Wednesday, January 23

Faces

Mark Anthony Abenir: Redefining Success

Mark Anthony Abenir: Redefining Success

Faces
By MARK JOSEPH B. FERNANDEZ and JULIA MARI T. ORNEDO MARK ANTHONY Abenir stands on one side of his office flipping through documents, his tall figure looming over piles of paperwork stacked on the table. He adjusts his black jacket and the black frames perched atop his nose as he walks back to his desk—a  vision of a simple man living in his own simple world. This was not always the kind of life he dreamed of. In high school, Abenir envisioned a future as opulent as the lives of all the celebrities he watched on television—full of grand mansions, luxury cars, and all the riches his heart desired. However, as he stepped into the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) as a philosophy student, all these plans changed. After spending a week living in a community of Aetas, Abenir realize
Analiza Yanga: Living a life of service

Analiza Yanga: Living a life of service

Faces
STUDENTS FROM the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB)  slowly occupied the hallways of the St. Raymund de Peñafort building as some of the afternoon classes came to end. Asst. Prof. Analiza Yanga left a classroom and calmly walked through the busy hallways toward a different room—not for another lecture—but to do her work for the AB Community Development (ABCD). Yanga admits that switching between her work as an educator and as the coordinator for the ABCD can be difficult to handle. Nevertheless, she sees both teaching and community service as things that are very close to her heart. For her, it is "just a matter of managing time" and most importantly, loving and enjoying her work. Her passion for community service, which started early after adopting teachings from her elementary c
Nerisa del Carmen Guevara: In the eyes of an artist

Nerisa del Carmen Guevara: In the eyes of an artist

Faces
By LORRAINE B. LAZARO THE BEATING of the drums was the beginning of it all. It was just another ordinary day when the busy streets of Malate transformed into a big stage for Nerisa del Carmen Guevara. As she placed down her teacher’s bag, she began to freely sway with the wind, her movements expressing all that she is. That defining moment changed her life completely. Performing had become innate in her. It was her energy that transformed into passion enough to keep her alive. Art had become her life. “If I don’t do what I do, I don’t know if I can still call myself ‘Ms. G’. This is me. It’s more a part of me than my Instagram. This defines me more than anything else,” she says with a warm smile on her face, reminiscing her experiences. Being influenced by artists like L
John Nepomuceno: Finding hope amid adversity

John Nepomuceno: Finding hope amid adversity

Faces
By JULIA MARI T. ORNEDO JOHN NEPOMUCENO sits with his hands clasped, eyes fixated on the table. He is struggling to follow his train of thought. His heartened discussion on special needs individuals was disrupted by the stream of cars rushing through Dapitan just across his seat in the café. “Na-distract ako sa mga kotse,” he chuckles. “That’s why I don’t study here anymore.” Growing up, John noticed that he was different from most kids: he was always a little too energetic, a little too playful, a little too easily distracted. His mother noticed it, too, but it was only upon her friends’ encouragement that she finally decided to get her son checked. At the age of five, John was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Today, at 21 years old, John advoca
Shannen Palec: Leading with perseverance and humility

Shannen Palec: Leading with perseverance and humility

Faces
By FATE EMERALD M. COLOBONG and LORRAINE B. LAZARO GUSHES OF the fresh wind from her hometown slowly faded as she moved to a new city to test her luck. The volleyball player from Passi, Iloilo casts a smile on her face as she shares her greatest motivation to play in Manila—making her province proud. “Kung hindi dahil sa volleyball, hindi ako makakalaro dito, hindi ako [makakakuha ng] scholarship, hindi ako [makakarating] sa Manila, hindi ako makakatulong sa province, [and I wouldn’t get to] inspire others,” she says as her eyes sparkle with passion and determination. Taking advantage of her God-given height, Shannen Palec has been striking and acing volleyball since her first year in high school. As a girl who grew up in the province, she shares the struggles she experienc
Joanna Estorque: Working Beyond Self-Limitations

