THREE scholars of a power utility company passed the recent Architect Licensure Examination last June 2023. Out of the 4,784 exam takers, only 2,924 passed including Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. and Aboitiz Foundation Inc. scholars Raymund Naungayan, Jonas Meneses, and Paulo Gallardo. 

They graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Architecture at the University of Mindanao. After graduating from their five-year course, they underwent two years of apprenticeship before they took the Architect Licensure Examination. They all passed as first-time takers. 

“Though it is a really difficult course, I gained confidence from the support of Davao Light. I took up BS Architecture because I want to invest in a course that will have a big impact on my life. It was challenging but the success is worth it in the end,” said Architect Jonas Meneses, who is a Davao Light scholar since his first year in college after graduating as valedictorian in high school and passing the exam.  

“I came from a financially-challenged family so I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to study an expensive course such as Architecture. I remember my father telling me before that he could only afford to send us up to high school,” he recalled that he applied to various scholarships since his parents could not sustain his and his siblings’ studies with their small goldsmith and watch repair business. 

Additionally, Jonas shared that he accepted the scholarship offered by Davao Light and Aboitiz Foundation because was treated like a family member.

“Aside from the financial support they provide, they advise us on our career path, constantly check up on us, and inquire about our plans for the future,” he said.

“In the future, if my fate favors me and I become able, I will not hesitate to return the help given to me by supporting other deserving students,” Jonas’ said revealing his goal to support other struggling students in the future as well. 

Meanwhile, Architect Raymund Naungayan recalled that he almost stopped going to school when his mother died from cancer in 2018. However, due to the scholarship bearing the brunt of his financial needs, he was able to continue his studies. 

“I am the eldest among four siblings so when my mother died, I wanted to stop school for a while to join the workforce. Thank God, I was given the opportunity to be a Davao Light scholar when I was in my third year of college. Before my mother died, I was able to let her know I got the scholarship,” Raymund narrated.

Currently, Raymund is supporting his siblings in high school and elementary school as the breadwinner of their family.

“Don’t ever doubt yourself despite all the negativity and pressure surrounding you and don’t let them hinder you from finishing your degree. Be grateful for the opportunities given to you since they’ve helped you in your studies and finances,” he advised fellow scholars who are losing hope to continue achieving their dreams.

In a separate interview, Architect Paulo Gallardo thanked Davao Light for supporting his studies from kindergarten to college. 

“I was able to study in a decent school because of the scholarship. It helped us a lot especially after my father died in 2002,” Paulo shared in the interview.

He added that he was motivated not to waste the support that was given to him and his family, so he spent lots of sleepless nights finishing his projects to be able to submit them on time. 

“I make sure I listen to the lectures of my other subjects so I can spend more time finishing my plates,” he shared, referring to the two-dimensional or three-dimensional structures that serve as a practical application of the theories they learned in the classroom. 

“Don’t abandon your studies and pray that everything will turn out alright. Stick to whatever course you choose to study, don’t be lazy, and be a good student,” he advised other fellow scholars. 

Currently, Jonas and Raymund are saving up money from their freelance jobs to pursue graduate studies while Paulo is applying for jobs to further hone his skills and experience in construction. PR