COVER PHOTOS BY KAT A. MALLILLIN AND AIH MENDOZA
PHOTO BY RYAN Y. RACCA
Apa M. Agbayani Editor-in-Chief
Luminaries Editors: Roman C. Mirasol and Nadine Y. Ramos Personalities Editors: Margarita A. Contreras and Chino L. Cruz
Arianna Y. Lim Associate EditoR Janina B. de Leon Managing Editor Karlo C. Amparo Design Executive Editor
Photo Editor: Aih Mendoza Finance and Logistics Manager: Max V. Austria Writers: Athena A. Batanes, Nicole C. Ceballos, Kara B. Chung, Fredrick P. Cruz, Keisha D. Kibanoff, Pauline V. Miranda, Andie D. Reyes and Gisella F. Velasco Photographers: Kat A. Mallillin and Jessica L. Roasa Logistics Staff: Carmelita R. Jocson Contributors: Czarina B. Dycaico, Shanice A. Garcia, Jessica Gutierrez, Kitkat L. Lastimosa, Ryan Y. Racca, Arthur Tan and Isabella L. Yatco
Table of Contents Message from the editor
LEGENDS IN THE MAKING
PHOTO BY JESSICA L. ROASA
A Message from the editor SO THIS is the end. The GUIDON proudly presents the Graduation Magazine 2014. We’ve brought together a few of the faculty, staff and students who’ve made an impact on batch 2014 in the four or five years we’ve spent in the Ateneo. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, we hope it makes for a historic snapshot of some of the university’s unforgettable people and the stories they have to tell. We hope it makes for a good read not just tonight at graduation—the ceremony is long—but in the coming years, when you feel like remembering what will then be “the good old days” or “simpler times.” While graduation may feel like the end of a journey, this is no time to rest on our laurels, or rest at all. Let this not be an end to the struggle with the questions that linger. You may not have it all figured out, but keep wondering, keep doubting, keep hoping, keep looking.
Apa M. Agbayani Editor-in-Chief The GUIDON 2013-2014
TIMELINE Research by Athena A. Batanes and Keisha D. Kibanoff FOUR YEARS have come and gone since batch 2014 first stepped foot in the Ateneo. Hereâ€™s a rundown of key events throughout our stay in college.
Batch 2014 holds OrSem Zoom 2010.
The Blue Eagles clinch three-peat with MVP Ryan Buenafeâ€™s clutch three-pointer.
The Ateneo College Glee Club emerge as champions in the 33rd Varna International May Choir Competition.
August Ateneo Dollhouse celebrates its 10th anniversary. August 16 Automated voting is used for the first time in the Sanggunian elections.
Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ starts his first term as the University President succeeding Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ.
Political party Crusada forms an alliance with the Ateneo de Manila University Employees’ and Workers’ Union.
The Blue Eagles nab a four-peat in a finals sweep against the FEU Tamaraws.
August Megaforce Integrated Security Agency takes over after Leopard Security and Investigation Agency. Kwiz Bibo replaces Sagala ng mga Sikat in celebrating Buwan ng Wika.
November 21 South Korean President Lee MyungBak sits down with Ateneans in his University visit.
August 12 Ateneans rally against SM Development Corporation’s Blue Residences.
PHOTO BY JESSICA L. ROASA
2012 January 13
After an 18-year hiatus, the Ateneo College Fair is held on campus grounds.
A habagat hits the Philippines, flooding Metro Manila.
Atenean alumnae Arielle Vidal and Kimberly Go discover a new water beetle species Hydranea ateneo on campus.
The new Faber Hall is inaugurated.
The Blue Eagles make history with the historic five-peat win in yet another finals sweep.
Casiguran locals, joined by some members of the Ateneo community, reach the University Road in Ateneo their march against Apeco.
2013 January to March Entablado celebrates its 30th year with the play Labaw Donggon.
First ever second semester bonfire is held.
Fr. Roque Ferriols, SJ announces retirement after 50 years of service.
The one-way traffic scheme is implemented.
The Ateneo joins the University of the Philippines-Diliman and Miriam College in the Katipunan Kontra Korupsyon rally against pork barrel.
Ateneans conducts a series of relief operations for victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
February 18 The Ateneo starts its shuttle system.
November 21 Campus kidnapping incident raises concern regarding campus security.
The Sanggunian has its third consecutive large-scale failure of elections, this time leaving the Top Four positions vacant.
The Lady Spikers bag their historic first UAAP title.
February 12 Bomb threat in ADMU causes a campus-wide evacuation. February 18 The Blue Batters successfully defend their UAAP championship title.
March 26 Batch 2014 comes together one last time for Panorama: Blue Roast 2014.
Leaders JOHN MAXWELL once said, “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” The true test of leadership in the Ateneo is not merely being able to pull off projects and receiving recognition for your efforts. Rather, it is about being of true service to the community. It’s about making an impact that matters and is remembered.
PHOTO BY AIH MENDOZA
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PHOTO BY AIH MENDOZA
JB Capinpin By Arianna Y. Lim
“YOU WERE the Managing Editor of The GUIDON and now you’re Managing Editor of Aegis, captain of the track and field team, head of OrSem and head of Blue Roast. Am I missing anything?” I ask. JB Capinpin has been involved in so many organizations and special projects throughout his college stay that he actually has to take a few seconds to make sure nothing was left out. “Okay, wala,” he finally says. On top of his extra-curricular activities, the management senior will also be graduating with three minors: Strategic human resource management, decision science and enterprise development under the School of Management Business Accelerator program. Considering most students have enough difficulty juggling academics with one, maybe two extra-curricular activities, it’s hard to wrap one’s head around what Capinpin’s to-do list must look like. “It sucks that you’re always on the go and you have to plan out your day down to the hour,” he admits. “But it felt weird when I had nothing to do. Sobrang restless ko,” he says with a laugh.
“One of the things I really like about leading these projects is the opportunity to lead and make mistakes while I’m still in college,” he explains. “These special projects, these activities, they become my training ground for the potential things I’ll be doing in the future.” But taking on leadership roles has never been just about himself, either. “My journey in the Ateneo has been, in a way, a giving back to the school,” he says. “For Blue Roast and Aegis, it was about giving back to the seniors who have helped in my development as a leader. For OrSem, it was a way of returning a favor to the school that has given so much to me.” Ironically, the yearbook managing editor and the Blue Roast head will not be graduating with Batch 2014; he’ll be taking a fifth year to finish his minors and focus on the Blue Tracksters. “Next year, what I’m planning is to devote more time to my sport.” He estimates that this will be his 11th year on the track and field team, but as it will be his last, he wants it to be memorable. Topping his list of ways Capinpin wants to be remembered is “Mr. I-Do-Everything.” To be sure, no one will argue that he’s earned that title—along with his plans for right after college: “I’m going to rest.”
Leaders | 9
VON CRUZ By Margarita A. Contreras
ENTERING UNIVERSITY life, whether or not in the Ateneo, is definitely a big change in all aspects. For some, this change means more than leaving the familiar high school setting; For some, it also means leaving the comforts of their own homes and venture off by themselves in unfamiliar places. “ARSA (Ateneo Resident Students Association) welcomed me to the Ateneo, so I felt that it was just right to give back and share what I can to the organization,” says outgoing ARSA President and Batangas native Von Cruz when asked on why he decided to take on his leadership position. “With ARSA, you find your home away from home,” he adds. Cruz began his service in ARSA as early as freshman year, through his leadership in projects. “I started out as Marketing Executive for ARSAfest, on its first year,” he says. Given that the project was still on its pioneer year then, Cruz admits that he found it a bit difficult to endorse. However, all
PHOTO BY AIH MENDOZA the hard work paid off and the first ever ARSAfest was a success. “After the good feedback [of ARSAfest], I felt that it was time to get a leadership position,” he adds. In his sophomore year, Cruz ran for the position of batch representative and nabbed it. In the following year, he filled the position of Vice President for Finance, until finally in his senior year, he finally became ARSA President. “The best thing about being in ARSA is that everyone lives under the same roof,” he jokingly says. While the convenience of living so near each other does greatly benefit the organization, ARSA is much more than this. “There is the perfect balance of familial and professional relationships,” he adds. This same balance is perhaps the key to the organization’s different victories and successes. Above all, Cruz believes that the holistic formation that the Ateneo has given him is the what he will value most as he goes down the hill. “Masarap maging Atenista kasi, dito, tinutulungan ka maging buo at totoong tao,” he concludes.
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PHOTO BY KARA B. CHUNG
JV POE By Janina B. de Leon
SERVING ONE’S term in the Sanggunian is never a walk in the park, especially when majority of the student population seems to be “turned off” by the system of the student government. With that, it’s easy for student representatives to feel disheartened. Communications technology management senior JV Poe has been part of the Sanggunian since his sophomore year, where he was his block’s representative. In the last three years, he has seen what the Sanggunian is capable of given its autonomy and ability to mobilize resources. “There are almost no limits [to what the Sanggunian can do]... As long as it’s a legitimate student need, we should be able to do it,” he explains. Prior to his stint as chairperson of the John Gokongwei School of Management (JGSOM) in his senior year, Poe served as the school board’s secretary-treasurer. Poe aimed to rectify what the body was doing for its constituents. He spearheaded an “experimental year” to point to solutions most needed by JGSOM.
According to Poe, his experience in the Sanggunian wasn’t a typical one, having witnessed two failures in the general elections. The trial-and-error approach was not easy, but he learned to appreciate the hard work that comes with pursuing one’s passions. When you can’t pursue certain goals at a particular time, “adjust the environment to make it one where you can pursue those kinds of goals,” he shares. Poe believes in the potential of the Sanggunian and its officers, and his terms only fortified his reasons for serving. “What [the Sanggunian] has to offer is the purest form of service. I don’t think it’s a self-serving kind of work. In fact it’s really outward,” he says. If anything, Ateneo taught Poe to love—to love the work he does, and to love the people around him. Whether it’s the Sanggunian or organizational work, his academics, or the numerous acquaintances he makes, they are all a testament to how Poe has realized his philosophy of love. “When you fall in love with a student organization, you really give it your all, or as much of it as you can and know how to give.”
Leaders | 11
BARCE BARCELON By Arianna Y. Lim
BARCE BARCELON is nothing if not earnest. Some may remember that his tagline when he ran for Sanggunian president in his junior year was “Puso.” It isn’t your usual political tagline, to say the least, but it sums up the health sciences major quite well. When he began college, Barcelon had just wrapped up a commendable four years in the Sanggunian of the Ateneo High School. “But college was a different ball game,” he says. “I had to get to know myself, understand where I could really make an impact.” Thus began another four years in the university Sanggunian, beginning as his block representative, then working as Assistant to the President for Special Projects in his sophomore year. As a junior he served as the School of Science and Engineering Junior Central Board Representative and, after being bested for the presidency, spent senior year as the head of the Ateneo Disaster Response and Management (Dream) Team Student Arm. Of course, there have been occasions in the past when such commitments got in the way of appealing alternatives. However, Barcelon believes
that his leadership roles have been central to both his personal development and his awareness of how he can best be of service to society. “I continue to do what I do because of the good things I get myself involved in. It helps me get to know myself more,” he says. On that note, though he says his varying positions in the last four years have each been impactful in their own ways, he pinpoints his work with the Dream Team as the most defining. He was a member of the team the year prior, but 2013’s supertyphoon Yolanda created a challenge of unparalleled proportions. “It really brought out the best and worst in me. I think it was really a life-changing experience.” He adds, “Things like ‘man for others,’ ‘magis,’ I think this year is the only year I really understood what those meant.” After years of service in the Ateneo, his takeaway is the steadfast commitment to searching for where he is called to make the greatest impact in his own small ways. “One important lessons that I’ve learned from all my leadership positions is that our country, our world, doesn’t need heroes, we need people to be heroic. ‘Di natin kailangan ng bayani, kailangan natin ng bayanihan.”
PHOTO BY AIH MENDOZA
NEWSMAKERS THEY HAVE taken the place of buzzwords on campusâ€”people who have been at the front lines of rallies, changed perspectives and forged paths that were previously uncharted.
PHOTOS BY AIH MENDOZA
Newsmakers | 13
RICO LA VIña By Apa M. Agbayani
IN PLATO’S The Republic, the ideal polis is led by the philosopher-king. While critics of Plato disagree on the feasibility of a society led by philosophers and the Ateneo student government hasn’t seen a philosophy major in the top position in four years, Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement (Crusada) Party Premier Rico La Viña makes for a good argument for The Republic. La Viña joined Crusada after “an existential crisis” left him reevaluating his priorities for his college life. “When I became a member of Crusada. I guess that’s where I really found a synthesis of everything I liked doing: Organizing, debating, philosophy and social advocacy,” he says. A particular highlight for La Viña was when Crusada members formed the Ateneo Task Force Anti-Apeco to join farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people from Casiguran, Aurora in protest the building of a freeport and economic zone on their land. The group organized a march
throughout the Ateneo as well as forums on the issue. “The Casiguran march, that’s something I’ll never forget… That’s the first time my friends were telling me, ‘Oh, you’re showing emotions for once. You actually look like you care,’” La Viña says with a smile. “I was really involved in it, e.” While it’s a proud moment for him, he acknowledges that there’s much more work to be done. “There’s progress but how much progress, really? It seems like justice is still so far,” La Viña says. “It’s kind of bittersweet. On one hand, I realize that you can do these kinds of things, but then you also realize, so what? It’s not something that’s easy.” He asks, “What does changing the world actually mean?” And at once you see that La Viña is a student of philosophy whose study goes well beyond navel-gazing. He’s one that dives headfirst into the problems of a broken world and works towards fixing it. Naturally, he doesn’t have an answer to his question yet, but don’t worry. He’s looking.
