ARCHITECT Dawnelli Mahomoc Luar, who dreams to have a better home for her family, recently placed seventh in the January 2023 Licensure Examination for Architects, garnering a score of 82.30 percent.
“Maybe naa sa akong (because of my) inner desire siguro is to live in a better living condition, so I think isa to siya sa rason nako nga magpili og architecture (it’s one of the reasons why I chose to study architecture),” Luar told SunStar Davao in an online interview Thursday, February 2, 2023.
Luar grew up in an informal settlement in Bislig, Surigao del Sur. Despite the place she grew up in, she said they were still able to live comfortably as a family and harmoniously with their neighbors.
For the University of the Philippines-Mindanao (UP-Min) graduate, it was not easy getting to where she is right now as she deals with losing her home, Covid-19, and the postponement of the exam.
Luar graduated in 2018 but she needs to work for two years in an architectural firm to be able to take the licensure exam. However, Covid-19 struck in 2020, postponing the exams for two years. She remained in Davao City and continued her review.
Before taking the exams in 2023, she had to skip the examination in 2021 and 2022.
In 2021, she opted not to take the exam due to the requirements she needed to comply with. Luar also said she was not ready to take the exam in the same year.
This was also a tough year for her as she had to deal with losing a home after it burned down.
“Sakit na mawad-an imong nadak-an nga lugar, tapos nawala na tanan, since bata pa gyud ko, pila na katuig nagpuyo didto tapos comfortable naka sa imong mga kauban (It’s very painful to lose the place that you grew up in),” Luar said, adding that they had to temporarily live with their relatives.
In 2022, she got sick, which affected her review.
“Then I got sick, siguro Covid-19 to, dako kaayo siya’g impact kay kasakit tapos dili maka-focus, (I think I got Covid-19, which affected by review because I could not focus),” Luar said.
Luar said that during her review, she experienced loneliness and burnout. Thankfully she had friends to help her get through the tough times.
“Dako kaayo og tabang nga makig-uban ka with friends kay makapangutana mo, magtinabangay mo, magpinangutan-anay at naa kay karamay sa imuhang ma-feel na maka-relate gyud sa imuha ba, nga pareha mo og ginaigian (It is a big help to have friends whom you can ask help from, talk with, or going through the same patch),” she said.
When 2023 came, Luar said it would be her make-or-break-it year.
“Karun 2023, gi-set na gyud nako sa akong mind na mag-take na gyud ko kay last chance na nako ni kay kapila nako nag-defer (This 2023 had my mind set to take the exam because this will be my last chance since I deferred it several times),” she said.
Eventually, her hardwork and determination paid off after passing the exam with flying colors and placing seventh overall.
Now that she’s a licensed architect, she plans to build a house for her family and to learn more about architecture from experts in the field.
Meanwhile, UP-Min garnered a 100 percent passing rate wherein all seven first-time examinees passed the licensure exam.
Other Davao City schools also performed with flying colors. The University of the Immaculate Conception also earned a 100 percent passing rate, with both examinees passing.
Ateneo de Davao University earned a 71.93 percent passing rate with 41 passers front he total 57 examinees. Of this, 36 were first-time takers while 13 were repeat takers.
The University of Mindanao in Davao City had a 53.09 percent passing rate wherein 43 examinees passed out of the total 81 takers. Of this, 46 were first-timers and 35 were repeaters. KSD with ICM
Dr. Chiu and his team’s research intends to impact the management of thyroid cancer in the Philippines due to a high prevalence rate of hypothyroidism among Filipinos compared with other ethnicities.
January 31, 2023 — Dr. Harold Henrison C. Chiu, UP Manila’s first Chemistry Licensure Exam topnotcher and second summa cum laude graduate of its BS Biochemistry program, is now an endocrinologist and chief fellow at the Philippine General Hospital Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, who engages in both medical practice and research.
In his latest work as a researcher, Dr. Chiu (UPCM Class 2016 cum laude) with fellow Biochemistry alumna Dr. Vanessa Joy A. Timoteo-Garcia, received awards for their outstanding scientific research presented at the 10th Seoul International Congress of Endocrinology and Metabolism held recently in conjunction with the 41st Annual Scientific Meeting of Korean Endocrine Society, Gwangju, Republic of Korea. Garcia is a researcher working on big comprehensive data sets as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University and Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
This makes Dr. Chiu and Dr. Timoteo-Garcia the only UP Manila alumni winners among international competitors that made the best ten cut in their categories amidst internationals. Dr. Chiu won the Best Poster Oral Presentation Award for “Increased Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome Among Adult Filipinos with Hypothyroidism: A Prospective Cohort Study” while Dr. Timoteo-Garcia won the Plenary Oral Presentation Award for “Causal Association Between Elevated Iron and Risks of Cardiometabolic Outcomes in Taiwan Han Chinese and UK Whites.”
