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A Chance of a Lifetime

The Filipino diaspora remains to be an enigma. It either hounds us or penetrates our innermost being, sometimes consuming us because of its very existence.

This phenomenon is evident most especially among overseas Filipino workers whose lives are caught between earning a living, making both ends meet in a foreign land, and ensuring that all is well in the homefront.

For Foundationite Marefel Patagoc, the journey has been arduous, not because opportunities were scarce, but the dilemma of leaving home, which is her comfort zone, was of paramount concern.

Being a native of Siquijor province and being the only daughter, it is understandable that her family’s welfare is her priority. Graduating valedictorian both in her elementary and secondary education in her home province, she deemed it fit to enrol at Foundation University after she got wind of its degree programs through friends and school visitations.

“I had always wanted to be an accountant, so I enlisted myself in the Bachelor of Science in Accountancy program,” recalled Patagoc, adding that she did not regret her decision. She graduated in 1998 becoming a Dean’s Lister throughout her college life.

“The university has exposed me to various and varied activities not only through curricular endeavors, but so too with extra-curricular events. As students, we were cognizant of our responsibilities, but the entire campus experience allowed us to enjoy and savor how it is to be a Greyhound, a true Foundationite,” Patagoc enthused.

Because of her outstanding scholastic performance, the university invested on Patagoc as she took the plunge to take the licensure examination for certified public accountants. By a twist of fate, the forces did not align with her at that time. “Perhaps, I was destined to be in another environment or it was not just for me,” she mused.

That setback did not deter the go-getting Patagoc to stop pursuing her dreams. On the contrary, since her life track is really to become a certified public accountant, she moved heaven and earth to get into the profession – not in the Philippines, but in another country, the USA in particular.

The journey was quite a breeze, she realized now, as she has an aunt in California who helped her process her documents and other pertinent requirements for eventual employment. True enough, in 2010, she completed the requirements to be a certified public accountant in the State of California, USA. This materialized after 16 years of working in the country and eventually shuttling between the Philippines and California working in different industries and enhancing her skills in bookkeeping, accounting, and audit.

Not long after her initial stint in California, she became a partner of M + M Accounting Solutions until she was able to muster enough resources, “not to mention gut and courage,” as she said, to establish her own firm, MC Consulting Services as a sole CPA practitioner specializing in accounting, bookkeeping, business management, and payroll for non-profit organizations. At present, she has under her employ a coterie of trained staff where her company accepts clients, too, from the Philippines, including her native Siquijor. She calls on her younger brother to assist her with local clientele.

To add to Patagoc’s credentials, she received certification in 2021 from Yale School of Management for completing the Women’s Leadership Program.

Already an Outstanding Alumna of Foundation University, she was recognized anew in December 2023 through a special citation for her continuous support to the scholarship program of the university, particularly to her home college, the College of Business Administration. She likewise supports several non-profit organizations, but her focus is on providing assistance to educate students.

As Patagoc philosophizes, “I grew up with the belief that education is one of the most valued and treasured possessions a person can have.” For this Foundationite, the mission of the university reverberates to the whole world through her dictum. (Cecile M. Genove)


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