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(L-R: Kayle Salcedo, Harvey Chua and Maureen Erni)
Youth against Pork By Fredrick P. Cruz
ON AUGUST 26 of 2013, Youth Against Pork (YAP)—armed with tarpaulin banners and pig mascots—joined other concerned citizens in a gathering in Luneta during the “Million People March” to protest the highly controversial pork barrel system. The group wowed the crowd with renditions of “Awit ng Kabataan,” mimicking Martial-Law-era protests when students burst into patriotic songs during rallies. For YAP, however, being political should not be restricted to street demonstrations. Over a Saturday lunch at the University of the Philippines’ Bahay ng Alumni café sometime in August 2013, young professionals and student-leaders from Manila-based universities convened to begin a “network of youth organizations… exploring alternatives to a pork-free administration.” In “exploring alternatives,” YAP meant to go beyond anti-establishment speeches and actually engaging students, civil society members and even government officials through consultations, round-table discussions and lobbying.
In fact, according to Kayle Salcedo, a political science senior and The Assembly’s representative to YAP, the anti-pork youth group enabled him to gain inside access to the very place that the pork barrel system called home: The Batasan. “I remember having to cut a class just to go there,” Salcedo says. YAP assigned him to take charge of personally handing letters to congressmen, urging them to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). “Hindi pa man kami nakakakatok sa opisina nila, may lumapit nang mga guard at sinabi, ‘Sir, ano po ‘yang dala ninyo’? (We hadn’t even knocked on their office door when a guard came up to us and asked, ‘Sir, what’s that that you have with you?)” Months after the incident, the Supreme Court declared the PDAF unconstitutional, an affirmation of what YAP stands for. Still, this has not lulled the youth group to complacency. “We are currently communicating with DBM (Department of Budget and Management) about the bottom-up budgeting,” Salcedo reveals. For Salcedo and his friends in YAP, the crusade for transparency is just beginning.
Newsmakers | 15
The galley By Kara B. Chung
DAY IN and day out, students, teachers and personnel flock to the lobby of the Rizal Library to get their hands on a sandwich or two. At around 12 PM, an expectedly long line forms around a nautical-themed stand-alone stall. The Galley—which gets its name from the kitchen of a ship—and its healthy to-go sandwiches has become a favorite among Ateneans for the past two years, and understandably so. Before earning the special role of being a stand-alone stall, The Galley started out as a John Gokongwei Student Enterprise Center (JSEC) initiative by Micco Sollano, EG Bautista, Pao Juan and Mickey Agoncillo. The judges accepted the team during the last of three contest phases. The recently constructed wing of JSEC opened space for “wildcard” passers—giving the team another shot. “That was such a negative blow. But, we stayed together and we got in,” says Bautista. “We could only do so much planning for both the JSEC Challenge and eventually JSEC it-
self without any guarantee that the students would love our food concept just as much as we did,” says Juan. He adds that they were also fortunate that they saw the need for healthier food options in school, something that the other participants seemed to miss. Agoncillo attributes the success of their business venture to the healthy relations that they have built, with customers, employees, and between co-owners. “Our practicing pakikisama has carried us through some of the toughest times and has driven us to share our time, resources, and selves with our fellow Filipinos,” she says. Bautista believes that what kept the stall afloat was their promise towards their customers in terms of taste and service. “We provided the students exactly what they needed: healthy, on-the-go food,” he says. Indeed, the Galley has created a huge following, with people constantly patronizing their Lifesavers. The challenge never truly ends for The Galley as they sail toward bigger seas. With their unmatched entrepreneurial experience in running their business in the Loyola Schools, these individuals are destined for bigger things out there.
(L-R: E.G. Bautista, Micco Sollano, Pao Juan and Mickey Agoncillo)
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(L-R: Allan Cabrera and Dwight Tan)
Ateneo Debate Society By Apa M. Agbayani
THEY SAY talk is cheap. And in the Ateneo, a lot of it is. There are the inexperienced Sanggunian candidates, the anonymous sexists, the political commentators kuno and more. How strange it must be, then, to be the Ateneo Debate Society (ADS), an organization that, apart from competing locally and internationally, seeks to elevate discourse on campus. The ADS has a reputation for training excellent speakers. “I chose the ADS for the same reason that plenty of others do: The opportunity to be part of that legacy,” says outgoing ADS President Dwight Tan. But he adds, “I realize now it’s way more than that. I’ve forged great friendships, and the leadership and travel opportunities are fantastic too.” Throughout the last academic year, the Ateneo played witness to a discursive shitstorm, and everyone seemed to have an opinion on the direction of the Sanggunian, or the role of women in the Ateneo. The ADS and its members attempted to anchor the discussion and drive it in a positive
direction. “I guess we all just saw how bad things were getting and decided we’ve had enough, first as individuals and later as a collective,” says Tan. “This year we’ve had candidates claiming national involvement is not for students, sexists posting on the Secret Files and more. People took stands, and we did too. We were just one of the loudest and most visible voices out there.” What makes the organization’s commentary different, in a sense, is a point blank, walang personalan approach with an acute focus on the issues at hand. Tan explains, “We’re more outspoken about issues even if it can be uncomfortable. We defend what we believe in aggressively, which I guess a lot of people aren’t used to.” “A lot of people call us bullies. I don’t think we are, just that we have a confrontational and political way of being involved.” I ask Tan one last question, “Why debate?” “You debate because you have a massive ego that needs to be validated by arguing against people to the point of submission,” he jokes. “That, or because it’s a beautiful way to express, improve and think about your ideas on making the world a better place.”
ARTISTS DEFYING CONVENTION seems to be the one thing shared by these artists, who have created new things out of sound, light and syntax. Though the craft itself is nothing new, they have managed to bring something completely new to the table. These men and women still have a long way to go in honing their skills, but we have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse.
PHOTOS BY AIH MENDOZA
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Abner Dormiendo By Keisha D. Kibanoff
HYPOTHESIS: TALKING to philosophy senior Abner Dormiendo is like the wink when waiting for the punch line. You hold your breath, and— “I love dead baby jokes, which is bad. What do you call a baby with no arms, no legs and nailed to a wall?”Art.” The conversation changes topic at breakneck speed. His writing is grounded and resonant, contrasting with how candid he is in person. His poem “Liham Bago Ka Lumisan,” which was first published in Heights, Vol. LX No. 3, reads, “Marahan kong binabalot / ng katahimikan ang mga salitang / hindi ko mabitiwan, maski ngayong / ikaw ay lilisan.” Surprisingly, Dormiendo was a late bloomer. He began taking writing more seriously in his second year of college when he and three of his blockmates would have weekly writing challenges. “We [would] have a word of the week, for example ‘Japan’ or ‘cat’ or ‘fingertips.’” Today, he’s the Associate Filipino Editor of Heights Ateneo, despite only joining the org in
his junior year. “I realized that this was what I wanted to do. It was in college where I learned that you need to get yourself out there if you want people to know your craft,” he says in a mix of English and Filipino. He took a chance by participating in Heights Ateneo’s Kuwentong Pambata Book Grant in 2013. The effort paid off, as his short story “Bakit May Pangalan ang Mga Bagyo” was chosen for publishing. “It was a surreal experience. Sobrang ‘di ako makapagsalita (I couldn’t speak at all),” he says. He writes because it simply feels natural. “I feel like I have to. It’s the best way I know how to express myself.” Writing also functions as a way for him to work through his own understanding. Dormiendo is impulsive, indicative of how he takes leaps. He says, “You need to get yourself out there and take opportunities.” Upon being given the prompt “bread” during the interview, he spun the haiku, “I want you in me / your soft and crunchy body / my sweet pan de sal.” Armed with this impulsiveness and courage, Dormiendo is sure of himself and what makes him stand out. “I know what I love to do and really get myself involved in it. Or maybe my Twitter is just weird.”
Artists | 19
VIX LA VICTORIA By Chino L. Cruz
“I LOVE theater.” This is one of the first things that Vix La Victoria tells me at the beginning of our conversation. That much is clear, considering that La Victoria is sort of a theatrical juggernaut. She has directed, designed and acted for several original Atenean productions, has had one of her plays featured in Virgin Labfest and double majors in creative writing and theater arts. She also just recently received a Loyola Schools Award for the Arts for playwriting. Though, according to La Victoria, her stellar trajectory started almost by accident. “I didn’t start taking [theater] seriously until college, when I joined Enta,” she admits. “I didn’t know what made me join the org, actually. Nung Recweek nung freshie pa ako, nahatak lang ako somehow sa booth nila. (When I was a freshie back in Recweek, I was somehow dragged to their booth). I became active in the org after then because I found the process of putting together a play so fun and fulfilling.”
She herself believes that she owes some of her success to luck. “I wouldn’t have all of these achievements without the mentors I’ve met, without looking at the right posters of contests at the right time,” she says. Even with the immense amount of luck that it took to get her to where she is, La Victoria does not discount the fact that it takes an awful lot of effort to achieve what she has. “Passion is the only thing keeping me going,” she tells me. This passion is evident in La Victoria and her personal causes. Having come from Cagayan de Oro, La Victoria believes that she has the unique capacity to be able to expand theatergoers’ horizons past the borders of Metro Manila. “I’m hoping that [my work] would make audiences in Metro Manila be aware of the conditions of the writers and artists in the provinces— that not everything should be centered in the capital, that we also need to distribute art centers all over the Philippines. I also hope that it would start a new wave of appreciation for regional writers.” With La Victoria and her passion for the theater at the helm, local theater may finally break those regional borders.
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Jake Jereza By Arianna Y. Lim
AN ARTIST’S craft, when well honed, is necessarily indivisible with his personal identity. In the case of communication technology management major Jake Jereza, his discovery of filmmaking is inextricable with that of his own sexuality. “It actually started when I was in the closet and I didn’t know how to be gay,” he tells me of his interest in film. “I couldn’t tell anybody and nobody could tell me.” Fresh out of high school at the time, he turned to the first place any unsure adolescent will go when dealing with actual people is too taxing: The Internet. Clicking through YouTube led to his discovery of snippets of the movie Shelter, a multi-award winning queer film. “That started my appreciation for film… That was my window to the world—to the queer world.” He adds, “That was the first time I ever knew that romance was possible between two guys and that, for you to be you to gay, you don’t have to be feminine; you can be the way you are and just like guys. And so to me, [film is] more than just a com-
bination of images and sound; it really takes you there. I was able to travel from my own bedroom and I was able to meet different people, and to me that was just amazing.” Apart from opening his eyes to new realities and self-perceptions, the film also introduced him to the video editing software Sony Vegas Pro, marking the beginning of his own film career. Since then, he has co-directed the 2013 O-Film, Katipunan Jump Street, as well as written, directed and edited his moving personal project, “Fear of Flying.” Jereza has also dipped his toes in many other crafts—including theater, spoken word poetry, fiction and dance—but it’s film that holds a special power over him. “It’s really that love for how a person who’s in secret can be reached and be brought somewhere else. I’d love to do that someday for someone who has trouble figuring out who they are.” Despite the deeply personal nature of what Jereza is sharing with me, he is candid and earnest, holding eye contact long enough to unsettle me. In film, this has the potential to translate to great pieces, work that is at once profoundly intimate and generously open.
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Jorel Lising By Nadine Y. Ramos JOREL LISING isn’t so good at expressing himself verbally. Instead, he makes films. “Do I have to go all artsy-fartsy on this?” he asks at the start of the interview. “Man, I hate that shit.” After assuring him that there was no pressure on him to prove himself as an auteur, Lising admits that he was not always interested in filmmaking. However, that changed when he was introduced to Gio Puyat (AB Comm ‘10), whose communication thesis was featured in the Short Feature category of Cinemalaya. Puyat, along with three other communication majors, started their own production house while still enrolled in the Ateneo. “They were able to make the productions I always wanted to, and seeing them work made it more realistic to me to adopt that medium. So it started the whole thing,” Lising says. He adds that the “combination of sound and images on film” got him interested in filmmaking as well. “It’s a sensory experience,” he says. “It’s a very subjective medium, which is why it captures the attention of the person fully. In that moment when you’re watching something, it’s like you’re suspended in time.” Lising often waxes philosophical by virtue of his minor in the course. “[Learning philosophy] definitely makes your thinking more structured, it helps make sense of images,” he says. “But most of that’s personal.” Though not explicitly saying it, it seems like one of Lising ’s fears in the art of filmmaking is to impose any meaning on his audience. “[Films] will always be subject to a person’s interpretation. I guess I’m just there to put things together,” he says.
For someone who became interested in film because of someone’s thesis, it seems that it has come full circle. Lising was part of the group whose communication thesis–a short film–was chosen as this year’s best thesis. But it doesn’t end there. Lising hopes to go to film school after graduating from the Ateneo: “I want to deepen my understanding of the craft. Hopefully I can bring something from that back home.”
