#ThrowbackThursday: Charlene Gonzales in a rare 1999 UST magazine cover

Charlene Gonzales in a 1999 magazine cover for UST's The Varsitarian
Charlene Gonzales in a 1999 magazine cover for UST’s The Varsitarian PHOTO BY ANGHARAYA.WORDPRESS.COM

As we edge closer to the Binibining Pilipinas 2014 coronation night, let us look back at one of the Philippines’ well-loved beauty queens.

Here’s a rare April 1999 magazine cover of Bb Pilipinas-Universe 1994 Charlene Gonzales for Breaktime Magazine of The Varsitarian, UST’s Official Student Publication. Charlene was likened to Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, because every encounter with her is “an encounter with physical and spiritual charm”.

Charlene was on her last year in UST, taking up Psychology, and was reviewing for an exam when she was interviewed for the article. Almost five years after she competed for the Miss Universe 1994 pageant held in the country, Charlene then was already a celebrity — the Philippines’ “dance empress” and the mermaid “Dyesebel”.

“For the last five years, wala akong ginawa kung hindi puro trabaho… and I do not have a boyfriend right now,” she was quoted as saying then. But this didn’t stop Charlene from finishing her studies. School for her has become “refuge from the clutter of show business”. She played basketball for the College of Science during Inter-collegiate sports fests, leading the team to a championship round against the then College of Architecture and Fine Arts.

Her wise words back then still rings true until now: “This is all about sacrifice. Nothing is impossible, if you really want something just pour your heart and mind into it.”

Miss U is a ‘personality pageant’, says Janine

Pageant Monday

8410_frontpage_full

Janine Tugonon’s homecoming was on the frontpage of UST The Varsitarian‘s latest issue.

On the article, talked about her Miss Universe experience and how excited she was to return to her alma mater.

“’Pag nandoon ka na (Ms. Universe pageant), lahat kayo magaganda, sexy, matatangkad. Pero what will make you stand out is what you really are—your personality. At ‘yung personality, mabubuo ‘yun kung saan ka nanggaling. Sa akin, napakalaking tulong ang binigay ng UST dahil na-enhance ko ‘yung values ko, ‘yung principles ko, and I thank UST.”

She added that joining the pageant requires a “pure heart and a strong mind.”

“Being a beauty queen is having a total package; that you are beautiful in and out, and intellectually able to [get along] with different people and personalities. Hindi lang siya beauty pageant, it’s a personality pageant.”

Why UST has ‘most number of beauty queens’

What do Miriam Quiambao, Charlene Gonzales, Jennifer Barrientos and Janine Tugonon have in common?

Aside from representing the Philippines in Miss Universe, they all earned their respective undergraduate degrees in UST.

Miss Univivese first runners-up are Thomasians: Janine Tugonon and Miriam Quiambao
The Philippines’ first runners-up in Miss Universe are Thomasians: Janine Tugonon and Miriam Quiambao

The University of Santo Tomas has “produced more beauty queens than any other school in the Philippines”, the now controversial entertainment columnist Ricky Lo once wrote in his Philippine Star  column, quoting beauty expert and UST alumnus Felix Manuel.

The dean’s list
To prove this claim, Manuel and his fellow experts came up with a list of Thomasian titleholders.  (Click this to see full list: UST has most number of beauty queens)

Charlene Gonzales is a Psychology graduate, while Miriam Quiambao earned her Physical Therapy degree in UST.
Charlene Gonzales is a Psychology graduate, while Miriam Quiambao earned her Physical Therapy degree in UST.

Some of the notable Thomasian representatives to Miss Universe are Charlene Gonzalez (1994), Miriam Quiambao (1999) and Janine Tugonon (2012). Evangeline Pascual, Miss World 1973 first runner-up, is also a Thomasian. Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman was studying in UST when she first joined Binibining Pilipinas.

Pageant culture in UST
Why UST has produced so many pageant kings and queens is unquestionable, mainly because pageants have been ingrained in the Thomasian culture since time immemorial. In fact, pageants are among the major projects of most academic societies and student councils in UST.

Usual scenario at the UST Medicine Auditorium during a college-based pageant.

Each degree programs under the colleges hold their mini pageants (comparable to Regional pageants like Miss Tachira in Venezuela) to choose their representatives to the college-wide pageant (which is like the national pageants such as BBP, Miss USA, Miss Venezuela). The winners of the local pageants then head on to represent their colleges in the “international” level (a la Miss Universe) ¬– the Mr and Miss UST.

