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Artlets theater guild premieres first online play

According to writer and director Sophia Eugenio, Artistang Artlets spent over four months planning “Kisapmata” before the actual preparations began to ensure that all concerns in an online theater setup were addressed.

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Photo from Artistang Artlets official Facebook page

Faculty of Arts and Letters official theater guild Artistang Artlets (AA) premieres its first online production this March.

According to writer and director Sophia Eugenio, AA spent over four months planning “Kisapmata” before the actual preparations began to ensure that all concerns in an online theater setup were addressed. 

“That’s four months of endless meetings,” Eugenio said. 

Despite the lack of face-to-face interaction, the organization tried to preserve the theater experience from rehearsals to recording.

“It seemed weird at first, stretching limbs and shouting in front of a laptop for voice warmup, but overtime we got used to it. This is theater’s new normal,” Eugenio shared.

Rehearsals were arranged based on the actors’ class schedules to guarantee that no classes will be compromised. 

However, the unstable internet connection brought by the series of typhoons last November, according to Eugenio, forced the guild to postpone rehearsals. 

“I wanted to make a production calendar na feasible for everyone kaya adjustments were made…[e]specially nung sunod-sunod na linggo may bagyo. Ang daming nawalan ng internet so we had no rehearsals,” Eugenio said. 

“It’s like everything was happening so fast—kisapmata talaga,” she added.

Behind the scenes

The psychology-inspired play, Kisapmata, was shot in one take and features the story of three characters—Sam, Lucy, and Kyle—who control the mind of a boy named Alex.

“Despite the technicalities ng pagrecord and pagstitch ng introductory clip sa beginning and commentary sa end ng play, it’s still theater—the play itself was done in one take and walang cuts in between,” Eugenio explained. 

The play, according to its director, made use of Sigmund Freud’s id, ego, and superego to flesh out three of the four characters.

“In a nutshell, Kisapmata is about internal chaos—basically addressing the rapid flow of thoughts, doubts, choices, and feelings in our heads,” Eugenio said.

Part of the adjustment involves the script, to which the director highlighted was really tailored for an online production. 

“First time ng AA to do an online play and magkaibang-magkaiba ‘yung platform ng actual stage sa, you know, Zoom, kaya I doubt na we can do a for-stage script enough justice considering na we’re still adjusting. Kaya I wrote a script na fashioned talaga for an online play,” she said.

“Kisapmata” is live streamed on Artistang Artlets’ Facebook page from  March 1 to 5, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The play was originally scheduled on December 2 to 6 last year, however, the organization announced on December 3 that the play could not be shown that week.

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Thomasian nurse makes history in administering first COVID-19 jab

Thomasian alumna May Parson marked the historical moment of inoculating the first Covid-19 vaccine last year.

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Photo courtesy of Jacob King/Pool via Reuters

Starting her career as a scrub nurse at the UST Hospital in 2003, Thomasian alumna May Parson marked the historical moment of inoculating the first Covid-19 vaccine last year, Dec. 8. 

The British-Filipina nurse was hailed from the batch 2000 of the College of Nursing. She later decided to work in the United Kingdom and became a clinical lecturer.

Parson vaccinated the 90-year-old Margaret Keenan at a local hospital in Coventry, United Kingdom. She works as a modern matron or the department head of the hospital’s respiratory diseases ward. 

“I’m just glad that I’m able to play a part in this historic day. The last few months have been tough for all of us working in the NHS (National Health Service), but now it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. 

Parson shared how happy she is to represent and prove that the Filipino community can make a difference. Thomasian values, according to her, have set her apart from her other medical workers providing help to their patients. 

“At the end of the day, the culture that we have, the values that have been instilled in us is really important, kahit ano pa trabaho mo. If your values are shining through the care that you are giving, it makes a lot of difference,” she said in an interview with the UST Nursing Journal. 

Parson also advised Thomasian nurses to always “speak their values” and to remember not to let academic hardships define them as professionals. 

