photo by Angeline M. Tanqueco/THE FLAME
BREATHE IN, breathe out. These were the things that Marilen Balolong, a University of the Philippines Manila microbiology professor, did freely one calm morning while jogging around their neighborhood in Alabang.
With no one around in sight, Balolong freely inhaled the morning breeze without the inconvenient mask the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to wear.
While people like Balolong have to ensure that an area is not that crowded before removing their face masks, it wasn’t that bad compared to the situation two years ago. Back then, people had to wear both face masks and face shields to protect themselves. The face shield requirement was then lifted, making it easier for people to move around.
On Oct. 28, 2022, President Ferdin...
art by Tcheky Nicole D. Cabrera/ THE FLAME
THE DAY before the Ukraine invasion was a normal day for Filipino migrant worker Joy Tolentino.
After work, she went to her phone—peacefully scrolling her social media—without anticipating the storm that was to come. She went to sleep feeling at ease. It was five in the morning of the following day when her phone suddenly rang—an unusual event for her.
On the other end of the line was a Filipino reporter, telling her that a war had begun in Ukraine.
The words woke her. She immediately got up from her bed and walked towards the window. She opened the curtains and saw what was happening outside: panic; traffic; an exodus.
She must immediately leave Ukraine, the country she left home for a living, to save her life.
A run f...
DESPITE THE bumpy road, Matthew Opeña has long accepted his situation.
Opeña’s condition presented when he had to explain his inversive actions and how his pace was not as linear as his peers.
At an early age, Opeña was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
His whole family migrated to Canada years after being diagnosed. Living in an unfamiliar landscape, he had no choice but to adjust his mental condition and lifestyle to a foreign culture.
Growing up with ADHD, he narrated how his desire for self-gratification made him act out of impulse so that he could actually quench his thirst for constant dopamine.
Opeña said, “Living with it is actually difficult because I am always eager to get something done quickly and sometimes no matter ...
PHOTO BY LILA MORTEL / THE FLAME
How was your day so far as a music coordinator?
“For me, super hectic. Kasi it’s not just na binabantayan mo sila [na talent], but also yung welfare nila. When it comes to, not only the music or yung itutugtog [nila] na equipment, but also kung comfy sila. So if may need sila, kaming talent coordinator will provide for them. Kasi being a talent coordinator is not just communication, but also taking care of your talent, kaya talent coordinator.”
What is your Paskuhan bucket list when you're off duty?
“For me, I think I’m gonna go out with my friends because hectic. And since it’s Paskuhan, ayon, I’ll go out with my friends and orgmates after this.”
- Gany Soriano, UST Paskuhan Talent Coor...
PHOTO BY ANICA LORAN/THE FLAME
Tell us about your cosplay today, bakit ka nagcosplay today?
“Actually, the reason why I cosplayed today is because I want to express myself din, kasi it’s a fun hobby since I struggle with anxiety sometimes. So I feel like this is stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit, and this is a way for me to do that.
Tell us about the character that you are cosplaying, can you describe why ‘yun ‘yung napili mo for today.
I chose Anya from Spy x Family because I really like her character. I started reading the manga before it became animated, so I really like the way that her character […] even though she can read minds, she sometimes messes it up. And it goes to show that not everything is as simple as...
PHOTO BY LILA MORTEL/THE FLAME
Illumina, What do you and your bandmates like to do after your set?
"Actually, we always enjoy our time, and sometimes we eat out and spend our time together, [...] pero mainly we review our performance to improve on our future set."
How was your set earlier?
"Okay naman... It could be better. May mga problema pero masaya,"
"It's good to be back with Sam and Andrei."
Anong plano niyo after your set? Whats your paskuhan plans after this ?
"Actually, wala kaming long term plan---"
"No, we have plans, yes! We plan to go to Enchanted Kingdom and celebrate our success together [...]We are going to celebrate it by going to many many tourist spots and amusement pa...
PHOTO BY KATRINA GINETE/THE FLAME
Sinong Paskuhan date mo?
“Nobody. [These flowers are] for my friend who’s gonna give it to her jowa.”
May backlogs ka pa ba or malaya ka na?
“I think it’s all over. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
What can you say about the safety and security measures that are being implemented this Paskuhan?
“In terms of the health [security], I guess they should [ have put more] disinfectant stations around the campus and in terms of security, [...] I do take issue with the one entry one exit [policy]. I think people should at least have the chance to leave. It does more harm than good basically.”
- Alecx Ymson, Faculty of Pharmacy
INTERVIEW BY IRISH FERY
PHOTO BY ANICA LORAN/THE FLAME
Nakailang Paskuhan na kayo dito sa UST?
“Siguro mga anim—pito.[...] Noong bago magpandemya, sunod-sunod ‘yon. Tapos, ngayon na [lang] ulit.”
Ano ang mga napansin ninyong pagbabago sa Paskuhan ngayong taon?
“Ngayon, hindi na masyadong marami [ang] mga tao. Noon kasi, ganitong oras, madami nang tao. [Ngayon], onti [pa] lang kasi mahigpit kasi ang guwardiya eh.”
- Romeo Perez, Ice Cream Vendor, 58
INTERVIEW BY VERSY MENDOZA
Photo by Lila Mortel/THE FLAME
What is your backstage ritual for preparing for your concert?
"I think I mentioned this before sa kaibigan ko, yung huddle. […] Parang, motto namin is to enjoy the stage. If you make mistakes, just forget them and just have fun on stage so.. We just say that paulit-ulit. And pray.
How are you guys feeling? [now that] you are playing for a crowd for as big as Paskuhan?
"Excited na may kaba."
"May kaba kasi it's our largest crowd as of now."
Do you guys have any message for your fans or your crowd?
"We have fans? Siguro thank you again for the support, kasi we wouldn't be here if it weren't for them. The performance that we gave 'nung Tunog Tomasino is just a small part why we're here but most of it comes from our fans, our supporters."
PHOTO BY RAINIEL FIGUEROA/ THE FLAME
FACES OF DAPITAN - “Paskuhan”
What's your backstage ritual before performing?
“Siguro, ano, I drink lukewarm water, mahilig ako sa tubig pero syempre as a singer hindi ako pwedeng uminom ng cold water. And also, I try to get myself into [the] mood, na parang galit ako ganon, para ano stage presence.”
How do you feel right now, performing for Paskuhan, the first one since 2019?
“We’re excited, kasi first time namin to but also first time nang ganto kalaki na crowd and also special siya since tutugtog ako in front of my fellow Thomasians, were excited.”
Do you have a message for your fans?
“Tignan niyo yung ginawa kong lyric guide, [it’s] like a chant guide, […] para makasabay sila sa live performance.”
- Sean Archer, Tunog Tomasin...