The importance of education is ingrained in many of us at an early age. Many parents consider it as a ticket to a better life and more opportunities for their children. “‘Yan lang ang maipapamana namin sa inyo,” they would say. In turn, Filipino students are seen to have a strong sense of determination when it comes to finishing their education and becoming the people they aspire to be for their family and their community.
For S.Y. 2020-2021, there were around 25 million enrolled students in the Philippines, but not all of them share the same journey towards reaching their dreams. Due to various social challenges that disrupt learning, some kids have it far more difficult than others. You have probably heard stories of students who don’t have access to learning materials, students who walk for miles just to attend their classes, students who do their homework under lamp posts, and other similar tales of hardships.
Despite the obstacles in their way, they have shown incredible TIBAY that can help them succeed in life with the right support and guidance. Through its Batang Matibay Awards, BEAR BRAND® Fortified celebrates these students who exemplify the strength to continue their education and to pursue their goals in life.
What does it take to be a Batang Matibay?
There have been a total of 30 Batang Matibay Awardees since BEAR BRAND® Fortified launched the program in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) in 2018. Each of these awardees has a unique story of TIBAY that can inspire other students who might be going through the same struggles.
BEAR BRAND® Fortified and DepEd start the process of selecting a new batch of awardees by gathering nominations from public schools all over the Philippines. Teachers can nominate their students from the 5th and 6th grades by providing testaments and personal accounts of how they embody tibay when it comes to pursuing their education and in the face of physical, emotional, and social challenges. They must detail not only the academic achievements and extracurricular activities of the students, but more importantly the determination, optimism, and grit that enable them to accomplish these amidst life's adversities.
From these nominations, a panel of judges composed of representatives from Nestlé Philippines and DepEd carefully deliberates to name the top ten Batang Matibay awardees of the year who will be honored in a recognition ceremony.
Each awardee is presented with a plaque of recognition, BEAR BRAND® Fortified gift packs, a cash prize, and most importantly, a college scholarship grant that can help them finish their education and secure themselves a better future. Likewise, their respective schools also receive plaques of recognition, BEAR BRAND® Fortified gift packs, and laptop computers
2021 Batang Matibay Awards
Last September 4, ten students coming from different regions in the country were recognized as this year’s batch of Batang Matibay awardees. Due to the constraints of the pandemic, the ceremony was held virtually via Facebook Live.
One of the awardees is Mark Angelo Sunio, a grade 5 student from Caloocan City. At a young age, Mark has displayed an astounding amount of strength in his battle with bone cancer, which has led to him losing his left arm. Despite this challenge, the 11-year old is still full of hope and drive to continue with his studies and win in life. His teachers describe him as a consistent academic achiever and someone who's always willing to offer his help to those who might need it.
"Naging matapang po ako kasi kailangang maging matapang sa sakit na cancer... Mag-aaral po ako nang mabuti para matupad ko ang anumang gusto ko sa buhay o pangarap ko." Mark said.
Aside from their day-to-day expenses, Mark’s parents are working hard to cover the costs of their son’s treatments. Fortunately, the incentives that he will receive as a Batang Matibay awardee will not only help support his education but also their family’s needs.
Over the years, the inspiring stories of Batang Matibay awardees like Suhel, Pauline, and Myco have touched the hearts of the public. You can watch their stories of TIBAY on BEAR BRAND Powdered Milk Drink’s Facebook Page.
BEAR BRAND® Fortified recognizes the importance of equipping this generation with Tibay ngayon, tulong para sa mas matibay na bukas.
Make sure to check out BEAR BRAND® Fortified’s social media pages to know when nominations start for S.Y. 2021-2022 and how you can nominate. Who knows? The next Batang Matibay just might be from your community!