Fighting for a Dream: Young Filipino Scholar Graduates From One of South Korea’s Top Universities

At a time when many young people all over the world have struggled to pursue education, a young Filipino who hails from a low-income family is one of this year’s newest graduates, ready to face the next challenges in life amid this pandemic.

Education is highly valued in developing countries, such as the Philippines, and to be able to study overseas is a dream and opportunity that not many young people in the country are granted with.

Fighting for a Dream: Young Filipino Scholar Graduates From One of South Korea’s Top Universities
Credits: Ace Apolonio / Facebook

A Young Man’s Grit: Pinoy Scholar Achieves Dream of Graduating in One of South Korea’s Top Universities

A Pinoy scholar recently graduated from Yonsei University, one of South Korea’s three most prominent universities. Ace Spencer Apolonio, 24, obtained a degree in chemical engineering, according to Ian Cruz’s story on “24 Oras” on Wednesday, GMA News Online reported.

Apolonio, who comes from a low-income household, said he had to stop studying after graduating from high school.

Despite his financial limitations, he was motivated to obtain a college education and explored the internet for scholarships. In 2014, he discovered a Korean government scholarship.

He was rejected the first time he applied, but instead of giving up, he became even more determined. He used his limited resources to acquire new skills while waiting to apply for the second time.

In his interview, Apolonio said how much he wanted the scholarship.

Sabi niya po, ‘Nag-apply ka last year. What if ‘di ka ulit makapasa ngayong taon? Anong gagawin mo?’ Ang sabi ko po is ang dami ko na pong problemang pinagdaanan (I was told, ‘You applied last year. What if you won’t pass again this year? What will you do?’ I said that I already went through a lot of hardships to get here),” he said.

“Isang taon po ako nag-prepare para rito.’Di po ako titigil hangga’t ‘di ko po makuha ito kasi ito lang po ang aahon sa’kin sa kahirapan (I prepared for a year for this. I won’t stop until I get this because this is the only thing that will save me from poverty.),” he added.

When he found out he had passed, Apolonio shared that he went immediately to his grandmother, Susan Najera, who shed tears of joy with him.

Aside from studying, Apolonio established businesses in South Korea to support his family in the Philippines.

Nakakabili na po kami ng one month worth of groceries. Nabilhan ko po ‘yung lola ko ng appliances so masasabi ko po na medyo malaking pera na rin po siya (We can now buy a month’s supply of groceries. I was able to purchase various appliances for my lola, thus it is a significant amount of cash),” he said.

Meanwhile, Najera couldn’t help but be overjoyed of her grandson’s accomplishment after all of his hard work.

Kung may isa kang pangarap sa buhay, ‘pag nag-pursigi ka at consistent ka sa mga ginagawa mo towards that goal, I think there’s only one inevitable result—you get nearer sa success (If you have a dream in life, and you work hard and are relentless in your efforts to achieve it, I believe there is only one unavoidable result: you grow closer to success),” he said.

Here’s the clip featuring Ace Apolonio’s success story:

Indeed, Ace’s story of grit and passion for learning has immensely encouraged us. Hopefully, your story will be a reminder to all young Filipinos, as well as their parents and families, who might be losing hope or giving up on their dreams because of the difficulties they are faced with right now amid these difficult circumstances. There is always hope, and those who work hard and never lose faith are those who inevitably meet success, regardless of their situation or background in life. Mabuhay ka, Ace! You are an inspiration to us all.

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