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Vicky Marquez By Apa M. Agbayani
PICTURE THIS: You’re walking to class on a mundane Monday. Everything seems fairly typical—then in the periphery, you spot a shock of purple hair stuck on a wild mind, and suddenly everything’s changed. If Vicky Marquez is one thing, she’s a rebel for all causes. Whether it’s talking about music, writing about the generation or coming up with creative ways to raise funds for typhoon victims, she’s there to offer a unique, astute point of view. A conversation with her is at once deeply intellectual, profoundly rooted in pop culture and by no means pretentious. There’s a sense of warmth and authenticity to her that makes it clear she means what she says. As a member of the Ateneo Musicians Pool, she’s devoted much of her time to the music scene. “I started writing about music precisely because I can’t play an instrument,” she says. Marquez writes about music, partly because it has a way of eluding explanations. “The limbic part of your brain guides decisions, but it’s not connect-
ed to language,” she says in a mix of English and Filipino. “So, you know that gut feeling? ‘Yun ‘yun.” “[Music] clues you in on what’s happening really internally… As a writer, the best I can do is to point to that sense of understanding that you already have, but you just don’t realize it.” I joke that she’ll be the voice of the generation, and she puts herself down. Eventually, I get her to admit that that’s what she wants to do anyway: get people talking about what matters. She explains, “People our age, I think, are largely unspoken for in a sense na, we feel like we’re being spoken for but none of us is actually speaking.” Marquez describes herself as a perennial outsider looking in, observing the way things are. She’s someone with the nose for stories and the distinct, idiosyncratic voice that doesn’t demand attention as much as it quietly coaxes you to listen to the girl speaking. Vicky Marquez says purple is her natural hair color. When asked why, she offers two reasons: first, that it can brighten anyone’s day and second, “It’s a way of reminding people na pwede. It’s a brief, instant way of saying, ‘Bakit hindi?’” At bakit nga ba hindi?
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Mateo Escueta By Apa M. Agbayani I HAD the unique privilege of hosting Mateo Escueta’s EP launch and the concept was simple: It was to be a night of stories. It was fitting, considering that Escueta is a consummate storyteller. Whether singing or speaking, his eyes light up with an honesty that just pulls you in. As a Loyola Schools Award for the Arts-winning songwriter, Escueta channels heartbreak into powerful contemporary anthems. There’s a sincerity to every song that connects to you with a swift uppercut to your emotional core. The persona’s heartbreak becomes your own. “I make a big deal out of little things, little things that we overlook,” Escueta says. For him, the power of music is in “being able to capture and translate experiences into song—when you’re able to really present the story, such that when the person listens to it, they can really imagine that they were there.” When he started singing in high school, the response wasn’t as enthusiastic as it is now. People would tell him, “Sobrang emo naman ng songs mo (Your songs are so emo)!” Escueta remained unfazed. “People have different opinions on what makes a good song, but music has the power to make someone feel their mortality,” he says with a grim laugh. “People like to run away from their feelings. People don’t like to talk about heavy things... I think music puts a lot of life in perspective.” Despite his newfound fame and the perks that come with it, he keeps his focus on the music
itself. Escueta intends to keep creating and keep talking about the issues surrounding music. “I never liked the spotlight; I never liked the attention,” he says, “But, you know, I’ll always be making music and I’ll always be someone who fights for not just local music but also for people who want to reach for their dreams.” There are songs that light a torch for you through the dark, that tell you to face life head-on, that sit you down and tell you an unforgettable story. And whatever story he’s telling, Escueta’s voice will always sounds like home.
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Patsy Lascano By Karlo C. Amparo
SHE WAS a clear standout ever since we were freshmen, even though our group was filled with great artists. She draws without effort and it’s probably the way she talks like she’s going to sleep. My best instance that shows her talent and how effortless it is when she posted a photo of her friend on Facebook. As any friend of Patsy Lascano, I wondered why she posted a photo, but what surprised me and other people was that it was a digital drawing made in a short span of time. She’s that amazing. “Never really thought about it,” Lascano says talking about what made her do art. I wasn’t surprised by that answer because that is something Lascano would say. She is someone that just goes with the flow of things adding that “It’s something I’m good at,” and she does it so well. One thing is that, just like most artist, she does it simply because she enjoys doing it. Like a lot of people, she is very influenced by anime, she explained. Another thing that influenced her was video games. She is really flexible with her drawings and can draw in any style you throw at her. As she grew up, her art also moved and progressed. She’s now moving away from that style to realism. “I am really excited since I’m being placed in an environment with so many resources and opportunities for me to learn new things,” says Lascano especially with the different styles and different environments that she tries. It is really amazing to see her work from her not-so-simple sketches of people when she’s bored, to the amazing artworks and sprites that she makes for games.
“I never really took it seriously until I was beginning to feel the pressure of having a job,” Lascano says showing her relaxed attitude but looking forward to her next step as an artist. Lascano is now set to work with the award-winning software and game developer By Implication, taking her art with her and pushing it further. Don’t be surprised if you see her art in a game soon.
GENIUSES THEY SAY that grades shouldn’t define students. But that doesn’t mean the numbers can’t set some of them apart from the rest of the class. Through their exceptional display of intellect and outstanding academic performance, these men and women have proven that they belong in the highest echelon of batch 2014.
PHOTOS BY AIH MENDOZA
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BILLIE DUMALiang By Janina B. de Leon BILLIE DUMALIANG was born to stand out. Apart from stellar grades, she exhibits her genius far beyond the Loyola Schools campus. Graduating with a major in management-honors and a minor in German studies, Dumaliang says that reaching this point required a combination of luck, hard work and help from many people. She admits that her grade-consciousness made it difficult, but when asked how she got through the crucial first two years of her course, she simply says, “I never stopped. It starts from assessing your strengths and weaknesses and whether you can overcome the challenges ahead.” Dumaliang’s tenacity has proven successful thus far. She ran for positions in the Sanggunian for three years because it seemed like the logical step to take after four years of service in her high school student council. In her term as finance officer, she and her team lobbied for major improvements on campus: Additional sockets and a printing station in Matteo Ricci, better roads and lighting and the installation for the bicycle stations. “We were able to do a lot more, and it was fulfilling because you see it happening. You see people benefiting from the financial subsidies and the campus improvements,” she says. Serving in the student government exposed her to development issues, and she became convinced that success meant straying from the ordinary and doing what really matters. Thus, her “logical next step” shifted when she and her groupmates founded Coconelas, a business that sells shoes made from coconut fibers for the benefit of a Gawad Kalinga community. Moving forward, Dumaliang is grateful to have found the area where her passion, skill and the needs of the world intersect. “Sometimes our perception is to get more money, get a good corporate job. But it should always be centered on how you plan to give value to society. I think Ateneo is the school that explicitly tells people, ‘Don’t just be rich [or] be someone famous; be a man or woman for others.’”
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JUlienne joven By Paulne V. Miranda WITH HER impressive QPI, Julienne Joven can easily be described as a genius. But with her ever-present smile and simple but quirky fashion, she far from fits the nerdy genius stereotype. When asked what sets geniuses apart from other people, the communication major says it’s in the effort, the magis that the person gives. “You know in yourself when you’re giving something your all, your magis… When someone’s given a task, although let’s say they may not be mentally gifted, they give their best. And it shows,” she says. “Kaya mukha silang genius (That’s why they look like geniuses).” Defining a genius as one who is “mentally gifted,” Joven explains that she does not consider herself as such, explaining that there are many other students who get higher grades than her. “I just think that I’ve been lucky to have taken things and subjects that I really like, and I’m doing what I love,” says the outgoing Ateneo Association of Communication Majors president. For Joven, it was important to put effort into what she did and to not simply rely on her mental prowess. “I really admire people who work for [their achievements],” Joven says. “I hate it when some geniuses feel self-entitled.” Working with Joven’s definition of a genius as one who continues to work hard despite being already mentally gifted, we asked how she manages to get good grades while still being active on the extra-curricular front. Although she admits that time management isn’t one of her strong points, she shares that the secret to her success is this: “It’s knowing that you don’t have to give up [on anything]. If you’re committed to something, you will always find a way to give back to your parents, to your friends, to your work, to your studies. You know that you want to give a hundred percent to all of them.”
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Allan Cabrera By Roman C. Mirasol HAILING FROM a family of achievers, applied mathematics major Allan Cabrera was daunted when it came to establishing his own name in the field of academics. “There really was pressure to do well, especially since all my brothers and sisters graduated with latin honors,” admits Cabrera, the first summa cum laude graduate of his course, in a mix of English and Filipino. The pressure, however, didn’t stem from Cabrera’s family. Instead, it was a personal challenge. “Actually sinasabi ng family ko, ‘You don’t have to pressure yourself. Anything is okay,’” he shares. Through the years, Cabrera learned to set aside his heavy expectations for himself. “Now, ‘come what may’ attitude na. I try my best na lang, but I don’t beat myself up over it. At least I tried my best,” he says. This type of demeanor has allowed Cabrera to enjoy his college experience, which he divided as follows: 40% academics, 30% extra-curricular activities and 30% family and friends. In this kind of life, Cabrera not only thrived academically, but also in his extra-curricular activities. He served as the Assistant Vice President for Training and Varsity and the President for the Ateneo Debate Society during his sophomore and junior years respectively. Throughout his tenure, he led the organization in numerous national and international competitions, bringing home pride and glory to the university on various occasions. Asked what his recipe for success in college was, Cabrera shares, “It’s a matter of being able to set your priorities straight and getting prepared beforehand. A lot of the time, I study beforehand. Maraming nagsasabi, ‘Ang nerd mo naman.’ (A lot of people say ‘You’re such a nerd). But the reason I do that is so that I can also attend my organizations’ events.” With his highly decorated college life entering its final stages, one of the brightest minds of batch 2014 wants nothing more than to be remembered as someone who answered God’s call by going to “the place where [his] deepest gladness and the world’s deepest hunger meet.” “I want to be remembered as someone who answers this call, although in unorthodox and unexpected ways,” he says.
Athletes THERE ARE those who lead double lives in the Ateneo: Part student, part athlete. They constantly take on the burden of dividing their time and effort between academics and athletics. Despite facing such a tall order, their passion and determination keeps them motivated. And it is this love for their school and sport that propels them to another level every time they don the Blue and White.
PHOTO BY ARTHUR TAN
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(Clockwise from extreme left: Benjo Ramos, Jasmine Ong, Max Austria, Roanne Yu, Islau Dapat, Angelica Enrile-Inton, Meg Reyes and Jenn Tumambing) PHOTO BY JESSICA GUTIERREZ
Blue and lady tanKers By Margarita A. Contreras
AS EARLY as six o’clock in the morning, the Loyola Schools swimming pool is already filled with people getting a head start on their day. They painstakingly roll out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, all for the love of their sport. Just like the rest of us, they are college students, too. Chances are, you’ve seen a couple of them in the hallways or in the same classroom as you. However, unlike the rest of us, they are part of one of the best athletic teams in the Ateneo. They are the Ateneo Blue and Lady Tankers, collectively making up the Fast Ateneo Swim Team (FAST). Nine individuals entered the team four years ago, composing the biggest rookie class in team history. This year, the same nine individuals depart from the team with much to be proud of. “We finished third in both first and second year,” says senior Max Austria. Entering their third year, the Blue Tankers came into the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 75 wanting nothing more but to finally break their third place streak.
Come September 2012, the Blue Tankers made history by finally garnering their first ever championship that was almost 35 years in the making. “To be part of that history was definitely a highlight for us,” Austria adds. For the Lady Tankers, on the other hand, their consistency in landing podium finishes has always been their strength. Despite being grossly outnumbered in terms of members by other competing universities, the ladies never fail to put up a fight in UAAP waters. The team also prides itself in outstanding student athletes such as two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Celina Gonzalez and former Rookie of the Year and this year’s Ambrosio Padilla award recipient, Jasmine Ong. Benjo Ramos says, “As a graduating senior, I really hope the team will stay as cheerful and motivated as they are today. I hope they’ll… help each other win more championships in the future. Finally, I hope they continue living up to the cheer we always say ‘One team, all FAST!’” Editor’s note: Max Austria is the Externals Manager of The GUIDON.
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Blue and Lady Judokas By Margarita A. Contreras
AFTER WHAT was arguably their best season run for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP)—a championship crown for the men and a first runner-up finish for the women—six Blue and Lady Judokas march down from the hill, ending their college careers with heads held high. For the Blue Judokas, the climb back up to the top was not an easy feat. “When Anjo [Gumila] and I entered in first year, we had such a strong lineup. It was also when Ateneo won its third championship,” says Team Captain Matthew Jao. However, after a glorious three-peat stint, the team was unable to secure the thrown for two years in a row. “In sophomore year, we didn’t do so well. In junior year, we came back, but it wasn’t enough to place,” adds Jao. With the past as motivation, Jao and his batchmates were determined to reclaim the top spot.
“In this team, there is a tradition of excellence,” says Gumila. Thus the seniors of the team took the initiative to lead their younger players to achieve this excellence. “This year was our [batch’s] last hope. So we gave it our all and pushed our teammates to do the same and to do more,” Jao says. Their efforts were not put to waste, as the Blue Judokas reclaimed the championship spot and Jao was crowned as UAAP Season 76 Most Valuable Player. As for the Lady Judokas, with a glorious season to cap off college, Team Captain Samantha dela Costa hopes that the teammates staying on will use the team’s achievements this season as motivation for next year. “Now that they’re no longer newbies, they have to step up. Their challenge is to top what we’ve achieved,” she says. In the coming years, the senior Blue and Lady Judokas hope that they will be remembered as members of a team that defied all odds and proved what Ateneo student athletes are capable of.
