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Daughter of Jeepney Driver Graduates as Ateneo’s Valedictorian of Batch 2019

Studying at one of the best and most expensive schools in the country is something that many students could ever dream of, but for a daughter of a jeepney driver it was in impossible dream that actually came true!

But Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña did not just have the opportunity to study at the Ateneo de Manila University, she also graduates as the Valedictorian of Batch 2019! Wow.

Bendaña completes her degree in Bachelor of Arts major in Management Economics, minor in Development, as Program Awardee and Cum Laude. Who would have thought that the daughter of a poor jeepney driver who could barely put food on the table could actually be among the brightest, most brilliant students in this private school, huh?

Photo credit: Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña / Facebook

The young lady was also the President of the University Student Council (Sanggunian) and received the recognition as the Most Outstanding Student Group for Leadership and Service, St. Ignatius Award for Most Outstanding Scholar, and Most Outstanding Individual for Leadership and Service.

In her essay as part of the application for valedictorian selection published on Ateneo’s website, she detailed what she had gone through and how the school helped her, answering the prompt, “What has Ateneo done for you?”

Her study must have had the most impact to the selection committee because she was the one picked as Batch 2019 Valedictorian among the sea of other brilliant minds.

She shared, in part:

My father is a jeepney driver, whose example taught me to work harder than everyone else—not only because hard work is high dignity but also, while it is no guarantee of success, anything less than that for us would mean complete failure. I always worked harder than everyone else to get the same opportunities they had. It’s the least I can do to compensate for my lack of privilege. This is a reality of life I have long embraced: shouting as jeepney barker for my father to taking odd jobs in high school. I worked hard to be here.

Yet, I am aware that my full scholarship exists not because I simply earned it. All my work would have been for nothing if there was no slot on offer in the first place. I am here because someone, by the grace of their heart, gave generously to fund my education. I am here because a generous Ateneo exists, where someone like me who does not share the wealthier background of the common Atenean can be entrusted with the Presidency of the school’s Student Council.

She shared the hardships she had to face coming from a poor family.

Photo credit: Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña / Facebook

I was raised in poverty—there was never enough food on our table, my parents were not always regular employees, and as students, my sister and I had childhoods filled with promissory notes for delayed tuition fee payments. I was seven years old when I joined my first rally. I stood with my father at the frontline of a jeepney strike that aimed to raise the minimum fare. For some, the rising price of fuel meant less profit. For my family, it meant skipping another meal; it meant more debt and more promissory notes.

She expressed gratefulness for the opportunity the school had given her, also hoping that many others like her would also have a chance to be part of Ateneo…

Congratulations!

Read her full essay on Ateneo’s website here.

Inspiring

Newlyweds Discover They Were Baptized by the Same Priest on the Same Day

A pair of newlyweds discovered on their wedding day that they were baptized by the same priest on the same day! They believe that this is God’s perfect plan and that they are destined to be together forever. We think so, too!

Newlyweds Baptized by the Same Priest on Same Day

Do you remember the story of the boy who randomly kissed a girl he met in Baguio City and married her 30 years later? Here’s a similar story, but the couple didn’t know they actually met as babies.

When Mr. & Mrs. Marlon and Ken Loyce Panaligan planned to get married, they thought all along that they met on November 4, 2017 – because that’s the date that they can remember and never forget. It’s a beautiful milestone in their lives.

baptized by the same priest
Photo credit: Philippine Star

However, what they didn’t know is that they had actually “met” as babies as they were baptized by the same priest on the same day.

During their wedding ceremony at the Parish of Sto. Niño de Lipa, they were asked by the priest to confirm when they first met. It was like a quiz, but the two got the same answer: November 4, 2017.

They were surprised, however, when the priest told them that they were wrong because their first meeting was on November 4, 2000! They were both baptized by Fr. Rodem Ramos, the parish would share in a post that amazed netizens.

baptized by the same priest
Photo credit: Philippine Star

This information was confirmed by the dates and the priest’s signature on their baptismal certificates!

Ang galing talaga ng timing ng Diyos!” the parish also added in their post.

What really amazed netizens is that the two met, for the second time, on the anniversary of their first meeting, even if they didn’t even know about it.

Many netizens think that these two are really meant for each other.

Wow!meant to be nga! Minsan lng yan mangyaring sabay bininyagan at pareho din ang pari s binyag at kasal nila,” one netizen commented.

Some netizens also commented that they must be soulmates.

