Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the Year for the State
of Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)
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you came from
locals. Thus, regardless of how our ancestors and great, great grandfathers got their surname, our family’s mother side carries the name
“Cabral” to this day.
The reason I am writing about my sister is not because she has attained success in the oil and gas industry. Far from it. She hates the
environmental degradation brought about by current technology in the search for black gold and natural gas. She is into deep research about how
to improve the technology with minimal environmental effects. I won’t go into details because that’s trade secret, of course! Suffice it to say that
this start-up energy company is different from any other profit-only oil and gas companies we know.
For the first time, my sister started to open her eyes and look back at the poor country where she came from. She realized being an American
carries with it a sense of responsibility as world leader that is reaching and influencing almost all nations on earth. With limited resources at
present, though, she had to choose where to begin.
Cabral Energy is now focused on social responsibility. Nancy has just begun her company, yet she already has plans to help poor countries
develop their youth through education. She has selected the Philippines as the first country to look into, of course, being the country of her birth.
For two years now, Cabral Energy has distributed bags and school supplies to two elementary schools in the Philippines closest to her heart—
Palasan Elementary School where she began as a Grade 1 pupil; and Santisima Cruz Elementary School where our late mother taught for years.
Next year, Nancy plans to expand her initiative to other poor schools in the province of Laguna and construct a library in one of the barrio schools,
complete with STEM books to encourage students to take up courses that truly matter to a country’s development.
To say I am proud of my sister is an understatement. My family is proud of her, as well as the schools and the indigent children she chose to
benefit from her education initiative. She has even offered to conduct science lectures to schools for free, to encourage students to pursue
science courses which to her are both fulfilling, personally and professionally.
While it was the United States that gave the opportunity to achieve to many immigrants like my sister, it was the Philippines that gave her the heart
to look back and help those who may not be able to go to the U.S. and attain the stature many immigrants of Asian descent have enjoyed.
I am sure my sister is grateful to both countries for what she has become. Many Filipinos in the United States do not forget their families and
relatives back home. Our culture is ingrained in our soul. Regardless of outside influences, Filipinos remain Filipinos in many ways. We care for
others; we always look back; and we always come back where we came from.
My youngest sister Nancy is an all-American girl. After more than four
decades of living in the United States, she has loved everything about this
country which she considers her home. For many years — and she has
admitted this to me — she purposely shut her mind about things and people
from her original country, the Philippines, so she could focus well on her
career and personal goals. To date, she could hardly speak our native
tongue, Tagalog. She’s more conversant in French, actually, because she
also loves France, its culture, and its architecture.
She worked hard to earn her degrees: BS Bio from De Paul University in
Chicago; master of science in Geology from UW-Madison in Wisconsin; and
master in business administration from Rice University in Houston, Texas.
She left the Midwest in early 2000 for Texas, and landed a well-paying job as
a geologist at a big petroleum company and from there moved up to a few
other similar companies. Confident that after more than 15 years of
exposure to the oil and gas business, she is prepared to
be on her own. Nancy decided to start her own energy
company, Cabral Energy. “Cabral” is our mother’s
maiden name, which came from Portuguese explorer
Pedro Cabral. My late mother believed that with the
discovery of the Philippines by Portuguese Ferdinand
Magellan in 1521 (whose expedition was through the
Spanish government at the time), acquisition by Filipinos
of either Portuguese or Spanish names were made
possible via intermarriage or simply “sleeping” with the