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Shining through the brilliance of his films

MendozaHis parents wanted him to become a medical doctor, but fate had a different vision for him. Brillante Mendoza, 2009 Cannes Film Festival best director, missed his entrance exam for a pre-medicine course in UST, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“I arrived late for the B.S. Psychology entrance exam so I was not able to take it. At that time, only the slots for Advertising were available,” Mendoza said.

Having missed the bus for a profession in the medical arts, Mendoza instead took the flight for a career in the visual arts. His parents initially disapproved of his decision to study Advertising, but eventually supported him as he started studying at the old College of Architecture and Fine Arts in 1978.

It was in the University where he laid the building blocks for his now fledging career as a film director. Mendoza was a regular in photography and television production competitions on campus. He won a handful, including first place in a campus photography competition, group exhibitions, and painting contests.

“My fondest memories of my UST days were the midnight preparations I had with my classmates for those competitions,” the Pampanga native told the Varsitarian.

Thomasian 'green' architect

Lichauco WHAT was a brief childish fascination with a compass, a ruler, and a lettering set in his father’s office turned out to be a cornerstone in the life of Daniel Lichauco, a principal architect of the architectural firm, Archion Associates.

“I could not draw free hand,” confessed Lichauco in an interview with the Varsitarian. “I realized that using drafting materials would help me draw something really nice.” Buoyed by his new-found interest, Lichauco dedicated his high school endeavors to pursuing a life in technical drawing. He was determined to become an architect that he left the comforts of Ateneo, where he took his elementary and high school education, to pursue architecture in UST.

“It was supposed to be Ateneo all the way, but since it had no architecture program I chose UST, which has one of the best programs in the country,” said the part-time College of Architecture professor.

The quest of the young aspiring architect’s from New Manila also meant embarking on a career path none of his relatives have taken since his family line was in business and teaching. It was also a leap of faith for a child who once dreamt of becoming a priest.

Year with the Tigers

AtienzaHE MAY not be your prototypical teacher, but Alejandro “Kuya Kim” Atienza makes sure his viewers learn from him.

From exploring wild animals, facts, places and events in Matanglawin, to reporting weather forecasts in the primetime news block and hosting daily noontime show Showtime, Kuya Kim has virtually made trivia and wildlife discoveries look like a walk in the park.

“My career goal is to be credible as a news person but at the same time to entertain,” he told the Varsitarian. “Gone are the days when news or important information is relayed very formally. Pinoy tayo eh, we want color, we want music, and we want dance.”

Making of a ‘Tiger’

After studying in a seminary, Kuya Kim took up Education in UST in 1983 to pursue his fondness for discovering and sharing knowledge. Although Kuya Kim’s UST days were short, he made the most out of them, spending countless hours in the University’s libraries and museum.

“My one year in UST was very exciting. It was filled with explorations and learning, both formal knowledge in the classrooms and informal knowledge through self-discovery and goofing around with my friends,” he said. “It was also the first time that I met so many beautiful girls.”

Voicing out young love

WHEN band members Arjay Romero (lead guitar), Jimbo Cuenco (drums), VR Romero (bass guitar) and Jay Macalincag (rhythm guitar) examined their compositions, they realized their songs “focused on the feminine side of things.”

They started looking for a female vocalist who could bring raw emotions out of their songs. During the search, held at Arjay’s house in 2005, they were enthralled by College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) student Madeline Rayombong, whose voice mirrored both mystery and versatility. After singing “Soon” by Moonpools and Caterpillars, the boys knew they had a keeper.

“She has a distinct voice—one that, once you hear, you’ll know it’s her,” Jay told the Varsitarian.

For the lone female in the group, it was a new experience. Madeline has never been in a band before and claims that Paraluman is “my first and last band.”

Musician and Entrepreneur

Jacinto“WHEN rock came in, people didn’t know what to do. Music was changing, and it’s changing now,” the late guitarist and legendary guitar-maker Les Paul once said. For the man who brought his own version of Les Paul guitars in the Philippines, it appears to ring true.

Ramon Jacinto, or RJ as he is commonly known, started early in the entertainment industry. As a 15-year-old boy, he set up his first business venture “RJ Enterprises,” which had a studio. It was not long after that he made his band “RJ and the Riots.”