Is Baptism Required in the Philippines?

Baptism isn’t required by law. However, this rite is followed by Christians, with the Roman Catholic Church often requiring a baptismal certificate before a person can go through certain rites, such as becoming a godparent or getting married.

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Student Who Sold Turon and Other Snacks Graduates as Cum Laude

A student who sold turon and other snacks to support self in college recently wowed everyone after she completed her degree as cum laude!

Student Who Sold Turon Graduates as Cum Laude

We can’t do anything about the circumstances with which we are born in, but it’s impressive how so many people are able to change their lives by trying their best to finish their studies. These working students know that they can improve their lives by graduating from college and getting a good job.

One of these inspiring young students is Jogie Macaraeg Papillera, a 21-year-old working student from Laguna, Philippines, who completed her degree in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy as cum laude.

student who sold turon
Photo credit: The Daily Sentry / Jogie Macaraeg Papillera

What made Papillera so impressive is that accountancy is such a difficult course, with thousands of students failing each year, yet she managed to finish the course while also juggling time to support her studies by selling turon, lumpia, carioca, and other snack items.

Dati, naglalako lang ako dito sa Canlubang ng meryenda, tirik ang araw, sakit ng lalamunan kakasigaw, ang bigat ng dala, tapos kahaggard pa. Pero ngayon, graduate na sa kursong Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, CUM LAUDE pa,” Papillera happily shared.

In her post, she also shared the hardships she and her family faced in life while they were growing up. There were times when they didn’t even have anything to eat. But she promised herself that she would try her best so she could take her family out of poverty.

Photo credit: The Daily Sentry / Jogie Macaraeg Papillera

Her father works at the factory while her mother sold banana cue and turon in the streets. Seeing how difficult it was for their parents to make ends meet, she began selling even as an elementary student.

She sold at a different route from her mom, so they covered more ground and sold more food. This helped the family.

Yet despite the challenges, she made sure to also focus on her studies. So, she graduated as valedictorian in elementary and high school. And now, as a college student, she once again made it with flying colors by graduating as cum laude. Wow!

student who sold turon
Photo credit: The Daily Sentry / Jogie Macaraeg Papillera

Congratulations, Jogie Macaraeg Papillera! We can truly see that you’ll have a bright future ahead of you.

High School Scholarships in the Philippines

It’s more difficult to find high school scholarships in the Philippines compared to the options available for college students.

But you can ask your local government or chosen school for possible scholarships or financial assistance.

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“Pasang-Awa” Student Ranks Top 5 in Medical Technologist Board Exams

A “pasang-awa” student who regularly got barely passing grades amazed everyone after he ranked as top 5 in the March 2021 Medical Technologist Licensure Examination. We’re quite impressed!

“Pasang-Awa” Student Ranks Top 5 in Board Exams

Most people expect board topnotchers to be achievers in their student days, and that “pasang-awa” students are often expected to fail or barely pass the test, like their grades while they were studying.

That’s why everyone is amazed with Francis Jacob Paras, a “pasang-awa” student who received many failing or barely passing grades in college, yet he ended up ranking as the top 5 in the March 2021 Medical Technologist Licensure Examination!

pasang-awa
Photo credit: PEP

The young man completed his degree in Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology with 3.00 grades, which are known as the “passing” mark in the college grading system in most schools.

He even shared a photo of a part of his transcript of school records to show that he had so many low grades. But even with those low grades, he was able to amaze everyone when he got a rating of 87.50% in the board exams.

Photo credit: PEP

Started from the bottom now [we’re] here!” the topnotcher happily announced.

Di man maayos ang grades ko at puro tres man ako nung college, pero bawing-bawi pala nung nakapag-boards na ako.

He proved that anyone can truly achieve their dreams, no matter the difficulties and challenges they faced in life.

I’m no laude. I was just a regular student like everybody else trying to pass and survive every sem, but I wanted to be a better version of myself,” he added.

Failures and low grades don’t make you less of a person than those with higher grades. Use that failure to further motivate you to bring out the hidden potential hiding in each and every one of us.

Photo credit: PEP

What an inspiration!

Coverage of Med Tech Board Exams

  • Hematology – 20%
  • Microbiology and Parasitology – 20%
  • Clinical Chemistry – 20%
  • Blood Banking and Serology – 20%
  • Clinical Microscopy – 10%
  • Histopathologic Techniques and Med Tech Laws – 10%
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