How a Grab scholarship changed this working student’s life 2
Rio Cabuello dreams of becoming a teacher. "Gusto ko maging proof na hindi hadlang ang edad at estado sa buhay para magpatuloy sa pangarap,” he says.
Culture

How a Grab scholarship changed this working student’s life, brought him closer to his dream

“Magbabago ang buhay ko dahil pwede na akong huminto sa pagtratrabaho at para makapag-focus na rin sa studies," says Rio.
PARTNER FEATURE | Aug 18 2023

Twenty-eight-year-old Cesario “Rio” Cabuello III who dreams of becoming a teacher one day, is proof of how hard work and commitment can help turn dreams into reality. The road toward his goal is by no means easy. It’s littered with detours and roadblocks. So thank heavens for helping hands along the way. Rio is a GrabScholar, and being picked as one changed his life entirely, and has brought him closer to his dream. Being a GrabScholar gave him the privilege to leave his working student life behind and just focus on his studies as the program entitles him to a full-ride scholarship and allowances.

Before this, however, it seems there was no way for Rio to tell if all his hard work will amount to him achieving his life goal. 

 

From Samar to Quezon City

Rio’s story starts in Samar where he was born. When he was only one year old, his family moved to Project 8, Quezon City to seek a better life. Work opportunities may have been more available in the city but a life-changing event added to the burden of what had already been a strained household—his parents’ separation.

Growing up in a low-income home and with separated parents compelled Rio to help his family make ends meet at a young age. As early as his freshman year in high school, he started helping his mom who was a vendor.

“3:00 a.m. gigising na kami para magtulak na ng kariton papunta sa pwesto. 4:00 a.m. pupunta sa Farmers’ (Market) para bumili ng bloke-blokeng yelo,” he recalls. Afterwards, he would rush back home so he can prepare for school in time for his classes which started at 6:00 a.m.

Rio Cabuello III
Being a GrabScholar entitles Rio to a full-ride college scholarship, Php 5,000 school allowance per semester, and Php2,500 monthly allowance.

Life’s many challenges forced Rio to stop studying not once but twice. “Nung Grade 6 ako dahil na rin sa paghihiwalay ng family ko kaya nag-stop ako. Bale two years ako nag-stop ng Grade 6. And next, nung pag-graduate ko nung high school nag-work na ako agad,” he shares.

Rio admits it wasn’t exactly what he wanted, saying he only decided to work because his sisters also stopped studying and started working after high school. “Pero hindi nila ako pinilit na magtrabaho. Eto lang agad ang na-feel ko, na need ko na agad tumulong sa family ko.”

There have been many instances when Rio felt discouraged, at times almost ready to give up. He wanted a college education but didn’t want to further strain his family’s finances. “Nakakainggit din at the same time dahil ang mga ka-batch ko ay nag-aaral at ako nagtatrabaho na agad.”

 

Steely determination      

Rio dreams of becoming a teacher. “Maliban sa puro teacher ang nasa father’s side ko, gusto ko lang din maging inspiration para sa mga kabataan na nawawalan na ng pag-asa mag-aral pa dahil sa hirap ng buhay. Gusto ko maging proof na hindi hadlang ang edad at estado sa buhay para magpatuloy sa pangarap,” he offers.

Being a realist, Rio knows the road to achieving his dream is not going to be smooth or quick, especially considering his financial situation. But this didn’t discourage him. Instead, it served as a motivation to find ways to bring him closer to his goal.

So when he turned 20, Rio started working as a fast food crew member. This time, the odds are stacked in favor of Rio. More than just providing him with a source of income to help augment his family’s finances, his job equipped him with skills he didn’t expect would help him earn more money—event decorating and hosting. “Kaya nung pumasok ako sa fast food at nung ilagay nila ako sa mga party akala ko puro ‘pag de-decor at assist lang ang gagawin ko kaya tinanggap ko ang position na ‘yun. ‘Di ko akalain na pati pala pagho-host ng event ay kasama dun.”

The company provided training on hosting and marketing which helped Rio gain more confidence. “Nasanay na po ako sa pagho-host hanggang naka-attend na ako sa lahat ng training for marketing, kaya na-promote na ako to marketing manager sa kilalang fast food at the age of 22 kahit hindi ako nakapag-college,” he shares.  

Even more unexpected was that even after resigning from the fast food company to pursue his studies, there were customers who would get his services as host for birthday parties. This made his mother so proud. “Pinagkakalat niya po sa mga kapitbahay ang mga na-achieve ko pati pagho-host kaya may iilan na pinag-host ako ng debut dito sa amin.”

Rio Cabuelo
Rio will be the first-ever college graduate in the family. “Kaya sisikapin ko po na matapos itong journey na ito,” he says.

A chance of a lifetime

Just when things seemed to be getting nowhere near any relief, Rio saw a chance to make his life—especially studying—easier. He applied to be a GrabScholar.

Just like his fellow scholars, Rio also underwent a rigorous process of aptitude assessment, financial evaluation, and interviews.

Rio managed his expectations, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. When he received a notification from Grab and after seeing the word “Congratulations” he almost fainted from excitement. “Nasa work ako noon, grabe ‘yung feeling, napahiga ako sa crew room namin dahil sa tuwa.”

Being a GrabScholar entitles Rio to a full-ride college scholarship, Php 5,000 school allowance per semester, and Php2,500 monthly allowance.

Rio could only be grateful for being a GrabScholar. “Magbabago ang buhay ko dahil pwede na akong huminto sa pagtratrabaho at para makapag-focus na rin sa studies. Wala ka ng ibang iisipin kung hindi ang mag-aral na lang. Mas maraming time kasama ang family at makatulong sa gawaing bahay. ‘Yung health ko mas maaalagaan din dahil mahaba-haba ang pahinga, makakatulog nang maaga at ‘di papasok nang puyat.”

When Rio finishes his degree, he and his loved ones would have another reason to celebrate: he will be the first-ever college graduate in the family. “Kaya sisikapin ko po na matapos itong journey na ito,” he says.

Sobrang thankful ako dahil isa ako sa pinalad na matanggap sa scholarship na ito. Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.”

Rio is proof that with hard work and an unwavering commitment to achieving your life goals, nothing is impossible. And with a little help along the way, the journey becomes more bearable, bringing you even closer to making your dream a reality.  

Grab has had a positive impact on the lives of its Filipino partners since it was established in the Philippines. GrabScholar is one of its many initiatives made possible through the GrabForGood Fund. The program is now on its second cycle which will have six merit-based college scholarships for beginning SY 2023. Aside from the scholarship program, GrabScholar also offers bursary support for elementary and high school students and a career acceleration program for aspiring BPO professionals. 

Application period for bursary support runs until September 8. List of successful applicants will be posted on the GrabScholar page on September 18; they will likewise receive SMS and email notifications from Grab. Bursary disbursement will be from September 18 to 22. 

For inquiries, email grabscholarbursary@bagosphere.com. To know more about GrabScholar, visit https://grb.to/GrabScholarPH.