These three-weeks-in-the-Philippines haven’t been all fun and relaxation, I did make an appearance at the Erasmus Mundus Pre-Departure Orientation for the new Filipino scholars. Admittedly all I contributed to the event was my presence and input as a current student, the bulk of the work fell on the shoulders of Tita Thelma Geocolea our dearest mother-hen at the European Delegation, Kate Alyzon Ramil (EMA Country Representative), Shiella Balbutin (EMA-SEA President), and the ever-happy Hans Kevin Madanguit who emcee-d the event. Jenny Lind Elmaco, Executive Director of SPARK! Philippines, unfortunately wasn’t there but she usually carries her share of Erasmus Mundus duties and is generally amazing.
These three girls— Kate, Shiella, and Jenny, plus now Hans— are absolute inspirations. Despite their respective full-time workloads, and believe me ‘full-time’ in the Philippines means serious work, they manage to make time for promoting the Erasmus Mundus scholarship program within and around the Philippines and Southeast Asia. It’s a selfless initiative that I believe doesn’t quite get the recognition it deserves. Nonetheless, they keep their heads down and respond to every single inquiry by prospective scholars— and for absolutely no compensation and all on their own time. I’m extremely honored to be friends with these girls and guy.
If anyone is interested in the Erasmus Mundus scholarship program, feel free to drop me a note or to contact any of the girls via the EMA-Philippines Facebook page (yes, questions from non-Filipinos are warmly welcome!) or follow the Pinoy Erasmus Mundus blog which is also run voluntarily by Abby Yao, another EMA alumna.