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February 2021: Tales of nostalgia, heartbreak, and hope

Instead of butterflies, this year came fluttering with other unexpected things that added flavor to an otherwise bland month of love. 



Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cellona/ABS-CBN News

It is finally time to bid goodbye to the season of excessive flower bouquets, stuffed toys, and floating hearts. While the pandemic may have barred us from seeing others for another month, a few of us still managed to pull strings and make the most of this season of love and giving. But instead of butterflies, this year came fluttering with other unexpected things that added flavor to an otherwise bland month of love. 

Here’s a look back at events that made headlines this February.

1. Mayor Isko Moreno approves UST’s bid for face-to-face classes

(Photo by Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb)

Without a vaccine rolled out to the public, the uncertainties towards conducting face-to-face classes only grew. But on February 3, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno gave the green light to the university to conduct limited face-to-face classes for its medical and health allied courses. He also stated that other universities are welcome to apply for the same grant. Along with UST, the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and Centro Escolar University (CEU) have also been allowed by the City of Manila to resume face-to-face classes. 

Earlier this month, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Commission on Higher (CHEd) Education also released a joint memorandum stating the guidelines that higher educational institutions must comply with when resuming face-to-face classes. This includes limiting face-to-face delivery for specialized laboratory courses and hospital-based clerkships and internships. Stringent measures such as proper hand hygiene and wearing face masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment must also be practiced by the students, faculty members, and school staff. 

2. Taylor Swift releases own version of Love Story


Photo courtesy of Taylor Swift

Just when we thought that the back-to-back release of ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’ saved us from the drought of good music, we were wrong. On February 11, Taylor Swift woke up and chose violence once again. 

After her deal ended with her long-time label, Swift revealed that she would be re-recording her old music as she now holds ownership for her masters. True to her words, the 31-year-old singer released a re-recorded version of her 2008 classic ‘Love Story’ that made her a household name. 

Swift’s modern version still held the same nostalgic feelings of experiencing love for the first time. ‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version)’ was musically faithful to her original, proving just how immaculate Swift’s vocals are even after all these years. 

The re-recorded version of her second studio album ‘Fearless’ will be dropped on April 9. Swift announced that the upcoming version will include 26 songs, with 6 never before released tracks. And yes, get your tissues out because it includes a 10-minute recording of ‘All Too Well.’

3. Kris Aquino resurfaces on social media as a meme

Screengrab from ABS-CBN News

With everyone still grappling with the effects of the pandemic, netizens have yet again found another source of entertainment to fulfill their joys and express their frustration.

Earlier this month, a new meme featuring Kris Aquino saying ‘Because?’ made rounds on social media. The actress even joined in on the fun and asked her followers on Instagram to send her questions she can answer using the meme. 


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A post shared by KRIS AQUINO (@krisaquino)

While the post that sparked the trend is yet to be found, the ‘Because?’ meme actually originated from the actress’s interview with Kim Chiu on her 2014 talk show, ‘Kris TV.’ When Chiu was asked to express her gratitude to her fans, she couldn’t help but tear up. Aquino then asked the actress to explain why she was emotional, giving birth to the iconic meme.

4. Moira dela Torre breaks more hearts with ‘Paubaya’

5. Screengrab from the ‘Paubaya’ official music videoDue to the pandemic, this year’s celebration Valentine’s day was different, with most of us spending it with our loved ones at home and with our friends online. However you may have chosen to spend it, one thing’s for sure: you found yourself having an existential crisis at 10 pm because of ‘Paubaya.’ 

As if things couldn’t get lonelier on February 14, singer-songwriter Moira dela Torre surprisingly dropped her latest single, ‘Paubaya,’ through a music video featuring real-life exes Joshua Garcia and Julia Barreto. Collectively known as JoshLia, the pair broke hearts all over the internet through a heartbreaking tale of two lovers who end up separating at the altar, with the bride (Julia) leaving the groom (Joshua). 

In true internet fashion, netizens did not pass up the opportunity to create memes from the dialogue between the couple, which helped us to somehow escape the hollow sadness and  heartbreak the MV brought. 

Since its release, the music video has garnered more than 21 million views.

Relieve the story of heartbreak, forgiveness, and acceptance in ‘Paubaya’ here.

