Intern-view: Milbert Capistrano on Oceanagold

I’ve been on an internship that lets me travel around the country for weeks at a time, but I’ve never been to one that completely transplanted me away from home for 2 months. Today’s Intern-viewee has. In tonight’s post, Milbert M. Capistrano, a BS Mining Engineering graduate from UP Diliman shares about what it was like to move to Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya for his internship with Oceanagold  last June – July 2015!

But first, quick introductions. 🙂

I’m Justine, my partner is Betina, and this is The Border Collective, where we talk about anything and everything internship related. We’re currently on a hiatus from writing while we work full time at our respective FMCG’s, Philip Morris and Unilever, so we got our interns to fill in the gap with #WorkLifeGoals, where we interview people who are literally work life goals, and tonight’s kind of post, Intern-view, where we interview people who interned somewhere we haven’t.

Today’s post is brought to you by Bea Pelayo, our awesome intern who’s in charge of fielding and screening our Intern-views. So if you know someone who should be featured here, drop her a line at! Time for me to shut up and let her take over to introduce Milbert and his Intern-view!

Also, there’s a small surprise at the end of today’s post for our hardworking readers. We have an opportunity for those looking to help fill up your resumes with work or volunteer experience. Just know that this event will happen this coming August 13!

Thanks for reading and hope they wrote something useful for you!

Bea: When a person is good with arithmetic, we call him a walking calculator; when one’s knowledgeable of scientific and historical facts, a walking encyclopedia. But have you ever heard of a “walking checklist”? This is how Milbert Capistrano, a Mining Eng’g fresh grad from UPD, described himself when asked for this Intern-view.

Milbert is the type who would always make lists–from the simple things-to-bring to theregular to-do lists to the more sophisticated things-to-accomplish. He uses both digital apps and good ‘ol pen and paper to organize his day-to-day life. When he has those eureka moments, he just has to write his idea down. Milbert says this is his way to make sure he’s able to do his responsibilities and achieve his goals, and it’s also handy should he need to adjust to unexpected matters that might come his way. Thus, I can say that his success is highly attributable to him being this OC! (If only all of us can be this organized…) (J: Same, I’m jealous now.)

Another interesting thing I found out about Milbert is how vigilant he is. If you’ve been following the news since the beginning of the new PH administration, you might have heard about Gina Lopez’s stance on mining. This could be a threat to the ~career~ of Mining Eng’g graduates, and Milbert knows this. So as a precautionary measure, Milbert said he’s considering getting a finance-related career in banks (he got job offers already!) as he submitted his resume the last time UP CAP held its career fair in UP Virata School of Business.

As an Iskolar ng Bayan, Milbert believes that one of the best ways to serve the Filipino people is by educating the masses–especially the youth. He is an active volunteer for the Philippine Society of Youth Science Clubs, and as of now he’s currently busy preparing for an event in Davao where he’ll be the event host. Take note that he’s doing this all while reviewing for the boards on August.

When asked about five random facts about him and what was his dream job, Milbert went above and beyond the requirement in his OC fashion.

1. Random interests
  • I like to read (investigative, mystery- themed)
  • I like to watch TV series (Suits, How To Get Away With Murder, Game of Thrones, etc.)
  • I like to go on random hikes or go on biking
  • I prefer minimalist designs

2. I used to collect rocks when I was a kid while dreaming of becoming a lawyer (Mining Engineering deals with a lot of rocks haha)

3. There were multiple instances that I am mistaken as a Chinese, Jap or Korean, but I’m a pure-blooded Filipino 🙂

4. I consider passing the UPCAT as my greatest achievement because ito lang yung (this is the only) college entrance exam that I took. 🙂


5. Another achievement pala haha, my thesis was accepted at the “ASEAN++ 2016 Conference” in Thailand on July 28 to 29, 2016. Basically, the study is about Pyrite (a mineral that reacts with water and oxygen, producing acidic solution with adverse effects sa environment). What we did was to coat the Pyrite, para magkaroon ng (to create a) protective layer so that the interaction with oxygen and water will be prevented, suppressing the acid formation. Oceanagold made this possible by funding my thesis, and that I will forever be grateful. 🙂

6. I am an ENFJ.

7. Some of my friends describe me as a “control freak” huhu

8. I am a volunteer for an organization (Philippine Society of Youth Science Clubs, Inc.) which aims to promote the “public understanding of science, technology and the environment”. We organize science camps and contests for elementary and high school students nationwide.

