Looking on the bright side
Looking on the bright side


ALUMNI FOCUS

Looking on the bright side

February 15, 2022

A Macquarie University International Scholarship recipient, there’s no doubt Macy made the most of her time in Australia. In addition to her masters, she also enrolled in the Global Leadership Program, achieving a Certificate in International Business Negotiations, found time to be a delegate at the World Model United Nations (MUN) in Melbourne, and was an active member of the Filipino Student Society. Her energy seems to have had no bounds. ‘I maximised all my opportunities while studying at MQ!’ she laughs with her characteristic warmth and openness.

As Macquarie University’s Philippine Network Leader, Macy at times assists the Macquarie Global and Domestic Student Recruitment team to promote MQ through events in Manilla and more generally as one of MQ’s Philippine’s Ambassadors. ‘I was originally asked to do a speech for an information day about my experiences studying at Macquarie and living in Sydney, and have done it every year since,’ she explains.

‘Filipinos are very family-oriented and often find it hard to let their children study overseas,’ says Macy, whose firsthand experiences reassure parents and students alike. ‘I understand their concerns, so focus on what a safe and inclusive campus it is at MQ as well as the other benefits, such as the state-of-the-art facilities and the globally recognised, personalised education.

‘But the MQ experience goes beyond academic learning,’ notes Macy, who as part of her degree worked at the NSW Business Chamber in marketing and business development as part of an internship. ‘It was during the federal election, so I was exposed to the who’s who of Australia.’

Macy also felt MQ provided her with a family-like atmosphere, which was important to her as, like many Filipinos, she has a close-knit family. ‘Everyone was very accommodating and always willing to extend a hand. Right from the start, my experience with Macquarie felt very personal. I received acceptances from several universities in Sydney, but it was Macquarie who phoned me instead of emailing,’ she points out.

Sometimes, it’s the small things that make a big difference – the fountain on campus made an impact, as did bean bags in the cafeteria, not to mention being on a dedicated railway line and next to a mall. ‘Filipinos love their malls!’ she laughs again, and it’s easy to see why potential students and their families connect with her so well.

No less, Macy credits her masters for her where she is now. Running her own consultancy that includes leading Philippine clients such as Truelogic, Payruler and Upskill, she is also employed as a Director at PasaJob, the Philippines’ first long-chain, referral-based job platform, and manages to fit in being a campaign volunteer for the 2022 current Vice President and presidential candidate, Leni Robredo.

But her story has not been without its challenges. While undertaking her masters, she started experiencing back pain and was later diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It might have felled a less-tenacious individual, but with strong emotional and financial support from those close to her, she defied her doctors – and the odds.

‘I was in denial at first,’ says Macy, and you can see behind her bright nature, the fear and shock and disappointment were real. ‘My plan was to stay in Sydney after my masters; everything was set for me to start work as an associate director of an advertising company and become a permanent resident.’

But life had other plans. She had already interrupted her study for treatment, during which time she says the MQ scholarship committee was very accommodating. ‘They gave me a second chance to complete my study, but after that there was no option to stay in Australia. My orthopaedic surgeon in the Philippines said, “Everything can wait but this.”

‘I only had one question for him,’ she remembers. ‘“Am I dying?” And he knelt in front of me and said, “It’s not a death sentence, Macy. We’ll make it work.”

And, together, they did. Despite the Philippines having one of the most poorly funded health systems in the world. Despite overwhelming medical bills. Despite having to research clinical trials and drugs and pursuing care, including in Singapore. Despite facing discrimination at work due to her health and losing friends as she was no longer the social butterfly.

‘I had an incredible thirst to live and a lot of support from my family, a few loyal friends and, of course, the doctors and nurses. My older sister is very strong-willed and always positive, which helped me focus on the solutions, not the problems,’ she remembers.

‘Most importantly, I am grateful to my Mom, who made the impossible possible. It is because of her overwhelming support that I survived cancer three times. From relentlessly pursuing the best medical care and treatment, to always prioritising my needs, even before her own, she is the superwoman in my life.’

Macy’s strong faith also played a significant part in maintaining her optimism. As she reflects, ‘It was a wake-up call to prioritise what is important. Life is short – spend it with the people who value you and focus on what matters. I celebrated my birthday recently and like to say I’m feeling great at 38! I have a clean bill of health and couldn’t be happier; I’ve had a second chance at life.’

And, she’s using it to write a book about her experiences. ‘I want my story to be inspirational,’ she says, and that sunny disposition is back. ‘A living testimony that there is always hope.’

 

 

Recipient of the Macquarie University International Scholarship Award, Macy completed her Masters in International Relations (2013) and acquired a certificate course in International Business Negotiations at MQ. Currently Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Pasajob in Manila while running her own consultancy, she has been an important part of growing the profile of Macquarie University in the Philippines as a Network Leader and Ambassador. What sets Macy apart is her determination to achieve goals, her optimism and her ability not to be discouraged by any setback – she always sees the glass as half full.


Comment (1)

  1. Joanne Dungca

    You are truly inspiring Macy. Reading about you and your journey warms my heart. All the best to you.

    Reply

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