Alumni Stories

Empowering PWDs in the Philippines

Many able-bodied people may not think twice about such things as the need for obstacle-free sidewalks or having elevators and ramps installed at a public facility, but Virginia S. Rabino knows very well how important these are to help give Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) access to the things they do to go about their daily lives.

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Championing Indigenous Peoples' Rights in the Philippines

Raymond Marvic Baguilat stands tall and proud on the University of the Philippines campus, wearing a woven cloth that shows off his upland roots. The lawyer is a Tuwali from Ifugao province that can be found in the mountainous regions of the Northern Philippines.

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A Global Perspective on Local Products: Australia Awards alumna Monica Co weaves new stories for Philippine handmade products

Before Monica Camille Co, co-founder of social enterprise C&C Home and Gifts, went on her Australia Awards journey to study Marketing at the University of Melbourne, the millennial was at a loss with which career path to take. “My college degree was Management Economics, and I was working as a personal banker.”

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Changing lives through quality tech-voc education

Joji Ilagan-Bian knew from the age of 18 that one day she would build her own school. Born and raised in Mindanao, Joji saw the challenges of having limited access to opportunities. This motivated her to drive innovative education solutions in her home region.

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Marine Conservation for the Next Generation

Dr. Rene Abesamis remembers the first time he saw the beauty and abundance of life underwater. As a child, he did not expect that a hobby that brought him so much joy would turn into a career as a marine biologist.

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Defending the Rights of Muslim Filipino Women: Shari’ah bar passer Amanah Lao is ready to fight for Muslim Filipinas’ rights in court.

In today’s world, how does one apply the concept of human rights to something religious, such as Shari’ah law? This is a challenge that Amanah Busran Lao will be facing in her work.

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Enhancing Governance through a Values Program

Mark Malitan talks about the importance of values in good governance. “I believe that values can really solve the problems that we have in society,” said Mark. “We need to know our foundational values: patriotism, integrity, excellence, and spirituality. This is now the thrust of the Civil Service—promoting the public service values of a civil servant.”

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Australia Global Alumna brings Filipino textile and crafts to Australia

Filipina entrepreneur Anya Lim, co-founder of Anthill Fabric Gallery, recently established partnership among Filipino-Australian entrepreneurs and textile artists in Australia. She brought Anthill Fabric’s best sellers, accessories, and heritage collection through a pop-up series in Melbourne and Sydney.

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Putting the “Human” Back in Health Care

Dr. Raffy Marfori shares his thoughts on how the health care system needs to evolve with people’s needs. Three years after earning his Master of Public Health from the University of Melbourne in 2015, Dr. Jose Rafael “Raffy” A. Marfori, together with like-minded colleagues, is setting up a company in Manila called “health&human”, which specialises in primary care.

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Reaching the Next Generation

Australia Awards Alumna Sabrina Ongkiko seeks to reform the educational system with stakeholder engagement. It was a light bulb moment for Sabrina Ongkiko when someone asked her if she wanted to be a teacher. “That was when I started thinking about it. Looking back, I realised that I was in education all those years. I was the kind of child who played teacher with her playmates. I even went as far as buying a record book so I could record their quizzes,” she said. She also took charge of their family library, lending out books to friends and going after errant borrowers.

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Shining a Light on Sustainability

If life is a novel, Australia Awards scholar Jeffrey Tarayao’s childhood is a Dickensian tale of poverty amidst wealth. After being born in a hospital charity ward, he was brought home to a 42 square meter house—the driver’s quarters in a rich family’s home where his father worked. For the next 28 years, he lived in that small space, barely big enough for his family of five, attending an exclusive all-boys’ private school as one of the benefits granted by his father’s employer.

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