“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. ” – Matthew 5:5
It was the kind of story that we only read in books or see in the movies. The plot was simple. It was the boy-meets-girl-kind of thing.
Edwina and Chee-nee make carrot cakes for their business.
Edwina and Chee-nee went up to Sagada to buy carrots.
Chee-nee took some pictures of the magnificent scenery.
Chee-nee chanced upon Jeyrick while loading a basket full of carrots on a truck.
Chee-nee was amazed and took pictures and videos of Jeyrick.
Chee-nee posted the pictures on Facebook.
Netizens gone crazy.
Pictures went viral.
Voila! Carrot Man was born.
When I first heard the story about the newest viral sensation of a young Igorot man who hails from the Mt. Province , captured the netizen’s hearts by his ruggedly charming Korean-esque look and how the young and old people alike went gaga over his story – I just took it as just “one of those trending stories” which I see daily on my newsfeeds.
No, I am not joining the Carrot Man bandwagon here. But there is a much deeper meaning to his trending story that got me interested in writing this article aside from getting a glimpse of his colorful ethnic background, of course.
There were two things about him that inspired me . One, for working so hard and helping his parents to earn just enough money to send his younger siblings to school. Two, for having a fervent wish of finishing his own education.
I am an advocate of any kind of learning. Because for me, learning can be a lifetime experience that anybody has a chance to have. Learning is not only about you sitting in a four-cornered room and listening to a teacher’s lessons all day. It is also about the things that a person learn outside the school premise that gives value to his existence.
Learning doesn’t end once you have graduated from college nor after you have gotten your PhD. It doesn’t end once you finished a 6-months certification course. Learning is a continuous process. It is a life course that we humans need to take when we signed up here on earth until the day we die. Every experiences that we have, either good or bad, is a form of learning our life lessons.
But for Jeyrick Sigmaton aka Carrot Man, he is lucky. Although he was not able to finish his first year high school, he already have the what we called – experience-based learning. He learned it from the school of hard knocks, so to speak. It was knowledge and wisdom not gained from books but from life itself. He experienced poverty at an early age. He has known hard work and family responsibility. He was well aware of the lack of education and opportunities for employment. He had spoken about the sad agricultural plight of the people of Cordillera. He talked about his hopes and dreams and how proud he was to be an Igorot.
And that is what makes him am inspiration to our younger tech-savvy-selfie generation of today and even the young once for that matter – the Universe has a way of blessing those who work hard and make sacrifices for the sake of their family. Filipinos who are working around the world know the value of hard work and sacrifices for their loved ones. His selfless devotion to his parents and siblings brought him the answers that he had probably been praying silently while sitting on the mountaintop and looking at the clouds – to earn money for education, get a decent job, help his family get out of poverty, buy a land of their own. To live a simple, decent life.
But there is more to Jeyrick Sigmaton’s personality than his pretty face, aquiline nose and pair of dimples. People who admired him fell not only for the “overly photogenic face” but also for the humility and gentleness of his soul. He is as meek as a lamb. But his meekness is not a form of weakness or lack of spirit. It is about having the will to persevere, to be patient on the way God is dealing with his life without complain or resistance. As a young man he is full of dreams. For me, being the kind of person who loves to be with nature, I considered him to be one of the lucky ones who has the privilege to live high up in the mountains- a place that is closer to the heavens – and for that reason maybe he has the biggest advantage. His cellphone might not always have a signal up there, but maybe his prayers got easily connected to God’s unlimited Wi-Fi because his place is near the heaven’s door. Well, that is how metaphorically I see it.
The hands of God move in mysterious ways. I mean in reality, what are the odds of having that perfect timing to happen? But it was destined to happen.
God would be like saying. . .
“Okay Jeyrick, I heard you. Enough of the sacrifices. You have done so much for your family. It’s time for you to harvest not just rice and carrots but also harvest your blessings for being a good son.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5
This was the first thing that came to mind when I first read about the good things that happened to Jeyrick.
I am not being religious here but when I tried to analyze this bible verse from the King James Version in relation to the Carrot Man story, I was suprised.
This phrase was the Gospel of Matthew as part of Beatitudes and called The Sermon on the Mount. Mount here can be considered the Mountain Province. Jeyrick is the meek one but he has the strength under control. Earth can stand for the historical context of the promised land or can be the soil that he cultivates to plant and harvest rice and vegetables particularly carrots. Meaning, the earth (or land) that people of the North loves so much. The land that they hope to inherit someday.
Then I noticed the repeating verse number 5:5 which in numerology symbolizes – big changes are coming into his life and the need to embrace these changes. Just one day, he was picking and carrying a basket of carrots. Then the next, here comes the two people who were sent to him like angels to deliver the message and he became an overnight celebrity.
For Carrot Man, it was a life changer . For us, it was a new way of knowing and understanding a typical Igorot man and his rich cultural heritage. Maybe it is time for us to see their side of the story.
Now he has a massive fanbase on Facebook. He guested in GMA TV shows and featured in the newspapers. He was featured in a Korean TV show. He recently got an educational scholarship from WOWOWIN host Willie Revillame. As of this time, according to Jeyrick’s Most Updated Facebook fanpage, Willie agreed to have him enrolled in La Salle Greenhills Adult Night High School.
Take note, he will not just study in “some school” in Manila, but he will soon be a certified Lasallian if that happens. What could be better than that? Not everybody can have that chance. His supporters still feel hopeful that a great door of other opportunities will open for him. But even without it, education should be a priority. For a person who have endured hardships and still thrived on his own, I am sure he will have the proper guidance of his family, the Barlig folks people, fans and supporters. The future looks brighter.
One of my favorite authors Paulo Coelho quotes, ” When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
For Jeyrick, all he did was just to simply carry a a basket full of carrots and charmed Chee-nee on his way up.
It’s all about God’s perfect timing.
In the grand scheme of things, there were many incidents in this world that happened without explanations nor answers. All I know is, when the stars aligned in heaven for Jeyrick Sigmaton, there was certainly something that played a role in the virality of his story. We call it, Divine Intervention.