Dr. Chiu and his team’s research intends to impact the management of thyroid cancer in the Philippines due to a high prevalence rate of hypothyroidism among Filipinos compared with other ethnicities. On the other hand, Dr. Timoteo-Garcia’s study on type 2 diabetes and other cardiometabolic diseases aims to help improve public health.
As Chiu recalls, his love for research was ignited by a case during his first-year residency in medicine which involved a patient’s leg amputation and blindness caused hypermucoviscous Klebsiella pneumonia infection. To date, other works of Dr. Chiu focus on diabetes, nutrition, obesity and metabolic syndrome.
When asked about how he developed discipline in his career, he shared his three best practices which include perseverance and persistence, collaboration with others, and lifelong love of learning and acknowledging limitations. Dr. Chiu also advised the younger generation to constantly have grit in whatever field they are pursuing.
Haziel May C. Natorilla | Published in the UP Manila Healthscape Issue No. 47 (January 2023)
Mariamme D. Jadloc – Diliman Information Office
In the northernmost island of Luzon lies the community of Babuyan Claro.
It is home to the Ibatans.
In her dissertation, The Stratigraphy of a Community: 150 Years of Language Contact and Change in Babuyan Claro, Philippines,Maria Kristina Gallego, PhD said the Ibatans “… emerged from a century and a half of intense social contact between people from different, but closely related, ethnolinguistic groups: Ivatan and Itbayaten (Batanic) and Ilokano (Cordillera).”
Gallego is an assistant professor of linguistics and chair of the UP Diliman (UPD) Department of Linguistics (DLingg) of the UPD College of Social Sciences and Philosophy.
Northern tip. Babuyan Claro belongs to the Babuyan group of islands at the northernmost islands of the Philippines, under the township of Calayan. It is a small island with a rugged terrain and generally lacks exploitable natural resources.
Gallego said, “Until several decades ago, this region was relatively isolated from the rest of the country given the extreme difficulty in crossing the Babuyan and the Balintang Channels.”
First families. Babuyan Claro traces its beginnings from one family’s attempt to return to their homeland. But they ended up establishing a new home for themselves.
According to Gallego, there was a group composed of five persons from Calayan and Camiguin that were shipwrecked on Babuyan Claro in their attempt to go back to Batanes. These were Alvaro and Maria, both of Batanic ancestry, and their Ilokano friends Fidel, Mauricio, and Marcelino.
“For the next 50 years or so, Babuyan Claro witnessed similar arrivals of small groups of people from Batanic- and Ilokano-speaking groups,” Gallego said.
Language. Ilokano is used as the lingua franca in Babuyan Claro, but the local language of Babuyan Claro is Ibatan and it is used by about 3,000 first- and second-language speakers.
“It belongs, linguistically, to the Batanic sub-group along with the languages of Batanes, Ivatan, and Itbayaten and also Yami or Tao which is spoken in Orchid Island in Taiwan,” Gallego said.
Distinct lines. The present-day Babuyan Claro community is an outcome of the coming together of families from either Batanic or Ilokano-speaking ancestry.
The general preference in keeping ethnolinguistic lines separate during the early years of Babuyan Claro is reflected in how residential settlements have developed on the island.
“While settlements are scattered in the whole island, the greatest density is found on the southern slopes of Chinteb a Wasay (Mount Pangasun), which is a very active volcano. This concentration of settlements forms the basis of the geographic region laod or west and daya or east, where laod refers to the sitios or hamlets of Kadinakan, Idi, Barit, and Kasakay. Whereas daya or east, while technically referring to the sitios east of laod has come to refer to all other sitios outside laod. Despite the short distance of the sitios in laod and daya, there exists an apparent social division between the two regions based primarily on the nature of these residential settlements,” Gallego explained.
Significant clusters of speakers residing in laod consists mostly of mixed Ibatan-Ilokano families. Gallego said they show greater affinity towards using Ilokano as their everyday language, whereas families from daya show greater affinity towards Ibatan.
Rise of Ilokano. “While egalitarian multilingualism resulted in the emergence of the Ibatan language and its co-existence with Ilokano during Babuyan Claro’s initial years, the integration of the community within the wider administrative region of Calayan has led to a shift in the nature of multilingualism on the island,” she explained.
In the 1970s, the center of community activities was in the laod region, the region associated with Ilokano speakers.