When RJ was 17 years old, he founded his first radio station named DZRJ, which played hits from the growing rock sensations of the 1960s like the Beatles and the Ventures.

“My first radio station wasn’t powerful, but it was a real radio station. It was manned by classmates at the backyard of my house,” RJ told the Varsitarian.

It was in that radio station where he played the beginnings of rock ‘n roll in the Philippines, and eventually became Radyo Bandido or bandit radio.

Making reading affordable

SisonIT HAS been said that good things come with a great price. But for Booksale founder Emmanuel Sison, a good read need not be expensive.

For as low as five pesos, anyone can already buy New York Times bestsellers and even rare fiction and non-fiction titles from Booksale. Quality second-hand books, including hard and paper-bound book novels, comics, magazines, and text books are sold at very affordable prices.

With a reputation of selling quality, yet affordable books, people still frequent the 86 branches at Booksale nationwide even in the face of economic slowdown. “Other companies thought that because there’s recession, people will stop buying books. I say no, the book buyer and book lover would forego eating but he will buy his book,” said Sison, president and chairman of Visual Mix Inc., which owns all Booksale stores.

Unlike other companies that were slapped by the recent recession hard on the face, recession proved to be a pat on the back for Sison. Visual Mix was hit hard during the Asian financial crisis of 1997 because it was not prepared. A saying goes that bad luck comes in threes, but once is enough for Sison. When the recent global economic recession hit the Philippines, Visual Mix was prepared.

Artists of social conscience

BEYOND forms, colors, and structures of a painting is an artwork depicting the real face of society.

This has been the mantra of Thomasian artists Raul Ignacio “Iggy” Rodriguez and Buen Calubayan in their artwork. Through their works, they strive to impart social realities that are usually ignored.

“Artists should step up and be involved in what is happening today. I believe that art must be founded on a social cause, and not just create art for art’s sake,” Rodriguez told the Varsitarian.

A hero's home coming

JANUARY 11 – Dr. Leticia Yap was on the Internet to chat with her son, Jerome, who had just left the Philippines for Haiti to resume his duties as a staffer of the United Nations (UN) office of the field personnel. The mother and son talked about Jerome’s plans of another homecoming this March.

“Jerome said: I found a ship here [in Haiti] going to the Philippines. I will be there from March 30 to April 10,” Leticia told the Varsitarian. “Since [the fare costs] only $1,100 compared with Prague which is $1,200, it’s much better if I just go home.”

It was their last conversation.

Master Filipino architect

MañosaDEFINING and expressing Filipino culture has been the aspiration of National Artist Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa throughout his career. In his personal career as an architect spanning more than 50 years, he has made it his crusade to uphold Philippine architecture in his designs.

Mañosa’s efforts were finally recognized when he was named National Artist—or so he thought. His selection as a National Artist, together with theater artist Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, fashion designer Jose “Pitoy” Moreno, including renowned film director Carlo J. Caparas, drew uproar from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The legality of President Macapagal-Arroyo’s selection of these new national artists is now pending resolution before the Supreme Court.

True to his words

Believing that his own culture should not take a back seat to foreign architecture, Mañosa dug deeper and discovered that Filipino architecture is “richer than the architecture of many, many other countries.” For more than five decades, Mañosa has actively endorsed Philippine architecture after seeing Filipinos become more interested in foreign architecture.

A doctor's touch

DuquePUBLIC service runs deep for new Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairman Francisco Duque III.

After leaving his post as Department of Health (DOH) secretary last January 10, Duque is set to face the challenges of leading the government’s personnel agency with a doctor’s touch: health and wellness of civil servants as one of his top priorities.

However, Duque is not overwhelmed by the technical roundabouts of his new job, but sees it as a potential goldmine for learning.

“The CSC will be a good chance for me to improve professionalism in the bureaucracy,” he said in an interview on dzXL radio.

Duque has also been appointed as the chair of the Public Sector Labor-Management Council last February 10.

Like father, like son

Duque may still be learning the ropes of heading the CSC, but he is no greenhorn to leading government agencies past difficult time. He was Health Secretary when DOH dealt with the Ah1N1 outbreak last year.

Duque has his father, a former Health Secretary, to thank for the composure in and adept at handling of alarming health situations during his stay with the DOH from 2001 to last January.