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Bobby Mañosa, a champion of Filipino identity

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Photo from Joseph Viktor Pamatian/ Arkitrato-UST during the Visionary Comes Home: Mañosa Beyond Architecture exhibit at the UST Main Building last February 2018.

What I find most admirable in architect Bobby Mañosa is his strong philosophy of always designing Filipino, a nationalism that all of us should aspire to have.

We as a nation, are more fascinated with foreign everything, and architecture is no exception. It is an offset of our eternal identity crisis that translates into the buildings around us; the very topic of Filipino architecture is a heated debate within the community. Mañosa is a vanguard, his insistence for architecture that belongs in our land is helping define what makes architecture in the Philippines, Filipino.

In an interview with fellow Architecture student and Heritage Conservation Society President, Beau Ongbontic, he remarked that before being knowledgeable of Mañosa and his works, he didn’t know of Filipino-inspired design.

“Nalaman ko na ganito pala ka-strong yung philosophy niya in designing Filipino, dun ko na-realize na oo nga, dapat sine-strengthen natin yung identity natin as Filipino,” Ongbontic said in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

Here, I realized, we shared the same sentiment. Mañosa’s fervor for the Filipino is infectious. For many of us, his buildings and strong philosophy has sparked the patriotic spirit that lies dormant, buried under layers of constant exposure to foreign architecture.

Mañosa’s advocacy for Filipino-looking buildings rippled a change in the cityscape. There are few people in the metro who can say that they haven’t been in any of his buildings, fewer still are those who have never seen any of his works. As a commuter of the LRT 1, it is sometimes baffling being inside the work of a National Artist.  Although the stations have seen better days, the trademark bahay kubo inspired Mañosa design is evident. The EDSA Shrine in Ortigas is a witness to many a congregation of the Filipino masses. His landmark buildings such as the Coconut Palace and the Sulo Hotel are renowned and celebrated simply because the way he captured the Filipino essence into his designs are still subtly captivating us.

Architecture has a way of shaping a nation. Mañosa’s unwavering commitment in the bahay kubo, the core of his ideology, is one of the reasons he became a National Artist for Architecture; a title he shares with five other men: Juan Nakpil, Pablo Antonio, Jose Zaragoza, Leandro Locsin and Ildefonso Santos. It feels surreal having four of them pass under the same Arch of the Centuries as we did. When these Thomasian Architects influenced the image of our country, they gave us the responsibility to continue their work even if they are heavy shoes to fill.

As tribute from his alma mater, the University of Santo Tomas hosted an exhibit in his honor last February 2018.  The Visionary Comes Home: Mañosa Beyond Architecture celebrated him and his life’s work. Mañosa himself was present in the event. There’s a particular scene that I will never forget, awe in the atmosphere evident from being around such an esteemed architecture giant. He was sat on a wheelchair pushed by architect Rizalito Mercado, surrounded by laughing architecture students on the journey from the Main Building to Beato Angelico Building. It’s a microcosm, the younger generation finding a worthy aspiration and mayhaps following in his footsteps.

At the forefront of supporting Mañosa’s bid for National Artist, Beau Ongbontic notes how “one way or another, we (Heritage Conservation Society) helped him reach that dream”. Somehow, people were given awareness of this admirable man who has helped shaped the fabric of our built environment. Their efforts weren’t in vain. Several months later, Mañosa was hailed as National Artist the October of the same year.

“I am a Filipino architect, and I only design Filipino.”

Bobby Mañosa is an inspiration. He did not only champion Filipino architecture but Filipino identity as well. Despite adversities, he persisted in promoting an architecture that speaks to the land and its people. His death last February 20 is resonating with the whole country because Mañosa’s buildings affect us deeper than we realize. It taps onto the already present Filipino spirit that we only need to nourish.

 

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CTHM representatives hailed as Thomasian Lead Ambassadors

Screaming poise and elegance with their gray-matchy outfits, CTHM bets, Raz and Yeung bested other finalists from different colleges to claim the lead Thomasian Youth Ambassadors on April 27.

