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FFC 2013: Professionalism and Craftsmanship

“MOST people are not aware that they are using outdated technology and needs to be poked about it.” – Thomas Gorissen

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     “MOST people are not aware that they are using outdated technology and needs to be poked about it.” – Thomas Gorissen

     Web enthusiasts and experts once again gathered as the Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO) held its fourth annual web conference last November 9 and 10 at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts (DLS-CSB SDA).

     Aside from our local industry frontrunners, this year’s Form, Function and Class (FFC) was made special with invited foreign speakers, Thomas Gorissen and Paul Burnett.

     Singapore-based Thomas Gorissen uses his expertise in web technology in helping startup businesses. He discussed the statistics about the different web browsers, saying that Safari “by far is the bestselling browser.” He also reminded the participants that visitor numbers is not their only metric, thus, it is not the sole basis of a browser’s success.

     Paul Burnett, an APAC evangelist at Adobe, enlivened the crowd with his talk about the relationship between web designers and web developers.

     “I don’t know if you realize this, but designers and developers hate each other,” said Burnett, soliciting sounds of realization and agreement from the audience.

     “If you’re a designer, walk up to one of those developers and just give them a little hug,” he added. He then went on to discuss the new Generator feature of Adobe.

     “Everything is going mobile,” said Anthony Santos as he started talking about the best practices in UX and UI design for mobile applications.

     He gave the audience useful tips on creating, maintaining, and selling mobile apps.

     Santos advised the audience to entice the users first, then create gradual engagements from there. He also said to keep the app design simple yet consistent.

     Levi Tan Ong, one of the winners of last year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup Game Design Competition, provided the audience lessons through technical discussion and demonstration about optimizing one’s workflow with pre-processors.

     Lindsey Grande, a second-time FFC speaker, kept her talk quick but detailed. She tackled about style branding. She cleared out to the audience that the logo is not the brand. She gave three particular reminders when it comes to branding – clarity, consistency, and communication. Grande encouraged the audience to “ask more questions and build more answers.”

     The last speaker for the first day was Mark Lacsamana who talked about Data Driven Design.

     “Data is what brought us to where we are today,” said Lacsamana. He said that there is no Math involved in data, that it is just about “looking at what is greater.”

     He then raised the question why Filipinos don’t read in Filipino, saying that less than 5% of the social networking site Facebook users in the country use the Filipino language setting.

     The second day of FFC was packed with interactive activities and workshops for the participants to further enhance the knowledge they had acquired.

     Ralph Vincent Regalado started the series of workshops with HTML5 lecture and elaborated its elements, giving a crash course on 2D and 3D animation at the same time.

     The second speaker, Aaron Cajes, demonstrated on stage the different features and possibilities that comes when unlocking the web with Firefox OS. Being a Filipino mobile application developer, he expressed different pointers on devising applications for this generation of gadgets, one of which was advising the audience to design apps that are touch-friendly.

     User Experience Engineer Mica Diaz de Rivera gave helpful hints on Qualitative User Experience Design while emphasizing that “any form of testing is better than not testing at all”.

     “Let people comment on what you can actually do better [on].” said Diaz de Rivera.

     Lastly, Andrei Gonzales, Creative Director of Hugo Manila, discussed how Typography is an art and the importance of Art Direction. He also gave the participants insights on Design Issues.

     “Whatever you design reflects on your work.” Gonzales said to the crowd.

     His advice to young web designers is to keep pushing beyond their comfort zones in order for them to keep up with the ever-changing trends online.

     “It sounds really cliché but that’s it. [If they’re] feeling what they do to be repetitive, it means that they’re not exploring more.” Also on his second year as a speaker in the event, Gonzales shared his opinion on how FFC has improved in the past years, “The topics have become more sophisticated. I guess in a way, mas maganda. The community is coming together. We’re tackling harder topics as a tighter unit.”

Web innovation and audience interaction

     As web innovation techniques were discussed in the two-day conference, interaction between the participants and the speakers were maintained through the open forum held either after every speaker or after every batch of speakers. Also, the participants were kept connected on the internet through wifi, letting them log on to their Twitter accounts and use the #FFCph hashtag to share their knowledge and opinions to the non-participants all over the internet.

     The first official FFC conference was held on 2009. Since then, the PWDO has strived to keep their annual web conference parallel to the demands of today’s technology.

