ONWARDS. The word that has been driving me to pursue greater heights since my batch mates and I graduated from college. Onwards, the word that resonates in my head each time I reach a certain limit, barrier, or what appears to be a finish line.

Everything was abrupt—it was as if I had dozed off into a deep slumber and had entered into a bizarre dream. Everything I prayed for regarding my education when I was still an undergraduate was granted, yet now I stand here wondering where I will land and how I shall bring glory to my Alma Mater in the coming years.

During my stay in college and in the Varsitarian, I strived for nothing but the premium in everything that I have done. Now it’s time to play a new game and conquer a new realm called “work.”

After all that had happened, I consider my stay in UST as an adventure. It is where I ventured into unexplored paths and met different kinds of people. Little did I know that I would come across prominent people that I would have only dreamt of meeting had I not joined “V.”

Studying in UST also gave me the inclination to join various groups and I eventually found myself in the Varsitarian, the country’s premiere student publication.

Joining the ‘V’ was the greatest leap I had taken in my college life. I had the opportunity of travelling to places I had never been to before. I had the privilege of preserving cultural heritage through photographs. As a student in this Pontifical University, I had trained myself to live my college life the Varsitarian way.

Adventurous as I was, I experienced more than what I bargained for and was even forced to face people I considered intolerable. Those people made my college life more challenging and lead me to certain achievements and highlights that started to paint my blank canvas. Before joining the department, I didn’t know that the Varsitarian covered a wide array of events. Coincidentally, I entered the Varsitarian during UST’s Quadricentennial celebration and I was shocked because of the work load. Being a concurrent Varsitarian artist and photographer, the college life that I knew was replaced with something better.

Freeway pays tribute to Nat'l Artists

As the Quadricentennial year passed, I became an expert in time management and juggling responsibilities. I recall that I had to cut class once to cover what was going on outside my beloved Beato Angelico building; not knowing that Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, then-rector of the University, was already opening the Jubilee door and that my being late almost blew the coverage. A year passed and I didn’t notice that my grades had gone higher and that I had gotten into the Dean’s List during my third year as a Fine Arts student.

As the onslaught of thesis arrived, the Neocentennial year began to unfold and I became the chief photographer of the Varsitarian. This meant tougher challenges because I felt that I had big shoes to fill as an editor and undergoing thesis in CFAD was no easy task. Although the Varsitarian turned me into a caffeine-dependent workaholic and nearly made me fail several subjects due to my absences, it was all worth it.

As a member of the Varsitarian staff, my professional output became more refined. My work was infused with journalistic values, making me reach a higher understanding of things. Everything had more meaning and achieved a deeper purpose, unlike my old points of view that were based purely on art and vague premises. Appreciating art eventually became a tedious task and it even came to a point where I questioned my career choices. “Bakit ko ba tinapos ang Fine Arts?”

Much to my dismay, I started to question my chosen course because art does not help people in an obvious or literal sense. It does not cure diseases, it does not build cities, it does not help a mother deliver her baby, and it does not solve global warming. It was then that I realized how art inspires and jumpstarts vision.

Bagong haligi ng Departamento ng Filipino

Art is all about human expression and cultural heritage. I know that I belong in this field because the Varsitarian has not only turned me into a better artist, but has taught me to constantly engage myself in art—in the art of living; and seeing life as art.

They say brilliant people can do anything and can be anything. Definitely, there are other people who are more fitting to be in my position and are far better in my craft, but my choices set me apart from them. I chose to plunge into this adventure and it turns out to be a revelation that will never be forgotten. Every ending leads to a new route and it doesn’t mean that you have come to a halt. “Onwards,” that’s the word. UST has given me the lift that primed me for the outside world, leaving me with a burning desire to accomplish more and reach farther. I just want to say a big “thank you” to the Varsitarian for bestowing upon me love, patience, and grace. Life’s tougher when you step outside of the University and I hold on to what Bruce Lee said, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a harder one.” Maraming salamat, UST!


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