Filipinos excel

Published June 24, 2022, 6:08 AM

by Fil C. Sionil

We’re in a period of time when the local currency is bracing up for heavy beatings and the bear is lording it over the equities market with the peso teetering to further breach the new psychological level of P55 and the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) to possibly go down to the 6,000 mark.

Nobody really could predict the direction of the peso exchange rate and the equities market as there are other elements that could sway their paths. This situation makes my heart flutter as it shrinks my hard-earned investments. 

Thus, I seek your indulgence as I veer away from dishing out market views and developments by sharing inspiring back  story, which I painstakingly poured a good number of hours researching and reconnecting with friends online.

Let me start off with the fact that given the opportunity, Filipinos, wherever they are would, almost always, excel. Be it in the Middle East, the region and in the US.

That said, I salute Miguel Alfonso “Mickey” Santana, son of my ever gorgeous friend Laine Laudico, Jillian Therese Robredo, daughter of vice president Leni, who tacked in a double degree in mathematics and economics. Both are New York University graduates.

Rounding out this year’s Filipino graduates trailblazing in the US academe includes Lorenzo “Choy” Martinez who received Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School, graduating top of his class and given the honor James Kent Scholar with 3.8 GPA (grade point average).

And, who can beat Farrell Wu, Jillian’s good friend, who graduated at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a perfect GPA of 5.0.

Reading their successes, got me riled up, wishing to talk to any of them on what inspired them to excel. Long hours of online research paid off. By sheer luck I was able to connect with one of them, Choy’s inspiring back story.

“It’s hard, though, anybody can do it. But, we have to help each other.” The overarching message that US Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first ever female and Latino appointed to the position, that left an indelible mark on Choy.

Here for a much needed break before joining Clifford Chance U.S. LLP, New York, as incoming Transactional Associate this fall, Choy tells me that this became his guiding principle as he struggled to complete schooling amidst the challenges posed by being a Filipino in the sea of whites as well as colored. Not to mention the all out effort to look for a firm for his judicial internship.

He was the only Filipino among the many applicants for Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program. Acceptance was a bit difficult as he was hamstrung by his accent, of not having the New Yorker twang.

No tag price can be equated to the 10-week judicial experience as he learned the ropes of jurisprudence, the ins and outs of transactional and commercial law.

It’s a topic dear to his heart because the legal entanglements that his parents’ business experienced, which enticed this English Literature major to become a lawyer.

“They’re often beset with legal questions, and I wanted to be the one to help them,” Choy narrates. He passed the bar in 2012, practiced for five and a half years here before going to Columbia to further his craft.

Tacking in English Lit was useful in stringing words into a text to pen a case summation or a decision. It, likewise, came in handy when he became the first head online editor of the American Review of International Arbitration.

Miggy, Jillian, Choy and Farrell are just but a few of the quintessential Filipinos whose educational achievements are beyond excellence. Indeed, Filipinos rule in the US academe.

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