Rommel Agravante

Irene Tria | Gogagah

Sense is a physiological capacity  that provides data for perception. We have five traditionally recognized senses: Sight (ophthalmoception), hearing (audioception), taste (gustaoception), smell (olfacoception or olfacception), and touch (tactioception).

Hearing or audition (audioception; adjectival form: auditory) is the sense of sound perception. Hearing is all about vibration. Mechanoreceptors turn motion into electrical nerve pulses, which are located in the inner ear.

But what if one day, all of a sudden, we lose one of the five?

The term deaf was used to identify a person who was either deaf using a sign language or both deaf and could not speak. The term continues to be used to refer to deaf people who cannot speak an oral language or have some degree of speaking ability, but choose not to speak because of the negative or unwanted attention atypical voices sometimes attract. Such people communicate using sign language. 

Meet Rommel or Omie, a multi-talented deaf, president of the Filipino Deaf Visual Art Group who recently bagged the BEST FILM category in the Baguio Film Award for his film, The Touch of Sound. The movie is based on a true story of a man who unveils the color of life through his art.

OMIE1 rommel agravante

Let’s get to know him well and be inspired of his story.

How old are you when you found out that you’re deaf?

O: I was a happy baby. I cry. I laugh. But when I reached the age of two, I had high fever and overdose antibiotics and it lead to my hearing impairment. It was hard for me to speak because of my inability to hear.

How did you handle your situation?

O: I was blessed with a family who has shown me love. They were very supportive and taught me everything.

Did you ever lose hope?

O: My mom showed me so much love even if it means sacrifice. We transferred here in Manila; she worked hard so she can send me to a deaf school in Pasay. As a student I did enjoy everything about life. Especially when I learn the bible, it taught me that in God’s eye, we are all the same. We must do well and be right.

How did you become an artist?

O: Ever since I was in elementary and high school, I received awards and recognitions because of my talent in sketching. God is so good that even though I am deaf  he bestowed me with this gift. The gift of talent that I can share the world how blessed I am despite my incapability.

Do you believe that your talent is a blessing in disguise?

O: Yes. I thank God for his goodness. Despite at times I felt being discriminated because I am deaf, I believe that if I will be patient, I can conquer the world and pursue my dreams. Finish my studies and explore what life has to offer.

In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being deaf?

O: I traveled the Philippines and Vietnam. And I have a decent work that I can be proud of. I have my family, wife, children, mother who are all very supportive, what more can I ask for? There are no advantages and disadvantages, as long as you don’t lose hope, you work hard to achieve all your dreams. God is so good to give me a life to live.

Lastly, what will be your advice to other deaf who are afraid? How will you inspire them?

O: I think, they should get out of their comfort zone. Show their talent. And just work hard.

Truly, Omie has become an inspiration to all of us in the office. You might not hear any sound from him but the sincerity from his eyes is a reflection of how blessed and thankful he was.