Started more than three decades ago, the Search for the Ideal Thomasian Personalities (formerly known as Mr and Ms UST) has been an annual event in the campus.

Rowena Castro, former advider of UST’s Student Organizations Coordinating Council said in a Varsitarian report that “the criteria for the contest are continuously refined so that the contest would hew more closely to the identity and mission of UST” — the reason the contest was rechristened the ‘Search for the Ideal Thomasian Personality.’”

Just like any other pageants, UST beauty contests also include photo shoots. Larger-than-life tarpaulin panels showing the candidates dominate the hallways of buildings a week before the big night. To show that the candidates are indeed the “ideal” Thomasian students, the contests have pre-pageant activities like essay writing, uniform modeling, eco wear fashion show and talent showcase, among others.

Most beauty queen handlers even storm the UST local pageants to look for their girls to send in national pageants such as Binibining Pilipinas and Miss Philippines Earth.

Critics
But not all Thomasians like this “culture”.

Winners are supposed to reflect the ideal Thomasian student, promoting the USTs “3 Cs,” referring to the Thomasian values of competence, commitment and compassion.

Titleholders for 2011.

Critics claim the contest “goes against the very spirit of Thomasian values because it is nothing but a vanity trip and pure crass commercialism. It’s just a contest of show-biz wanna-be’s.”

Despite the criticisms, there is no doubt that pageant culture in UST has contributed to the Philippines’ beauty “powerhouse” status.

Photos were grabbed from the Internet

A night of looking back

The Varsitarian, UST’s official student publication, hosted a formal dinner party last Saturday for its almuni to celebrate the paper’s 85th anniversary, Valik Varsi 85. The UST Singers were there to serenade us while we share good food, fond memories and laughters. The oldest living alumni, Mr Neil Cruz and Ms Gloria Garchitorena-Goloy led the traditional slicing of the V birthday cake. But the highlight of the night was the ceremonial toast led by the publications adviser Mr Lito Zulueta in honor of the V held at the bayside. Fireworks lit up the firmament to cap the event.

Nothing beats the feeling of being reunited with the people whom you shared fond memories with.

I will forever be proud to say: I’m Drew Francisco. Majored in The Varsitarian, minored in Journalism.

Ceremonial toast. ©Yar Buenaventura
Ceremonial toast. ©Yar Buenaventura
With my girls, Josa, Jilly and Aica. ©Ailex Villamor
With my girls, Josa, Jilly and Aica. ©Ailex Villamor
With Sir Lito Zulueta, the publications adviser. ©Cheenee DePaz
With Sir Lito Zulueta, the publications adviser. ©Cheenee DePaz
©Athena De Paz
©Athena De Paz
With Batch 2008-2010. ©Felipe Salvosa II
With Batch 2008-2010. ©Felipe Salvosa II
With Batch 2010. ©Felipe Salvosa II
With Batch 2010. ©Felipe Salvosa II
With the Paul Quiambao. ©Mika Barrios
With the Paul Quiambao. ©Mika Barrios
Lookbook material? ©Quinia Ranjo
Lookbook material? ©Quinia Ranjo
With my Filipino section family: Kuya Sam and partner-in-crime Quinia. ©Quinia Ranjo
With my Filipino section family: Kuya Sam and partner-in-crime Quinia. ©Quinia Ranjo
With Sir Wendell Capili and Cham Parado. ©Wendell Capili
With Sir Wendell Capili and Cham Parado. ©Wendell Capili
Filipino section editors and writers through the years. ©Jaime Campos
Filipino section editors and writers through the years. ©Jaime Campos

Still ‘V’ life

I said it before, I’ll say it once more: I spent the happiest days of my UST life in The Varsitarian. As we celebrate the V’s 85th year, here are some og my favorite photos during my stay at the V. Pictures were grabbed from V colleagues.

