Mining a Life of Meaning

January 5,2018

Left photo shows Jayvhel  Guzman (the only girl in the photo) during her first fieldwork with MMDC together with other MMDC staff. Photo was taken in Barangay Lubo, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur on Dec. 19, 2012 after they completed the geologic mapping of Lubo Prospect. Right photo shows Jayvhel in her work station at MMDC Makati office.


Is there really such a thing as coincidence? Or when events happen before your eyes, is it valid to assume that it was just really meant to be after all?

These things I ask often, because the reality is, I never really thought I’d see myself as a geologist, nor work for a mining firm. My dream job was to become a physician. Besides the fact that it’s a lucrative career, I also thought it’s one of the noblest occupations because it allows one to help many people.  It was something I’ve always wanted to do because for me, the more you give a part of you to others, the more meaningful your life will be. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth but I was determined to be a doctor, believing in my heart that it’s possible. I felt like being a doctor was my destiny; a bus that I shouldn’t miss.

But plans and dreams can take twists and turns, which is why I did not become a doctor. I wasn’t able to take up any of the pre-med courses at the University of the Philippines (UP) because the competition for a slot was too tough and the only degree program that presented itself to me then was BS Geology, a course only a few dare to study and many probably never knew existed. I myself didn’t know there was a college course called “Geology”. But for the sake of making it to one of the country’s most reputable universities, I took the chance hoping that I’d be able to shift to a pre-med course later on. Surprisingly, everything changed when my BS Geology journey started. Just when I thought I was already so sure of my plans and dreams, the road took twists and turns that in no time I was lured into another road – one that is less travelled.  The rest, as they say, is history.  For me, a most beautiful one.

In 2007, I obtained my license as a geologist and, since then, I never left the mining industry.

My work as a geologist in a mining company entails exciting adventures mainly because of the field work. It’s something I enjoy the most; little wonder it’s hard not to fall in love with the job. And especially being in the minerals industry, a world with lots of promises and surprises, I got easily hooked.  I don’t imagine myself leaving this industry anytime soon.

Mining, specifically my company, Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC), has opened many doors for me. MMDC became the springboard that catapulted me to where I am now. More than the decent compensation, I’ve stuck around because I now have a deeper understanding of mining – the responsible kind I must emphasize – and the many good things it does to people and host communities.

Since MMDC operates in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao, I have had the privilege of getting to see and learn about some parts of Mindanao up close.  I witnessed how some of our brothers and sisters from the South live their daily lives and how much they aspire to improve their living conditions. I was inspired to help in my own small ways to bring them many things I was fortunate to enjoy, such as education, healthcare, electricity, infrastructure. I am quite honored to have been a first-hand witness to how much their communities have improved, courtesy of MMDC. Every year, I see more developed roads; more kids going to school in complete uniforms and with sufficient school supplies; more health centers; more smiling faces of our brothers and sisters in and around the mine. How truly inspiring it is to be in this job and this organization! This is one of the reasons why I work hard and am very passionate about my job. Although I didn’t become a doctor, seeing many lives improve before my eyes gives me a sense of fulfillment that probably would’ve been the same if I were a doctor.

Every job comes with challenges and trials and my journey with MMDC is no exception. I have to deal with many people, and I have to understand them all. The mining industry is highly regulated; all programs, projects and activities require meticulous planning and implementation.  One small mistake can have a huge impact on the company’s operations. Working long hours and being away from my family are also tough, but they come with the territory. It’s exciting to travel but it also gets to a point when I just want to go home and hug my daughter tight.  Seeing bosses come and go also bring heartaches, but that’s how it is in this world where the only thing constant is change, and, however difficult it is, we must accept change. Stress is also a staple. Managing the geology department is a big responsibility and piecing all the bits together requires lots of patience, courage, and hard work. Whenever people ask how I managed to become the OIC of MMDC’s Geology Department, I always say it all boils down to working hard – come what may. We have to work hard because thousands of lives depend on the mine.  We must keep our commitments to people so that they will have an improved quality of life even after our mining operations have ceased. We need to work hard for our families’ future.

When I became a mother in 2009, I promised myself that no matter what difficulties I encounter at work, or in life in general, quitting will never be an option for me. Having been a mom for 8 years, there have been many occasions that challenged my tenacity. I just go back to the things I work hard for, to the sense of fulfillment I feel in helping others, to the values that keep me going.   I keep in mind our brothers and sisters in Surigao and my colleagues at work who I consider my family, too.  I always remember how MMDC helped me become the independent and responsible woman I am today. It’s in these moments of introspection that I realize I must be really doing something good.  There’s no way I should stop.

After all that I’ve seen and been through, I ask if all of these were really just some coincidences. Tomorrow things could change.  But at least today, I like to believe that being a geologist, being in the mining industry, being in MMDC, being in this moment, are all part of a grand plan.  I have no regrets.  I am even more excited to fill new chapters and continue to “mine” a life of meaning.