I was hesitant to apply for work after graduation. My cousin got rejected countless times on various jobs because of our religion. This disheartened me. I doubted if Iloilo was the right place for me to start a career. I feared that If I expect too much, I will only receive disappointment. It crossed my mind that I go back to Mindanao instead, where I was raised; where I felt that Muslims like me are more accepted. But this was five years ago. I came across an industry which helped me realized my worth. I like my work because everybody accepted me. The color of my skin and my religion did not define the kind of person I am. I was given the right to work without feeling discriminated, without people asking me why I need to wear my hijab. They did not question my practice of reading Quranic script and reciting the Quran. My half a decade stay in this profession is a proof that fairness still exists. All the hesitations I had before were replaced with excitement. Thanks to the BPO Industry. I am now happily employed and productive to the society. I found home. This is home. I will stay in Iloilo where I am accepted and people celebrate diversity.

- Paul Japitana

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