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ROARientation: Pagsalubong sa Isang Bagong Panimula

Dumagundong ang buong Quadricentennial Pavilion nang sabay-sabay isigaw ng higit sa libong bagong Tomasino ang tanyag na “Go USTe!” para sa taunang ROARientation. Sa karagatan ng mga kumukuti-kutitap na mga ilaw at makukulay na lobo, sino ba ang makalilimot sa nakapaninindig-balahibong sandaling ito?

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Kuha ni Bianca Redondo/TomasinoWeb.

Dumagundong ang buong Quadricentennial Pavilion nang sabay-sabay isigaw ng higit sa libong bagong Tomasino ang tanyag na “Go USTe!” para sa taunang ROARientation. Sa karagatan ng mga kumukuti-kutitap na mga ilaw at makukulay na lobo, sino ba ang makalilimot sa nakapaninindig-balahibong sandaling ito?

Mula sa pagpapakitang gilas ng mga Tomasino sa kani-kanilang mga talento—pagkanta, pagsayaw, at pag-arte—binaha ng Thomasian Spirit ang buong pavilion. Bakas sa mga mata nilang lahat ang pananabik at pagkamangha sa pamilyang kabibilangan nila.

“Pinakamagarbo sa lahat,” ganito isinalarawan ni Rev. Fr. Jesus Miranda Jr., O.P. ang selebrasyon ngayon kumpara sa mga nagdaang taon. “You are expected to demonstrate the Thomasian graduate attributes that speak of the SEAL of Thomasian education,” mungkahi ng Pangkalahatang-Kalihim ng Unibersidad.

Samakatuwid, inaasahang magiging mahuhusay na propesyonal ang mga bagong mag-aaral sa hinaharap. Ito ay marahil na rin sa istriktong proseso na pinagdaanan ng libo-libong aplikanteng nagnanais makapasok sa Unibersidad, at ang nasabing magarbong pagdiriwang ang nagsisilbing katiyakan na tunay ngang natatangi ang mga bagong Tomasino ngayong taon

“[UST] is the home of heroes, patriots, and saints… you are aligned with these great men and women,” dagdag ni Miranda. Binigyang-diin rin ni Miranda ang kahalagahan ng Thomasian Core Values na Competence, Compassion, at Commitment. “The University roars for its mission in dedicating herself to the generation and advancement of knowledge to form competent, committed, and compassionate professionals—these are the three core values of a Thomasian,” aniya.

Sa pagpapakitang-gilas at pag-iiskaparate ng mga Tomasino sa kani-kanilang mga talento, naipakita nila ang husay at pagiging mapagkumpitensya (competitive) ng isang Tomasino; ang mga impormatibong lektura sa mga napapanahong isyu ang nagsilbing mukha ng pagiging mahabagin (compassionate); at ang simpleng pakikiisa ng mga mag-aaral sa paghiyaw, pag-awit, at pagsayaw ay panganganinag ng kanilang pagiging mga nakatuon (committed).

Ramdam sa buong Quadricentennial Pavilion ang kagalakan ng lahat noong araw na iyon. Hindi mapigil na abot-taingang ngiti ang makikita sa bawat isang mag-aaral na nakatuon ang pansin sa entablado. “Masaya dahil ganap na Thomasian na ako,” winika ni Trisha Afundar, Nutrition freshman ng Kolehiyo ng Edukasyon.

Kasabay ng pag-indak ng mga Tomasino sa indayog ng masisiglang pagkatwa ay ang katotohanan na ang sabay-sabay nilang pag-awit ang bubuo sa kanila bilang isa sa pagsalubong sa isang bagong panimula. H. Bueno & S. A. R. Mendez

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Jan Bendric Borbe, the multi-faceted storyteller

Beneath the white clothes is oftentimes a storyteller we overlook. Being an artist takes immense love and a sense of purpose in one’s curiosity. For Borbe, passing the exam and being a doctor is not the end—it is the beginning of a true challenge.

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Photo courtesy of Jan Bendric Borbe.

Clad in white clothes, a coffee in one hand and a book on the other, and text highlighters in various colors sprawled on their table—this is one of the stereotypes that we have of medical students. They huddle in coffee shops and internet café lounges reading thick books filled with marginalia but oftentimes, we encounter their faces in a different place: in a news report, with the words ‘breaking’ capitalized and in bold.

“I heard the news from a friend,” Jan Bendric Borbe said, in an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb. “It was a mixture of nerves and excitement.”

Borbe passed the licensure exams for physicians last March 15, ranking number one with a score of 89.83%.  When asked about the first thing that came in his mind, he said, “I couldn’t believe it so I had to check with my own eyes. It took a while to let it sink in. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.” Finding out about the results was a moment of disbelief for him. He described it as “very overwhelming”, as an influx of calls and messages from family and friends surged afterwards.

“At that very moment, I felt like I was floating,” he admitted, “It was just cloud nine.” Borbe voiced out his gratitude for everyone who had supported him along the way. Indeed, as the reality settled in, he knew it was a shared victory spawned by collaborative effort.

As a child, Borbe didn’t really dream of becoming a doctor. “It was more of a calling,” he confessed, “and I felt like I was being led towards this direction.” He saw taking up medicine as an opportunity and took on the challenge. “And before I even realized it,” he remarked, “I was already in love with the profession.”

Storytelling comes in many forms, for we are artists in various spectrum. There is beauty in a collective action, poetry in the solace we keep, and love in the mornings we partake in. For Borbe, he has always cherished music since childhood. “I’ve been playing the piano since I was young,” he said, “Music has always been a constant source of inspiration and comfort.”