     Sponsors and partners of the said event are Globe Telecommunications Inc., Adobe Camp, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, GeekMuch Shirts, PortfolioMNL, Mozilla Firefox, GitHub, DLS-CSB Association of Information Management, Ateneo De Manila University GRIDS, WhenINManila.com, Adobo Magazine, Inquirer.net, Campaign Monitor, Developers Connect, and University of Santo Tomas’ Junior Philippine Computer Society and TomasinoWeb.

By Chleobel D. Birginias and Mia Rosienna P. Mallari
Photo taken by Joshua P. Lugti

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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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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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Breaking boundaries with experience

It is typically expected for student leaders to hustle up and be the chief of change.

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Photo by Gillian Robles

It is typically expected for student leaders to hustle up and be the chief of change. Unexpectedly, even at his first year in college and being a transferee student, Karch Andrei Rafael is breaking boundaries as an aspiring Central Student Council Secretary with his ultimate weapon—his experience.

Hailing from the Technological University of the Philippines, Rafael believes that he does possess the qualities to lead, let alone landing a position in the highest student body council in the University. Now, analyzing different problems and making his way through College of Science, he endures what most students also experience. He unveiled how critical it is to be a student who tries to make ends meet despite people thinking that student leaders have it easier.

“Time management, kahit sa biyahe palang,” as Karch pinpoints how his typical problems as a student affects his performance, “pati na rin budgeting at pag-focus sa lessons.”

What most people overlook at student leaders like Karch is the fact that they too have somber moments and get tired. He made mention of trying to organize his day finishing deadlines, hurriedly eating his lunch to be able to study for the next subject and thinking in advance by planning out on where to eat. He even admits the difficulty of understanding Calculus, “Ironic nga eh because Chemistry course ko, puro pa naman numbers.”

Even at these types of hardships, Karch still denotes, “Kinakaya naman. Kailangan nating mag-aral para maglingkod.”

As a student, Karch does agree as to how social media became his pavement of technical-based skills. In here, he was able to think wisely on how to use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. “Alam kong gasgas na ‘to pero one must think before you click, “ as he mentions the menaces one might encounter online as most students use it as a platform.

Although his Thomasian journey is just getting started, he agrees that it truly is a blessing to be in UST. He enjoys what most Thomasians adored like experiencing his first Welcome Walk and even jokes, “Masaya pero wag muna tayo lalabas [ng Arch]”. He specifically mentions how R101, the recruitment activity of various organizations present in the University, helped him test his skills most especially since he is part of the UST UNESCO Club.

As per values, it may come differently for people depending on how they established their character. It is impossible to find a single person who does not possess several. For Karch, his case also reflected how he leads.

“Honesty, hard work at transparency.” As he enumerates his top values. Most importantly, this echoed his intentions as a person with morale, “Hindi sapat na matalino ka lang, dapat nandoon puso mo—magiging maganda product mo.”

For stating honesty, he recalls all his imperfections and lapses as a student. He trusts that he will still be able to improve himself. Notwithstanding, he collaterally acknowledges his attitude of being a risk taker, it may not be easy to run as a candidate, if one does believe that he has the capacity to offer service, then one should always choose to serve everyone despite these flaws.

When asked about his life as a student leader, he enthusiastically describes how managing people is his calling. “Nagbibigay ng orders, thinking of possible addresses to issues.”, as he roots this experience with how it helped him think critically inside and outside of the classroom.

He even recalled the time how he used his position in the student council to become the voice of his batch when the administration does not let the students view their grades where he wrote a letter to the department chair.

It’s not always a smooth road for leaders like him because backlash and disagreements also test his decision-making abilities.

Being a leader or not, he still has responsibilities as a student. When inquired how he comes up with ideas as a Thomasian student, he reckoned “assessing the situation, nag-iisip ng possible solutions, aalamin yung maaaring maapektuhan, implementation of solution at pag-evaluate if tama ba at paano ‘yon ginawa.” He even added how his proposals of fund raising activities, solidarity night and social awareness campaigns were designed this way.

By the end of the day, one may reflect on how he or she performed well. This encourages us to think where we went wrong or where we lack. For Karch, his responsibilities never ends in a span of 24 hours. It goes on regularly and initiatively, just as how one can compare it to breathing, it’s already expected from us to be imperfect but proving that we can be better versions of ourselves is what makes us different from each other.

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