Saturday, September 21

Faces

Kiana Porras’s call to selfless service

Kiana Porras’s call to selfless service

Faces
by LORRAINE B. LAZARO and MARIA CECILIA O. PAGDANGANAN IF HAVING an unconventional and forward-looking mindset is indeed a powerful tool that can leave an impact on the world, then Kiana Porras is undoubtedly redefining what it means to be an environmental advocate. Kiana’s fervid outlook in life has always been to help the environment. She dedicates her time and service for the earth through volunteering for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Philippines. Despite having to juggle many responsibilities, she believes that every minute of volunteering she offers is her way of paying it forward. “It’s something I really want to do. It’s something that I think may purpose siya at the end of the day. It’s more than just having an impact sa personal life mo,” she says. “It’s also [...]
Froilan Calilung ignites nationalism through teaching

Froilan Calilung ignites nationalism through teaching

Faces
by SYRAH VIVIEN J. INOCENCIO and MARY NICOLE P. MIRANDA THE CLOCK shows four in the morning—it is hours before the break of dawn, but for Froilan Calilung, his day has already started. He rises then sits on the edge of the bed where his wife also lays. He closes his eyes once again and converses with the Man above. Froi, as he is fondly called, stands up and stretches his limbs before heading toward the kitchen where he always makes breakfast for his wife and daughter. His duty as the pillar of the home does not stop there yet. After breakfast, the politics professor eagerly prepares to go to his 7 a.m class to do what he loves the most: teach. Prioritizing learning On a typical Thursday, in the College of Fine Arts and Design where Froi holds his classes for fourth ye
Angelo De Alban rises from the rubble

Angelo De Alban rises from the rubble

Faces
FRUSTRATED with the regressive state of the country, Angelo De Alban carries the needed documents to file his candidacy as he steps inside the headquarters of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Intramuros along with his wife Shao. He does not let himself get fazed by the intimidating questions that the media greets him with, knowing that he is advocating for worthy causes like health and food stability, cultivation of the agriculture sector, fighting for the urban poor, and championing special education, something he keeps close to his heart. “We provide special education in Bulacan. You know, we are the only private school recognized by the government providing special education [...] in our village alone. When we were growing up, we know there are [...] children who nee
A speech therapist’s pledge

A speech therapist’s pledge

Faces
By SYRAH VIVIEN J. INOCENCIO and LORRAINE B. LAZARO BEYOND the pristine and lovely neighborhood of Blue Ridge B, Quezon City is a sanctuary for life-changing miracles: Maria Lena Buhay Memorial Foundation Inc., the country’s first oral school for the deaf. Every day, the foundation’s cherished schoolchildren with bright smiles and big ambitions are given a chance to experience the world better through a rekindling of their God-given gifts. Each day is another opportunity to maximize their potentials through the caring efforts of motivators who believe in and never give up on them. Heading the school is a teacher and a mother who embraces each child with love. Leticia Buhay talks with the students while noticeably pronouncing every single word correctly. Whenever one child is
Benjo Gutierrez wields his pen for the people

Benjo Gutierrez wields his pen for the people

Faces
By ROMMEL BONG R. FUERTES JR. and LORRAINE B. LAZARO ONCE MOVING to the beat of the music, Benjamin Joshua “Benjo” Gutierrez is now moving to the rhythm of his words. The former Salinggawi Dance Troupe captain used to participate in cheerdance competitions for the tiger university, but since  bagging his diploma, he found himself focusing more on a much bigger fight: a fight to let people know the harsh reality of life, which he faces through writing. “Nabuhay ako sa cheerleading; ‘yun ang bumuhay sa akin. Pero for me, tapos na ako sa phase na ‘yun. May mas [malaki] na ako na kalaban, may iba na akong ipinaglalaban,” he says. An avenue for others As a cheerleader from high school up to college, Benjo, who used to juggle his priorities and responsibilities for both his ac
Reymark Simbulan is ready to rise again

Reymark Simbulan is ready to rise again

Faces
By JOY THERESE C. GOMEZ A FATEFUL incident that happened almost two years ago left Reymark Simbulan with a temporary handicap. In a bout with overpowering tendencies to end his life, Reymark jumped from his condominium unit on the 17th floor. While his life has never been the same since then, the repercussions of the episode turned out to be a way for him to fully embrace and accept himself. The former Artlet Student Council president calls the process of recovery a “war”—it does not come without sacrifices, and it is a series of battles that he needs to overcome one by one to become stronger and more resilient. Reymark also says that although he had to give up certain goals like bagging Latin honors and being able to play sports, the setback has not stopped him from movin
Neil Sebastian brings reality to the reel

Neil Sebastian brings reality to the reel

Faces
By SYRAH VIVIEN J. INOCENCIO and JOAHNA LEI E. CASILAO IN A time when apathy is said to persist among the youth, Neil Sebastian promotes interest in social issues through what he creates best: films. The budding filmmaker marries his beliefs and advocacies with every film he produces. Similar to how a little pebble creates ripples when dropped into water, Neil aims to make an impact on his audience one film at a time. “‘Yung mga goal ko na gawin na film [is] something that makes people think, makes people decide, makes people know about a certain issue. I always make sure that [the film] is something relevant,” he says. The philosophy freshman also asserts that a film should consist of the filmmaker’s stand on a social matter. For him, it is not only about spreading aware
A resilient daughter’s silent battle cry

A resilient daughter’s silent battle cry

Faces
AN ALARM goes off at 4 a.m., which obviously startled Jelena Candice Santos. She quickly turns off the device in fear of waking up the whole household who also had a fairly long day yesterday. Candice lingers for a minute after she awakens, bracing herself for yet another day of making ends meet. On her way to prepare breakfast, the young lady walks past her parents’ room and catches a glimpse of her mom sleeping; she is quickly reminded of the circumstances that require her to be strong. As Candice descends to the kitchen, she sees that her older sister is already up as well and they proceed to cook breakfast side by side. “Tulungan kami ngayon, although minsan hindi talaga maiwasan na may times na naiisip namin na bakit ang endless nung problems, bakit hindi natatapos,” s
UST Sinag Ballroom Dance Company steps into the limelight

UST Sinag Ballroom Dance Company steps into the limelight

Faces
THE STUDIO is filled with upbeat music, its rhythm compelling the people in dancing shoes to warm up in preparation for the intense training that is about to commence. Some dancers stretch their bodies, preparing it for a tiring rehearsal, while others practice swinging in tiptoes like poetry in motion. Members of UST Sinag Ballroom Dance Company sway in perfect synchronization as if they are used to the rigor of ballroom dancing, their faces painted with smiles proving their love for dancing. Notable Artlet dancers are seen scattered in different areas of the studio: Rochelle Salvador is preparing materials in one corner, Reign Juanico is training with his seniors, and Kathreen Dave enters the studio a minute later. Like ballerinas in music boxes, the lives of these Arle...
Paul Castillo moves the world one word at a time

Paul Castillo moves the world one word at a time

Faces
By LORRAINE B. LAZARO and THERESE MARIE F. UNGSON JUST AS artists have their craft, Paul Castillo has his words. He uses his passion for writing to leave an impact on the world. While revisiting his journey, a smile appears on his face. For Paul, writing is not just a simple act of composition—writing must give back to society and be a part of history. Despite being in his 30s, the writer ensures that he is able to incorporate the traditions of writing while keeping up with the trends of society. Being a former NSTP facilitator and now an instructor under the Faculty’s Department of Literature as well as a resident fellow at the Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies, Paul had the chance to view the world through a wider perspective and share it with today’s ge