Green Team at Caleruega! (2008)
Green Team at Caleruega! (2008)
We are one (2008)
We are one (2008)
Rihanna and Jay-Z (2008)
Rihanna and Jay-Z (2008)
Sportsfest (2008)
Sportsfest (2008)
Sportsfest (2008)
Sportsfest (2008)
Babawi ang Itals! (2008)
Babawi ang Itals! (2008)
Feeling host. (Inkblots 2008)
Feeling host. (Inkblots 2008)
Filipino section! (2008)
Filipino section! (2008)
(2008)
(2008)
Tsinelas! (2008)
Tsinelas! (2008)
Courtesy call (2009)
Courtesy call (2009)
Stranded? Bored? Let's play hide-and-seek. (2009)
Stranded? Bored? Let’s play hide-and-seek. (2009)
Ondoy (2009)
Ondoy (2009)
Natupad ang pangarap namin na magkasama sa isang org (2009)
Natupad ang pangarap namin na magkasama sa isang org (2009)
Calm before the storm (2009)
Calm before the storm (2009)
V invades EK. (2009)
V invades EK. (2009)
The family picture.(25th Ustetika, 2009)
The family picture.(25th Ustetika, 2009)
Lady Gaga pose (2010)
Lady Gaga pose (2010)
Calegruega (2010)
Calegruega (2010)
Let's get physical (2010)
Let’s get physical (2010)
The cheer (Caylabne, 2010)
The cheer (Caylabne, 2010)
The champions(Caylabne, 2010)
The champions
(Caylabne, 2010)
Island hopping (Boracay, 2010)
Island hopping (Boracay, 2010)
Castaways? (Boracay, 2010)
Castaways? (Boracay, 2010)
Workaholic (2009)
Workaholic (2010)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you want to be a Varsitarian staffer?

Dibuho ni Jasmine Santos
Dibuho ni Jasmine Santos

“The years at the V taught us discipline much faster than any lesson in Moral Theology or the ROTC ever did.”
– Nestor Cuartero

Laking pasasalamat ko talaga na bago ako pumasok sa mundo ng The Varsitarian, nariyan ang kaibigan ko na si Danielle para bigyan ako ng crash course ukol sa buhay sa loob ng offical student publication ng UST. Sa mga nagiisip na napaka-glamorous ng buhay Varsi, think again. Kung ang nais mo lang ay mapaganda ang resume mo, mag-isip-isip ka muna.

Kaya naman sa mga nagnanais maging V staffer, narito ang ilang paalala:

1) Ihanda ang sarili para sa limang oras na exam. Oo, limang oras ng pagsusulat, pagdo-drawing, paghanap ng magandang anggulo ng litrato at pagpiga ng utak ang kailangan mong pagdaanan para maipasa ang qualifying exams. At hindi lang sa qualifying exams nagtatapos iyan. Kapag naipasa mo ito, susunod ang specialized exam (kung saan kasabay mo na ang iba pang natitirang current Varsitarian members) para malaman kung swak ka ba sa section na gusto mong pasukin.

2) Magpaganda para sa interview. Kapag tinawagan ka na para sa interview, congratulations! You are a step closer toward becoming the next Varsitarian staffer. Matagumpay mong naipasa ang madugong specialized exam. Dito, haharap ka sa selection committee kung saan uungkatin nila ang lahat ng mauungkat nila sa pagkatao mo. Magpakatotoo ka lang. At siguraduhin na handa ka talagang pasukin ang pinapasok mo. Higit sa lahat, wear business attire. Job interview ito. Pagkatapos ng interview, siguruhing naka-charge ang cellphone. And seek Divine Intervention.

3) Be friendly, pero matutong mahiya. Congratulations! Tinawagan ka Siguradong papupuntahin ka sa V office para sa orientation. Kapag nakilala mo na ang mga kapwa newbies mo, kaibiganin sila. Ang mga mukhang yan ang magiging unang sandigan mo sa V. Matuto namang gumalang sa mga current staffers. Seniors mo sila. Huwag agad feeling close at feel at home. Makaka-adjust ka rin in due time.

4) Ilabas ang vacuum cleaner powers. Sigurado, ang first task niyo ay maglinis ng V office. General cleaning. Bawal ang maarte. Matutong humawak ng walis, magkuskos ng sahig, magtanggal ng alikabok sa loob ng archives. Ito ang first bonding experience mo with both the old and new V staff.

5) Be active sa Summer activities. Basta, be active. Malalaman mo rin kung bakit. Ilabas ang hidden UST Growling Tiger in you! Isama mo na ang hidden Salinggawi at Teatro Tomasino actor in you. Believe me, kakailanganin mo talaga ‘yan.

6) Observe deadlines. O, start na ng school year. Sundin ang deadline. A deadline is never dead daw. Kung gusto mo maka-byline, sundin ito. Hindi lang sa editorial side ito, pati sa mga extrang gawain may deadline. The V rewards those who follow rules. Kaching-kaching!

7) Maghanda para sa extra editorial events. Hindi lang basta publication ang V, events organizer din ito. Ito ang susukat sa iyong pagiging miyembro. Higit sa lahat, ito ang sukatan ng tunay na pagsasamahan at pagkakaibigan. Pwede kang maging personal alalay, technician, tagabuhat, host, performer, food expert, nurse, at kung anu-ano pa. You’ll discover many things na kaya mo pala gawin.

