Q. What do kerosene lamp, mimeographing paper, computers, and food have in common?
A. They were all instrumental to the realization of a 14-year old boy’s dream of writing and compiling his own dictionary.
The boy-turned lexicographer is Edgardo B. Polistico, or Edgie for short, a loyal employee of IL for 23 years, 20 of which has been spent with the Company’s Legal unit, now known as Legal and Corporate Services Division.
Fueling the dream.
Edgie was all of 14 when his dream started. Born to a humble family in Inopacan, Leyte, his school did not have enough reading and reference materials. “My classmates would ask me for English translations of Cebuano words every time we had a theme-writing session in English. We mostly spoke ‘carabao English.’ We actually had a very big Webster Dictionary displayed at the school’s hallway. The trouble was, we did not know how to use it because the book’s main entries were all written in English. What we needed was a Cebuano – English dictionary.”
This piqued his curiosity. At night, he used a kerosene lamp to help him read. (At the time, electricity was not yet available in his hometown.) “I spent time browsing through (my) notes, some old books, and a worn-out copy of a Webster Dictionary belonging to my grandfather.”
|A page in Edgie’s mimeographing paper-turned high school notebook.|
In 1993, Edgie was hired by Insular Life’s Tacloban District Sales Office as a data encoder and service clerk. Three and a half years later, he was asked to join the Company’s Legal office, being told that “my 201 file spoke for itself, which is why they needed me to join the team. My life here enabled me to develop my other talents, such as the creation of electronic logbooks that became an indispensable tool for monitoring and data storage of cases we handle until now. Above all, it is here where my writing skill was honed because of the reports we have to write.”
Finally, in 2004, he wrote and designed his first software application for his Edgie Polistico’s Cebuano- English Dictionary, a dictionary listing thousands of Cebuano words and their meanings in the English language. Still, this dream Edgie had was not easy to sustain. It needed time, and most of all, money. But with persistence, heart, and passion for it, he produced hundreds of CDs of his dictionary. These CDs were given for free whenever he would travel in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Beyond the dream.
|Cover of the Philippine Food, Cooking, & Dining Dictionary, now available via Anvil’s website for P795.00|
|The 380-page reference material on Philippine food, cooking and dining will be available soon in branches of National Bookstore. You can also get a copy from Anvil's website.|
To date, Edgie maintains 11 blog sites, a feat he is able to accomplish all during his free time away from work. “My blogging habit is not so demanding as I don’t update them frequently. However, the site Philippines Illustrated is my main blogsite.” The site lists the other blog sites he currently maintains. The fact that he is now a published author, however, has not diminished Edgie’s passions outside of work— whether for writing, or photography. “I aspire to finish and publish more books that include the following: my true first dictionary, the Cebuano-English Dictionary; the 2nd edition of the PFCDD with twice more entries - expanded and more detailed entries to include our food culture, history, legacy and culinary development; the first Philippine Illustrated Dictionary (on food, transportation, places, etc.); and my biggest and most ambitious project, the Philippine multi-language dictionary. The last will be my contribution to unifying our diverse culture. This is my ‘Tower of Babel,’ an impossible dream that I would like to make possible.”
Written by Kaye Liangco-Plata
Public Relations Staff
Office of the Chief Executive Officer
This article is a reprint from "In-Focus" a section of the Life Cycle, a monthly magazine digitally published by the Insular Life (IL). This section features employees and their hobbies/activities/passions outside of work so as to inspire fellow employees to take up something different, reach for their dreams and enrich their personal lives.