“Contrary to popular belief, dyeing your hair is not a hindrance to success, but poverty is” – thus the viral words of Rene L. Principe, Jr. who graduated cum laude at University of the Philippines in Diliman with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics. Principe was among the 2,892 students who graduated in UP’s first virtual commencement exercises last July 26.

In his viral Facebook post, Rene narrated his family’s journey to survive extreme poverty eating restaurant leftover scraps for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to become a Siyentista ng Bayan! His family migrated to Cagayan de Oro after losing their home in Compostella Valley because of a fire. His father works as a security guard while his mother sells vegetables and delicacies. Now, Rene refuses to glorify extreme poverty that he went through because it’s the same poverty which hinders millions of Filipinos access to quality education.

Read more of his viral post below.

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