(L-R: Matthew Jao, Zygphryg Co, Margs Baluyot, Bella Nepomuceno, Vinny Billedo and Anjo Gumila) PHOTO BY MAX V. AUSTRIA
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(Clockwise from top left: Denden Lazaro, Amy Ahomiro, Natasha Faustino, Aerieal Patnongon, Ella De Jesus, Mona Bagatsing, Bea Tan and Alyssa Valdez) PHOTO BY MAX V. AUSTRIA
lady spikers By Max V. Austria
POWERED BY their coach’s signature theme, “heart strong,” the Ateneo Lady Spikers stunned audiences with their historic championship run during the women’s volleyball tournament of the 76th University Athletic Association of the Philippines. However, the Ateneans who laid out a commanding three-set sweep in the deciding game of the finals did not kick off the season in the most pleasant of ways. They started the year with a rough patch, as they were still working on strengthening their own identity. The team had just endergone a system overhaul. With the exit of Coach Roger Gorayeb, in came their new Thai mentor, Anusorn “Tai” Bundit. Apart from this, the girls in blue and white also experienced a team rebuilding with the graduation of the “Fab Five,” the core players who led the
squad to two straight finals appearances against De La Salle University in previous years. It was now up to the veterans—Team Captian Alyssa Valdez, Dennise Lazaro, Ella De Jesus, Amy Ahomiro, Bea Tan, Mona Bagatsing, Natasha Faustino and Aerieal Patnongon—to guide the young team towards their goal of once again landing a spot in the final four. The team reportedly went into the tournmant with modest expectations. According to Valdez, “Gusto ko sa team ko na nahandle ko this year is na ang humble nilang lahat (What I like about the team that I handled this year is that they are all very humble),” Adding that, “in every training, they’re willing to improve and learn.” Fortunately, they emerged victorious, a feat only sweetened by the fact that they faced so many challenges during the season. Though a number of the seniors will not be graduating with Batch 2014 to maximize their playing years, this will at least guarantee yet another thrilling year for the team.
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Blue batters By Margarita A. Contreras
FOUR YEARS ago, a group of then-University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Baseball rookies entered the Ateneo with high hopes. The boys, armed with years’ worth of unmatched experience in their arsenal were ready to finally put Ateneo Baseball on the map. In their sophomore year, they made history by finally making it to the championship round of UAAP Baseball, only to lose the title by a slim margin to National University. After almost tasting victory, the boys forged on to their junior year and found themselves in a finals scenario that was all too familiar. Remembering the sting of defeat from the previous season, they knew it was time to for the tables to turn. After a glorious UAAP Season 75 eliminations and finals round, the Ateneo Blue Batters were finally crowned champions—for the first time in both UAAP and Ateneo history.
Coming into this season, the team—led by team captains Pelos Remollo and Kevin Ramos— was faced with an even bigger challenge: Defending their championship title. Ramos says, “The back-to-back title was on the line. We really had to step up and play more as a team.” Despite having a win-loss record that was far from what they have had in the past two seasons, a victorious Ateneo team emerged in UAAP Season 76, after they swept archrivals De La Salle University in the best of three series. Apart from the team victory, several Blue Batters also dominated the individual awards, such as as Matt Laurel, who garnered the Most Number of Stolen Bases, Best Slugger and Most Homeruns awards. Senior Andy Tan was also named as the league’s Best Pitcher and Most Valuable Player. Only one Blue Batter will hang up his jersey this year while five seniors will remain to lead their pack back to the top of the ranks. As a team full of talent and potential, this year’s Blue Batters are destined for nothing but greatness.
(Clockwise from top left: Kevin Ramos, Chip Esguerra, Renzo Ramos, Pelos Remollo, Miggy Santos, Rapho Balagtas, Johnny Altomonte, Luis Puno, Leandro Banzon, Dio Remollo, Enzo Orbeta, Miguel Dumlao, Nacho Conjuangco, Franklin Stuart and Iñigo Untalan) PHOTO BY ISABELLA L. YATCO
STARS WHETHER THEYâ€™RE on stage lighting it up with their performances or simply walk around campus, these stars know how to command attention. Armed with their undeniable talent and knack for entertainment, these men and women are Batch 2014â€™s brightest stars.
PHOTOS BY AIH MENDOZA
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Ateneo College Glee Club By Nadine Y. Ramos
EVERY MEMBER of the Ateneo College Glee Club (ACGC) will always have to take into account the tradition of excellence that they must uphold. As the Philippines’ oldest university choir, members transition from singing as a hobby to singing as a craft. ACGC Externals Vice President and management senior Natasha Lamen says, “[ACGC] doesn’t just train you musically, but also technically. We learn rhythms, note reading and [sing] difficult pieces.” Founded in 1921 as a boys’ choir, ACGC’s function was to “render liturgical music” at the San Ignacio Church in Intramuros. Gradually, ACGC’s repertoire shifted. For example, the ACGC provided the choral background of the musical Walang Sugat when it was premiered in Manila in the late ‘60s. It was in 1974, the year when the Ateneo turned co-educational, that the choir became mixed. Nearly three decades later, the ACGC had
its first woman conductor: Malou Hermo, with whom ACGC went on three European competition-concert tours. First was in 2006, in celebration of the group’s 85th anniversary. For the group’s 90th year in 2011, the ACGC went to Europe once again and qualified for the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. It was the group’s second time to qualify. They returned to Europe to compete in 2012. For such a prestigious group, even the thought of applying for competitions is intimidating. Lamen doesn’t sugarcoat it: “Usually getting in is easy, but staying in is hard.” The singers rehearse three times a week, and trainees—those on their first year—must pass a written and musical test before becoming official members. “The most difficult is your trainee year, because it’s your adjustment time,” she says. “People [have] to train themselves to balance their academics [with their singing].” Without a doubt, what unites all the members of the ACGC is their passion for music. And while some members may be leaving, they will always find a home with the ACGC.
(L-R: Natasha Lamen and Miguel Yorro)
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Tanghalang Ateneo By Aih Mendoza (L-R: Lia Feliciano, Niki Calma, Banjo Gonzales and Ada Albaña)
TANGHALANG ATENEO is on fire. Fresh from the previous season’s hugely successful productions, Ateneo’s longest-running theater organization had no intention of slowing down as it embarked on its 35th season, entitled “Re-imagining the Greeks.” This year, they pulled out all the stops and proved that TA is moving forward with beautifully staged Greek plays, consistently sold-out shows and recognition from both inside and outside the Ateneo. Their season-opener, Ang Oresteyas, garnered five nominations at the 2013 Aliw Awards as well as a Council of Organizations of the Ateneo Project of the Year nomination. Though the company didn’t bag any awards, company manager and communication technology management senior Lia Feliciano finds the acknowledgment a huge achievement in itself. Another one of TA’s accomplishments this year was the improvement of its presence inside the
Ateneo. “We’ve been trying to really establish TA inside the Ateneo through special projects and partnering up with the other orgs.” Feliciano explains. Theater manager and management economics senior Banjo Gonzales shares that collaboration was the key to their success. “What makes Tanghalang Ateneo special is its members, collaborators and alumni,” he says. “These human beings live their lives extraordinarily well, through their relentless ardent pursuit of staging quality theater.” “For those who don’t know anyone from TA, what’s really amazing about it are the people. I just have to say that grabe magmahal yung mga TA. Grabe magmahal sa arts, sa theater and sa isa’t isa (The love of TA people are great; their love of the arts, of theater and of each other) And that’s why we’re able to do what we do,” Feliciano adds. It is this genuine love and passion for their craft that has made TA more than just an organization for people who enjoy theater. It’s a family that strives to continue a legacy of excellent Philippine theater, where members learn to become artists and creators for the nation.
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Company of Ateneo Dancers By Gisella F. Velasco
VERY FEW people know that the Company of Ateneo Dancers (CADS) held its first training sessions outside the Blue Eagle Gym. Even fewer know that before CADS was filling up the Henry Lee Irwin Theatre, the organization struggled to fill the ISO Conference Rooms. This year, CADS celebrates 20 years of existence and the organization has much to show for it, including numerous awards and many widely attended productions. President and management senior EG Bautista is very proud of CADS’ accomplishments, but he believes that the organization’s greatest impact on the Ateneo community has been sharing the message that dance is for everyone. He cites Rhythm-in-Blue (RIB), CADS’ annual inter-organization dance competition as an example. “The competing orgs train for months in advance just for the chance to dance on the Irwin stage,” he says. According to Bautista, the competing organizations view RIB just as CADS views its own competitions. “If they place in the competition, if
they win, or even if they don’t, they just want to show the Ateneo community their stuff.” Bautista also cites CADS’ initiative to reach out to the Philippine dance community as a notable achievement. Just last year, CADS held The Wrap-Up, a charity dance battle. Bautista and the project organizers were only expecting 30 participants, but were pleasantly surprised when almost 80 people from all over the hip-hop community turned up. CADS doesn’t just give credit to its performers for its growing popularity. The CADS production staff is becoming better known for their wide range of talents. Aside from lighting and stage design, production staff members are accomplished in hair and makeup, graphic design and music mixing. “Our production staff is very talented in so many ways… this level of talent really helps the organization in staging the best productions possible,” says Bautista. What’s next for CADS? Bautista hopes that the performers and production staff continue to work together in order to reach out to the Ateneo and beyond. Looking at how far CADS has come, it looks like they are well on their way.
(L-R: Retty Contreras, Betts San Luis, Camille Vicencio and E.G. Bautista)
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Jaz Reyes By Chino L. Cruz
IT’S A strange experience, seeing Jaz Reyes sans her usual stylistic flair. On the day of our interview, Reyes is dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, and her once iconic platinum blonde hair was a decidedly muted brown. Though, even without the hair and the trimmings, Reyes sparkles with so much energy and confidence you could still tell who she is from a mile away. It only seems natural, considering that her ridiculously extensive résumé includes a stint as a reality TV show contestant and her current job as a radio DJ. Surprisingly, Reyes admits that she isn’t as loud as she seems. “If I’m alone I’m usually very reserved,” she says. She associates this with the fact that she may be a cliché: She jokes that she’s a living, breathing Asian stereotype, complete with slightly overbearing parents. “I just focus on studies, I really focus on studies because dishonor,” she says. In a sense, Reyes is right. All her work, whether it’s as a courtside reporter for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines or as a DJ for a nightly radio show, requires her to sacrifice a lot of her personal free time. It all seems a bit impossible. According to her, it was all a matter of wanting it. “It’s like a diamond. You really want it but you’ll work your ass off for it. Which is what I did during my first years in college,” she says. “And then when you’re there already you can actually take a big breath and exhale because you’re there.
But then that’s actually just the beginning of the hard part that I didn’t know. I didn’t expect that I’d be thrown into a world na I’ll only see my parents twice a week.” Looking at Reyes today, all her sacrifice seems to have paid off. She now has one of the most recognizable voices in Manila and is practically a household name on campus. When I ask her about how fun her life must be now, she laughs and shakes her head. “It’s really work. It’s not fun. I mean it’s fun because you talk about fun topics but I think what I love the most about it is after a hard day, I can laugh about things.” Even if she is as mussed up as she is, the twinkle in Reyes’ eyes is more than enough proof that she’s telling the truth.
PHOTO BY JESSICA L. ROASA
STAFF BEHIND THE Ateneo experience are a myriad people working quietly towards making students’, athletes’ and teachers’ lives easier. We can hardly thank them enough for the time they’ve spent with us, whether it’s at the benches of UAAP games or the silence of the Lopez Studio editing room. Here are some of the Ateneo staff who’ve left a mark on us.
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Alma Fermano By Roman C. Mirasol “MAGANDANG UMAGA, pangga. Kamusta ka na? (Good morning, darling. How are you?)” Those words echo along the corridors of SEC-B. And uttering them is a familiar face, that of Ate Alma Fermano. Fermano has manned a photocopying booth ever since she started working for the Ateneo back in 1995. She’s been stationed in various locations such as the Gonzaga cafeteria and Colayco pavilion, among others. But no matter where she’s located, students find the same thing—someone that will not only cater to their needs, but also be a friend. Because of Fermano’s welcoming nature, students often consider her station as the “go-to” place whenever they need their required readings or notes photocopied. As a result, Fermano is able to establish strong bonds and build relationships with the students like no other. When asked what’s kept her motivated after all these years, Fermano responds, “Makita ko ang mababait, matulungin at mapagmahal kong mga pangga. Masaya ako kapag nakikita ko kayong lahat (To see my good, helpful and loving darlings. I’m happy when I see all of you).” Come graduation season, Ate Alma’s usual greeting is suddenly followed by a “Pangga, pahingi ako graduation picture mo, a (Darling, give me your graduation picture).” The numerous graduation pictures that fill Fermano’s photo album and cabinet in her station in SEC-B is a testament to how much Ateneans value her. “Mahal na mahal ko kayong lahat. Huwag din sana magbago ang pagmamahal ninyo sa akin. Kaya ako humihingi ng grad pic ninyo para kahit hindi na kayo makabalik dito dahil busy sa trabaho, makikita ko pa rin kayo sa mga grad pic ninyo (I really love all of you. I hope your love for me doesn’t change either. The reason I ask for your graduation pictures is so that even if you guys won’t be able to come back because of you’re all busy with work, I can still see all of you in your graduation pictures),” shares Fermano. And after photocopying all those pages, Fermano requests only one thing from her panggas: “Huwag ninyo sana kalimutan lahat ng magagandang pagsasama natin sa apat na taon (I hope you guys don’t forget all of the wonderful times we shared in the past four years).”