…I want to do a lot of things in my life haha. Aside from wanting to be an engineer, I can remember that I wanted to be a lawyer when I was a kid. But after graduating from high school, I want to be an Engineer talaga haha 🙂 ”

I like Milbert a lot already. With no further ado, thanks for reading and hope Milbert wrote something useful for you!

How did you find and pick this internship?

*Random Background:

  1. Mines can be categorized in several ways. The most basic classification is whether it is a surface or an underground mine.

  2. Mines can also be classified by the commodity they produce. Different types of minerals/ metals have different ways of extraction methods. (A gold deposit cannot be developed the same way as a nickel deposit)

Mining engineering students are required by our curriculum to undergo a plant practice (internship). So back in 2014, I interned in a nickel mine to satisfy this requirement. When the semester resumed, I got to talk with my other batch mates and we shared our experiences during our internship. The reviews for Oceanagold were good and this got me curious. So even though I already satisfied my requirement for an internship, I decided to apply for internship for this company for the summer break of 2015 because I got really curious.

Oceanagold is mining gold and copper, and the processes and techniques were very different from nickel mining. I want to be exposed to this new knowledge. Oceanagold is also known for being strict when it comes to safety, and they also employ Australian standards, and this also made me so curious.

Related: 3 Answers to Is Interning Worth It?


Why did you choose to intern?

I chose to intern for several reasons:

1. I didn’t want to be idle during the summer break.

2. I wanted to fill my resume with actual immersions on my field.

3. Oceanagold was one of my target companies. So I want to gain first-hand experience about the the dynamics of this company.

4. The working dynamics for a Mining Engineer is very different compared with the usual professional. Mining Engineers stay on site for weeks with about 1 week of break, depending on the company policy. Mining Engineers do not have a concept of holidays. If their roster schedule falls on a holiday season, for example Christmas, they will have to stay on site; they won’t be able to celebrate with their families. I decided to intern to test if I can live with that lifestyle.

5. Sobrang babaw nito, pero (Really shallow of me, but) I like the uniform of Oceanagold 🙂



How was the experience of applying and being interviewed for the internship?

All communications and interviews in my case were done thru email and via phone call. Since the process was coordinated din with the Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engg, the application was relatively easy although the demand of the applicants was high. They also required me to submit an endorsement from the department.

Related: 11 Things To Keep In Mind for Your Next Interview


What would you say were the skills you needed when you applied? Did you pick up any new skills throughout your internship?

Well, I think communication skills are the most crucial. During the application process, you will have to send written communication to people who do actual business. You will also have to talk and present yourself to HR officers of the company. There will be concerns that you will have to negotiate with them without appearing to be demanding or disrespectful.

I learned a lot during the internship, such as people skills because we need to interact with other interns from other schools. On the technical side, I get to see the applications of the lessons and concepts learned from school. There were also lessons that you won’t understand unless you see it working in front of you. So internships are great ways of affirming your understanding.

Interns also get to practice how to be independent and how to act professionally in an actual working environment since we have to stay on site for 2 months.



What was your expectation for the internship? How did the actual experience compare?

Since this is my second internship, I already had an idea of the training program.

We spent around 1 to 2 weeks on the departments concerning the safety, environment maintenance and community relations. The rest of the training program focused on the different sections of the mine department. There were lectures and immersions on the actual mining operations.

Related: Intern-view: Nikki Lucenario on BPI

What did you do during your internship? What kinds of tasks and projects were you given? Did you volunteer to take on a task yourself?

There were immersions on the different departments at the site, such as the Environmental Department, Safety, Community Relations, Processing and the Mine Department. The interns spent the majority of the program among the different sections of the Mine Department (Engineering, Geotech, Production, Survey).

The activities included tours, lectures and other hands-on participation on actual operations. For example, during our stay on the Survey section, we were allowed to use the survey equipment to gather real data. During our stay on the Production Section, we were able to participate in the loading of explosives for blasting operations.

We were also required to conduct a case study on a problem that will be assigned by our supervising personnel, which will be presented at the end of the internship. The problem assigned to me was to determine the swell factor of the ore at the mine site. The swell factor is a very important concept in mining, as this has implications on material transport and on the costs that may be incurred during hauling operations.



What would you say were the best parts about your internship?

