Seizing the Opportunity: The Jaylord Calumba Experience


Jaylord Calumba turned a hit song into his passport to a quality education.

Calumba, an elevator operator at the Far Eastern University, uploaded a video that is quickly going viral to the tune of Despacito. In it, he expresses his desire to go to school to get a quality education and lamenting the fact that some of the students who are indeed enrolled in the university are just not giving it the proper attention and respect it deserves. He goes on further stating that all they are in for are their allowances and just having a good time.

Calumba knows how difficult it is to get a quality education nowadays. Taking a leap of faith, Calumba threw his lot with the FEU community in 2012 after he decided that his salary as an assistant baker is not going to be enough to help him send his loved ones to school. After a few years doing the grunt work of scrubbing the walls and floors to keep them spic and span, he got the chance to become an elevator operator.

Jaylord Calumba
Jaylord Calumba, a lift operator at Far Eastern University

As a lift operator, he got the chance to observe and then mingle with the students, most of whom appear to be stressed from the rigors of lectures and other scholarly work. Seizing the opportunity, he would open conversations to perk up these students and give them hope that there is something good waiting for them after everything.

His video upload may have been an innocent attempt to keep the day bright as it was a rather quiet day, but the repercussions of his video sent ripples into the FEU community. He has since been recognized by several of the students he services as a lift operator. He has been thanked numerous times and told stories of how his presence and his conversations have helped them to cope with the daily stresses of the academe. He has somehow buoyed the spirits of several students who have been on the verge of giving up – becoming an inspiration to students who were on the brink of giving up.

The administration of Far Eastern University recognized his desire to give his family a better life and has thus far given him a scholarship that would help him to achieve his goal of becoming a businessman of his own, according to Alyssa Ferelli F. Abario, features editor of FEU Advocate. He has been overwhelmed by the turnout and the attention he has received for uploading a simple but heartfelt video about the aspirations of a simple employee on the job.

In his typical way, he continues to challenge the students to aspire to be better in their own ways – on their quest to become better citizens who are buoyed by their family’s hopes and dreams. While he has received better offers abroad, he has confessed that he has become attached to the students of the green and gold community who have been quite supportive of him in the first place.

For now, Calumba may still be a lift operator, but look for him in the near future as a certified businessman looking to expand his bakery business as he seeks to conquer the world for him and his loved ones. That would surely be a good recipe for success.