PHOTO BY KAT A. MALLILLIN
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Bo Perasol By Roman C. Mirasol TOUGH ACT to follow. That is one way to describe Coach Norman Black’s stint as the Head Coach of the Ateneo Men’s Basketball Team. After all, Black took the Blue Eagles to the Finals six times under his tenure and directed them towards a historic five-peat championship reign from 2008 to 2012. After Black’s exit from the Ateneo, a new man entered to direct the Blue Eagles, Dolreich Perasol, more fondly known as Coach Bo. Perasol, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, became the 36th head coach of the university’s men’s basketball team when he was officially introduced by the university’s president, Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, back in November 26. Aside from his coaching experience in the Philippine Basketball Association, Perasol was the ideal replacement for Black because as Ateneo alumnus, professor and sports analyst Severino Sarmenta points out, he “knows what it means to be a student-athlete in a demanding university.” In line with Sarmenta’s take, Perasol’s knowledge has allowed him to earn the trust and respect of his players. Blue Eagles star Kiefer Ravena praised Perasol for his debut season with the Blue Eagles saying, “Coach Bo is very professional and he treats us like his own children. It’s a huge psychological advantage to know that you’re coach is there to defend you.” Although he’s tenure as the main man patrolling the sidelines for the Blue Eagles has gotten off to a rough start with the Blue Eagles’ championship streak ending after not qualifying for the Final Four in Season 76, Perasol remains optimistic about the team’s future. “The goal for next season is to contend for the championship,” he emphatically says. After earning the Blue and White community’s respect and support in his rookie season as Blue Eagles head coach, Perasol can just continue building on the foundation that he and his coaching staff established this year. Given his track record and personality, it won’t be long before he adds to the university’s winning tradition which he openly admitted that he wanted to be a part of upon taking on the position.
PHOTO BY RYAN Y. RACCA
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Resty Robledo By Roman C. Mirasol
EVERY STUDENT is met with a warm greeting upon entering the Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) Center for Student Leadership building. The usual “Good morning, sir!” and “Good afternoon, ma’am!” are common phrases that most people take for granted nowadays. And yet it’s easy for people who frequently drop by MVP to remember a specific person whenever they remember those greetings— Kuya Resty Robledo, the MVP security guard. The thing that Kuya Resty enjoys the most during his 12-hour daily shifts is seeing the students of the Ateneo with smiles on their faces. This is the very reason he makes it his personal responsibility to brighten their day with a simple but genuine greeting. “Masaya ako tuwing nakikita ko na masaya ‘yung mga bata. Iba ‘yung pakiramdam ko kapag positive ‘yung aura nila. Nagiging masaya din ako (I’m happy whenever I see that the students are happy. My feeling is different whenever their aura is positive),” shares Robledo.
Because of his friendly nature, students see Robledo not just as a guardian, but also as a friend. Numerous Ateneans make it a point to drop by his station and approach him every so often. The fact that Robledo has become such a favourite among the students in such a short amount of time speaks volumes of his character. Some have even gone on to claim that he has already solidified his status as one of the most unforgettable personnel on campus. But just as some seniors will remember certain things about him, Kuya Resty wants the graduating students he has looked after for the past three years to keep a few things in mind: “Hindi nagtatapos ang pagsubok ng buhay sa school. Galingan ninyo paglabas sa Ateneo at ipakita ang natutunan dito (The challenge of life doesn’t end in school. Excel once you get out of Ateneo and exhibit what you’ve learned here).” Above all else, however, he wants the batch 2014 to remember one particular thing: “Maikli lang naman ang buhay natin kaya sana gamitin natin ito para sa mabuti (Our lives are short which is why we should use it for the greater good).”
PHOTO BY AIH MENDOZA
Staff | 43
Tony Gallano By Aih Mendoza
“HI MT!” I greet him when I arrive for our interview. “Wala akong kasalanan. (I didn’t do anything wrong.)” he jokes. This sort of banter with students comes naturally for Antonio Gallano, the resident audio-visual technician of the Communication Department. His nickname, Mang Tony, has been fondly shortened to “MT” by the multitude of students who have gotten to know him over the years. Students who don’t take communication classes might only know him as the salt-and-pepper-haired man who sets up the LCD projectors, but he is much more than that. Having been with the Ateneo for the 31 years—this unfortunately being his last—MT has grown to be one of the most well-loved staff members of the university. Even some faculty members remember him from their own college days. When I ask him why he thinks he is a student favorite, he answers “Nako, swerte nga nila nakakausap nila ako. Ako sa personal, suplado ako (They’re lucky that they get to talk to me. Personally, I’m a snob),” he jokes with a laugh.
One a more serious note, he says, “Palabiro lang siguro ako, tsaka minsan siguro nakakapulot din sila ng konting tips siguro tungkol sa pag-edit, pagawa ng pelikula, pag-direct (I think it’s because I’m a joker, and sometimes they pick up small tips from me on editing, film making and directing).” MT discovered his love and talent for film while working in the Ateneo. Though he never formally studied in the school, he certainly spent the years like an Atenista. Over the years, he has spent countless hours sitting in the various film classes of Fr. Nick Cruz, SJ and Mark Escaler. “Kung may tiyaga ka talaga makinig, siguro marami kang matutunan (If you just work hard at listening, you’ll probably learn a lot),” he shares. Beyond his duties as the AV tech, MT also covers the games of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and directs BlueEagle40 episodes, among various other media jobs–all of which result from an openness to learning and genuine passion for his work. Maybe it is this, beyond all the jokes and chitchat, that makes students gravitate to MT. His love for his craft is nothing short of infectious, and both students and teachers who have crossed paths with MT will agree.
PHOTO BY AIH MENDOZA
LEGENDS IN THE
MAKING THE SAYING goes that some are born great. These men and women are proof enough that greatness, for the most part, is achieved. They are legends-in-the-making not only because of their youth, but because of the bright future they forge not only for themselves, but the students who have learned from them. PHOTOS BY AIH MENDOZA
Legends in the Making | 45
The earliest historians of antiquity are professional storytellers.
dAVID lOZADA By Nicole C. Ceballos
STEPPING INTO David Lozada’s history class is like stepping into history itself. Through his stories, you are transported to a different time and space, which he verbally constructs and paints in your mind. He complements this with his modern impersonations of the great characters of history, sometimes even giving them nicknames. Storytelling, he believes, is the best way to teach history. His method serves as a breath of fresh air in this era of PowerPoint presentations and infinite readings. Lozada believes, however, that his method is nothing new or unique. In fact, he would say that it’s probably one of the oldest methods. After all, it is through storytelling that the stories of the ancient world were passed on as the history we know today. “Storytelling has been around since forever.
The earliest historians of antiquity are professional storytellers. Storytelling allows people to experience the full range of human emotion—that’s why when we listen to stories, we find it entertaining.” When you’re having an exchange of stories with your friends and family, you wouldn’t bring out a notebook, a laptop or a recorder, and hang on to every word they say. The same is true for Lozada’s class, where it’s almost forbidden to take notes during his lectures. However, he is kind enough to let students who can’t help but take notes do as they wish—not that they really need to, since his stories are difficult to forget. Indeed, his stories remain in the minds and hearts of his students long after they’ve graduated. He recalls how he would run into his students from a decade ago and they would tell him how they’ve passed on his stories to their own children. He says, “It is these moments, albeit fleeting, that make the vocation memorable.”
46 | THE GUIDON GRADUATION MAGAZINE 2014
If there are people who are greedy for money, I’m greedy for stories.
BRIAN GIRON By Nadine Y. Ramos
AS THE adage goes, history repeats itself. And given that most of us have taken a Philippine history class before, we see History 165 as a boring class that’s tedious and repetitive. However, this common misconception is shattered as soon as you sit in one of Brian Giron’s lectures. For example: In one session, Giron prepares a PowerPoint presentation peppered with pictures of penguins. If you can give him the exact number of penguins at the end of the class, you get bonus points. But given his incipient rock star professor status, why teach history? For Giron, it was a necessary consequence of wanting to study history in the first place. This stems from his love of stories. “If there are people who are greedy for money, I’m greedy for stories,” he says. Giron goes on to say that he makes a point of collecting stories, from cab drivers, jeepney drivers and even for three bonus points in a long test. “There are many different permutations of how people experience
things. It gives you insight into humans.” Giron has also heard a fair share of stories about Ateneans. “A lot of students say a lot of stupid shit these days, [things like] ‘I don’t need this for my job,’” Giron elaborates. “One of the things that bother me these days is that a lot of students want to get out of doing the hard work.” And while most of us are looking forward to finally leaving college, Giron says that a good work ethic is essential. “It does not create people of substance when you shirk the workload. The work, the suffering is a necessary part of becoming something,” he says. “Strive to be people of substance. It’s important to do the work assigned.” Though Giron stresses that doing work well is necessary, we all know it’s easier said than done. The same goes for choosing a job, which definitely won’t be as easy as choosing a professor at the start of the semester. But there is some hope: “I’m not very logical when it comes to choosing,” Giron admits. And at least there, the graduating batch shouldn’t feel so alone.
Legends in the Making | 47
I want [my students] to understand the world. That means some chemistry, but also a lot of practical stuff.
CHRIS PEABODY By Janina B. de Leon
“WE’RE ALL about to die. The question is the number of seconds.” Towards the end of every semester, general chemistry lecturer Christopher Peabody gives his students a talk to think about how they’ve lived their lives in relation to others. The connection between reflection and his field seems absurd, but for Peabody, it’s an opportunity to make his students aware of the world around them. Peabody began to teach because he realized the greater need to exist for others, given life’s current conditions. “I want [my students] to understand the world. That means some chemistry, but also a lot of practical stuff,” he says. Through his class discussions and extensive collection of Internet videos, he enlarges molecular activity into observable situations—the most memorable examples involving food (read: cafeteria hotdog sandwiches with mayonnaise). It’s likely that many of his students have seriously reconsidered some of their purchases because of
his stories. There is no denying the chemistry between Peabody and the very subject he teaches. He has always been attracted to the logic behind elements and compounds—that simple rules about the universe could predict outcomes without actually seeing them. It is in this capacity that he encourages his students to make intelligent guesses. His 100-question long tests are a mixture of test types, such that the result shows the students’ best side. “Not everyone’s good at charts, essays, memorization, or calculation,” he acknowledges, but by taking into account various learning styles, he justifies that “they still know enough to be good students.” In between his animated lectures and sarcastic banter, he emphasizes that his course should not only boil down to the specifics: “It isn’t the details of the knowledge I want, [but] what it means and how you use it to be able to do stuff with it.” Instead, just like the quotes he places in the footers of his tests, he wants more people to examine the meaning of life and our value to others. “More people can do more,” he says.
48 | THE GUIDON GRADUATION MAGAZINE 2014
I get surprised by what the students say and what I learn from the students.
JACKIE JACINTO By Keisha D. Kibanoff
JACKIE JACINTO, part-time lecturer at the Philosophy Department, is occasionally stopped by guards when she forgets her ID at her office. Due to her laidback, youthful appearance, they ask for her student ID number. “I tend to take it easy, keep it simple,” remarks Jacinto. But she was not always as relaxed. “When I was a freshman, I had so many orgs. I was also part of the Sanggunian. It’s a long story also how I got into the track team, I became part of it all of a sudden,” she says in a mix of English and Filipino. After spreading herself too thin, Jacinto ended up crashing. She learned to select more discriminately after that, eventually focusing her efforts on the Ateneo Christian Life Community and the Sanggunian. In the same attitude of taking things as they come, Jacinto ended up where she is today almost as a twist of fate. Though philosophy was initially her pre-law, her department chair encouraged her
to finish the program early and begin working on a master’s degree. “I stuck to philo and I forgot about law na,” she says with a laugh. “I didn’t actually change my mind. It just kind of… never happened anymore!” The MA program included being a teaching assistant, and that turned out to be just the right fit for Jacinto. “I love being an ate to my siblings, and, in a way, I get to do that as a teacher.” But what really makes teaching worth it involves a kind of role-reversal: “I get surprised by what the students say and what I learn from the students. I used to be like that too. Seeing it from a different perspective, that’s what I like,” she says. Jacinto reminds her students—as well as herself—to go with the flow. “It takes time to be good at one particular thing, so you shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself,” she says. Despite how much pressure there can be to become accomplished at a young age, realistically there is only so much that can be achieved. “Be patient with yourself, because you’re still undone.”
Legends in the Making | 49
By Apa M. Agbayani
THERE’S SOMETHING daunting about doing philosophy. There are texts that are absolutely indecipherable. There are questions that don’t lend themselves easily to clear-cut answers. It can feel like standing at the edge of the boundless ocean— downright terrifying. Sometimes, though, all you need is a firm push into the water. That’s where philosophy lecturer Roy Tolentino comes in. “One thing I notice among students is they frequently use learned helplessness as an excuse whenever some sort of trial befalls them, whether it’s in the form of a requirement or of a personal crisis,” he says. That’s why, Tolentino says, he hopes to impart a sense of wonder to his students, so they can break away from the comfort of learned helplessness. “I think that sense of wonder, of attunement to the mystery allows one to discover potencies that are latent.”
Discover the capacity for good that lies dormant within you.
Philosophy in the Ateneo, Tolentino explains is “formative, but not in a didactic way or in a dogmatic way. We’re trained to ask questions but we don’t necessarily presuppose that we have an answer.” “Therefore, the line of questioning is open and we are led wherever our questions lead us and this openness to the mystery of it all, this openness to wonder in its most basic sense, is what, I think, makes [the] Ateneo philosophy different,” he says. It’s this keen appreciation of the power and mysteries of questions–over and above the possibility of definite answers–that has kept philosophers from Socrates to Bertrand Russell in pursuit of knowledge. Tolentino hopes his students will keep the openness to mystery that philosophy offers. As a final word of advice, Tolentino cites the poet Catullus, as translated by Fr. Roque Ferriols, SJ: “‘Gawin mo, maari man o hindi maaari.’” “Discover the capacity for good that lies dormant within you. You might not think you can do it, but perhaps it’s just a matter of being brave enough to own that potential.”
