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UPAAA-NSW Partners with Barangaroo’s Oh Boo Choc In UP scholarship project

UPAAA-NSW Officers and Alex Chan at Oh Boo’s Barangaroo shop. From left: Marie Balce (former President), Tiffi Ramos (President), Pamela Ventura (Public Officer and Co-Director), Carmela Brion (External Vice President) and Alex Chan (Owner, Oh Boo Chocolates).

The University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Australia – NSW Chapter (UPAAA-NSW) joins hands with Oh Boo Chocolates in supporting two academically deserving but indigent UP students.

UPAAA-NSW is one of the oldest UP alumni chapters officially recognised outside the Philippines and one of the pioneer Filipino organisations in NSW.  Since 2008, the association’s Scholarship Grant Project has already produced 10 scholars from campuses in Manila, Mindanao, Baguio, Diliman, Visayas, and Los Baños. UPAAA-NSW’s recent scholars, Mikaela Bonador and Joy Loresca, graduated magna cum laude and cum laude respectively from UP Diliman with a degree in BS Elementary Education.

Oh Boo Chocolates is owned by Alex Chan and his sister, Fanny Chan, who is a Belgium-trained maître chocolatier. The gourmet chocolate shop is in Barangaroo, the new world class, waterfront destination in Sydney CBD known for its exceptionally designed buildings, landscape, and public space.

Philippine-born Alex says, “It is actually your birth country that gave you your soul. This is why I still have a strong connection to our country. Giving something back to where I came from makes me feel complete.”

Driven by his strong sense of community, Alex and his friends formed a group called Camino‑17. The group’s vision is to support academically deserving Filipino students from UP with the hope that they will eventually serve as positive agents for a better Philippines.  The group has initially sponsored two BS Agriculture students from UP Los Baños (UPLB) through UPAAA-NSW’s long-running Scholarship Grant Project.

Under the partnership, UPAAA-NSW is responsible for the selection and vetting of the scholarship recipients—generally incoming third year students—and monitoring their academic progress until graduation. Oh Boo Chocolates and Camino-17 will provide funds for the scholar’s monthly stipend and book allowance.  UPAAA-NSW scholars are supported until they finish their 4‑year degree course, provided they satisfy the scholarship’s conditions, including maintaining a general weighted average of 2.5 or better, with no failed subjects.

The two new UPLB scholars, Patricia Ann Lao and Jamie Joy Tabardillo, will receive the scholarship benefits starting this semester 2020-2021. An additional allowance will be provided for rendering 40 hours of volunteer work with any authorised Philippine-based organisation of their choice.

Volunteering is a special condition of Oh Boo Chocolates/Camino-17’s sponsorship fund.

“Our long-term vision is to create a community of empowered, socially-aware people who have the potential to be leaders in their own field. We see this community of like-minded people as a catalyst for social change. I believe that is important in nation building. Supporting these two UPLB Agriculture scholars is just the start of realising this vision”, added Alex.

For more information on UPAAA-NSW’s Scholarship Grant Project,