Joanna Estorque: Working Beyond Self-Limitations

Faces
By CRISTINA ELOISA A. BACLIG “YOU DON'T have to limit yourself.” This is what Joanna Estorque, a proud student assistant at UST, firmly believes as she strives to do more things beneficial not only to her, but to other people. Despite the demanding subjects and deadlines in her hectic life as a Journalism student in the Faculty of Arts and Letters, Joanna decided to apply for a scholarship program—the San Lorenzo Ruiz scholarship, a student assistance scholarship granted to students who need financial support and are willing to spend 20 to 30 assistantship hours per week in the University. Although it took a year for her scholarship application to be processed, it was all worthwhile for Estorque when she finally got accepted as a student assistant at the UST Museum. “Ang
Baby Ruth Villarama: Portraying Reality in the Silver Screen

Baby Ruth Villarama: Portraying Reality in the Silver Screen

Faces
“A WINDOW to the world.” This is how documentary filmmaker Baby Ruth Villarama describes the television features that took up her Saturday afternoons as a child; she was always anticipating the day’s National Geographic Society special. She never truly understood why she was drawn to those 30-minute features. Maybe it was the storytelling, or maybe it was something bigger. But to the young Villarama, they were a “childhood window to the world—parang all of a sudden, you’re part of it na.” In an unexpected turn of events, Villarama eventually became one of the members of the first all-Filipino documentary production team for “Asia’s Titanic,” a National Geographic feature. Years later, the director secured herself a seat at the helm of documentary filmmaking, creat
Kristelle Batchelor: Finding her Home-court Advantage

Kristelle Batchelor: Finding her Home-court Advantage

Faces
SEVEN THOUSAND thirty-five miles. Kristelle Batchelor walked into the La PanotiQ bakery cafe, welcomed by its gray walls, tiled floors and front glass windows. She put on her black apron and greeted each customer with a smile. She was 7,035 miles away from her home and her true love. Her body longed for the adrenaline rush, the cheering crowds, and cameras that pointed towards her. She worked espresso machines, cleaned tables, and swept leaves outside the cafe, but her heart was somewhere else. “I’ve experienced it,” she says. “Nothing else fulfills me more than being a courtside reporter.” Courtside Courage The excitement and chatter of the sports section have always interested Batchelor even if she entered the Varsitarian as a special reports writer during her second
The King Tiger’s Last Chance

The King Tiger’s Last Chance

Faces
HE WILL not be another King Tiger clutching his soaked jersey at the end of the season, wondering why the championship would only let them get close—but never close enough. Not on his last year. Louie Philippe Vigil had his fair share of court heartbreaks when the Growling Tigers succumbed to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws last year, and the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles last 2012. Both championship games ended with a bridesmaid finish for UST, worsened by several allegations that marred the team as they tried to bounce back. “Naramdaman ko na para akong namatay,” Vigil says with a sullen look. “Ang sakit na ayoko na mag-basketball or kung maglalaro ako, dapat laging panalo. Ayoko na ma-feel ang gano’ng pakiramdam.” As the reigning King Tiger this season,
Cyrus Valdez: Making the Cut

Cyrus Valdez: Making the Cut

Faces
HE THOUGHT, and there was nothing. Cyrus Jay Valdez and his team of 11 were down to filming their last few scenes of the short film Forever Natin. Time was running out. He was almost at his breaking point. Was he going to let the pressure get to him? “If I fail, then it’s going to be a stepping stone. A challenge is not a failure,” he says. “Everyone fails, and everyone should fail para makapag-progress because if you don’t fail hindi ka magpro-progress.” Cyrus only discovered that he had to fall in order to rise and be a step closer to his dream of sitting on a director’s chair, calling all the shots. Taking Control The world of show business was no secret to the young Valdez. It was there where his love for the industry began. He spent his childhood starring in movies