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A play of numbers

Take a look behind Alfonso Solomon Magno, the Thomasian who topped the 2017 accounting boards.



Alfonso Solomon Magno topped the 2017 accounting boards. Photo grabbed from Magno’s Facebook account.

The night of judgement came. With shaking hands and sweaty palms, Alfonso Solomon Magno anxiously opened the website of the Professional Regulatory Commission — eager to see if he has made it to the cut.

Several minutes had already passed, yet all he sees is the infuriating loading screen. His fingers are drumming to the beat of his nervousness.

After an eternity of agony later, the updated Professional Regulation Commission’s website has finally come into view. One laborious breath after another, he scrolled through.

Then everything blurred but the list.

For minutes, he just stared blankly at the screen, trying to discern if everything is real. Before, the thought of not being able to pass the licensure examinations gnawed at him during the long excruciating months, waiting for the results. And now, he is at loss for words, his self-doubts melting away as the website blinked his name at the top of the list.

“My belief turned upside down… With my heart filled with bliss, I realized that God really answers prayers, only in Yes’s or Not yet’s. There were and will be setbacks in our lives, but He is always be with us in this kind of situations,” Solomon said in an exclusive online interview with TomasinoWeb.

The top spot for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure examinations has been elusive to the Thomasians for the last 5 years, and with Solomon breaking the streak with his 91.33 percent mark, he does admit that being a topnotcher bears pressure on him.

“Pressure is not something that we can eliminate. Everyone experiences pressure, but it is up to us on what to do with it,” he said.

“As for me, knowing that placing at the top conceives new expectations, I look at pressure as a motivational force. There is no greater joy than surpassing other people’s notion of one’s capabilities,” the topnotcher added.

With pressure as constant companion, Solomon shared the most important tip in surviving this battle: Breathe.

“I am not the type who studies everyday, and stays late at night burning the midnight oil in the library, coffee shops, and dining places. I did not restrict myself from using social media and playing online games,” the young CPA said.

“Reading tons of books and answering a lot of review materials are important, but understanding the concepts behind the texts is paramount. To those who will be taking the Board Examination, study, but make time for yourself. When you feel tired, go out and breathe some fresh air,” he added.

Strength of numbers

With CPA at the end of his name, Solomon wishes to use this honor to inspire others and spark change in this profession he is about to take.

“To AMV-ians, remember, the fire that melted the stone is the fire that hardened the egg. But beyond the message lies the most important lesson: no matter how one is affected by the fire, the moment a person decides to face it is already something admirable and worth the recognition. Also, no dream is achieved overnight. It takes a lot of time. AMV might cause scalds but never let the fire burn your drive to achieve your goals.”

The newborn CPA has also experienced downfall before this outstanding feat. Yet he rose stronger than ever, wearing his battle scars as armor.

“.001, that is how close I am to becoming Magna. After 5 years of hardships, the one thing I desired the most slipped through my hands. Painful it was and doubts become inevitable. But what hurts most is knowing that I failed those who believed in me.”

“Later on, I have come to realize that settling in this thought will not do anything good, and I still have one more shot to prove myself- the CPA Board Examination. Through the help of my family, friends, college faculties and staff, I am able to rise up from this fall,” Solomon said.

As for him, having CPA at the end of his name is more than just a title — it is a commitment to the service of humanity.

“Ask yourselves: “Why am I doing what I do?” There’s an enormous difference between working only for the actualization of our personal desires in life and serving humanity. The call to respond to the problems that the country is facing must reach ears and hearts of everyone,” he said.

“Today’s accounting profession had been tainted by yesterday’s scandals involving fraud, and the public’s trust was seriously damaged. This should never be allowed to happen again, otherwise the profession will not be tracking the route of going concern,” Solomon ended.




#TWenty: The 2017 TomasinoWeb Year-ender

2016 was a merely a teaser for​ more terrible things to come—but 2017 was also the year we fought back.



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A letter from the editor

To say that 2017 was a challenging year is an understatement: 2017 was a terrible year—which is honestly funny, considering how just exactly a year ago, we were all probably tweeting how 2016 was the #WorstYearEver (it’s Twitter; sharper expletives are welcome).

If anything, the past year was merely a teaser for worse things to come, and it seems that 2017 picked up where 2016 left off: The Growling Tigers continued their dismal performance in the UAAP, securing only a single win this season; the government’s brutal crackdown on illegal drugs continue to claim the lives of thousands, even teenagers; and hazing has killed another student, and this time, it’s a Thomasian—all while the Dutertes enjoy lavish photoshoots in the Malacañang.

Mocha Uson is now an actual government official (which, more or less, gives legitimacy to her blatant misinformation frenzy), martial law is in full swing in Mindanao after a series of terror attacks, and candidates who lost to abstentions in the student council elections have threatened to take over the vacant posts.

It was a terrible year, but it was also the year we fought back.

A hashtag has given sexual harassment victims a voice to decry and expose abusers. Thousands marched in the streets of Manila last Sept. 21 to protest the government’s inhumane drug operations and harassment of farmer and indigenous communities. Mental health advocates also fought the stigma surrounding mental health conditions with a hashtag and Ariana Grande showed the world that we could respond to terrorism with love and solidarity.