8) Food appreciation 101. Sa lahat ng ginagawa sa V, laging may pagkain. Matututo kang maappreciate ang pagkain dito. Ate Eva’s man yan, Tinapayan, or eat-all-you-can buffet, siguradong bubusugin ka ng Varsi. Isang malaking feeding program ang V.

9) Work hard. Masarap sa pakiramdam na na-enjoy mo ang iba’t ibang perks ng V, tulad ng teambuilding activities at retreats sa iba’t ibang lugar, dahil pinaghirapan mo ito. Always think of what you can do for V, not what V can do for you.

10) Higit sa lahat, build true, good and lasting relationships. Hinding-hindi ko malilimutan ang sinabi ni Emil (kaklase sa Journ at editor ko sa V) sa akin noong kapapasok ko pa lang sa V. Mas magiging ka-close ko pa raw ang mga nasa Varsi kaysa sa blockmates ko. At hindi nga siya nagkamali. Habambuhay na pagkakaibigan ang hatid ng mga makakasama mo sa Varsitarian. Enjoy every moment with them. Maikli lang ang isa, dalawang taon na gugugulin niyo sa V na halos araw-araw nyong nakikita at nakakasama ang isa’t isa. Kung may nagyaya ng inuman, sumama kahit hindi ka umiinom. Try mo rin maki-join sa yosi breaks. Initiate a conversation with everyone. More than an organization, Varsitarian is a family.

Ilan lamang ito sa mga maipapayo ko sa sinumang nais maging bahagi ng Varsitarian. Just a warning: ang V mahirap iwanan, pero masarap balikan.

P.S. Happy 85th anniversary, Varsitarian! Hindi na ako makapaghintay sa party natin sa 26th.

Paano nga ba sumulat ng katha?

writing
Photo from machankimchi.blogspot.com

Nalimutan ko na yata kung paano sumulat ng katha.

Paano nga ba sumulat ng magandang panimula? Nasa panimula raw dapat ang diwa ng isang istorya, sabi noon ni Rosario Lucero sa isang palihan. Sabi naman ni Kit Kwe, dapat daw magsimula ang katha malapit sa conflict. Ano ba ang suliranin ko dito? Ayun, hindi ko alam kung marunong pa ba ako sumulat ng kuwento.

“Kung walang conflict, walang drama. Kung walang drama, walang kwento,” dagdag ni Jun Cruz Reyes. At dahil may suliranin nga ako, edi may drama. Ergo, may kwento. Am I making sense?

Isulat daw ang iyong mga karanasan. You can’t dramatize something you don’t have knowledge of, sabi ni Lucero. Bata pa lang ako, mahilig na ako sumulat ng mga kwento. Mayroon pa nga akong isang notebook na sinusulatan ko ng mga kwentong maisip ko. At dahil bata pa nga ako noon at laging nakababad sa TV, puro mala-telenovela ang tema ng aking mga sinusulat. Nagkakilala si lalaki at babae. Nahulog sa isa’t isa. Masaya sila tapos biglang nahimatay si lalaki. Dinala sa ospital. May cancer pala. May taning na. Namatay. Masyadong dramatic ang kwento ko noon. Talo pa ang Esperanza.

“It’s impossible to move your readers with a story about someone’s death,” ani Lucero. Nakakasawa na raw, sabi naman ni Reyes. Ouch! It hurts, you know?

Nagkaroon ako ng pormal na creative writing classes noong high school. Doon ako na-expose sa iba’t ibang techniques sa pagsulat. Iba’t ibang klaseng kwento ang pinabasa sa amin. Tinuruan kami kung paano mag-develop ng kwento. Pinasulat kami sa English at Filipino para malaman namin kung saan kami mas gamay. Oras na para gumawa ng pre-final paper. Minimum of 10 pages, double-spaced, Arial, 12. Confident ako kasi naka 15 pages ako sa kwento ko. Noong ibinalik na ang papel, hiyang-hiya ako sa grade na nakuha ko. Tres. Pasang-awa. Bakit? Masyado raw mahaba to the point na hindi na na-develop ang characterization. I was devastated. (Echos lang! Hindi talaga devastated. Madrama kasi ang salitang devastated.)

