Children of Fortune – Manila Bulletin

New gen kids Vito Puyat and Trishia Fortuna, children of privilege, on how they try to give back






Age: 22

Education: BS with Honors in Psychology, Newcastle University High School Diploma and International Baccalaureate Diploma, The Beacon Academy

Most treasured possession: A copy of The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker from my dad

One thing you’re saving up for this year: A new laptop

If money were no object, you’d buy: Resources and tools for various scientific projects and educational programs around the country.

The most expensive thing you’ve spent on yourself: A trip with friends, visiting various provinces of the Philippines (e.g. Palawan, Bohol, Cebu) Dream destination: Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Palawan, Philippines

Soundtrack to your current mood: Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1

Currently reading: Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker


Causes close to your heart: I’m currently working with the Department of Environment and Sustainability of El Nido Resorts. One of the main projects I’m working on concerns the health of coral reefs around the resorts and popular tourist sites close to resort. My work also involves surveying fish species found within the House Reef of each resort and working closely with the Guest Activities and Marine Sports department to provide enjoyable yet educational experiences for guests.

Quote you try to live by: Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.—Albert Einstein

Future plans: Long-term plans include further studies, pursuing a Masters degree in Science and a PhD

Best parental advice you ever received: The best way to show others you have what it takes when faced with the biggest challenges is through your willingness to take on even the smallest and seemingly menial tasks.

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As a Gen Z kid, how do you make privilege count? I believe that the greatest privilege of Gen Z kids is having easy access to the Internet and many technological advancements at such a young age. Gen Z kids have the potential and the tools to ensure that family, friends, and even strangers are well-informed about important topics (e.g. climate change). Gen Z kids can make their greatest privilege count by practicing critical thinking, thorough research, and objective communication to help educate and guide the behavior of other people.

What inspired you to take up your cause?

I’ve always been allured by science and the natural phenomena. Part of this passion has always been the determination to ensure that we learn about and enjoy the different wildlife around us in a responsible and respectful manner. Even though a lot of my research experience has been with science within institutes, I’ve always wanted to get my hands dirty with field work. By taking up this cause, I hope to encourage others to develop an appreciation for both the natural wonders of the Philippines and the knowledge we can gain through a solid foundation built upon scientific practices. Marine conservation is a huge part of my current work. The Department of Environment and Sustainability works tirelessly each day on tasks that include educating guests, staff, and the wider community, waste management, energy and water conservation, and biodiversity conservation not just limited to marine species.


Who do you look up to: My mother, Bernadette Romulo Puyat, because where she is now in life is largely due to her tenacity and diligence.










Age: 18 Education: SHS-Ateneo de Cebu

Soundtrack to your current mood: “Blessed” by Daniel Caesar (just because I can’t wait for his concert)

Favorite time-wasting activity: Netflix, shopping, hanging out with friends, and any physical activity

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Youtube channel: Trishia Fortuna

Causes close to your heart: Charity, helping those who have the least. I was already exposed to these things because of my family, especially my grandmother Erlinda Fortuna. I take part in our family’s outreach activities and I’ve seen the situation we have here. Every time I give, I always talk to the person and knowing what they’ve been through inspires me. The smile on their faces inspires me to continue and to help more. During one of our distributions, I met a lolo. I asked him where he was from and where he lived and what he was doing there. He told me that he was from Leyte and that the only reason he went to Cebu was to do caroling since it was Christmas. After our short conversation, I told him that we’d be back since I didn’t think food was enough for him. We encountered him almost every day of our distribution. I think, more than giving, that it is important to know their stories. That’s what I try to do.


Quote you try to live by: If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.—Mother Teresa

Proudest moment: When I got accepted in a business school in San Francisco

Future plans: I’m spontaneous and I like it that way but I’ll be starting with college for sure. I got in to both my top choices for college, DLSU Manila and Hult International Business School in San Francisco. I am still undecided to where I want to study but if I pursue my college degree at DLSU then I’d take up Bachelor of Arts in International Studies Major in European Studies/Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship (ISE-INT), but if I pursue my college degree at Hult, then I will take up Business Administration.

Best parental advice you ever got: Always look at the positive side of life

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How do you make privilege count as a Gen Z kid? I met a disabled man—he only got by with two arms—at around two a.m. in the streets of Cabancalan. I had to beg my mom to stop the car since the place wasn’t that safe and it was already dawn. I went up to him and helped him push his cart since he was on his way home and we talked about his current situation and how hard his life was (he lived alone and had to do everything by himself). Since there were no fast food chains or open restaurants around, we decided to just give him money. That would be the start of many encounters with this man. I can inspire people in every little thing I do and by extending my help especially to the ones who are in need. I also choose 150 scholars and we send them to school in Davao.


What inspired you to take up your cause?

My mother and grandmother are really active in outreach programs. Every Christmas, we usually go to my mom’s hometown and distribute gifts, toys, and food to the baranggays. But last holiday, we decided to stay at Cebu. After a “just-the-two-of-us” dinner in Anzani, we noticed that there were many children who did not have food for Christmas. So we decided to buy 80 meals from Jollibee and distributed them to homeless people. This happened every night well until the New Year. My mom and I made sure that we could give at least 60 meals a night for two weeks. This is something that stayed with me. There’s quite nothing like a simple smile to make your own heart smile, too.




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