50 | THE GUIDON GRADUATION MAGAZINE 2014
Teachers should enable students to bear their own thoughts. They have to be sure that these thoughts are theirs, not just as a result of an opinion they have heard.
RR Rañeses PHOTO BY KITKAT L. LASTIMOSA
By Nadine Y. Ramos
RR RAÑESES’ presence is overwhelming. When lectures are conducted as orations and oral exams held in cafés, students sometimes find themselves shocked by the ostentatious political science instructor. Like most political science majors, Rañeses took it as a pre-law course. And, like most political science majors, Rañeses admits, “I’m really bad with math.” However, Rañeses has since taken a detour from law school, much to the benefit of the Ateneo. Rañeses cites his thesis for his masters in political science as the turning point. “I finished my master’s in 2006, and it was a tumultuous time for Philippine politics. People were organizing against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. So when I was doing my MA, I was helping members of the department organize people to go to mobilizations, write-ups, modules for political education. I was drawn to that kind of work as well. So I started moving away from law.” As a teacher, Rañeses compares himself to Socrates. “Teachers, I think, should enable students to bear their own thoughts. When I say that,
they have to be sure that these thoughts are theirs, not just as a result of an opinion they have heard, an opinion that is being disciplined into their consciousness,” he says. Rañeses is also famous for his sometimescontradictory opinions. “I can shift from one perspective to another for the sheer fun of enlisting other people to converse. I can use my convictions against myself, so that we can have something to talk about,” he shares. Rañeses’ palpable love for discourse and debate is something he is sure to bring to class. But his goal is really to make his students care about politics, “especially in the context of a middle-class, affluent university, where students can really afford to be indifferent to [politics].” “Making them care about political realities is a good thing. If I’m able to do that, then I’m happy with what I do,” Rañeses adds. “I’m very happy when former students stand up against my opinions. If it’s like that, I’m happy. Kahit magka-away na tayo forever. (Even if we’re enemies forever.)” With reports from Trisha C. Descallar
Legends in the Making | 51
Every two years, they leave. It’s like losing 200 children.
By Keisha D. Kibanoff
PLEP Junginger may seem like one of the most offhand professors out there. For one, he describes his nickname as “the sound of sushi falling.” The course of his life has been just as random. He started as a management engineering (ME) major, but it wasn’t the right fit. Soon, he shifted into philosophy. “I just went with the course that was farthest from ME as humanly possible,” he says. But the choice worked out for him. “I got hooked pretty early. But it was never supposed to be a career,” he says. He didn’t consider it until an opening in the department presented a unique opportunity. After a year, Junginger took another plunge. “Among the four teaching assistants, I was the only one with the balls to actually ask for teaching load.” He took on the challenge of handling classes in his own way. “It was, again, arrogance—I made my own syllabus just out of what I wanted to teach,” Junginger says. “From there, I sort of fig-
ured it out, I hope, for the sake of my children.” Junginger doesn’t shy away from calling his students his “kids,” as he feels a responsibility and attachment to them. “I do keep tabs with them even after they graduate.” The investment reveals something unlike his usual nonchalant manner. “Every two years, they leave. It’s like losing 200 children.” However, this year Junginger will be leaving along with his children to work with Teach For the Philippines. “I didn’t feel I [am] needed here as much as I [am] needed there,” he says. Whereas there are many people in the Philosophy Department who can help Ateneans, in Teach For the Philippines, he says, “We’re a small group and we’re a small staff. And we’re all trying to help.” Junginger rarely turns away from taking leaps. “Don’t be afraid of risk. Every time I have this sort of random opportunity, I take it,” he advises. He notes how people are wont to avoid big changes. “They always want to go for the safe thing.” Junginger is bound to do the opposite. “Well, nothing’s sure anyway, so why not go for the risk?” Perhaps it was never arrogance, but guts.
52 | THE GUIDON GRADUATION MAGAZINE 2014
Remember what it is like to dream.
Leloy CLaudio By Nadine Y. Ramos
IT WOULD be unfair to call assistant professor Leloy Claudio, PhD a jack-of-all-trades. But having taught classes in communication, history and political science, it would certainly seem so. Claudio’s name became familiar to most students back in 2012 when he, along with Miguel Syjuco, challenged Senator Vicente Sotto III to a debate following Sotto’s alleged plagiarism. Given Claudio’s family background—“when I was six—or eight—my mom had to go to the Netherlands for a year because she was on a military hit list,” he says—stepping into the foray of politics should not have come as unexpected, even if he has not formally studied politics. Claudio has an undergraduate degree in communication and a PhD in history. “It’s sort of like I lived and breathed politics, and also there are few topics I can get as passionate about as politics or get as polemical about as politics,” Claudio says. Despite the numerous classes Claudio has
taught and their varying topics, essentially what he wants from his students are the same: political awareness and media literacy. He wants his students to “read the newspaper and to know what’s happening and to know the backdrop of that.” For him, reading the paper is essential to forming opinions. At the same time, he says, the Internet makes it easy to cross check information, which may not always jive with each other. “With all this information, critical thinking skills [are important],” he says. Though those two skills may not be the first to come to mind when looking for a job, Claudio says that what is important to fresh graduates is to not forget college. He hates the tendency for people to call life outside college “the real world.” “It makes absolutely no sense because [college] is not fake. It’s like I’m saying I live in a fantasy world,” he says. “Remember what it is like to dream.” For Claudio, students shouldn’t forget about college. “We can remind you what it was like when you were still like kinda naïve about life.”
Legends in the Making | 53
I hope that at some point they remember that it’s not about the I, but the we, and maybe it’s not about what I gain, but what I give.
By Pauline V. Miranda
HE OFTEN self-deprecatingly calls himself a “stupid white guy,” but many of Michael Liberatore’s students would beg to disagree. If the popularity of his Theology 141 courses is any indication, the appeal of Liberatore, or “Lib” as he is fondly called, goes far beyond mere classroom matters. “People often ask me what do I teach, and I often say that I teach students,” he jokes. Just as liberation theology talks of immersion into the world and the commitment to transforming it, Lib too commits to transforming the lives of his students. “My concern is always [that] if I look at my job as teaching a course, then it ends. We have a relationship for  weeks and that’s the end,” he says. “If I teach students, in a sense, I make a commitment to the lives of students, which means long-term.” This is Lib’s seventh year teaching full-time in the Ateneo, and his 14th overall. In 2001, he be-
came a Jesuit volunteer in Guam, where he joined the University of Guam faculty. Later on he would meet his Filipina wife, and in 2005, they moved to the Philippines. It was then that he began his studies in the Loyola School of Theology. Since then, he has gotten to know many of the faculty and students, for whom he is grateful. “I met a lot of really good people,” Lib says. “That certainly has played a big role in my own growth.” In the same way, he hopes that his students are able to grow as a result of what they get from his classes. Spoken like a true liberation theology teacher, he says, “Our lives don’t matter if we don’t make others’ lives better. We live in a world that constantly tells us to care about ourselves, focus on ourselves, worry about ourselves… I hope that at some point they remember that it’s not about the I, but the we, and maybe it’s not about what I gain, but what I give.” Through it all, he pushes his students to “go.” “Go do great things. But make sure that [this] has a sense of depth that magis invites us to.”
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I think it’s really important for a teacher to connect to his or her students beyond just being a mentor.
Ron Cruz By Aih Mendoza
RONALD CRUZ loves many things. Aside from being a biology lecturer, he is a movie buff, a marine life lover, a Dungeons and Dragons game master and the founder of the Ateneo Biological Organization. All of these have contributed to the reason students enjoy not only his classes, but his company as well. “I think it’s because I’m a geek,” Cruz professes. “I have a lot of the same interests as they do.” True enough, Cruz is often seen spending time with his students outside the classroom, talking about things from Philippine wild life to alien evolution to new TV shows. “I think it’s really important for a teacher to connect to his or her students beyond just being a mentor,” he shares. Throughout his eight years of teaching, Cruz has found a way to successfully marry his interests and his academic career. More than just using several pop-culture references in his classes, Cruz has published journal articles exploring the science of
speculative fiction and the biological bearings of horror movies. On the top of this list, however, is a class called “The Biology of Science Fiction,” a course that Cruz himself created for sci-fi connoisseurs. In the course, he explores topics such as the comparative anatomies of aliens, the possibility of human immortality, cyborgs and zombie epidemics. Cruz says that if he wasn’t teaching, he’d be involved in film or scientific research, but being an educator seems to be his true calling. “There’s something very fulfilling and satisfying about being able to impart your knowledge to other people—to the younger generation especially—but at the same time, also learning from them, because as far as I’m concerned, it’s a two-way street,” he shares. Though Cruz has found a home in the Ateneo, he is set to pursue a doctorate in conservative biology abroad. But returning to the Ateneo unquestionably is in his plans. Above all that Cruz loves, teaching and being with students will always be at the top. And in turn this is why, above all other reasons, he is a beloved teacher.
Legends in the Making | 55
Teaching goes beyond the world of the classroom.
Jun Cuenca, MD By Keisha D. Kibanoff
DR. MANUEL “Jun” Cuenca, Jr. has no idea why someone would want to profile him. But most psychology majors over the past decade are far from forgetting him being their teacher in physiological psychology. It’s hard to find someone who can handle the highly technical course properly, but Cuenca has been teaching the subject for almost 12 years now, sometimes handling the entire batch alone. Cuenca’s accomplishments are anything but mediocre. Currently, he is a full-time teacher at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health and is also an anesthesiologist on call at all times. “A lot of my friends say, ‘You’re really crazy. You don’t even have to teach anymore!’” he says. For Cuenca, it’s a matter of giving back. “I had very good teachers. They didn’t only teach you the concept, but they showed you so much care.” Cuenca adopted the warmth of the teachers who made an impact on him as an undergraduate. “I always want to get to know my students or let
my students know me,” he says. He continues to stay in touch with his favorite professors, whom he sometimes sees around campus. His genuine concern for his students translates into his teaching style. “Teaching goes beyond the world of the classroom. If they have a problem, I just want them to think of their teachers [as someone] whom they can approach.” For Cuenca, the values teachers impart ultimately matter more than the concepts. “I don’t even remember anything about physio psych when I was in college!” he admits. His goal was to make the course something to remember for what it really teaches. With his medical practice and his schedule, it would be logical—yet also completely illogical—for him to stop teaching. “Every time a student would approach you to ask for help, makipagkuwentuhan lang sa ‘yo, or even just chat with you or to say thank you, these are the things that [keep] me going.” Time and time again, the Ateneo is a source of stability Cuenca is glad to return to. “It’s always a reality check for me. This is what you’re supposed to be doing, this is what Ateneo taught you.”
56 | THE GUIDON GRADUATION MAGAZINE 2014
History is a story that everyone can relate to.
By Chino L. Cruz
I HAVE come to the conclusion that Jo-Ed Tirol is a cool dad. Known for his unusually accessible lectures on Western history and his penchant for pop culture references, Tirol has the easy swagger of someone who knows what he’s doing. You can sense that he’s survived years of having to deal with hordes of indifferent, hormonal teenagers just by looking at him. He has the sort of calm, wizened demeanor that can only really be associated with fatherhood. What makes him cool, however, is how unapologetically eager he becomes once he begins his lectures. His eyes light up and he is able to fill the room with his excitement. Tirol has a natural way with stories. He is able to weave thrilling historical narratives with geeky jokes and hilarious personal anecdotes, making his classes seem more theatrical than academic. According to him, he teaches this way because his subject matter practically calls for it. “History is a story that everyone can relate to,”
he says. “There are two ways to do this. To teach history as a discipline, which is you learn to analyze data. You learn to study events. That’s one. But the way that I teach history is the other part. I emphasize the other part, which is to teach history as a human story.” What Tirol is able to do is make history accessible to a generation with ever-shorter attention spans. He takes arcane historical information and brings it down to earth via his sense of humor. However, even with the glowing online reviews (he admits that he reads them every so often) and the packs of students clamoring to join his classes, Tirol says that he can never see himself as a legend. “I’d like to say I am trying to carve my own niche,” he tells me. “I don’t think it would be fair to the Dacanays and the Bobby Guevs of the world to say I’m trying to be at their level. I’m trying to be as good as I can be maximizing my own abilities. They have their style, I have my style.” Whether or not he is a legend, his style, which involves telling his students about his attempts to deal with his daughter’s Hannah Montana phase during a lesson on World War II, is what may make Tirol the coolest dad on campus.
Legends in the Making | 57
This is why I don’t teach in a preschool. Those in college have the maturity and the ability to discuss, debate and argue.