“The Roman Catholic church and cemetery were both in the city of Idi and most religious activities were mostly conducted in Ilokano. At that time, the dominant religion in Babuyan Claro was Roman Catholic. The teachers on Babuyan Claro were also Ilokano immigrants and so instruction was done in Ilokano and to a limited extent, Filipino. In the 1980s, the only school on the island did not go further than Grade 3. So, imagine if you want to proceed to higher learning of education, Grade 4, you need to transfer to Calayan, which is about a five-hour boat ride from Babuyan Claro,” Gallego said.
The extreme difficulty in crossing these islands prevented the mobility of the school children. They had to stay for a long time in the municipal center of Calayan. Calayan is also where the Ibatans have reported discrimination because of their ethnolinguistic identity. Ilokano is the main language spoken in Calayan.
All these have severely threatened the vitality of Ibatan.
Revitalization of Ibatan. The empowerment and more vigorous use of Ibatan began in the 1980s with the arrival of Rundell and Judith Maree of the Summer Institute of Linguistics.
Gallego said the island saw the establishment of a Protestant church, a rural health unit, and the first water supply on the island in Kabaroan—the center of Ibatan-speaking families.
“According to Rundell Maree, the choice of Kabaroan as the new village center was intentional. If the Ibatan language was going to survive, we had to give the area in which the Ibatan people lived some greater prominence. In terms of literacy and education, Ibatan books, readers, and even a newspaper boosted reading proficiency,” Gallego said.
In 2004, the local school on Babuyan Claro was expanded to include high school education, and in 2016, they started to offer the additional years of senior high school. Nowadays, the students can now opt to stay in Babuyan Claro for the duration of their basic education. The students now have the option to go to the mainland only when they go to university.
On June 1, 2007, the Ibatan people were officially recognized by the Philippine government as the 111th indigenous cultural community. They were awarded their certificate of ancestral domain title that grants them exclusive rights to Babuyan Claro and Ditohos islands and its surrounding waters.
“All these changes in the ecology of Babuyan Claro have re-shaped and continue to re-shape the linguistic repertoires of the people of the island. Although generations report greater proficiency in Ilocano as their second language for example, but now some younger speakers report greater proficiency and actually preference towards using Filipino as their second language. And they are not too comfortable in using Ilocano anymore,” Gallego said.
Multilingualism. Gallego found that Babuyan Claro’s dynamic social linguistic landscape also has an influence on individual level patterns of multilingualism.
Gallego said the story of Babuyan Claro is a clear example of a fragile socio-linguistic setting, where the kind of egalitarian multilingualism that existed in the past which favored the emergence of Ibatan has changed to a more hierarchical one at present. This led to shifts in the language ecology of the community.
“So while particular sociopolitical changes have resulted in more positive attitudes and greater use of the Ibatan language, its viability in the future is not certain precisely because of the dynamic nature of the community. It is only with long-lasting social change that we can be certain of the Ibatan people’s and language’s continuity in future generations,” she said.
Gallego presented part of her dissertation in Paglulunsad at Paglalayag, a paper presentation and website launch, in November in celebration of DLingg’s centenary.
Written by: KMLFama
On 10 December 2022, the conferment of the degree of Associate in Arts to the graduating class of 2022 was done during the 26th Commencement Exercises of the University of the Philippines Open University. The ceremony was held at the UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna. For Mr. Enrico M. Feria, or El as he is more commonly called, this was a celebration of all his achievements, namely, as a UPOU Bridge Program completer, AA graduate and Ugnayan ng Pahinungόd UPOU volunteer.
In July 2020, El joined the Bridge Program of UPOU, where he enrolled in both the Bridge English and Bridge Mathematics courses offered by the Faculty of Education (FEd) and UPOU Ugnayan ng Pahinungόd. Aside from being curious, El decided to join the Bridge Program because he wanted to enhance his knowledge and prepare himself for the Undergraduate Assessment Test (UgAT) of UPOU, which he was scheduled to take as an applicant to the AA program. El’s parents also encouraged him as they knew these courses would prepare him for the reality of submitting assignments on given deadlines in UPOU, since he never had to deal with any deadlines his entire life as a homeschooled student. After completing the Bridge Program, El was fully prepared to enter a new chapter in his life as an AA student.
Inspired by his older sister who took the AA program as a stepping stone to be admitted into UP Diliman, El decided to do the same. When he was admitted as an AA student during the First Trimester of Academic Year 2020-2021, El took it upon himself to initiate communications with his fellow students and hold study group sessions to help one another with their lessons. Eventually, El went on to assume several roles that greatly benefitted the AA program and community. From being elected as the head student officer of the AA community to being appointed as a student assistant (SA) of the UPOU Office of Public Affairs (OPA) and AA program and resource person for events, El has contributed so much of his time, knowledge and skills to his fellow students and other stakeholders of the AA program.
