Living Life by Values 

By Monarizza Nicole T. Lopez

With just a glance on her signature outfits and valuables, you’d probably say that she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and had everything that she ever wanted. But little do people know, that behind all the glitz and glamour and the chattels, is a story of a woman who had been through hardships before she was able to achieve all the things she currently have.

The values she strongly maintains is probably what brought her to the position she has right now. It may not seem like it, but it is the 42-year-old woman from Calamba, Laguna, and a Senior Manager from Treasury, Risk and Insurance Management Department, Ms. Janice F. Clerino-Lopez, or Ms. Jaja as most of her friends and colleagues call her.  

One of the values, and the first thing that comes into her mind when asked of the virtues she holds dear, is maintaining and strengthening close family ties. 

Ms. Jaja, being the eldest and the only girl among her four siblings, had already been sentient on the responsibilities that being eldest is associated with. But this Filipino value she upholds falls back deeper to the situation that their family had gone through.  

During her teenage years, reality hit her with all its harshness when their parents broke up. Considering the losses her father had experienced when his business failed to succeed, they continuously received even small financial support from him. It was then when their mom who was at that time, working at her aunt’s store as a seller, gripped fully on the role of being a mom and dad in one as they were all left with her. At that very moment, she knew she had to make strenuous efforts to help her in raising her younger brothers as well as supporting herself. She had to work as a student assistant just to earn extra money for her allowances. She had to study hard to become a dean’s lister so she can earn 50% discount on her tuition fees or to have scholarships. But as they always say, teamwork makes the dream work. Through shared efforts and sacrifices, they made the impossible possible. They were able to finish college, and found jobs later on. 

Being fearless and dedicated as she can be, Ms. Jaja got into her first job, and was soon scouted by someone from NLEX Corporation (formerly known as Manila North Tollways Corporation or MNTC). But just like how other commoners started, she also had her humble beginnings in the company. She started the early years of her career in MNTC as a Treasury and Accounting Staff back in 2003. Being well-compensated, things had been going on smoothly too.

But as someone who aspires to give a comfortable life for her family, she patiently worked hard and little by little, her efforts and commitment had been fruitfully rewarded thru the rewards, recognitions, promotions, and achievements which is undeniably evident today. 

Even so, her loyalty was tested right after completing her Master of Business Administration program in 2020 at De La Salle University. She received numerous offers with much better salaries and benefits yet, instantly declined them as she is grateful with what NLEX Corp have contributed to what she has, who she is right now, and the family and friendship she has built over the years. 

True to her word, on the following year, 2023, she will be reaching another milestone in her life as it marks her 20th year of working at NLEX Corp. 

Meanwhile, after a failed relationship, love found its way back to Ms. Jaja when she met this Sergeant from the Philippine Army through her broker in 2016. Skeptical and scared, she ignored and did not immediately entertain him. But his persistence proved his sincere intentions to her. They started dating in 2017 until they decided to tie the knot in 2021.  

Still, life is not always sunshine and butterflies. Challenges arise when you least expect them. And this is when her second value was strengthened more, her faith in God. Being both active Christians and their strong spiritual faith, despite all the difficulties they have faced, it still led them to make past through it. She has always believed that the Lord won’t give a perfect life but rather guide you at any circumstance whenever you call him. She also believes that doing the right thing always, realizing your mistakes, and having the humility to admit it are what make life better. 

Blessings continuously flow into their lives and one of it is the completion of her 7-door apartment. It was just her dream 10 years ago until it became a goal, turned into a plan, and have come into a reality through discipline and God’s grace. 

Remain humble and always be grateful. And as Filipinos, let’s continue to value our families kasi kahit ano pang mangyari, magkaroon ka man ng failures or successes, sila ang consistent na andyan to accept and support you. Like when I had my personal struggles—hindi madaling magkaroon ng broken family, but with the presence of God and my family, I was able to overcome those struggles. Learn to accept those failures, learn from them and allow them to strengthen you. Strive to be the best version of yourself, hindi lang para sa mga nakapaligid sa’yo kundi para sa sarili mo rin. Also, value your personal relationships, your family, your partner, and your friends. Para sa’kin kasi, sila ang pinakamahalaga sa buhay natin— at kahit gaano pa tayo ka-successful sa work, kung hindi rin naman natin mai-share ang success natin with our loved ones, with our family, parang wala pa ring saysay ang buhay. Kasi sila naman talaga ang reason why we work hard in the first place. Lastly and more importantly, deepen your faith in God because you will conquer whatever trials or problems you will face if you have God in your life.

Ms. Jaja 

Indeed, all the breakdowns and the hardships that wounded us are leading us to a step closer into achieving our breakthrough. 

Monarizza Nicole T. Lopez, Finance. I am Monami, as my closest colleagues usually call me, has been part of the Finance Division for three years now. I started as an OJT of MNTC, turned Project-Hired Financial Reporting Associate for two years, and now, been a regular employee and member of the TRIM Department for almost a year already. I love to write poems and dream of publishing them. It may not seem like it but I am also a Potterhead with an ENTJ-T personality who loves to tirelessly collect and pile up books I will never read.