Pagharap sa Pangarap scholars reflect on life with CFBCI

Danica Flores
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila | Accountancy
Batch 2010 | 2013 Graduate, magna cum laude

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. — C.S. Lewis
Born out of wedlock, raised by a single mother, brought up in Tondo, which has always been considered the gritty end of town – these were the cards I was dealt with as a child. It would have been easy to just focus on the adversities, but my young mind took it as a challenge. The way I saw it, if you start from the bottom, there is no other way to go but up.
I was academically inclined, a consistent honor student and a scholar all my student life. I was in my first year in college when I became a scholar of the Chinese Filipino Business Club, Inc. (CFBCI).
Unlike many other scholarships, CFBCI does not focus solely on giving financial aid to students. More importantly, it strives to help us build good character and discipline. It organizes monthly seminars and workshops on a wide array of topics to develop us to be well-rounded professionals, not only to improve our personal lives but also to enable us to extend the same help to our community and country in the future.
Steering away from the stereotype of school nerds, I balanced academics with sports and arts which helped me develop my skills.
I took leadership roles as class and batch president. I joined the journalism club and drum and lyre school squad. I also joined and have won in dance competitions.
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2013.
I am always proud of this achievement, not mainly for the title but for the ideals it connotes – discipline, perseverance, effort and love of learning – and which I deeply value.
This honor cannot be achieved by those who falter. I believe that no matter how high your achievements are, if you lack discipline, perseverance and persistence, you can easily lose the reward.
In my case, it has been a continuous grind and a long march; and I am honored that I was able to conquer it.
Also, in 2013, I passed the licensure exam as a certified public accountant. I landed my first job as junior auditor for SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co., the biggest audit firm in the Philippines.
Carrying my values with me through my professional career, my efforts were recognized, and I got promoted to senior auditor in less than two years, a feat normally achieved after an average three-year stay in the company.
Not settling into the routine and always hungry for learning, I entered corporate accounting and financial analysis. I am now serving as business planning and control manager in one of the largest local fashion retail brands in the Philippines.
I can positively say that I have experienced a tremendous professional growth over the last five years, and yet, there is always an extra room for growth. Always ready to take on new challenges and responsibilities, I know that there is still so much ahead of me and I will be prepared to take them as they come.
I will always be grateful and proud that I went through struggles and such hard life circumstances, that I was born in a community that forged a tough character in me and that I was a product of scholarships, especially of CFBCI. It is a heartwarming thought that there are people out there who willingly lend a helping hand to those who wish to complete their education and sincerely seek out what is best for them.
Of all the things CFBCI taught me, the one I treasure the most is the lesson of paying it forward, and it will always be one of my greatest aspirations to fulfill it.

Melody Ann Yao (姚佳芳)
University of the Philippines-Manila
Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science
Batch 2013 | 2016 Graduate, magna cum laude
I have always dreamt of becoming a doctor. I grew up in a single parent household. My mom and dad separated when I was a year old, after my younger sister was born. A few years after, we heard that our dad was killed. My sister and I were left with no memories of our dad, and our mom worked and struggled to make ends meet not just for the three of us, but for my grandparents and my aunt as well.
I was able to go to grade school up to high school, with the help of various sponsors and scholarships. Whenever we were asked in school what we want to become when we grow up, I always said I want to become a doctor. A part of me wanted to believe that I will be able to achieve my dream of becoming a doctor, as long as I study hard, find a scholarship, and maintain good grades. But a part of me also started to think that maybe this dream will remain a dream, and I have to face the reality that I will never be able to afford going to medical school.
As I was starting to lose hope, I was very lucky to have found the CFBCI, and to have been accepted as a CFBCI scholar. The CFBCI helped me go through my pre-med course. Furthermore, our CFBCI benefactors not only helped us finish college by giving us full financial assistance in our daily schooling expenses, but they also invite resource speakers to give us advice and guidance during our monthly seminars.
It was such a big help that after attending several values formation sessions and after all the encouragements and challenges from our CFBCI mentors and resource speakers, I slowly developed self-confidence. I gradually learned to explore and to discover my skills, my capabilities and myself more.
Through the monthly seminars, I was inspired to always do my best in everything I do. I also learned good time management, compartmentalization and priority-setting, which helped me finish my undergraduate course with flying colors.
With the extensive support of the CFBCI college scholarship program, we, the CFBCI scholars, are so blessed and privileged to have been given an opportunity to finish college, and to learn to live a life with integrity.
As we prepare ourselves to meet our responsibilities and other challenges in life, and as we continue to strive to achieve our own personal dreams and goals, we always keep in mind the CFBCI spirit that has been embodied in us.
I am now in my third year of medical school, through the help of one of the generous CFBCI directors. Up until now, I still uphold one of the most important things I learned from the CFBCI – that the most important value that one must carry on in life is to be of service to other people whenever possible, to lend a helping hand to those most in need.

Eunice Ann E. Entegro
Philippine Normal University | Batch 2013
2015 Graduate, magna cum laude

Summer of 2013, I was walking down Philippine Normal University’s Catwalk when a senior approached me and asked whether I would like to apply for a scholarship. He was from CFBCI, although I didn’t know it then. It was the last day of application and I was hesitant at first. But fortunately, I beat the deadline.
After only a couple of days. I learned that my application was fortunately approved. I was happy and excited at the financial support that I’ll be receiving. Little did I know that with CFBCI, I would receive way beyond what I expected.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be.” If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end up really incapable of doing it. But if I have belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if it may be difficult at the beginning.
In CFBCI, I learned that more than financial success, it is the development of character that has greater importance. It does not mean gaining superiority but it is character-building that empowers us to understand the importance of compassion, camaraderie, integrity, assertiveness and social concern.
I found a family in CFBCI. It is a family that isn’t bound by blood, but rather by heart, where I witnessed the kind of service and stewardship in helping people. Cliché as it sounds – what you sow is what you reap.
As an educator, it is now my turn to resonate these values that CFBCI has instilled in me to the future generation. I’ll always be grateful and proud that I’m a product of CFBCI and I wish them greater power and untiring heart in continuing to share what they have.