Borbe spoke of moments when he got to perform, and that it was often during these times on stage when he felt most alive. “My piano teachers have taught me more than music,” he shared, “They taught me grit and the right attitude towards work, and I believe I’ve carried that sense of discipline in everything that I do.”

When asked if there is an aspect of his college life that he wished would thrive in the coming years of his career, he recalled being one of those wide-eyed freshmen not too long ago. He shared that being a doctor is being committed to a lifelong pursuit of knowledge—after all, medicine is a broad subject and is often evolving. He said, curiosity shall keep the flame ablaze in our hearts and our souls on constant sense of seeking. “I was always very curious growing up,” he shared, “and that’s one thing I’d like to keep with me in the years to come.”

Beneath the white clothes is oftentimes a storyteller we overlook. Being an artist takes immense love and a sense of purpose in one’s curiosity. For Borbe, passing the exam and being a doctor are not the end—it is the beginning of a true challenge. The beginning of a new way to tell a story. “There seems to be something new to learn each day,” he said, making it clear that he is, again, willing to take on the challenge.

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Communication Arts junior is the new UAAP game announcer

The most-awaited inter-collegiate tournament has gained a new announcer for the Women’s Volleyball tournament—and it is none other than the third-year Thomasian Communication Arts student, Kassie Gormley.

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Photo courtesy to Flavius Dulce/Sports Gateway

As universities’ colors clash and their thunderous cheers reverberate deep within every athletes’ soul, the most-awaited inter-collegiate tournament has gained a new announcer for the women’s volleyball tournament—and it is none other than the third-year Thomasian Communication Arts student, Kassie Gormley.

Upon receiving the news, Gormley described it as a wave of mixed emotions, yet for her it became less dramatic than it should have,  “medyo anti-climactic siya for me kasi late sinabi and syempre excited but at the same time very quickly [sic.} yung kaba kasi two days later kaagad ‘yung game so nandun lahat ng factor but a lot of it was relief,” she said in an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb.

The road to getting the job was painfully long and nerve-wrecking, Gormley shared that she initially heard from different people that they were already thinking of giving her the position, but during the last week before the opening after receiving no updates, she felt discouraged to think that she qualifies for the job, “I was like, ‘aw…wala na, di na ako kukunin nito, may nahanap na siguro silang iba,’ then Monday before the games, tinext ako,  asking for a meeting and then I was relieved!”

As the new UAAP game announcer, of course, there was an extreme pressure that came along with it. After all, it is not easy to work after the late Rolly Manlapaz. “The pressure—it’s always going to be there, the kaba, and if I think about it too much, lalo akong papanget!”

Despite feeling anxious and possibly frightened by this new environment, Gormley still manage to see things with a positive disposition, “I just have to think that I’m not trying to please anyone, syempre I want the players and the fans to enjoy as well pero at the end of the day, job ko pa rin siya and I still have to listen to my bosses, the UAAP commissioner and what he wants, and to ABS-CBN and what they want,” she said.

For this rising Thomasian talent, factors such as balancing academics and her new job, even the criticisms of other people, were not seen as problems.

“Well the criticisms, we all know that volleyball, [it’s a very opinionated scene, napakaraming fans], very critical magcomment at manghusga pero I always take it with a grain of salt, kumbaga I still listen to the people [who not necessarily matter] kasi syempre everybody’s opinions matter and everybody’s entitled to their own opinions, pero I still have to listen to the people who are in charge of me. “I just try to think na kung merong may mga ayaw, marami din namang nagkakagusto.”

As a true master of her craft and as a person who takes her job seriously, when asked about what type of host she is, Gormley revealed that she is more of an “adlib type” of person who prefers to say things in the moment rather than reading off a script, since it makes it more natural, raw, and exciting, “[Except] siguro sa simula. I have to say the intro but besides that, it’s more of like saying what I’m seeing.”

Gormley in the UAAP scene is far from being a rookie. Her connections as a former volleyball athlete have helped her tremendously in her journey. The people she met  in the sports industry acted as her solid support system and made her UAAP journey lighter, “it really helps na I have a lot of friends in the volleyball scene na, so their support sa akin really helped me get support from their fans. I feel like it made everybody more open sa idea of accepting me.”

Gormley’s distinctive features like her striking blue eyes and golden locks may easily stun everyone, but that is not the only thing that is unique about her; with the hype of the game, Mobile Legends, the netizens saw that there is a resemblance with the voice in the game to Gormley’s. As a person who has never played the game before, she admitted that her initial reaction was confusion, “when it was first said na kaboses ko siya, I was like hala? Is it a bad thing or a good thing?” said Gormley. She thought that maybe this “resemblance” was bad due to the fact that there is a great difference and a shift from the voice of the late Sir Rolly Manlapaz to her voice.

“I think nung simula nanibago talaga ang mga tao, but once I embraced it, I feel like they [the audience] enjoyed it more once na sumakay nalang ako, I was searching the words na ginagamit dun [sa Mobile Legends] or I’d ask people what they wanna hear from the game, so I started using the lingo and from that, I’ve gotten much better responses.”

This year’s season of UAAP Women’s Volleyball is nothing like ever before–packed with renewed battle spirit and brand new faces that continues to leave a mark in the volleyball scene, Kassie Gormley is one of them. Just like her, all of us want to achieve our dreams and aim to reach our goals.

“Just don’t be afraid to fail and always try to improve yourself,” she said with a proud smile.

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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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