A Nurse Wanna-Be turned into an Outstanding Extension Worker

“If it’s meant to be, it will be.” Who would have thought that the person who wants to be a nurse someday would end up being an agricultural extension worker and will be awarded as Rice and Corn Achiever for two consecutive years.

A 62-year old extentionist, Neri A. Frigillano, or fondly called as “Nene” by her family and friends, has been working for 42 years as Agricultural Extension Worker (AEW) in the Local Government of the Municipality of Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur. She is handling corn, rice, High Value Crops and others while currently covering four barangays namely, Poblacion, Tumapic, Delusom, and Balanan.

The beginnings that tailored her destiny

In her younger days, she dreamt of being a nurse who would take care of her sick fellowmen. But unfortunately her parents want her to study agriculture. Without having the approval of her parents, she had no choice but to pursue agriculture. Having no passion or love in agriculture she still became a student majoring agronomy. “I even cried in the middle of our gardening because I can’t manage to work on my own plot, but fortunately, I had few helpful classmates that are willing to work with me in my plot and I was able to do it. That time, little by little my passion in agriculture started.” she narrated. With all the struggles she encountered during her college days, she was able to finish her degree. In 1974, she graduated Bachelor of Science in Agricultural major in Agronomy in Zamboanga del Norte Agricultural College (ZNAC), Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte. Right after graduation, she started her career as Corn Technician in the Bureau of Agricultural Extension (BAEX), now ATI, in the year 1974 and was transferred to the Local Government Unit (LGU) as Agricultural Technologist in 1995.

What made you stay?

“There was a time when half of my batch in my work place decided to resign because they don’t like the job anymore, but unbelievably I’m one of the people who stayed and continued the journey.” She explained how she enjoyed the work of being an agricultural technician, how she enjoyed going to farms and fields, and how she enjoyed experiencing the lives of the farmers. “While I’m sharing something to them, I’m also learning many things from them. It’s a win-win situation.”

What’s unique being an AEW compared to other professions?

As an Agricultural Extension Worker, she claimed that work is very enjoyable even if it is very exhausting and very tiring. She got to go enjoy visiting farms, talking to farmers and appreciating life more. “Compared to other professions that is only situated in the four corners of a room and they only see a limited view of life whereas being an extentionist every time I visited farms and fields I can see a wilder and bigger horizon. I can appreciate all the things I see and feel the fresh mountain breeze.”

She added, “The scorching heat of the sun does not matter because in my heart the love of agriculture and to our farmers is there and the happiness and satisfaction is overflowing. There’s a saying that goes people in agriculture age less because of the exposure.”

How to be an outstanding AEW?

Her two (2) national awards were: the 2014 Agri Pinoy Rice Achiever Awards for Agricultural Extension Workers and the National Quality Corn Achievers Awards 2015. She said that these awards where fruits of her efforts of always trying and never quitting. “I never stopped my ambitions while I’m still alive. I believe that if it’s for you, it will be given to you.”
And she added that for a person to be successful, one must need to be hard working. One must not count everything that he does, it must be heartily given. Don’t count the time, money and effort that were rendered because of work.

The spiritual guidance she does by praying every day and offering everything to the Lord helped her to face every struggle and work-related challenges given to her.

It was Destiny

“The choice to be an Agricultural Extension Worker, I never regret that.” She said that, if at first she may think that she’s not sure, but with perseverance and hard work, she surely reap the feeling of enjoyment and contentment of what she has now. “All struggles will be paid off.” she added.

As realization, she claimed that even if she did not become a nurse, she still helped her fellow countrymen, not only the sick ones but every citizen of Mahayag, because being an AEW helps every farmer in producing food for the people in the whole nation.