5. NASA’s Perseverance rover finally lands on Mars

photo of the Mars Perseverance Rover descending from its skycrane

Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

After almost seven months and 292.5 million miles of journeying, NASA’s Perseverance rover safely landed on the surface of the red planet on February 18. Perseverance is the fifth Mars rover crafted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

The mission, which will take about one Mars year (around 687 Earth days), is mainly targeted to explore the past habitability of the planet. The Perseverance rover is built with various scientific instruments that will enable it to collect core samples or Martian rock and soil, which will be brought back to Earth by a future mission for further analysis. It is also expected to determine the planet’s geological characteristics, the chemistry of its terrain, and even its climate. The rover will also be rolled out to take panoramic images of the planet that more than 10 million Earthlings signed up a boarding pass for. 

But this won’t easily give a definitive answer to the debate whether life can be supported on the planet. It may give clues, but we’d have to wait a few more years and Mars missions. For now, we can let our mind roam free in the panoramic view of the rover’s landing site.

6. Shootout between PNP and PDEA leaves 4 dead

Photo courtesy of Mark Demayo/ABS-CBN News

On February 24, a misencounter between the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) near a mall in Quezon City left two police officers and two anti-drug agents dead in its trail. 

PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana stated that they will investigate the incident and asserted that what occurred will not affect the operational relationship and coordination between the PNP and PDEA against illegal drugs. 

At a press conference in Camp Crame, PDEA chief Wilkins Villanueva called the encounter “the saddest day in the history of drug law enforcement.” He then stated that they will cooperate in the joint investigation between PNP and PDEA to make sense of what transpired. PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas also clarified that both the agents and officers were on a legitimate anti-drugs operation. 

Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, stated that President Rodrigo Duterte will ask the Congress and the Senate to delay their investigations on the case to give way for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to impartially and properly probe on the matter.

7. The 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Cellona/ABS-CBN News

This year marked the 35th anniversary of the historic revolution that ousted the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and restored the country’s democracy. To commemorate the collective efforts of millions of Filipinos, several groups and organizations took part in protests and activities. Together, they emphasized the downsides of historical revisionism and the importance of freedom and democracy, especially in today’s day and age. 

At the People Power Monument in EDSA, a flag raising and wreath laying ceremony was spearheaded by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte. A mass conducted by papal nuncio Archbishop Charles John Brown then followed at the EDSA Shrine. Catholics were among the millions that flocked EDSA 35 years ago, led by former Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

Along with keeping justice and democracy alive, former President Fidel V. Ramos urged the Filipino people that “the revolution is not over and remains unfinished until every Filipino enjoys the freedoms and rights embodied in our Constitution.” He further called on the people to continue remembering the value of nationalism and the revolutionary spirit of the holiday we celebrate each year.

8. President Duterte signs COVID-19 vaccine indemnification law

Photo courtesy of Daily Tribune

It has been over a year since the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in the country. However, rather than feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, we may be looking at a ray of hope against the invisible enemy that turned our lives upside down. 

Among the current vaccine candidates, the Philippines is expected to receive 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca and 600,000 doses of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine. These are part of the targeted 44 million doses of COVAX that would potentially protect 20% of the Philippine population from the viral threat. 

Initially, 117,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine were expected to arrive mid-February. However, this was delayed due to the lack of an indemnity deal. On February 27, President Duterte signed the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021. This law allocates P500 million as an indemnity fund that would cover compensation for vaccine recipients that might suffer from adverse reactions following its inoculation. 

This week, WHO Country Representative Rabrindra Abeyasinghe confirmed that about 5.2 to 9.2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine have been approved for emergency medical use in the Philippines. 

The said vaccine was reported to have an efficacy rate of 63.09%, with new research showing that a delayed administration of the second shot may boost its efficacy.   

Within the 28 short days of February, we’ve gone through hell and back. But somehow, small victories and joys have made their way in between our collective sufferings and frustrations due to the current situation. In one way or another, these tales of nostalgia and hope help relieve our burdens and give us a reason to fight through another day in isolation. 

As we enter a year since the Luzon lockdown, may we look at tomorrow with a beam of hope and burning desire to call for change to materialize within our country. There is no obvious guarantee that this would happen overnight. So, we should take this time to reconnect with our surroundings and allow ourselves to think critically about societal issues that affect everyone’s lives. Otherwise, anomalies and misdirected leadership would no longer be the root causes of unsolved problems, but rather our social indifference. 



