Puerto Princesa, Palawan — Forty-seven (47) Bridging Employment through Skills Training (BEST) Tourism scholars of Malampaya Foundation, Inc. (MFI) graduated on August 5, 2016 in a ceremony held at Asturias Hotel in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

The 47 graduates consisted of 24 scholars for housekeeping and 23 for food and beverage services who completed their courses over a period of three months at the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA) accredited Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trades (PPSAT).

In addition to the course proper, the scholars are capacitated in English proficiency and personal excellence for individual development and to increase chances of success in their respective tourism fields.

Catherine Roa, Technical Excellence Awardee, delivered the welcome address for the graduation ceremony. “I am certain that we are now ready to face the world of work,” she said. “Our lives are ours to create.”

The ceremony was attended by honored guests from project partners, Dr. Clarissa C. Posadas, VSA III–PPSAT; Dir. Renato M. Pantaleon, TESDA–Palawan Provincial Director; Atty. Joshua Bolusa, Palawan Provincial Administrator; Hon. Victor S. Oliveros, Puerto Princesa City Councillor; Dir. Karen H. Agabin, MFI Executive Director; Mr. Sebastian Quiniones, MFI Vice President and Shell Philippines Exploration B.V (SPEX) Managing Director; Mr. Don Paulino, incoming MFI Trustee and SPEX Managing Director; and Mrs. Corazon Manga, Technical Education and Training Head.

Honored guests took turns in addressing the importance of BEST and its contribution to nation-building. Pantaleon and Bolusa were optimistic about the young graduates’ futures in their inspirational messages.

“Three million tourists to visit Puerto Princesa City—this is a great opportunity for all BEST [graduates],” said Oliveros in his inspirational message.

Sebastian Quiniones delivered an uplifting keynote speech, emphasizing the elements of success—diligence, hard work, continuous improvement, curiosity, ethics or “doing the right thing”, safety, and saving for the future.

BEST Tourism was launched by MFI in Palawan in 2013 to help meet the growing demand for tourism-related services in the province’s burgeoning tourism industry. As of June 2016, BEST has garnered some 4521 scholars in four different provinces, mostly finishing high-demand technical-industrial courses.