THREE a.m. While most of the population is in deep slumber, Stephen Ray Donato and Jophine Quinto-Mañalac, two incoming fourth year Advertising students were wide-awake and working, late. It did not matter how long they had been up or how much sleep they had lost; there was nothing on their minds but to finish their projects in time for the submission that same day.

Their projects were requirements for their Package Design subject and were official entries to the Post-it Dispenser Making Contest sponsored by 3M Philippines last March.

Little did Stephen and Jophine know that something hurriedly done could win an award.

Buddy

Stephen’s interest in art contests may be traced back to his high school days at St. Anthony’s School in Singalong, Manila. He went on to join art contests with the hopes of winning, but when he lost, he was always ready to try again.

Stephen’s talent was developed through his father, an electrical technician who is also an artist.

Stephen’s talent was evident.

“Magaling siyang mag-isip ng ideas. He always has ideas lalo na kapag group work. We have always seen his potential,” Edward Guinto, Stephen’s classmate since first year in Advertising, said.

Stephen’s design for 3M, which won first place, was “Heritage Window” design. It was inspired by the Vigan houses in Ilocos Sur.

“’Yun kasing father ko ‘taga Ilocos. Naalala ko, ganoon iyong mga windows doon” Donato said.

The eldest in a brood of two, Stephen has developed the sense of leadership and responsibility. According to Guinto, even if Stephen rushes to beat the deadline, he always produces a good output.

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Beating deadlines is a constant struggle for Stephen.

“Game lagi si Stephen. Wala kang makikitang kaartehan sa kanya,” Edward said.

If Stephen would not be found sitting on the benches in front of the Roque Ruaño Bldg. talking with friends, he would be home in Parañque playing billiards or counter-strike with his barkada.

“Lagi siyang nariyan kapag kailangan mo ng companion. Nagbibigay din siya ng advice kapag may problema,” said Edward.

Stephen’s victory in the contest did not draw him away from his friends. In fact, he celebrated it with them.

Student mom

Jophine is not the usual student. She is married to Erickson Mañalac and a mother to a one-year-old boy named Kryst Jopherson.

According to her, balancing time between her family life and studies is hard, but her son inspires her to finish studies and to do better in everything she does.

“Noong nagka-baby ako, nahanap ko na iyong hinahanap ko. May purpose na ako ngayon. Dati puro personal lang. Ngayon, family life na and material things,” Jophine said.

Winning the Post-it Dispenser Making Contest was not a first for Jophine. Last Sept. 2001, she won the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA) Marketing Award for Frenzy apple soda.

Thus, high hopes to win the Dispenser Making Contest was present in her. “Hindi ko expected na manalo. Kaya lang, natural na sa isang tao na umasa. Natuwa ako noong nalaman kong nanalo ako.”

Like Stephen, Jophine’s usual problem is beating deadlines for requirements. She however thanks her family and friends for their support.

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According to Mondee Arroco, Jophine’s bestfriend, Jophine is a strong person. She will not easily give up when faced with challenges, Mondee added.

“The more na dina-down ako, mas gusto kong napatunayan na I can do something unexpected,” Jophine said.

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