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Angel Cruz

Bukas President Jon Robert Emlano named among Tatler’s Leaders of Tomorrow, Gen. T 2023 List



MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Bukas President Jon Robert Emlano was recognized as one of 300 honourees included in the esteemed Gen T. List 2023 as revealed by Tatler on June 1, 2023. The annual list recognizes young leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives across Asia who are creating positive impact in their own fields.

Bukas’ very own Chief Jon Robert Emlano, one of only 40 honourees from the Philippines, makes the cut under the Finance & Venture Capital category amidst a tough vetting process through leading Bukas, a mission-driven financial technology startup launched in 2019 committed to democratizing access to high-quality education through affordable and secure loans for students.


Gen. T 2023 honourees at Tatler's launch dinner

First Principles Approach

While many players have risen to the challenge and contributed greatly in upgrading the quality of education in the country, Emlano emphasizes the importance of focusing on access and affordability in ensuring no student is left behind—a systems-thinking approach that sets the Bukas team apart as they offer sustainable solutions and services both for the students and the growing list of institutions that they serve.

“By expanding access to education, thousands of students overcome their financial barriers to studying by having their tuition covered by Bukas from their first year until graduation while schools are able to provide more payment options to students and improve their enrollment management in the process. By focusing on this education gap, we’re able to impact tomorrow by equipping the future leaders today,” Emlano shared.

Four years later and with over half a billion worth of tuition funded for more than 17,000 students nationwide, not to mention, a 100-campus strong network of partner schools across the country (and counting), Bukas is set on achieving bigger milestones; scaling the business in terms of impact and reach, and launching new initiatives that would provide greater flexibility for students to finance and finish their studies, in hopes of creating more opportunities for a better future.


Bukas Fest 2023. A student conference organized by Bukas to equip students for their future career paths.

Leader of Tomorrow

Having served various leadership roles throughout his career, Jon Robert has led teams and shaped organizations which have solidified his spot in the Gen. T 2023 List. However, as fitting as the title “Leader of Tomorrow” is for someone who leads a company that literally means “tomorrow” (Bukas) in Filipino, Emlano could not boast enough about his team and the clear role he plays among them:

“Although I’m currently the President of Bukas, it’s less about what I do individually but rather what our team does day in and day out. And that’s to continue to push themselves to reach and service as many students and families as possible so that in the near future no student will have to drop out due to lack of financial options. And that no parent will have to swallow their pride and dignity just to be able to send their children to the best schools in the country. I am just one in a group of people trying to make education a little bit better in our country. In truth, my role is to make everyone in the team be the best version of themselves.”

It is with this unwavering confidence in his team and his years of solid experience in the financial sector that Jon Robert leads Bukas forward, and it’s the same leadership that earned him the title Leader of Tomorrow. In his exact words, “I believe and have faith in our abilities to be creative in problem solving and execute. While I can’t tell what the future holds, I am certain that our team at Bukas is destined to do great things.”


Bukas' General Counsel Cria Pasquil at Tatler's Gen.T 2023 Launch

As a celebration for this year’s Gen. T List, Tatler hosted the Leaders of Tomorrow 2023 Dinner last June 5, 2023 at Shangri-La the Fort. Gen. T Asia Editor Lee Williamson shared that the honourees, like a mythical Phoenix, are leaders who are able to turn challenging moments into opportunities to come back stronger and make a difference—referencing the Gen.T community’s vision. Cria Pasquil, Bukas’ General Counsel, attended the event and received the award on behalf of Emlano.

Learn more about Bukas and how we make education affordable for thousands of Filipino students. Want to get involved? Partner with us or join our team! To stay updated with our latest announcements, connect with us on social media or send us an email.

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Written By

Angel Cruz

A caffeinated storyteller making a difference in education and for the youth, one article at a time.