Victor comes from the province of Cavite from a family of four. Like many of our scholars, he comes from a simple family. Going to a university for his college education was a risk for his family since it proved financially very challenging for his father to send both Victor and another sibling to school. He used to feel like a burden to his family, so he had to look for every possible way to alleviate his father of this financial burden.
When he was young, he had great interest in technology and a fascination with cars. He would take his toys apart and build something new out of it. He saw himself taking up a profession that solves problems, invents, and is technology-related.
How did you hear about PhilDev?
For my first year of college, my tuition was funded by relatives, but I felt very uncomfortable. So I kept looking for other ways to sustain my college education. I saw the announcement about PhilDev scholarships and told my father I will be applying for it because it was a really good opportunity.
What are your plans after graduation?
I would like to work in the oil industry, particularly in the oil refinery because during one of the camps, we had a tour in one of the refineries of Shell. I saw how challenging the job is for a mechanical engineer. I saw the opportunities and I wanted to be part of a company that takes care of their employees and values their employees.
What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the PhilDev Scholarship program?
Personally, I gained a lot of self-confidence from the summer camps. I used to be very quiet and didn’t like to talk with other people. I wasn’t comfortable speaking in front of an audience. Learning to believe in myself got me to where I am today.
What is your most memorable experience with the PhilDev scholarship program?
Even after graduation, we are still invited to participate in events for scholars. PhilDev doesn’t only fund our studies, they make us feel like family. For me, that’s more important than money or financial support.
The regular visits by the PSES team make me feel the genuine concern they have for us scholars. Every start of the semester they would visit us in our schools to see how we are doing and get updates on our plans. That is very rare with other scholarship programs.
What do you hope to see in the technology and innovation in Philippines?
We all know how difficult it is to travel from one point to another here in the Philippines. I attended a camp/ event in Malaysia and we had a tour in their underground railing system. I can see the Philippines improving a lot if they could actually do something similar. Transportation here takes a lot of time from people and lessens productivity, so one major step for the Philippines to take is to improve on their urban planning. As engineers, we are major partakers in that.
What is your message to the youth?
My experiences with PhilDev are what brought me to where I am today, and these experiences helped me get through every struggle encountered while studying Engineering. Being a good example could actually boost the interest of others to be like us too, like what PhilDev would want us eventually to be.
Don’t fear the unknown. Just dive in every time there’s an opportunity. Don’t think that you can’t do it. Others would think they won’t excel in the field of technology or engineering since there are a lot of other people better than them. Don’t ever think that anybody is better than you. We go through different circumstances and experience different struggles. We all try to be the best versions of ourselves in those struggles, so no one is really better than anyone. We go through different things, but we share the common goal of living a more meaningful life.
Victor Santino Bunag graduated from University of Santo Tomas, BSME 2017.