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Inside the USTv Kick-Off Party

“EVERYONE is expecting a lot from us this year because this is our tenth year.”

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     “EVERYONE is expecting a lot from us this year because this is our tenth year.”

     Student Organizations Coordinating Council (SOCC) President Jan Michael Borja was just as busy as the other officers inside the SOCC room when TomasinoWeb interviewed him the day before the event. He said that they have been preparing for the USTv Awards since the start of the academic year.

     Despite of this being his first time as the organizer, Borja remained steady, responsive and cheerful when talking to his colleagues. This does not mean, however, that he loses his focus on his job just as easily as well.

     Nothing in the planning was easy either, he explained, especially when it comes to the technical dress rehearsals (TDR) that had occurred days before the Kick-Off Party. He also mentioned it was difficult fitting in the schedules of the student performers without compromising their schedules, which he said was one of the most difficult things to plan before the event.

     “[It is definitely] the time of the performers,” he said. “Because we have invited a very huge number of student performers [to the event]. Since they have classes, they cannot skip them every now and then even though we have the TDR until tomorrow.”

     Borja understood this predicament very well. “This really becomes a factor since we are students here in the University. We need to prioritize things. Syempre, estudyante din tayo,” he added.

     However, the SOCC remained valiant throughout the rest of the planning procedure. “Especially this year, nothing must be compromised and nothing should be mediocre,” Borja said.

Criteria, Nominations

     Officials insisted the exact criteria for the selection of nominees remain undisclosed to the public, the panel of judges the only ones allowed access to them. However, a basic form of the guidelines were released.

     Nominees were chosen mostly based on their form – the way they are presented, on their content – the kind of matter they provide, and most especially on the Christian values and principles they impart to their viewers.

     Like the past USTv Awards, these were the very criteria that were the basis for the awarding of the shows and personalities the judges deemed fit to have represented these Thomasian qualities as effective role models, not just to the Thomasian community but also to the public.

Unang Dekada, Pasinaya

     The efforts paid-off as the star-studded and talent-filled USTv Kick-Off party held at the Plaza Mayor, last November 21, was a success.

     There were booths of the leading television networks – UNTv, GMA News TV, GMA, TV5 and ABS-CBN – wherein students enjoyed participating in the games and received freebies. This year’s theme, “USTv Unang Dekada, Pasinaya,” means that the tenth year of the first ever student award giving body in the country is just the start, according to Borja in his opening remarks in the event.

     Pasinaya means start of a celebration, and indeed, the kick-off party was a festive one with the celebrities brought by each TV stations like Mikael Daez, Geoff Eigenmann, Kylie Padilla, RJ Padilla, Betong, and the cast of the gag show, Bubble Gang for GMA; Jasmine Curtis-Smith and her co-hosts in her newest game show for TV5; Kaloka-like finalists, Doris Begornia, The Voice of the Philippines finalists Klarisse de Guzman and Janice Javier together with the champion, Mitoy Yonting for ABS-CBN.

     Thomasian performers also exemplified their fortes in singing, dancing, and playing instruments, as they entertained the crowd once in a while.

     The voting was officially opened at the end of the program until January 3, 2014.

By Rhenn Anthony S. Taguiam and Gherrylle Anne R. Ombina
Photo taken by Chealsy Allen G. Dale

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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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