“Just because you are struggling with a subject, it doesn’t define your nursing education. There are things that you are going to be strong with. Speak to your values and your compassion as Thomasian nurses will set you apart from other nurses,” she said.

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Thomasian engineers launch contact tracing equipment innovation

The project was developed by EEnovatics, under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – TOMASinno Center, whose goal is to make contract tracing “reliable and efficient.” 

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Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E and (from left to right) Gabriel Suarez, Engr. Souichi Takahama, Andrea Pauline de Guzman, and Amira Malipol at the D’Banquet Restaurant in Tagaytay City.

Filling out details in contact tracing forms repeatedly could be tiresome, but with Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E, this could be easy as one tap away. 

Behind the project are two Thomasian alumni, Engr. Souichi Takahama and Andrea Pauline de Guzman, who launched a full contactless contact tracing equipment with a one-time registration for a QR code I.D.

According to Takahama, Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E (Buildings and Establishments Automated Temperature Reading Integrated Contact Tracing Equipment) will also address some contact tracing lapses such as incomplete forms, long queues at entrances, lack of centralized contact tracing solutions, and inaccessibility to smartphones and internet of some citizens. 

“[I] started thinking of a way to fix this problem of people having to either write manually or scan a QR everytime on their smartphones, having the door attendant of establishment to be exposed to people, and how to make digital contact tracing available to everyone may it be young or old, with internet or not, with smartphones or not,” Takahama told TomasinoWebyesterday, April 9.

The project was developed by EEnovatics, under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – TOMASinno Center, whose goal is to make contract tracing “reliable and efficient.” 

“We have this goal to implement this project to each and every establishment to provide a fast, reliable and efficient contact tracing for the safety and ease to the people entering establishments,” Takahama said. 

“By having a dedicated contact tracing equipment in every building as a long term solution to what we currently face today, we could quickly stop the spread with contact tracing of the present and future possible outbreak,” he added. 

According to Takahama, implementing Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E during the pandemic was not easy due to several restrictions and limited resources. 

The financial issues were also a setback for the team. They, however, got a sponsorship from a Tagaytay restaurant owner.

“[The] major challenge we are now facing is the need of financial support for us to really boost this project and to develop it further,” he said. “And seeking for investment, grants or financial aid is not easy.”

“Now with the help of a sponsor who owns a restaurant [and] provided support to our team, we were able to deploy and develop one working unit which is currently at the D’Banquet Restaurant in Tagaytay City,” he added. 

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Thomasian nursing student named ‘education hero’ by US organization

US-based organization Youth Service America awarded a Thomasian nursing student for spearheading a literacy program for Filipino youth. 

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Photo from Streets to School Official Facebook Page

US-based organization Youth Service America awarded a Thomasian nursing student for spearheading a literacy program for Filipino youth. 

Qjiel Mariano, as announced by the University yesterday, Feb. 23, has been recognized as an “education hero” for starting the Ladders to Literacy program, which aims to teach illiterate children to read and write. 

“Ladders to Literacy is a literacy initiative under Streets to Schools in which we teach illiterate kids how to read & write and measure it by having them publish their own storybook,” Mariano, founder of youth-led organization Street to Schools, told Tomasinoweb.

Youth Service America also acknowledged Mariano’s effort to extend his hand to help Filipino children amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, he has rallied numerous efforts to be able to provide radios, hygiene kits, school kits, and more to ensure that distance learning can thrive among those left behind the most,” the organization said. 

‘Making a difference’

According to Mariano, Ladders to Literacy was inspired by children who were bullied for being illiterate. He believed that literacy is a “fundamental human right” and a “basic skill” one must possess to promote equality. 

“This is why we must commit to ensuring everyone is able to read and write, not just to end small grassroot problems like bullying, but to ensure that every child may grow up to become proactive citizens,” he said. 

“We envision them to become both literate and passionate about making a difference especially that it is their future at stake,” he added. 

With nurses being the “heart of the hospital,” Mariano expected to be always at the forefront of human dignity just like other professions. 

Being a nursing student also influenced Mariano to improve his organizational skills and his interpersonal relationships. 

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