‘Eat, Bulaga!’ scholars continue chasing dreams

A YEAR after receiving their college diplomas, scholars of longest running noontime variety program “Eat, Bulaga!” are forging ahead with their chosen careers.

Back in 2009, in celebration of its 30th anniversary, the show launched “Eat, Bulaga! Excellent Student Awards” or EBest Awards aimed to help less fortunate elementary and high school students from different regions to continue their secondary and tertiary education. The program provided not only full scholarship grants, but also monthly allowances and cash assistance.

One of the scholars the show has helped over the years is Isah Clarise Lilia, an AB Political Science graduate from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

A daughter of a carpenter and a housewife, Lilia finished her degree in 2017 with Latin Honors and is now a first-year law student. “Because of the show, I was able to continue my education without worrying where to get my tuition fee or my allowance. I’m thankful that there’s an institution like ‘Eat, Bulaga!’ that is willing to extend help to students who are dreaming of finishing their studies.”
Bulacan native Angelica Nieva also received her diploma last year from Bulacan State University. She said that by watching “Eat, Bulaga,” it inspired her to take up AB Mass Communication major in Broadcast Journalism.

“Even before I was given the scholarship grant, I was already fascinated with television production. Then when I had the opportunity to watch the show live in Broadway, I said to myself that one day, I’ll work in the same industry.”

Nieva now works as an online English teacher and plans to pursue her media career in the future. She’s also the breadwinner of her family.

“It feels great that now, I have the means to support my parents and siblings. I’m also grateful to the show because they chose me among the hundreds of applicants. It’s a big blessing to our family.”

Other EBest graduates who continue to strive to reach their dreams are 22-year-old Melvin Dugan from Taguig City and Grace Angela Pocyoy from Benguet.

Dugan, who graduated cum laude from Jose Rizal University with a degree in Business Administration major in Accounting, now works as a book keeper in a law firm while Pocyoy, who finished Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education major in Math, is with a BPO company while waiting for her licensure examination.

This year, “Eat, Bulaga!” is also celebrating the graduation of 18 EBest college scholars from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Each scholar showed that difficulties in life cannot hinder one’s desire to reach his/her dreams.

The 2018 EBest graduates are Jannelle Ivine Atencio (BS Elementary Education, Polytechnic University of the Philippines), Diana Lou Bautista (BS Secondary Education, Palawan State University), Justine Bulan (BS Information Technology, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa), Sheryl Calay (BS Secondary Education, Romblon State University), Mark Louie Castaneda (AB Political Science, Araullo University), Jerard Castro (BS Education Major in Math, Central Mindanao University), Kurt Hostallero (BS Secondary Education, Batanes State College), Jason Intano (BS Accountancy, PUP).

Eries Isiderio (BS Education Major in Physical Science, Capiz State University), Marinel Moyo (BS Information Technology, Technological University of the Philippines), Jessica Olevo (AB Communication, Leyte Normal University), Jessa Ortega (BS Information Technology, Bicol University), Aldrin Punzalan (BA Public Administration, Bulacan State University), Edwin Salazar Jr. (BS Education Major in Math, Mindanao State University), Rhea Kristine Santos (BS Accountancy, University of Immaculate Concepcion), Regine Talisayon (BS Nursing, Southern Luzon State University)

Completing the list are Lemuel Butilla (BS Education major in Filipino) from Agusan del Norte, Eries Isderio (BS Education major in Physical Science) from Capiz and Zaldy Felisilda (BS Accountancy) from Bohol. All three graduated magna cum laude from Northern Mindano Colleges, Capiz State University and University of Bohol, respectively.

Felisilda said the scholarship grant changed his family’s life for the better.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and now, I can say that my family and I have a much brighter future ahead. It gave my parents hope that we’ll experience a comfortable life and for my siblings to finish their schooling. My education is the one thing that cannot be taken away from me.”

As for Butilla, he’s happy to serve as an inspiration to other students who want to earn a degree. He said with hard work, patience, perseverance and faith in God, nothing is impossible.

“Nothing will come our way if we just pray for it. We need to work hard and persevere so that the Lord will bless us with all the desires of our heart. Also, you should have faith in yourself that you can do everything and reach your dreams.”

The EBest Awards is one of the many projects “Eat, Bulaga!” has introduced over the years. It also launched other campaigns such as EB Classroom Project, Isang Lapis Isang Papel Project, EB Heroes and the construction of AlDub public libraries nationwide.

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