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CTHM
Photo by Gillian Robles

Screaming poise and elegance with their gray-matchy outfits, College of Tourism and Hospitality Management bets, Rin-Rin R. Raz and Glenn Mico A. Yeung bested other finalists from different colleges to claim the lead Thomasian Youth Ambassadors (TYA) on April 27 at BGPOP Ballroom.

Raz and Yeung topped 17 representatives, seven males and ten females in vying for the title.

College of Education representatives, Bethany Cadag and Hanseld David P. Napalinga bagged the Thomasian Youth Ambassadors for Community Development.

College of Rehabilitation Science finalist, Hilario Favilla III and College of Commerce and Business Administration finalist,Carmel Anne R. Aquino snatched the Thomasian Youth Ambassadors for Public Relations.

Glitz and glamour has always been the branding of the pageants but Student Organizations Coordinating Council (SOCC) President Pamela Apacible debunked such.

“This year’s TYA was focused on ‘beauty with a purpose’ and  at the same time ‘being compassionate, competent, and committed,’” Apacible said.

Office of Student Affairs Assistant Director, Ana Ruby Paez, also added to promote activities that will help to build the character of all Thomasians.

“We wish to bring more sustainable forward looking activities that will implement and work together to create partnerships that can accelerate the holistic growth of all the Ambassadors and the Thomasians as well,” Paez said.

TYA is an annual advocacy-based pageant initiated by SOCC which seeks to Thomasians youth leaders who embody the university’s ideals and core values.

TYA is composed of three parts: advocacies presentation, workshops, and awarding.

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Radiating Farther and Illuminating Further

With focus on health, awareness, and student representation, Robert Dominic Gonzales runs for presidency of the UST Central Student Council.

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Photo grabbed from Robert Gonzales’ Facebook account

With focus on health, awareness, and student representation, Robert Dominic Gonzales takes a step forward by running for the presidency of the University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council (UST-CSC) for the academic year 2019-2020. As issues within and outside the campus continue to surface, he aims to Radiate Farther and Illuminate Further as we realize our duties as Thomasians and Filipinos, coupled by his hope to Elevate student representation and participation.

A vocal and active student leader and an aspiring physician, he champions not only issues of health awareness, especially mental health, but also the upholding of students’ rights and welfare. A born-leader, he has managed to get executive positions since high school. Robert is also fond of teaching. When he was still a sophomore, he has since been the go-to of his fellow batchmates and lower years. “Currently, up to this year, kahit Med student na ko, kahit nasa Council (UST-CSC) na ako, nagtuturo pa rin ako, not just sa freshies ng [Faculty of Pharmacy], pati rin sa review centers outside,” Gonzales shared in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

But behind these leadership campaigns, advocacies and platforms, and fora, Robert Dominic Gonzales is like any other student struggling with academic pressure and expectations. Behind textbooks and highlighters is a love for fiction, manifested in a collection of Harry Potter books; a fondness for some risk, as told by the dripping of sweats from hours of playing volleyball, badminton, and swimming; and a contempt for his archenemy: veggies.

As the eldest of four siblings, Robert grew up determined. He has always been sure on what path he intends to tread: to graduate at the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. He recalled how when he was still young, he have always wanted to become a doctor, and consistently reminded his mom, “Ma, malapit na akong maging doktor.” A curious child enchanted by the wonders of Science and the universality of Mathematics, as reflected by and upon Nature, he went on with his “destiny.”

“Mas nag-ignite or nagpa-spark sa akin sa Field of Medicine was when we conducted one medical mission nung college ako,” Gonzales recalled how applying knowledge in a very helpful and concrete way of service made him more formidable with his principles. “Sobrang saya sa pakiramdam everytime magte-thank you sa’yo yung pasyente… sobrang fulfilling na nakatulong ka sa pagpapahaba ng buhay niya.”

With this comes the interest of furthering his service, hence his running for the UST-CSC presidency. But why, then, should the Thomasians choose a Robert Dominic Gonzales to represent the studentry? Here’s how he answered, with firm conviction:

“Siguro kasi ako yung isang student leader na hindi lang tumitindig sa karapatan ng bawat estudyante, ng bawat Thomasians, kasi makikita mo rin ako na nagpa-participate sa mga laban sa lansangan—sa mga pagra-rally, pagpoprotesta [para] sa karapatan ng mga mamamayan natin—ng mga manggagawa, ng mga Lumad at mga indigenous people.”

