Intern-view: Milbert Capistrano on Oceanagold

Welcome to another episode of Intern-view, where The Border Collective interviews former interns of interesting and cool places and where we ask what’s their advice for the next batch of interns.

Please note that any company featured in this series is in no way endorsed by and from TBC. No one’s advocating that you should go intern at our featured places. We just thought that these people had stories and projects that were great to share.

So, 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 today’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!

Today’s episode will be introduced by Bea Pelayo, featuring Milbert Capistrano who interned at Oceanagold.

Related: How To Fix Your Resume in 1 Hour

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 the regular 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…) (Note from Justine: 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.

Related: 6 Criteria To Use For Judging If Something’s Worth The Resume Value

Take note that he’s doing this all while reviewing for the boards on August.When asked about 5 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 wanted 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: Should I Include My Photo in My Resume?

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: Intern-view: Charles Lu on Toyota Motor Philippines

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: Alvin Jason Bravo on PLDT

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: Intern-view: Earl Viray on Nestle Philippines

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: I’m waiting for graduation, what do you think about me interning? – #DearTBC

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: What’s The Difference Between a CV and a Resume?

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. 🙂

In case you have no idea where you are, welcome to The Border Collective, where any question you’ve got on internships, resumes, or careers in the PH can and will be answered. I’m Justine, founder and writer of all things here.

Intern-view is a whole category where we ask people who’ve interned at other places here in Manila to share their experiences and advice for anyone and everyone’s reading. Hopefully from their experiences you’ll feel like there’s a lot more possibilities out there. We want you to feel like sky’s the limit for you!

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