By: Camille Gonzales
Dr. Richmond Santillana invented Nutracapser, a portable home device that can be used to create herbal supplements. For his invention, Dr. Santillana became a beneficiary of the i-TECH Lending Program, which provides financing through the credit-lending partnership between DOST-TAPI and the Land Bank of the Philippines.
Dr. Richmond Santillana never thought he would end up practicing alternative medicine. He graduated with a pre-med degree and his first job out of college was at a Japanese multinational pharmaceutical company. There, he started as product research assistant and then worked his way up to senior product specialist.
After he learned everything there is to know in the industry, he started his own pharmaceutical business.
He was a successful pharmaceutical person. Within a few years of running his own company, his business expanded into four branches. But running a growing pharmaceutical business was not easy.
“Apat na business, so kung kailangan, hindi talaga ako matutulog,” he shared.
His late stressful nights eventually took a toll on him, and one day he started feeling sluggish. Speaking became a daunting task and walking more so. He knew then there was something seriously wrong with his body, so he went to a doctor and found out he had heart disease.
Since Dr. Santillana owned a pharmaceutical company, there was no medicine out of reach for him. Cost was not an issue as well, so he tried everything his doctor prescribed him. After more than a year of trying different medicines, not only did he not get well, side effects from the drugs plagued him, too.
Dizziness, headaches, body pains, and tiredness—he felt them all. He believed in his company and its products, but still, his heart was not getting better. He prayed to God to cure his heart and, in return, he would do everything he can to give back. Whichever direction God directs him, he would take it.
“I called it my covenant. I said to God, pagalingin mo ako, and then make use of me kung saan mo ako dalhin.”
Feeling desperate, he decided to take a step back and look at other options. Even though being a pharmaceutical man was a big part of him, he was not afraid to explore other options.
“Sa madaling salita, dahil doon na ako sa point na wala nang quality of life, napilitan akong subukan ang alternative medicine.”
Dr. Santillana was grateful for alternative medicine’s positive effects on his body. Even though he had a family to feed and kids to send to school, he didn’t back away from his deal with God. Seeing how his treatment made him feel better, he decided to shift the direction of his career completely. He decided to practice alternative medicine himself.
“Out of gratitude, kahit milyon ang kinikita ko, tinalikuran ko lahat ‘yun,” he said. “Noong gumaling ako, nag-decide akong isara ‘yung pharmaceutical company… Then I decided to study alternative medicine.”
By: Patricia Esteban
Jay Peneyra is a student turned educator who helped invent their school’s version of banana chipper. He was a beneficiary of DOST-TAPI’s Industry-Based Invention Development (IBID) program, which assists inventors to test, debug, refine, and optimize their inventions’ commercial prototypes.
Learning doesn’t end inside the confines of a classroom. It starts when one decides to go outside it and explore the unknown. Learning becomes associated with the people we meet, the people we teach, and the people who educate us.
For inventor and educator Jay Peneyra, he maximizes education through the power of collaborations.
Learning with the help of his classmates
It hasn’t always been an easy ride for Jay. He had to bounce back from learning curves he experienced along the way, including one in college. Along with his thesis mates, he worked on a coir decorticating machine, an invention designed to turn coconut husks into ropes, coco net, and other handicrafts to help farmers in Palawan.
But while developing their invention, their contractor backed out from the project. The machine was also not delivering their desired results. It was such a challenging time for Jay and his thesis mates that they thought they might not be able to graduate.
But Jay chose not to give up. He and his partners solved each problem in their project little by little with the help of their teachers and dean.
Learning with his colleagues and teachers
Jay is now an educator who still aims to innovate and push research forward for his students. He inspires them to rise above every challenge, especially when they feel like they are at the end of the line. He reminds his students to constantly have the thirst for research and be future-forward with their thinking.
“Tuloy-tuloy talaga ‘yung research, innovation, [at] improvement. Hindi talaga tumitigil,” he shared. “Huwag nating isipin na wala na tayong ma-momodify, wala na tayong ma-iimbento. Kung baga, meron pa.”
Jay also collaborated with his colleagues and teachers in developing the coir decorticating machine designed to separate coco fiber and coconut peat from the husk.
Above pictures show the rear and front view of the coco coir decorticating machine funded by DOST-TAPI.