Yolanda survivor wins international science contest, tops civil service exam, and will pursue science degree in MIT

The super typhoon Yolanda has taken a lot of lives, destroyed many properties and has left a scar that will forever remain in the hearts of the Filipinos. But, as joy-loving citizens, we were still able to get up and move on from such a kind of disaster.

Hilary Diane Andales

Screencap from ABS-CBN News/ NXT feature video

19-year-old Hillary Diane Andales from Tacloban City is the living proof that after the rain has gone, a rainbow will soon appear. Hillary still has vivid memories of having climbed up their roof when the super typhoon Yolanda was blowing strong winds and heavy rains in their area. She even thought that it would be the end of her, her family and all her dreams.

In 2017, she bested 11,000 participants and won the International Breakthrough Junior Challenge with the prize of $250,000 worth of scholarship grant to the school of her choice – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


In her interview with ABS-CBN News episode of NXT, Hillary recalls having spent a whole year preparing for her entry to the esteemed Science Contest. She has thought of various topics to talk about and when she finally decided on talking about the “Relativity and the Equivalence of Reference Frames”, she spent her time writing and re-writing her script.

Afterward, she started to film her video and also did all the editing herself. A few months later, Hillary was very thrilled when she received a call to congratulate her on winning the contest.


“May this inspire more young people, especially my dear Filipinos to look up and become scientists themselves,” Hillary said in her winning speech.

Watch Hillary’s full story here:

At a relatively young age, Andales was also named as one of the topnotchers of 2019 Civil Service Exam Pencil and Paper Test for the professional level.