Baguio Koreans pay back city hospitality
BAGUIO CITY—The summer capital’s Korean community has made education a bridge to give back to its host city.
Last week, 31 Koreans belonging to the nongovernment group, Good Hands in Luzon Philippines, met with the 31 indigent college students whose education they are financing.
These Korean sponsors are mostly professionals and businessmen who have been living and running various establishments in Baguio for more than 10 years now. The city is home to about 10,000 Koreans, many of them students learning the English language here.
Husky Ryu, Good Hands chair, said supporting the education of poor but deserving Filipino students is a way of uplifting their lives.
“We are very happy to do this because we really want to share our blessings. Koreans have been wanting to help and they have been doing that individually. But now, we have a group, so it is easier to extend what we want to share to the people of Baguio,” said Ryu.
Jung Gyu Choo, a restaurant owner, is supporting the education of Edson Soriano, 18, a Kankana-ey student from Bakun, Benguet.
“This scholarship grant means a lot to me because I grew up in a very poor family, with a hand-to-mouth existence. We are 14 in the family, and I was the only one who reached college so the expectation is too high,” said Soriano, a junior accountancy student at the University of the Cordilleras (UC).
“My parents could not send my other siblings to school because they do not have money. My other siblings did not even finish elementary and high school,” he said.
Soriano promised to help Good Hands after he graduates to return the kindness and generosity that he received.
His sponsor, Jung, said: “I do not speak English that much, but I want to say that I am happy to help.”
Another beneficiary, Kevin Kenneth Mitas, 17, a business administration student at the University of Baguio, promised not to squander the opportunity given by the Koreans. “We will keep moving forward to be somebody someday,” he said.
Ryu said he was not expecting financial pledges from many Koreans for the scholarship program since the original target was to help only 12 students.
Each student receives P12,000 a year. The scholars come from UB, UC, Baguio Central University, Benguet State University, Easter College, King’s College of the Philippines, Philippine Women’s University, Saint Louis University, University of the Philippines Baguio and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).
Ryu said the scholars are required to keep good grades and are encouraged to join Good Hands’ outreach and community projects. “We want to grow together with our scholars,” he said. Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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