Thomasian musicians to add to your playlist

With all the new takes on OPM, let’s not forget about our fellow Thomasians who are persevering to let their craft be known in the mainstream media. Support local, support Thomasian artists.



The rise of Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and other music-streaming platforms paved the way for more artists to share their craft with a broader audience. It is now easier to promote your material through social media, while people can seamlessly listen to your music through different audio platforms on-demand without splurging too much cash. A basic subscription plan lets anyone stream all the music they want and play your songs on repeat. With this boom in the music industry through technological advancements, artists are inspired, now more than ever, to produce more music and give sick beats to avid listeners.

Here is a shortlist of Thomasian musicians you can stream on your music platforms.

1. Al James

(Photo courtesy of Jilson Tiu)

Before he was front and center in most gigs and before his music was blasted through the speakers of bars, Alvin James Manlutac, famously known as Al James, also sat in the rooms of Beato as a student under the College of Fine Arts and Design. In launching his first hit, he also doubted himself because he knew his style did not follow hip-hop norms. But fast-forward to today, his crafts are among the most famous songs played in the nightlife scene, as well as in casual get-togethers with your friends.

Manlutac permeated the fine line between underground and mainstream when he released his song ‘Pahinga,’ gaining more than 7.3 million views since its release three years ago.

Screengrab from Presko Life PH

2. Migo Señires

(Photo from DBTK)

Like Al James, Migo Señires also spent his college days in Beato, studying Advertising Arts in the College of Fine Arts and Design. They are both a part of the Baryo Berde crew, a multi-talent collective that fixates on culture and art. 

Señires released his song, Kara,which garnered more than 141,000 views since it was posted on his channel. He claims that he wrote it for the younger people who forgot their roots and the older ones who get frustrated when they can’t keep up with modern times. 

3. Schumi

(Screengrab from YouTube/Schumi)

When he is not walking around the halls of Ruaño, he may be singing center stage. Albert Guallar, famously known as Schumi, has been catching ears in the local hip-hop scene. He first started producing music and uploading it to SoundCloud, which then garnered the attention of people who had an interest in hip-hop. In an interview with TomasinoWeb, he said that his Schumi persona — writing music and such, is his gateway to express his emotions. It was an effective venue to vent out feelings of heartbreak and sadness, which, in this instance, was his breakup with his girlfriend. 

Schumi’s hit song ‘Bakit Why Not’ talks about breaking norms and protesting against some stereotypes like gender roles. Its music video has amassed more than 10 thousand views within two months of its release.



4. Himig Borhuh

(Photo from Himig Borhuh’s official Soundcloud)

From walking around the halls of the Albertus Magnus to being in the spotlight of #USTPaskuhan, Himig Austin Borja, a Music Technology student from the Conservatory of Music, has been making a name for himself. In an interview with UST Tiger TV, he said that he didn’t really envision himself to major in music since he was inclined to sports and was a basketball varsity player during his high school years. He also did not expect his hit song, ‘Watawat,’ to become well-known and was surprised that lines from his song became widespread after its release.

Himig Borja’s ‘Watawat,’ featuring Schumi, was a song that garnered attention during the last UAAP season. The line ‘ang medalya at korona ibalik na sa España,’ reflected the community’s yearning to secure another championship and showed the support Thomasians have for all our sports teams as well as the pride we have for our school. 

5.  Adrian Aggabao

(Photo from Adrian Aggabao’s official Instagram account)

Adrian Aggabao, popularly known as ‘Don Bao,’ is a Raymund’s local from the College of Commerce and Business Administration. Like Schumi, his music career also began when he started publishing his music on SoundCloud. Since then, he has secured multiple gigs during his downtime. Most of his music speaks about social realities and what’s nice about it is that he has his family as his inspiration. 

Don Bao’s song ‘Pasanin’ emphasizes on the lessons that a life filled with struggles and obstacles brings. Having dropped this first video on his Youtube channel about a year ago, it has garnered more than 2.3 thousand views. 

6. BarbaCola

(Photo from BarbaCola’s official Facebook page)

From UST Musikat’s band pool, the band BarbaCola was formed with Renz Jerique from the Faculty of Arts and Letters on vocals, Raja Rayas from the College of Education on bass, Cedrick Santa Cruz from the Faculty of Engineering on lead guitar, and Raemonn Petr on drums.