He was there holding a placard and speaking out in the streets from a megaphone condemning the massacre of the nine farmers of Sagay. He was also there to welcome when the University opened its doors to our Lumad brothers and sisters who have decided to establish bakwit schools in the campus to assert their right to education and self-determination.

He also noted that the University should be a defender and a sanctuary of human rights. “Being a Royal, Pontifical, and a Catholic University, kailangan tumitindig din yung UST sa mga karapatang pantao, not just of the Thomasians, but also [of] the Filipinos,” he said.

Student elections, like national elections, is saturated by campaigns and speeches. But behind the political theatrics, it is more of practicing democracy and our rights and the finding of the right representative, as a student leader is the voice of the studentry. With this comes the responsibility to become critical. Gonzales shared some tips in assessing aspiring candidates:

“Meron akong tatlong tinitingnan, ito yung natutunan ko sa pag-attend sa mga forum [on] voters’ education: Una, ‘yong pagiging Makatao; pangalawa, Makabayan; pangatlo, Maka-Diyos. Tatlong katangian na hinahanap natin dapat sa mga kumakandidato, not just sa University but also in the national elections.” He, then, shared that we must also assess candidates’ track records in order to figure out their integrity and credibility. “Doon natin makikita yung mga hindi dapat iboto.”

To radiate farther and illuminate further is to ask, for whom do we step forward? Who will benefit from our toils and sacrifices? For whom do we dedicate our passion? “We are not just Thomasian student leaders; we are Filipino Thomasian student leaders,” Gonzales replied when asked whether students and student leaders should participate on national issues. “And as Filipinos, we also have a duty sa bansa natin, that is if kaya natin, if we have the capability [and] capacity na ipaglaban yung karapatan ng mga kapwa natin mamamayan, bakit hindi tayo tumindig para doon?”

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All grit and femme power: Krizia Milleny Bricio for secretarial post

To empower others means to empower oneself. On the face of adversary, Krizia Milleny Bricio blooms.

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picture of krizia bricio
Photo by Troy Jacob Quinan

To empower others means to empower oneself. On the face of adversary, Krizia Milleny Bricio blooms.

“At the end of the day, no matter the overwhelming support you’re getting, it’s always you against yourself,” she said in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

Bricio, when asked if she had always known she wanted to become a student leader, said, “it wasn’t in my knowledge that I wanted to become one until I began serving the community at a young age—my family made donations and I was helping them in the process of repacking.”

It was the period after Yolanda, with her being a survivor herself. “It was then when I saw the essence of leadership and recognized the incompetence of some leaders.”

She spoke about the importance of student leaders, them being the catalysts to inspire and motivate others to become their own leaders as well, and noted three skills an effective student leader must possess: resilience, compassion, and responsibility.

“You must be resilient and show everyone that you are able to bounce back for them to be inspired to do the same; compassionate, to be able to sympathize with the student body and find out where they are coming from; and most importantly, you must be responsible.”

In light of her plans as a Central Student Council (CSC) secretarial candidate, she shared that the cornerstone for all her platforms were the needs of the Thomasian community. Bricio personally reached out to the students for suggestions because for her, in order to cater to the needs of the student body, one must overstep and look through the perspective of the majority.

“The secretary is the bloodline of the council,” she commented, “without the secretary, there would be no projects, and without the projects, the community won’t feel the presence of the council.”

Bricio, running as an independent candidate for the secretarial post, also acknowledged the underlying stigma circulating in the workplace that regards women inferior to men, and said that it’s empowering to be the only woman running as an independent candidate.

“I can also see that it’s empowering for others, seeing that a woman was brave enough to run independently for council,” she added.

In the midst of campus and nationwide elections, we, the people, as the electorate, must also be resilient, compassionate, and responsible just as our leaders should be. As noted from the interview with Bricio, “Every student can be a student leader in other ways.”

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