ABIGAIL FAVIS By Andie D. Reyes
“I LIKE it when students debate with me,” Abigail Favis says. “As long as it’s not just for the sake of being makulit!” The Environmental Science (ES) professor has had a lot of experience with makulit students: After graduating from the Ateneo in 2006, Favis immediately began teaching, only taking a break to finish her masters. All in all, she’s been with the Ateneo for 10 years. Favis has always known she wanted a career in science, pursuing both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in environmental science. With her teaching, she is known for infusing her lessons with geeky enthusiasm and a dry humor that delights School of Science and Engineering (SOSE) and non-SOSE students alike. “This is why I don’t teach in a preschool,” she half-jokes. “I find it harder to communicate with younger children than with college-age students, because I know that those in college have the ma-
turity and the ability to discuss, debate and argue.” But teaching (and arguing with) students isn’t the only on-campus pursuit Favis devotes her time to. Bringing together her love for research and for the Ateneo–“I was brainwashed!” she says with a laugh—she also serves as the coordinator of the Ateneo Environmental Management Council. Everything from wastewater treatment to traffic schemes are handled by this team. “It’s really [about] building a sustainable campus, like trying to help out with how we manage our waste, how we manage our resources and how we form environmental values,” she explains. These are lessons she also brings to her classes, where she challenges students to think about their actions and consequences and to look at the world a different way. In turn, she enjoys being challenged by her students. It’s this generosity and open-mindedness that makes her such a sought-after teacher. “I like being challenged to become a better educator,” she says, “or even a better environmental scientist.”
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Piliin yung pagod na kaya niyong tulugan nang mahimbing sa gabi.
By Athena A. Batanes
Jethro Tenorio knew all along that he wanted to pursue a career in education. It began when he was playing teacher to his younger siblings at age seven, but he understands how lost most of us are. Tenorio is known for giving his students an extra 15 points for using notebooks that have Filipino celebrities on the cover, as well as his very entertaining way of teaching. This stems from his belief that we all need to grow in creativity. “You have to have that desire to know what is new, to discover new ways,” he says in a mix of English and Filipino. He understands the hard work that the students go through and the liberation they feel now as they are graduating. But Tenorio says that not much will change once we graduate–just that this time, the stakes are higher. “Dahil nga ang at stake dito kabuhayan na, kailangan ng mas seryosong pagpaplano at kung paano hahatiin ang oras (Because what is at stake is livelihood, more serious planning
and time management is needed),” he says. Tenorio is also a reminder to students to try and keep some constants in life–he is still very actively participating in Entablado, an organization that he was part of while he was still a student in the Ateneo. And though Tenorio says that his work is tiring, it is ultimately fulfilling. This, he says, is what should also guide the graduating batch. “Piliin yung pagod na kaya niyong tulugan nang mahimbing sa gabi (Choose the fatigue which will still let you sleep soundly at night).” Even if it is with difficulty, Tenorio says we should never lose hope no matter the angst. “Kasi kapag yung pag-asa ang nawala sa ‘yo, wala na. Wala nang will to move forward (If hope is what you lose, that’s it. There will be no will to move forward),” he says. As we find our way, he reminds the graduating seniors of ABS-CBN’s tagline: “In the service of the Filipino people.” Tenorio says in a mix of English and Filipino: “Whatever vocation you take, do not forget that hopefully it is in the service of the Filipino people.”
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We [teachers] are the ones always left behind.
Ariel Diccion By Andie D. Reyes
HE’S THE man walking around campus on Valentine’s Day with a red “Hug Me!” sign stuck to his back. He’s the emcee at relief packing operations, cracking jokes about needing big men to haul the heavier goods… and needing them for other things too, wink wink. He’s the comedian, the actor, the orator, the artist who breathes life into the most mundane of situations. Ariel Diccion plays many roles on campus, but perhaps none suit him as well as “the professor.” Known for his engaging teaching style, Diccion is the Filipino teacher to have. His classes have a strong interactive element, shaped by his experience in the world of improvisational comedy. “Once I was teaching the concept of hiya,” he says in a mix of English and Filipino. “So before I entered the classroom, I knocked and asked for permission to enter very apologetically, and took
my shoes off before coming inside. It was improvised the first time, but became a script for my classes later on.” But Diccion isn’t a one-note teacher with a gimmick. Merging improvisation with teaching has the goal of “inspiring learning,” as he says, and one of the great joys of being a teacher is when former students remember and apply lessons once learned in a Filipino classroom, years ago. “We [teachers] are the ones always left behind,” he says, “so I’m happy to hear from students who say, ‘At work today something happened and it reminded me of what we discussed before.’” He smiles, adding, “Nakakataba ng puso (It warms the heart).” At the heart of all his creative contrivances is the genuine desire to impart knowledge onto his students. “I just want them to know that there’s always more to learn,” he says. And if he can do that while sporting various costumes to class, armed with an arsenal of jokes and routines, why not?
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Learn by experience instead of memorizing.
By Roman C. Mirasol
DESPITE NOT originally pursuing a career in the academe, Operations Management and Leadership & Strategy professor Allan Ko admits that teaching is one of the things he plans on holding onto for a long time. “I think it’s the thing that I will not get rid of,” confesses the former Procter & Gamble systems manager and current Talent 2 country manager. “Suffice to say, it’s a vocation. It’s a calling.” His teaching career began when former International Business Machines colleague Wilson Gan invited him to serve as a project defense panelist. He would regularly take on this role in the years following, before Gan approached him again in 2010, this time for an opening in the Quantitative Methods and Information Technology department. Since taking on the job, Ko has established a name for himself because of his unique teaching method in his Organizational Behaviour class. He utilizes a learner-centric approach as opposed to the regular style that relies heavily on the material or teacher. “I’ve seen [organizational behaviour] in my
career. The best way to learn about it is to live through it and reflect through it, not read books or memorize terms,” he points out. “Learn by experience instead of memorizing.” Aside from his teaching style, Ko has also made a mark by building strong relationships with his students. “I really make an effort to know my students. I keep in touch with them through social media. Majority of my Facebook friends are my students.” He recently reached the 500-mark in terms of the number of students he’s handled, but Ko is no less passionate today than when he first started. “Every semester, there is a reincarnation of the same thrill that was there the very first time I taught,” he says. As one of the young, up-and-coming and talented professors of the School of Management, what Ko aspires to when his teaching career comes to an end is simple: “I want to be remembered as the teacher who did not spoon-feed, who did not shove the learnings to their face. I want to be remembered when they start working, when they encounter something and say, ‘I know how to deal with this. This is something I learned in Allan Ko’s class.’”
PHOTO BY JESSICA L. ROASA
LEGENDS LEGENDS ARE primarily narratives: Stories that have a likeness or semblance to truth. These men and women have found themselves in the Ateneoâ€™s veritable oral history; luminaries who have shone light on the path to truth that their students walk. These men are legends because they have guided students towards separate yet intertwined truths.
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Jett Villarin, SJ By Apa M. Agbayani FR. JETT Villarin keeps a secret blog. While most secret blogs are either sordid or sad, the University President’s is far more innocuous. “Only I see it,” Villarin says with a trademark chuckle. “I just write things that warm me. A lot of them are really instances when I’m with the students, when I’m able to inspire or at least change certain things.” Since his term began in 2011, Villarin has grown to be one of the best-loved administrators in the university. Sitting with him in his office in Xavier Hall, it’s easy to see why. Apart from being one of the most accessible figures on campus, there is a spark in Villarin’s eyes and a palpable warmth that radiates from him. It’s refreshing to be around him—as if you have never been in the presence of someone so inspiring and so genuine. He speaks glowingly of the power of the Ateneo education, particularly the commitment to be men and women for others. “I think we have not lost that,” Villarin says. “It’s in the atmosphere; it’s in the air you breathe—so much so that many years later, when you’re already married and with kids, I think that will hound you.” To him, this is what makes the Ateneo so unique. “Who we are, what we are about is this direction towards the Other,” he adds. As a leader, he draws strength from the university community. “It’s very consoling to preside over such a great school,” Villarin says. “It’s exciting to preside over the changes that we need to embrace to be able to face the challenges of this century.” Villarin encourages Ateneans to keep courage for the journey down from the hill and to keep the ideals of Ignatian service at heart. This commitment to others “will mean many things at different times in your life,” says Villarin. “So be open to the many possible avenues of that service.” “Life is just unfolding, so don’t say, ‘This is it,’” he says with a grin. “You have a whole world ahead of you. Be excited. Be brave.” PHOTO BY KAT A. MALLILLIN
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PHOTO BY KAT A. MALLILLIN
BEN Nebres, SJ By Athena A. Batanes
HE WAS the university president for 18 years and has been of service to the Ateneo since 1963. But it might be for his humbler position now that we put Fr. Bienvenido Nebres on an even higher pedestal. Despite having spare time now to watch his favorite Looney Tunes DVD collection, Fr. Ben is as socially involved as he has ever been. People from different sectors in society still seek Nebres, asking him for help or a simple photo opportunity. At the ripe age of 74, he is still very accommodating and seems even more committed to public service. Aside from teaching two math courses regularly, Nebres has been doing work in science and technology for the Commission on Higher Education. As a national scientist, he has always had that strong intellectual drive. Beyond that drive, though, is his passion to make a difference, which has led him to work closely with Gawad Kalinga. This commitment in both excellence and
service is what he likes most about Ateneans. “I like very much that students push hard to do well academically, but equally are very committed to making a difference,” says Nebres. He believes that it is important to develop one’s talent at a young age, but, at the same time, find an open heart for others. As for our batch, Nebres believes that we are graduating at a possible turning point for the century given the adversities that have happened in the past few years. “I think your batch has seen both the tragedy and the pain, but you have also seen the outpouring of care, compassion and generosity from very many people,” he elaborates, asserting that we need to see this as both a challenge and an opportunity. When we look back in our college years in the Ateneo, Nebres hopes that we see a second home. “We hope this will be your Nazareth, where you grow in age, wisdom and grace,” he says. Nebres might have veered away from the limelight, but he still continues to shed light to so many.
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Bobby Guevara By Nadine Y. Ramos
ONE WOULD be hard-pressed to explain why students fight tooth and nail to take Roberto Guevara’s Theology 141 class, especially since he teaches in Filipino and gives notoriously difficult quizzes. But it’s really in hearing him speak—be it his famous “Prodigal Son” lecture or even a lecture on the two creation stories in Genesis—when everything just clicks. Guevara’s passion for the topics on the course of Liberation Theology is infectious. “[Teaching] Theo 141 allows me to talk about the two things that are very important to me: The poor and God,” he says. One important lesson Guevara imparts in class is the notion that “our whole basic spirituality is oftentimes aimed at trying to merit God’s love.” However, he says, “I think the invitation is to recover this sense of God loving us first.” For Guevara, the vision is really the formation and inspiration of men and women for others
“to offer their lives in love to causes greater than themselves.” He says that central to these causes are relationships with the poor. He also notes that compared to when he started teaching in 1987, “there is a more conscious understanding of mission in relation to one’s profession that wasn’t too explicit [before].” An example of this that Guevara gives is that he has never seen this many Ateneans work in the government. Though the choice of becoming a man or woman for others comes as a no-brainer while having Guevara as a teacher, the problem, as always, is in the follow through. “It’s going to be difficult work, but I can’t see any other way by which life can be lived fully,” he says. “There’s a lot in the world that can cause us to fear, but we need not be our fears.” Guevara further elaborates: “Allow God to love you in the unique, particular way He chose to love you. This experience of love overflowing can lead you to love others in return.” But really, the one thing that should stick is something he says often in class: “Magmahal, magtaya, magpalaya.”
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Ray Aguas By Kara B. Chung
“WE SHOULD never be content with our current level of cuteness,” says theology professor Ray Aguas, completely serious. With this philosophy in mind, it took only one moment of inspiration for him to step up and make a difference in the world in the best way he could: Teach. It was a homily he heard during the tail end of his college years that brought on this revelation. “I just all of a sudden decided to teach!” He says, “The gospel was ‘The Rich Young Man,’ which I had heard a million times before. But [this time] for some reason I ended up saying to myself: ‘I’ll get everything I have and give it to the poor and then I’ll come and follow Jesus.’” For the past 21 years, Ray, as he insists on being called, has taken up this challenge in a way that is distinctly his own. “I managed to break through the resistance, the inertia,” he shares. “I want to move away from people just memorizing stuff, then it just becomes a game and you get a
grade based on how well you remember stuff.” Clearly, “conventional” is definitely not a word you could use to describe Ray’s classes. For instance, instead of giving students the usual thesis statements for oral exams, he instructs them to synthesize lessons on their own. One of his famous final projects involves students interpreting their personal creed in whatever medium they find suitable. The output has included interpretive dances, spoken word poetry, even cake. Ray also has a knack for getting all of his students to participate in his lessons—something many teachers would agree is a major feat. Ray makes sure to keep the floor open for discussion, appealing not only to Catholics but also to the agnostics and atheists in his class. “In a way, I suspect I face fewer challenges than most teachers. I suspect that if I were a more traditional teacher, from the start these people would already be closed, ‘di ba?” He adds, “It will probably sound boring and cliché, but my milestones are individual people.” His advice to the graduating class? Put simply, “Get cuter every day.”
