Feature Stories

Overcoming Adversities: Through the Eyes of Kris

Editor’s note: Supposed to be a promotional article for The Wedding Concierge, we detoured into the interesting life of event organizer Kris Catequista Traviña, the man behind the business. Here we explore his story, his frailties, his strength, his success – through his own words.

I’m Kris Catequista Traviña, the second child of a lawyer and a business proprietress. I was born with Apert Syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by skeletal abnormalities. But despite of that, I am a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at AMA Computer College. For my basic education, I went to Angelicum School Iloilo and Colegio de San Jose. My education was continuous and there was no instance that I stopped schooling.

I am an event planner by profession, where I plan and organize events like weddings, debuts birthdays, and other social gatherings. I am also a book author. Last January 2013, I launched my first poetry book entitled “There is Nothing Impossible to do with These Hands, Expressing Emotions through Poetry”, a compilation of 84 originally written poetry.

I am also a Song Writer, last year, I was one of the 120 semi-finalists of a prestigious songwriting competition sponsored by the country’s largest and an Ilonggo-owned radio network. I also wrote wedding songs, graduation songs, Ilonggo Christmas songs, and election jingles.

I am also an officer and member of various church/religious organizations like Knights of Columbus, two choir groups namely Voices-Angelicum Chapel Choir, Magnificat Singers-Gran Plains Parish Choir, and Christian Friends of Priests Association, an archdiocesan organization that supports Priests in the Archdiocese of Jaro.

Growing up, what are the challenges of being a person with a disability?

There is this one priest that I am grateful to, his name is Rev. Msgr. Sinforoso Padilla, I considered him as my spiritual formator. He trained me to be an altar server, by that, self-confidence grew in me. I learned to face people and interact with them. Also, being active in church organizations played a big factor in my growing-up stage.

Growing up with a physical disability is somehow hard and challenging because you are prone to bullying, discrimination, and discouragement. Some would say, “ahh indi mo na kaya” or “indi ka lang da ya”. So I asked myself how would they know if I can do it if I don’t try.? In my school years, I was a victim of bullying. But I took it as a challenge to persevere in life. With the help of my family and friends, I overcome these challenges.

As an adult, were there disadvantages?

Looking for a job after college graduation, at first, I challenged myself knowing that I belong to an organization of bank managers and business owners. I have acquaintances in higher positions of a company. I challenged myself: I applied to a company that I know no one in. Unfortunately, I failed that challenge, but for me it gave me a message: God wants me to be in good hands, so I landed a job in a printing press where the owners are close friends of my mother. For five years I worked as a computer graphic artist and in 2011 I started my business – Kristrav Events and Wedding Concepts and lately it underwent a revamp and is now called The Wedding Concierge Iloilo

As an adult, I am still prone to discouragement and discrimination, but there is also an advantage, such as being a priority in line and the 20% discount (laughs).

Lately, I was a victim of mistaken identity. There is this unruly pedicab driver who happens to look similar to me. He rode taxis and jeepneys without paying fares, eating in restaurants without paying, and so on. Security personnel and taxi drivers mistook me for that pedicab driver. Taxi drivers won’t let me board because of fear I might not pay them. So, let me take this opportunity to let people know that we are different. Please don’t judge a person just by their looks.

What led you to open an event organizing business?

I was inspired by my mom, managing our dress shop business for 35 challenging years is such a great example worthy of emulation and, by that, I was inspired to put up an event organizing business, knowing also that I have ample resources that I can use. For example, being active in the church. With that I have easy access to Church requirements and officiants – also whom to call to sing for their celebrations and so on. Likewise, I have friends in the event industry I know they are willing to help me.

This may also another challenge, because every event is a test for me, and I am not looking at my physical deformities, of course. I know I have limits, but for me, I ask myself how will I know that I can do more if I only dwell on those limitations. So I want to prove that I can go beyond that. At the of the day, after a successful event, I can say “kaya ko man gali”.

There is no perfect event, along the way we encounter flaws, but one secret in organizing a memorable event does it with love and passion and most importantly, with Christ as the center – and the greatest compensation is to see clients satisfied with our work and them telling us that we exceeded their expectations.

What is your message to those who want to reach their dreams despite ‘disadvantages’?

My message to my fellow persons with deformities is to continue dreaming and being inspired. So that you too can be an inspiration to others. Don’t let your deformities bring you down, rather use them to rise up. Let me give you two of my composed quotations “don’t let fear, tear your dream, let faith strike within” and “I may not be perfect as what you can see in me, but my heart can always love you perfectly”.

Let me also say a message to families caring for a child with physical deformities, especially the young ones, that please never stop supporting your children, whatever dreams they may have, please don’t tell them “indi ka magpatuga tuga, indi mo na kaya, magpahimuyong ka.” Please always let them feel that in every dream they may have, you are always behind them. After all, at the end of the day, you will see them rising – and you can proudly say to yourself “anak ko yan!”

The Wedding Concierge offers event coordination and planning for weddings, debuts, birthdays, and other milestones/celebrations. With the tagline ‘we create, you celebrate’, The Wedding Concierge looks forward to servicing more Ilonggos in the future. For more information about The Wedding Concierge, visit www.facebook.com/theweddingconciergeiloilo, or call 0906 571 2911, or email theweddingconciergeiloilo@gmail.com

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