Stricken by polio at the age of five and coming from one of the poorest communities in the country, Bernardo did not allow his physical or financial challenges to conquer him. Without a formal elementary and high school education, he displayed unparalleled tenacity in pursuing tertiary education, completing a degree in Psychology at the Trinity University of Asia. He was immediately hired to serve as coordinator of the Disabled Enablement and Empowerment Program (DEEP), for which Trinity College was awarded as the “1st Disabled Friendly School” in the country.
Eager to pursue further studies, Bernardo went on to achieve his first master degree in management at Trinity University of Asia, and pursued a graduate program in Human Resource Management at the University of Sydney through a scholarship grant from AusAID. Following his stint in Australia, he received a scholarship from the Asian Development Bank to study Master in Development Management at AIM.
To fulfill his promise to utilize his education for the good of his province mates, Bernardo went back to Daet, Camarines Norte after his AIM graduation. He is currently the Research and Marketing Director of Mabini Colleges and also teaches in the College of Business Administration. Bernardo has consistently rendered outstanding voluntary services to the community and is active as area coordinator of the Alyansa ng may Kapansanan sa Pilipinas (National Alliance of Filipinos with Disabilities), and as head of the Provincial Council on
Disability Affairs (PCDA). Under his leadership, he has rendered exemplary services to the community, organizing the 1st Jesse Robredo Youth Leadership Seminar, the 1st Social Enterprise Livelihood Award (SELA) for PWDs, the 1st Kabataang EntrePINOY Challenge for business students, and has helped build communities in Gawad Kalinga, provided assistance to the poorest of the poor through church activities, and manages a scholarship program for hundreds of poor but deserving students.
His exemplary contributions to society have been recognized by national and international award giving bodies. These awards include the 2011 Young Global Leader (World Economic Forum), 2011 MDG Warrior (UNDP Philippine Millenium Campaign), 2010 Bayaning Filipino (ABS-CBN Geny Lopez Foundation), 2009 Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI World), 2008 The Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (JCI Phil.), and the 2008 Apolinario Mabini Presidential Award.