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Sev Sarmenta By Apa M. Agbayani
I RUN into Sev Sarmenta in the strangest of places. To wit, these include my thesis defense, the second floor men’s washroom at the Social Sciences Building and Jollibee Gilmore. Everywhere we meet, he has some clever new quip or Star Wars reference. Sometimes, we share a brief conversation in Klingon (or an approximation thereof ). He is the kind of person who is serious about humor—livening up the annual Pabaon with pitch-perfect impersonations of everyone’s department chairs or offering animated, intelligent commentary on sporting events. It’s not just an act—it’s a way of life. Sarmenta believes that the Ateneo Communication Department is a special place for three kinds of people: “Sa mga kulang ng pansin, ‘yung mga artistic kunwari, at ‘yung mga mahina sa math (Attention-seekers, wannabe artists and people who are bad at math). Please come to Comm. You will all find kindred souls here.” When I ask what he’s tried to give his stu-
dents, Sarmenta replies with a booming “Fire!” He has always kept a mantra at heart, “In Comm, we work you hard, but we love you hard.” He hopes communication students will grow to have “a passion for our field, regardless of whether they go to film, writing, journalism—an endless desire to ask questions.” Students will attest to this fire Sarmenta speaks so fondly of. He is known to send students out for sloppy presentations and using hackneyed lecture-speak. A “basically,” a “first and foremost,” or an “at the end of the day,” and you’re out the door. I ask him, “Why are you so demanding?” “Because the world is not going to be any easier,” Sarmenta replies. “Why do you go to school? It prepares you for the challenges. The world has other frustrations, so as you experience them, you go back to your schooling and say, ‘I can handle this.’” “That’s why I’m so demanding.” This is not to say that he doesn’t have high hopes for his students. “Now I think the world is there for you to claim,” he adds optimistically. Confidently, I can say, the Force is strong in this one.
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Leovino Garcia By Aih Mendoza YOU WOULDN’T really expect this much enthusiasm from a professor who has gone through almost forty years of teaching, thousands of students, a doctorate and being the first Dean of Humanities, but that’s just Doctor Leovino Garcia for you. Anyone who has been a student of Garcia will attest to the zest of the self-proclaimed “platinum-haired” philosophy teacher. His poignant anecdotes and entertaining quips in class transform the SEC-B lecture hall into something more like a friend’s living room where lessons feel like kwentuhan sessions instead. “I think teaching makes you forever young,” says Garcia. Having been with students constantly, he feels that he is “forever learning anew,” which is something he loves about being an educator. He adds that one of the greatest joys of a teacher is “to see people discover that they have their own mind… and that they find that they have beautiful minds.” Garcia’s career path is inspired by none other than Fr. Roque Ferriols, his own professor who he never fails to honor in his classes. “It’s a passing on of grace. If you get something good from someone, you don’t keep it for yourself. You give it to someone else,” explains Garcia. Both his enthusiasm and love for teaching, however, is only part of why students enjoy Garcia’s classes. His lectures on “The Face of the Other,” “Jouissance” and “il y a” are not only well-known, but well-loved by his numerous pupils. They’re so remarkable that they sometimes find their way into the lessons of professors who used to be under Garcia. But when asked about what he wants his students to ultimately take away from his lessons, Garcia doesn’t answer with a specific philosophy topic. Instead, he smiles and says without hesitation: “Life is good. Never lose hope.” And then after a pause, he adds that he hopes his students will “look at themselves and know there’s something good to give… and to play out all the love you hold inside.” It is precisely this hope and desire to give the best of himself that Garcia has exuded so genuinely in class. It is because of this, perhaps, why students never forget him.
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PHOTO BY JESSICA L. ROASA
ADolfo Dacanay, SJ By Nadine Y. Ramos SOME STUDENTS were lucky–or unlucky, depending on your experience–enough to have had Fr. Adolfo Dacanay, SJ as their teacher. Enlisting in Fr. Dacanay’s Theology 131 class seems to be nothing short of a death wish. It would be an understatement to say that he’s one of the more intimidating figures on campus (with a veritable force field around him as he walks to class). However, being Dacanay’s student is definitely memorable. From following a strict dress code to forcing yourself to come to class prepared lest be berated, or simply learning about love and the meaning of marriage. In teaching theology, Dacanay hopes to form a “mature, critical person,” unlike some Catholics he has encountered who “become like kids again” when discussing faith. But Catholics don’t have a monopoly on doing the good. Dacanay adds: “There are other equally responsible, loving, moral persons that are not believers. But I think a Catholic has a certain perspective of the world, and that
is what I want to teach.” But the world, as Dacanay says, is a very complicated place. “Many things will compete for your attention.” So why should students bother paying attention in Theology? He says, “I don’t know if [graduates] just tell you this to flatter you, but [they] say that what makes the Ateneo education different are the core subjects. It forms critical thinking, forms reflection. It’s part of the mission of the university.” Theology, he says, is important to fulfilling the formative function of the university. For Dacanay, this formation is essential. “Philosophy and theology [classes] teach you how to learn,” he says. “When you [work] for a company, they re-tool you completely.” So, Dacanay says, “Keep your moorings, keep your anchors.” When graduates start earning, Dacanay explains, “there is a tendency for the kite to be cut off from the strings.” But rather than be swept away, Dacanay advises graduates to remember their values, their faith. “In the end these are the things that will keep you solid and guide you in important decisions. You will value those things.”
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Eduardo Calasanz By Fredrick P. Cruz
WHEN INJUSTICE and absurdity first revealed themselves to Eduardo “Eddieboy” Calasanz, it was through blank eyes staring at empty space. In grade school, Calasanz would join his family after classes to fetch his father, who worked at the national mental hospital in Mandaluyong. “Isang araw, hinihintay namin ang Daddy… May nakita akong binata, teenager, early 20s, nakatingin lang sa malayo, tulala. Alam ko baliw siya (One day, we were waiting for Daddy…I saw a teenager, early 20s, looking out into the distance. I knew he was crazy),” he recalls. “Natanong ko sa ‘king sarili, ‘Bakit?’ (I asked myself, ‘Why?’)” He remembers the stench of the place, the faces of patients who were forced to live in “impossible situations.” “I think that was an occasion for me to ask, ‘What is life all about?’” Calasanz would meet injustice and absurdity again in college, in the form of Ferdinand Marcos’ capture of state power. His first two years in the Ateneo were during the era of the First Quarter Storm; his last
two, the genesis of Martial Law. “Some of my friends joined the underground movement. Some went to the mountains. Some were killed.” It was the late 1960s and early 1970s, yet it felt like Orwell’s 1984. Decades later, Calasanz still sees challenges and struggles. As Associate Dean for Student Affairs, he recalls how he would talk to students and families “on the edge.” From his view, today’s youth is confronted with too much uncertainty and brokenness: “I think we live in a world when that happens more and more frequently. It’s not just computers that crash. Lives crash.” Yet he believes despair should not be the finality of being. “And for me, this whole mystery of hope [comes in], its life-giving mystery.” It was hope, after all, that helped Calasanz endure and survive the Marcos regime. It was the light that shone during the darkness of the martial law years. It was the promise of freedom after being enslaved by a dictatorship. It was the transcendence that empowered people to face tanks and bullets with prayers and flowers in 1986. It was presence beyond the injustice and absurdity. And it is hope that Calasanz asks the graduating batch to never lose. “When everything crumbles, what is left? Hope. Hope is what remains.”
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Darwin YU By Roman C. Mirasol
ON FEBRUARY 20, 2013, University president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ released a memo to the community regarding the appointment of then John Gokongwei School of Management (JGSOM) Dean Rodolfo Ang as the new Dean of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. Throughout his tenure, Ang made a name for himself by taking JGSOM to another level, pioneering numerous innovations such as JGSOM Student Enterprise Center, SOM Business Accelerator and the Junior Term Abroad program. With his appointment, however, a gaping hole was left at the top of the JGSOM hierarchy. Finding someone to hold the fort after Ang’s departure was both critical and difficult. But to a majority of SOM students, that specific individual was obvious—Darwin Yu. Yu, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management engineering (ME) back in 1983, is popular among management students, especially ME majors. Throughout his years of teaching
finance and accounting, he has established a reputation of being one of the “must-have” professors. To be able to establish this kind of reputation is an incredible feat for any professor. More so for Yu, since he teaches two of the most feared and terrifying courses the university has to offer. The recipe for his success in the academe is no secret. It’s evident in each of his lectures if you ask any of his former and current students. It’s the passion that he puts on display every time he takes on the responsibility of making sense out of all the numbers on the board which endears him the most to his students. It’s this same passion that he exudes that makes his classes special. Aside from explaining the different theories and concepts, Yu shows the application of the lesson beyond the balance sheets and income statements. As a result, his students find a way to appreciate the daunting courses of Accounting 20, Accounting 35 and Finance 198. Given the passion that he’s shown and continues to carry, Yu has left no room for panic and worry as he assumes the role of JGSOM Acting Dean.
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By Apa M. Agbayani
“WHAT DO you think women bring to the university?” “Hard work!” asserts Antonette PalmaAngeles, PhD who has the unique distinction of being in the first batch of women to study in the Ateneo and the first batch of women to teach in the Philosophy Department. She’s quick to note, though, that it’s “not because I’m good; it’s just that I’m lucky.” “It’s really one of the things that I really passionately loved. When I graduated from college, my ultimate ambition was to be a philo teacher… The only problem was they were not taking in women. When they were finally ready for us—this is courtesy of Dr. Manny Dy—I came and taught in the very early ‘80s.” Apart from the “culture of being focused and hardworking” that women bring to a university setting, she adds that women bring something more to the table in the study of philosophy. “I think, to a large measure, philosophers in the West are men, and so the women in the Philosophy Department bring in a very different
perspective of doing philosophy,” she says. Palma-Angeles is a portrait of classic grace and beauty, paired with genuine warmth. There’s a sparkle in her eyes that speaks of a yet undiminished joie de vivre and an openness to questions and conversations. In many ways, Palma-Angeles continues to be, in her words, “a voracious, continuing learner.” There are three things she hopes her students will take to heart: Passion, hard work and a thirst for knowledge. She says that passion for one’s field is important, but it’s not enough. She uses the characteristic example of fashion to illustrate this. “It’s not enough to be fashionable!” she says. “You have to read! What are the colors that work together? What are things that go with your height, with your body type?” “In other words, passion has to be coupled with a tenacity to get results, to work very hard.” It is vital, she says, to maintain this tenacity in a rapidly globalizing world. “Because Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is already bringing down barriers, it is very important to work hard.” Finally, she says, “You keep up your sense of wonder, to continuously learn.”
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Nick Cruz, SJ By Chino L. Cruz
FR. NICK Cruz doesn’t want to entertain his students. While practically all his classes involve weekly film screenings and minimal class discussion, Cruz believes that his job is to challenge the average Atenean. “If I show students films like The Sound of Music, there would be nothing to discuss,” he tells me in his trademark deadpan. “How can I challenge students intellectually if I just entertain them with singing and dancing?” His answer is characteristically Jesuit in its focus on trying to shift the status quo. In a way, Cruz is a classic example of the Jesuit paradox. He is one of the most approachable priests on campus. His warm aura, hearty chuckle and resemblance to a teddy bear rare unlike the usual terror-inducing indicators of academic infamy. This, however, belies his no-nonsense approach to world cinema and its normally contentious subject matter. He isn’t afraid to show films that discuss moral gray areas or even those that lack any actual sense of morality. He presents cinematic
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sex and violence in all its unadulterated glory. Cruz believes that it is through the moral ambiguity of film that he is able to really teach his students as a priest. “I think I really teach my students about kindness and emotions,” he says. “Film is one of the only mediums that really delves into emotion. I want the films I show to help in the total formation of my students. I don’t want them to just be robots. They can become thinking and feeling robots.” That is not to say that Cruz believes that film isn’t entertaining. Having been raised by a family of “movie addicts,” Cruz’s other main goal is to be able to reach out to an audience of young people immersed solely in American film culture. “I hope to be able to teach Ateneans that there are many films outside of Hollywood worth watching,” he says. After 45 years of teaching, Fr. Cruz still seems to have that newfound wonder of having discovered the cinema. “I’ve watched all those films I show forty, fifty times already, but I still enjoy them. My students see me laughing and reacting as if I was watching the movie for the first time.”
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ILLUSTRATION BY CZARINA B. DYCAICO
Roque Ferriols, SJ By Nadine Y. Ramos
PADRE ROQUE Ferriols, SJ is a man who needs no introduction. Ferriols’ time as an educator in the Ateneo is closely interwoven with the university’s tradition of phenomenalization—one would be remiss to try and discuss them separately. Ferriols returned to the Ateneo de Manila campus in 1966 as the chair of the Department of Philosophy and in the same year, established the AB Philosophy program. It was three years later that he began teaching philosophy in Filipino. This experimental class, which began 45 years ago, is one of the hallmarks of the Atenean education. Another thing that is essential to the discussion of philosophy in the Ateneo is “meron,”one of the main tenets of Ferriols’ philosophizing. The word itself is difficult to translate; the meaning, on the other hand, is a behemoth of its own. Ferriols tells a story about a seminarian who
read Ferriols’ writings and wrote a thesis about it. “Ang ‘meron’ ay hindi isang translation, ang meron ay isang pagbigkas sa karanasan mo (‘Meron’ is not a translation, ‘meron’ is speaking about your experience),” the seminarian told Ferriols. Ferriols replied, “Tama! Ikaw ang isa sa mga tao na nakaintindi sa sinulat ko. ‘Yung ibang mga tao iniisip nila na mayroon akong sinasalin, na inisalin ko ang ‘being’ sa ‘meron,’ pero ang ‘meron’ ay hindi pagsalin sa ‘being.’ (You’re right! You’re one of the few who has understood what I wrote. Other people think that I translated something, that I translated ‘being’ into ‘meron’ but ‘meron’ is not a translation of ‘being.’)” Now in his second retirement—having retired when he turned 60, but continuing to teach parttime—the 89 year old has undeniably changed the minds and hearts of countless Ateneans. Perhaps something that the graduating batch should keep in mind is something Ferriols wrote in “Sapagkat ang Pilosopiya ay Ginagawa”: “Oras nang magsimula. Lundagin mo beybe!”
PHOTOS BY JESSICA L. ROASA