BarbaCola’s song ‘Senseless’ runs along with the themes of alternative and indie genres, mainly focusing on the ups and downs of love and how it is a war that one might not survive.

7. VFade

(Photo from Patrick Valentine Cabanayan’s official Facebook account)

Patrick Valentine Cabanayan, more commonly known as VFade, hails from the College of Science under the Department of Mathematics. In an interview with UST Tiger TV, he stated that his interest in music developed when he was in Senior High School, specifically during an apprenticeship under the Music, Arts, and Design track. He tried out music production and also ventured into rapping. 

His song ‘Andito Lang Ako’ expresses love and affection for a significant other. The song itself embodies the wide array of emotions one might feel when in love and how some minute details in the world seem brighter in the presence of strong feelings of attraction.

8. OMEN, Carty and Ballen

(Screengrab from YouTube/OnlyOneOmen)

All coming from the same Advertising Arts class in the College of Fine Arts and Design, third year students OMEN (Ron Flores), Carty (Zack Garcia), and Ballen (Allen Agulay) recently made their brainchild available to the public. The trio, who consider themselves brothers from another mother, has collaborated to release a new song entitled ‘Karma Comeback.’

As a collective, they claim that they made the song ‘Karma Comeback’ for fun since quarantine made it hard for them to bond and share their sentiments. By collaborating, they delved into their passion, music, art, and dumb sh*t, as they say.

Thomasians have always been present in every field, more prominently in the music industry. Their growth as artists and musicians will be exponential if we continue to support them and their work. With all the new takes on OPM, let’s not forget about our fellow Thomasians who are persevering to let their craft be known in the mainstream media. Support local, support Thomasian artists. 


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How to apply clown makeup

Did you know that circus clowns make $60,000 a year while you’re out here doing it for free?



(Artwork by Patricia Jardin/TomasinoWeb)

When Miles Edgeworth said, “You are not the clown. You are the entire circus,” I felt that.

Did you know that circus clowns make $60,000 a year while you’re out here doing it for free? It’s the first day of April and what better way to commemorate this annual holiday than putting on your best clown makeup! From McDonalds to your local emoji, we’re here to help you channel that inner Boo Boo the Fool in you. 

First, make sure your skin is prepped nice and clean. Bold assumptions and hasty generalizations usually make a good base. These tend to last longer because you refuse to take them off. You can use your two fingers, a sponge, or your foolish thoughts to apply it evenly. 

Now it’s time to build on those assumptions and paint your canvas. Start off by carving out spaces on your eyes and mouth where you will be applying the colors. Depending on your preference, you can choose to paint the eye with the same color or two different colors. When deciding which color, be quick and impulsive. Then, remember to paint it with inconsistency just like your thoughts and words. 

The cheeks and mouth will be red. Luckily, there are a variety of rouge shades in clown makeup. We recommend using the palette “Red Flags,” which you can get for free when you use the code “NOLABELS” or “CAN’TCOMMIT” at checkout. Color in your cheeks with a soft red color, perhaps in the shade “Here for a good time, not a long time” or “Only talk about themselves but never ask about you.” Don’t spend so much time blending because the key here is completely ignoring it.

The mouth is the highlight of clown makeup. Our tip is to overline your lips to the degree you overthink. You can then go ahead and color it in, but this time with a more intense shade of red. The shades “Entitled,” “Manipulative,” and “Caught cheating in 4K” are the most tolerated in the clown community. 

Accentuate the details of your look by making outlines around your eyes and mouth. Again, depending on the look you’re going for, you can make the outline as thin as your chances with that person you’re simping over or as thick as your audacity to get back with your ex after getting off a 3-hour phone call with your best friend who clearly told you not to. 

Of course, we can’t forget about the cherry on top and the crowning glory of clowns: the wig. There’s a wide variety of colors you can choose from but select a wig that will fit your head and perfectly cover up all your tomfoolery, bamboozlement, and wishful thinking. 

If you have cash to spare, throw in a costume and some oversized shoes that will help you jump into conclusions better. Don’t forget to pop on a red nose and voilà! The circus is complete. 

The art of clownery is one that is hard to master, yet the community keeps growing. And that speaks volumes. Clowning isn’t just a coping mechanism, it’s a cultural reset, a lifestyle, a reason to breathe, and an escape from this cruel world. 

Most importantly, it’s harmless because the only person you’re fooling is yourself. Happy April Fools‘!

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