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Seeing God through the blind's eyes

PortoSISTER Myrna Porto of the Daughters of Charity had a three-letter answer when asked about what she saw in Cambodia, a country poorer than her own Philippines, that made her dedicate her life in service of it: “God.”

Had the Cambodians been asked as well, almost a quarter of a million of them would have said the same thing after being helped by Sister Porto.

After all, the 1970 Medical Technology graduate is the Mother Superior of the congregation in the Southeast Asian nation. She is also the administrator of the Takeo Eye Hospital, the only eye center in Cambodia.

Seeing the ‘light’

Porto, a 60-year-old native of Calabanga, Camarines Sur, admitted that she did not plan on devoting herself to God or to society before she entered UST. Like most students in the health and medicine field, her plan was to go to the United States after graduation to land herself a high-paying job.

Shepherding Life

KuizonFROM a childhood dream of working for the secular press, Sister Regina Kuizon of the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) has gone beyond her youthful reveries as she now directs the communication office of a worldwide religious order.

Kuizon is the highest-ranking Filipina in the congregation based in Rome, Italy. As a communications coordinator of RGS, her job includes publishing a newsletter in English, French and Spanish, and updating its official website. She also keeps RGS members worldwide up-to-date with the congregation’s activities and conventions. She serves a congregation of more than 4,000 members located in 72 countries in five continents.

Giniling Festival's new flavor

GINILING Festival’s newest addition and only Thomasian member, Advertising senior Leandro Gabriel “Bombee” Duerme, 20, traces his love for music to the time when a standard guitar was just as tall as he was. Bombee grew up listening to his father’s collection of vinyl records at their house in Project 6 in Quezon City.

He particularly loved the songs of Queen, a ‘70s English rock band that popularized the songs “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You”, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, and “We are the Champions.”

At the same time, he also enjoyed listening to Madonna, an American pop icon who has sold millions of records.

Being a music lover at an early age, Bombee started playing the guitar in his sixth grade. A classmate at Ateneo de Manila University grade school influenced him to take guitar playing seriously and then form a band.

Thomasian catwalk lass

FORD Supermodel of the World finalist Kristina “Tina” Marasigan may be having the best of both worlds.

Apart from gracing the catwalk in exquisite gowns, Tina also dons corporate attires as she works as a staff of the office of the executive vice president of San Miguel Corporation. However, the Psychology graduate confesses that she is caught in between two careers that both matter to her.

“I am struggling to balance my priority in work and my interest in modeling,” Tina tells the Varsitarian.

Tina is a top 10 finalist of Ford Supermodel of the World, an international and prestigious modeling competition that bore some of the big names in the modeling industry like Chanel Iman and Jacqueline Jablonski. Sharon Ronquillo, a second runner-up in 2005, and Charlene Almarvez, a first-runner up winner last January, are only among the Filipinas who made it internationally.

More than just 'pogi rock'

CALLALILY may be having the time of their lives with their chart-topping hits and booming record sales, but sometimes misery accompanies prosperity. And for Callalily, critics have called their music “pogi rock”.

“Pogi rock” loosely relates to any rock band where claim to fame is not great music, but the members’ good looks. Callalily’s five members–vocalist Kean Cipriano, lead guitarist Alden Acosta, bassist Aaron Ricafrente, drummer Lemuel “Lem” Belaro, and rhythm guitarist Andrew “Tatsi” Jamnague–contest this label.

“’Pogi Rock’ is a definition of something visual,” Alden told the Varsitarian. “Music and rock are audio. People who are bringing that up and judging us by how we look are the ones who are shallow.”

Kean said it is unfair to judge the band merely by the looks of its members. He disagreed with critics who said it is not Callalily’s music that earned the band recognition in the music industry.

Feeding the Filipino imagination

NOT SO long ago, comic books about local superheroes and mythical characters fed the imagination of most Filipinos. But with rapid technological advancement, TV special effects and costume designer Noel Flores is now challenged to feed the imagination of his viewers with visual effects never thought to come to fruition during the comic-book generation.

Flores says he takes his time when conceptualizing characters and effects for his projects. But at the end of the day he lets the child in him finish the work.

“If there is a project, I do not jump into it right away. I would first refresh or ‘reformat my hard drive.’ After I have done all these, it is time for me to play with my 12-year-old self,” says the UST College of Fine Arts and Design professor.

Shepherds of a greater flock

THE CALL for priesthood comes in mysterious ways. But for these two Thomasian archbishops, it is the beginning of fulfilling a greater mission: to be the shepherds of a bigger flock.

Archbishops Leonardo Legaspi of Nueva Caceres and Onesimo Gordoncillo of Capiz were graduates of Sacred Theology. But before they were sent out to herd the faith of their respective archdiocese, Legaspi and Gordoncillo assumed many roles that changed the course of their destiny.

First Filipino Rector

Legaspi became the first Filipino Rector of UST in 1971 and the Central Seminary in 1968, succeeding the leadership of many Spanish rectors.

A woman journalist’s time and tide

TIME magazine correspondent Nelly Sindayen was never without her malong, a colorful, traditional hand-woven or machine-made tube cloth that speaks of her Southern roots. She would usually tie this on one shoulder and on top of the cotton shirts and blouses she wore while doing her rounds as a journalist under the tropical sun.

Yet woven in her “signature” garment is her 59-year journey in a smorgasbord of “shoe leather” journalism, cultural diversity, friendship, love for singing, and most of all, the principles that made her the journalist of her calibre.

Nelly suffered from diabetic stroke and died in her sleep on April 4, 2009 –three days before her 60th birthday. She was buried in a Muslim cemetery in Taguig City.