It’s undeniable that we are living in dangerous times—and that we are facing even more challenging times ahead. Despite all the things we hated this year, we are here, on the last day of the year, hoping that we could fight our way through 2018 like we did this 2017.

With that, I now present to you the top 20 people, issues, events, and trends that defined the spirit of 2017.

My comrades, Thomasians, Filipinos, netizens: Here is #TWenty.

The fight continues,
Philip Jamilla

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SHS music org is reigning champion in 2017 Musikapella

Selah also bagged four other awards in this year’s Musikapella.



Aside from the championship, Selah bagged four other awards. Photo courtesy of Musikapella, grabbed from Selah’s Facebook page.

With enchanting voices that mesmerized crowds, UST Senior High School’s Selah brought home the championship crown in this year’s Musikapella last Saturday, Nov. 25 at the AFP Theatre.

With the theme, “A Tribute to Paskong Pilipino,” Selah serenaded the people with Simbang Gabi as part of their contest piece, along with their choice piece, Kampana ng Simbahan.

Aside from the championship, Selah bagged four other awards: The People’s Choice Award, Sulyap ng Musika 2017 Winner, Best Interpretation of Choice Piece, and Best Interpretation of Contest Piece.

Triumph would not come without sacrifice: Balancing academics along with long excruciating hours of chorale training with their new choirmaster, Mark Raeniel Agpasa, Selah proved that no matter what hurdles they face, they will come emerge victorious.

President Veronica Therese Rivera narrated their journey in an exclusive online interview with TomasinoWeb.

“As an organization, Selah felt that there were unsaid expectations to excel, to make a name for UST Senior High School, since this was the first ever inter-school competition joined by UST SHS Selah,” Rivera said.

The group felt the need to step up as two other UST SHS organizations, dance troupe Galvanize and performing arts group Singtala, have already made a name in their respective fields.

But all in all, while winning was an ideal goal, Rivera stated that Selah wanted to do their best in the competition and perform their hearts out, even if that meant winning merely one award that night, as they valued the solidarity and community that Selah had brought with them.

Selah’s new choirmaster was overwhelmed with the support the Thomasian community gave them.

“Having that much likes and shares in social media sends a strong message — that people believe in Selah, that there are literally thousands of people who are part of Selah,” Agpasa said.

Musikapella is an annual choir competition and fundraising event for the University of the Philippines Economics Society Scholarship Fund.

Watch Selah’s winning performance below:

by Mykel Alen Tan



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The art that saves

Here’s what you missed at UNESCO Club’s INDIE+GENIUS: Indie Night for Indigenous People.



MUSIKAT performs on INDIE+GENIUS: Indie Night for Indigenous People, a benefit concert organized by the UST UNESCO Club for the indigenous peoples of Tarlac. Photo by Earl Balce/TomasinoWeb.

The art saves the heart and soul — but through UST UNESCO Club’s INDIE+GENIUS: Indie Night for Indigenous People at the Engineering Concert Hall last Wednesday Nov. 29, art also saves the education and literacy of the indigenous peoples (IP) of Tarlac.

The concert kicked off as MUSIKAT serenaded the crowd with songs popular in the local music scene such as Kathang Isip by Ben & Ben, and June by Oh! Flamingo.

Raphael Sanchez from the UST UNESCO Club also performed Sila by SUD, and Treat You Right by TJ Monterde.

Students from the Faculty of Arts and Letters performed heart-wrenching spoken word poetry pieces.

Legal Management junior Rey Rebollos performed a piece on love and heartbreaks — of moving on and acceptance of the past.

Meanwhile, Communication Arts sophomore Manisha Mirchandani showed her painful journey from being apart from her family and finding her home within her.

Brimming with sentiments and advocacy, Louise Meets and Henri Igna from Words Anonymous also showcased their prowess in evoking emotions through poetry.

Meets’ performance was about heartbreak, separation, brokenness, healing, and self-acceptance.

“We kept naming it forever. Kept trying to water the garden that blooms behind our home even when nothing grew,” Louise Meets said on her piece, Museum of Broken Things.

And as for Igna, home is not a place: It is the person you hold dear.

“Pag hinto ng taxing sinasakyan ko, sa tapat ng kinatatayuan mo, sisigaw ako ng “”Manong! Para. Nakauwi na ako,”” Igna said in his piece, Taxi.

Their last performance was a collaborative piece that they had also performed during this year’s Pride March. It portrays a vibrant future for homosexuals where they can raise their own children and be accepted by society, testifying that their love are real. Both artists fight for equality, rights, and acceptance of the LGBTQIAP+ community.

In collaboration with various artists, the UST UNESCO Club organized INDIE+GENIUS as a charity concert to provide the basic necessities for education for IPs in Tarlac, asking the audience and advocates to donate a notebook and two pencils as their entrance pass.

“[We want] to help build literate indigenous communities through education. Pwede pa [sila] magdonate ng notebooks and pencils sa org room namin sa Tan Yan Kee Student Center Room 3N,” Alyssa Rafael, the director for education of UST UNESCO, told TomasinoWeb.

Rafael also encourages everyone to join them in their upcoming outreach program, “Halubilo” for the benefit of the indigenous community in Tarlac.

“Anyone can join us. They can contact us through our Facebook and Twitter accounts or pwede din sila dumaan sa org room para magtanong,” she urged.

by Lanz Nathan Hernandez



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