. Yes, he is Dr. Jose Rizal’s ka-birthday.
After finishing elementary school there, he studied and finished high school in New Lucena, Iloilo.
He is happily married to the former Linly Autencio, a medical technologist. They have one son, Simon Angelo, 12.
Yes, he had run, won and also lost in politics. But it is not clear yet whether he will try again in 2025. For sure, though, there’s no limit to what a tough optimist can do.