INSPIRING: Fisherman’s son from Surigao graduates college at 48

There is certainly a time for everything and no one is ever too late to achieve their dreams.

Jun Impas is one of the thousands of fresh graduates from the prestigious University of Sto. Tomas, and possibly, one of the oldest to get his Bachelor’s Degree – at 48! Not only that, he also has an outstanding academic achievement tucked in his belt – a Thesis Award of Merit!

Impas took his college journey to his Facebook account and has touched the many lives of netizens through his humble story towards victory.

The Surigao native shares to WHEN IN MANILA how his childhood has shaped his love for art. It was clearly evident that back then, Impas was already a hard-worker.

I started painting at an early age of 7. My older brother used to work in an Art Sign shop. They used to be manually painted lettering and banners. That’s how I started learning and practicing art. I helped him out with some of his work for a bit of money. Being in a family of 9 siblings, with my father being a fisherman and my mother a housewife, we lived in poverty growing up.

I worked hard because I supported my education for most of my years as a student. During my high school and college years, I would do art jobs such as calligraphy to earn.

Considering that it took a lengthy time after graduating high school, in between the years of his youth and his golden age, he initially studied architecture in Surigao del Norte School of Arts and Trade but had to stop due to finances. He looked for full-time work in Cebu, where he met his wife and started a family.

“At this point in my life, I thought it was impossible to finish my studies. I moved on with life, focused on my family and work, and pursued my art. I officially started my career as an artist in the year 1993 when I moved to Cebu from Surigao. I joined Cebu Artist Incorporated where we would meet to do on-the-spot painting. This is where I met some of my first mentors. We also gathered to do group exhibits. Since then, I focused on my art and was a full-time artist.”

The Impas Family

A fateful day in 2014 allowed a client of Impas to introduce to him the Fine Arts program of the University of Santo Tomas.

“It was an opportunity to make my dream of finishing college come true. I thought it impossible to manage that much workload. But miraculously, I was able to push through. The UST fine arts program is exceptional – I know it is a wonderful institution from its reputation; I could not decline their offer.

In our family of 11, there are only 2 of us who have finished college- my older sister and me. I’ve always seen graduating from college as a personal achievement and milestone. I know it is not necessary to succeed in life but it is a personal success for me.”

Impas describes himself as a realist painter and is fond of painting “what he sees”.

“I am completely in love with art. I always squeeze in time to paint every day ever since I can remember. Art has always been a part of me.”

Busay Harvest
3 Medium- Oil in Canvas Size- 30 x 40

Early morning
Oil in canvas
48 x 84

Though driven, Impas’ college journey was not a walk in the park. Luckily, the university granted him a home study program type of education. Other than that, priorities of being the head of the family and managing school work were tough, too.

There were many times I considered just stopping. Juggling work and family and studies were really hard. I had to schedule my time properly, choose priorities and sometimes sacrifice one thing or another. I had difficulty adjusting to new things as well and I had to ask my kids to teach me (for example with technology, I was forced to learn and be fluent in sending emails, using a laptop for reports and etc.)

I had materials sent to me and I would submit assignments for every class. I was not able to mingle with my classmates day to day. I’ve met some of them and was able to spend the most time with them during the baccalaureate mass and during the ceremonies. They were very warm.

Jun Impas’ solo exhibit held in Makati. Photo from Luigi Fernando

Now that he is done with school, Impas looks forward to pursuing his art career and has considered taking a Master’s degree in the future. Right now, work and family are his priorities.

Art is an essential part of humanity. It will always find a way to thrive and be expressed- be it a different medium or style from the classics. Because of this, art will always have a future.

For starting artists, you will just have to find your style and medium. Continuously learn every day about your chosen style and you will eventually master it. To the parents whose kids are interested in pursuing art, let them pursue it. More importantly, support them. To those who think poverty is a hindrance, yes, it may be a hindrance, but you can overcome with enough passion, hardwork and perseverance.

Congratulations and more power to you, Sir!

What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: does not own any of these photos. Credits go to Mr. Jun Impas not unless stated otherwise.

You may view more of his artworks here.


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