For me, the best part of my internship is having the opportunity to have a glimpse of the life of an actual Mining Engineer, having to stay on site for weeks far away from the comforts of home.

Internship is like a trial of the real deal.

You get to practice and do the actual things that will be expected of you in the future.


What would you say were the worst parts about your internship (or interning in general)?

The worst thing about interning that I can think of is missing out on the usual recreational activities during the break. But I think the positive things about internships far outweigh this 🙂

Related: 5 Ingredients of a Kickass Cover Letter


If you could go back in time to the first day of your internship, what is one piece of advice you would have given yourself?

Try to learn the basics of the local dialect and culture beforehand. The dialect spoken in Nueva Vizcaya was Ilocano and some of the workers were not good speakers of Filipino or English, so to some extent there was a language barrier.



What was the most interesting thing you did at your internship?

The most interesting thing for me was the presentation of my case study. Representatives of the different sections of the Mine Department were there to listen to the reports of the interns. I enjoyed the experience of presenting my findings in front of the supervisors and listening to their feedbacks.

Related: Intern-view: Alexis Collado on Jump Digital

What would you say was your greatest learning from interning?

The greatest learning I received from the experience is that in any industry, one should know how to interact with other people in the workplace. Once should know how to foster harmony with workmates in order to achieve the common goal of the team.

Related: Intern-view: Giann Vega on Phinma Properties

What advice would you give anybody who wants/is about to start interning?

Pursue interning! There is more to learn out there than within the four corners of our classrooms. The lessons you will learn from the workers, those at the bottom all the way to the top of the command pyramid, will give you insights not just about the nature of the profession but also about life.

As early as possible, spend your summer breaks either working for a summer job or interning. Every time is an opportunity to learn. Try to look and imagine yourself, 5 or 10 years from now, and imagine the companies which you will aspire working for. Immerse yourself on these companies through internships so that you can make logical career choices. 🙂


Do you have anything else you want to say to the readers?

Thank you for reading! Know that it is not only the grades that matter, but knowing things first hand and being out there matters just as much. 🙂

And that’s it from Milbert on his time at Oceanagold! I, aka Justine, think that I’ve learned more about mining and Mining Engineering from this Intern-view than I have in my previous 20 years of existence. Which is timely considering the news about the newly appointed DENR secretary. Good luck to all the Mining Engineering students out there!!

Ok, now is the time for the small surprise I was talking about earlier in tonight’s post.

CAMP is having a conference and is looking for volunteers to make it a smooth-flowing and overall awesome event. It helps that Betina is handling it, so the smooth-flowing part is down for sure. But they still need manpower for what is undoubtedly going to be a huge, and educational event.

This is where I come in with being a great friend and a brilliant idea-haver.

Volunteering for CAMP Conference is a resume booster. This will fall under either work or volunteer experience, depending on what else you have in your resume. And this is also a chance for you to sneak talk to either Betina or me. Just be sneaky about asking us things; I’m an open person in general and she’ll be too busy thinking about the event to realize we’re just sharing privy info.

So, if you want to fill a line in your resume while helping out a great advocacy, and having an experience you can talk about in your interviewsvolunteer for CAMP Conference! You can probably even ask me during the event how you can insert it into your resume and how you can talk about it in your interview, depending on how big a role you played during the event. Can’t wait to meet whoever volunteers for registration with me!!

Up next here on the blog is another #WorkLifeGoals, brought to us by Annicka Koteh and this week’s guest writer, while Betina and I write out the next edition of Internship FAQ’s! I honestly can’t wait for you to see everything we have in store in the coming weeks, thanks to our amazing interns, like KitKat Bondoc.

I think I can tell you that we are setting up our LinkedIn group for even faster information dissemination, like about job opportunities we come by or articles we learned something from or anything at all. Skies the limit on what we talk about there, so I suggest you make a LinkedIn! Leave it blank if you like, we’ll help you fill it up soon enough. 🙂

If you have anything you want to ask, say, or comment about to either Betina or me, email us at either or! For partnerships and business deals, you can email us at!

And if you want to get a faster reply, message us on The Border Collective’s Facebook page!

If you have any questions to ask us anonymously or anything you want us to write about, drop it into our and Google Form! We’re always happy to help, though we may be slow in replying because of work. 🙂

Thanks for reading and hope Milbert wrote something useful for you! If you want to support teaching everyone about what Mining Engineers do, share this post because we really need to know how important their jobs actually are.

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