The road home for a technology entrepreneur, a cancer specialist: ‘Difficult but rewarding’A technology entrepreneur and a cancer specialist shared the reasons and the rewards of returning to the Philippines after living in the U.S. for many years, during the February 25 to 27 3rd Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora held in Manila.
Earl Valencia was the Business Incubation Manager of Cisco’s Emerging Technologies Group in Silicon Valley when he decided to go back to the Philippines before he turned 30. In Manila, he co-founded the IdeaSpace Foundation, which develops groundbreaking innovations and transforms these into successful businesses. He said that by assisting start-ups, his foundation has touched more than 100,000 lives in less than three years.
“Coming back to the Philippines after more than 10 years in the U.S. is one of the most difficult yet rewarding decisions for me and my family,” said Valencia, a graduate of Cornell University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “We did it because we hope that maybe in our lifetime, our kids will say they are from the Philippines in the U.S. or in Europe and people will remember our country as a place where great innovators live.”
Another Global Filipino who has returned is Dr. Samuel D. Bernal, world-renowned cancer specialist and regenerative medicine pioneer. Bernal is also a lawyer specializing in Regulatory Law and Medical Malpractice, a Ph.D. and MBA degree holder.
He was previously, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles UCLA, and the author of various books on oncology and cancer research, and a director of various business organizations and foundations. He is also a cancer survivor.
He is currently with the Institute of Personalized Molecular Medicine and consultant adviser for Regenerative Medicine Program of The Medical City.
Bernal is a devoted advocate of personalized, customized diagnosis and care of patients. He won a landmark case in 2008 representing a patient who died in the hands of doctors who used standard-of-care procedures and population-based statistics instead of looking at the unique case of the patient.
“The enduring feature of the Global Summit has always been the sharing of stories among overseas Filipinos themselves – about their experiences, their successes and their dreams for the future,” said Secretary Imelda Nicolas of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). “These stories create the bridge towards stronger networking and diaspora engagement. This makes the Global Summit something to watch out for because it is not a mere traditional gathering of overseas Filipinos. It is much more than that. It is a celebration of the vibrant and ever-renewing Filipino spirit.”
In 2014, around 10.5 million Overseas Filipinos (OF) working or residing in more than 200 countries had remitted an astounding $28 billion or P1.2 trillion to the country, according to the World Bank. And yet, the CFO believes there is a much more important currency that global Filipinos are sending back: the social remittances.
“Social remittances are initiatives or a way of living of Global Filipinos that create opportunities for people other than their own families,” said Nicolas. “While we appreciate the remittances of our kababayans abroad that contribute to the country’s GDP while helping support their families, their will to share their talents and passions within the homeland is their greatest gift.”