Ito raw ang dapat matutunan ng kwentista, sabi ni Lucero. Masakit man, kailangan matutong magtanggal ng mga bahaging hindi naman kailangan sa kwento. Kaya mula sa 15 pages, naging 7 pages na lang yung final output. Final grade? Hindi ko alam. Hindi na kasi ibinalik e.

Mas namulat ako sa mundo ng pagsulat ng katha noong nasa UST na ako, lalo na noong nakapasok na ako sa Varsitarian. Sa tulong ng aking patnugot na si Kuya Sam Medenilla, mas nagabayan ako sa tamang pagsusulat. Mas itinuon ko ang pansin sa pagsulat sa Filipino. Sabi ni Abdon Balde, kailangan magamay ng manunulat ang wikang gamit niya upang maayos na maiparating ang mensaheng nais sabihin.

Dito rin ako natuto na isipin munang mabuti ang aking gustong isulat. Mahalagang pagisipan ang paksa upang may patunguhan ang istorya, sabi ni Efren Abueg. “Talagang mahirap mag-isip ng paksa para sa kwento. Pero hindi dapat sumuko,” dagdag niya.

Kailangan na malinaw sa manunulat ang nais niyang isulat. Kailangan rin na pasukin ng susulat ang isip at mundo ng tauhan para maging kapanipaniwala ito, ani Reyes. Sa pananantili ko sa Varsitarian, nakasulat ako ng tatlong maiikling kuwento na talagang sumubok sa kakayahan ko bilang isang manunulat. Lahat tungkol sa relasyon ng isang anak sa kanyang ama. Iba’t ibang tauhan, pero iisang puso ang pinagmulan.

Sabi ni Balde, hindi raw dapat isali ng manunulat ang persona niya sa kwenton isinusulat niya. Pero dito ako sumasalungat. Naniniwala ako na ang bawat tauhan sa mga akda ko ay may kaniya-kanyang persona. Pero ang sarili kong persona ang pinaniniwalaan ko na nagbibigay sa kanila ng puso.

Simula nang lisanin ko ang Varsitarian, tila nilisan ko na rin ang pagsusulat ng katha. Ngunit sabi nga ni Kwe, “lifetime of work” ang pagsulat. Hindi pa naman siguro huli ang lahat upang simulan kong muli ito. At lalong hindi pa huli para ma-improve ko ang pagsusulat ko. Sa dami ng natutunan ko, masasayang naman kung hahayaan ko lang itong anayin.

Pero ang isa sa pinaka hindi ko malilimutang aral sa pagsusulat, kapag katapusan na, huwag nang magpaliguy-ligoy pa.

UST celebrates Janine Tugonon’s feat

Imbued with undending grace. Janine Tugonon returns to UST.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Imbued with undending grace. Janine Tugonon returns to UST.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)

Earlier today, I was going gaga on Twitter and Facebook to check for updates about Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon’s grand motorcade, which includes a homecoming in her (our) alma mater, the University of Santo Tomas I would’ve wanted to drop by UST to witness that momentous celebration, but the photos I found line were enough to feed my excitement. I also shared them to fellow pageant fans.

“The celebration started with a motorcade around the campus, where she was warmly welcomed by students, faculty members, and administrators, followed by an awarding of a plaque of recognition and a lunch reception,” reports The Varsitarian, UST’s official student publication.

Janine earned her degree in Pharmacy, cum laude, from UST in 2010. She was crowned as Ideal Female Thomasian Personality (Miss UST) in 2010.

Here are some photos from The Varsitarian’s official Facebook page:

Janine's float enters UST Espana gate, welcomed by students at the Arch of the Centuries.(Photo by Jaime T. Campos)
Janine’s float enters UST Espana gate, welcomed by students at the Arch of the Centuries.
(Photo by Jaime T. Campos)
Students from the College of Commerce take a break from their classes to see Janine.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Students from the College of Commerce take a break from their classes to see Janine.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
All smiles and gladly waves for the Thomasian crowd.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
All smiles and gladly waves for the Thomasian crowd.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Radiant on the red carpet before the start of the program at the Plaza Mayor.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Radiant on the red carpet before the program at the Plaza Mayor.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Fr Herminio Dagohoy presents a plaque of appreciation to Janine.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Fr Herminio Dagohoy presents a plaque of appreciation to Janine.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Janine gamely answers questions from the press.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Janine gamely answers questions from the press.
(Photo by Jaime T. Campos)

“Ms. Janine Tugonon’s impressive performance in an international competition proves that Thomasians truly excel in almost every field, and more importantly, she has become a positive role model to many young people because she exemplifies determination, hard work, beauty, and intelligence.”

– UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P.