When El took up the National Service Training Program (NSTP) courses Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) 1 and 2, he fully realized his own personal aspiration to be of help to others. These courses not only sparked his interest in volunteering for the Ugnayan ng Pahinungόd but also showed him that even while isolated from one another due to the pandemic, helping others in need must and can go on. El’s CWTS 1 project centered on helping a small group of volunteers in Tarambid, Inc. who were providing educational materials in a mountain area in Antique. Even with the purely online set-up, El and his group were able to help the group with scheduled posts and publicity materials that increased their social media presence. After completing his NSTP-CWTS courses, El knew that he wanted to keep on volunteering to help others. When he remembered that the nature of the Bridge Program is composed of all volunteers, he immediately answered the call to serve as a Bridge English course coordinator for the 2021 offering of the Bridge Program of UPOU. In teaching the participants as a volunteer of the Ugnayan ng Pahinungόd, El made sure to integrate his own learnings from the AA courses into the modules.
Indeed, all of these achievements helped El grow both personally and professionally. Through these experiences, El learned the importance of teamwork, how and when to become a team player or leader, and how to understand people more. Moreover, El found his niche and love for video editing, podcasting and photography through the events of the AA program. With the development of these skills, El was given several work opportunities in various offices of UPOU during his undergraduate years.
At present, El now works a full-time job as a Video Content Creator at PropertyAccess PH. He is also currently waiting for the result of his application for admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies (BAMS) program, as he plans to enhance his skills in multimedia studies and graduate with Latin honors.
Looking back on his fulfilling UPOU journey as an AA alumnus, El hopes to inspire his fellow graduates to always keep their hearts and minds open to any opportunity that life will bring:
“The only message that I have for my fellow graduates would be to seize every opportunity you are presented with. Yes, it might be scary, it could be difficult, and it might not be the best experience the first time, but how else would you find out if you are good at it or not? As the wise Master Yoda once said, ‘Do or do not, there is no try.’”
As director of government relations and country legal head at multinational company Procter and Gamble (P&G) Philippines, Mimi Lopez-Malvar often finds herself the only woman in panels or meetings she attends.
“When I came into this role and quickly met others in the same field, there was a perception that this industry was dominated by men who were either cold strategists or well-placed political animals,” she says. “I was neither.”
Her father, a lawyer and a public prosecutor, greatly influenced her career path, while her working mom showed her that she could pursue a career while still raising a family.
“Growing up, I never really thought along gender lines when it came to career planning. I think at one point, for a brief phase, I even wanted to be president of the country,” recounts Malvar in an email interview with the Inquirer. Early on, she got the sense that “what men can do, women can do too.”
The 45-year-old lawyer studied political science and law at the University of the Philippines before working in a law firm for five years. At P&G, she filled in for one of their lawyers who had gone to a study leave. She learned to love the work, the company and the people, so she eventually applied for a regular position at government affairs. What started as a three-month stint has led to 13 years of working at P&G so far.
Malvar shares how she has been underestimated for her gender or personal circumstances. “I once had to attend a public hearing being nine months pregnant and looking about ready to give birth,” she shares. “[I was] being asked constantly by a legislator whether I was okay, instead of being heard for the point I was making. I chose not to get sidetracked by the digression, and to use it instead to build rapport with my inquisitor and get my message across.”
When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, significant strides have been made in the Philippines, with 48 percent of senior management roles held by women in 2021, based on Grant Thornton International’s 2022 Women in Business report.
Helping P&G step up its campaign for equality and inclusion is Malvar, who leads programs that benefit the environment, strengthen small businesses, promote children’s health and hygiene, and empower women.
“Promoting equality and inclusion in the workplace fosters a culture of respect and of inclusion that truly strengthens an organization,” says Malvar. “It allows the company to leverage on the power of difference, unique insights and perspectives, which directly contributes to growing, innovating and building the business. Giving everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, equal access and opportunity to learn, grow and thrive makes for an engaged, productive and strong organization.”
Malvar says that in order to achieve this, long-term systemic interventions must be put in place to ensure that women are paid equally for equal work and given equal opportunities for advancement at all levels, most especially at senior levels.
“In the past, we saw that gender balance skewed toward less women at the more senior levels. P&G strives for equal representation across all levels of management, so we put more intention into understanding the insights behind this. We put in the right support systems so females receive advancement opportunities at the same progression as men. Currently, we are at a healthy 53 to 47-percent female-to-male ratio across the organization, even at senior levels,” she says.
There was even a point in her career that all of the positions above hers were held by women, which she found really inspiring. “This showed me that there is a clear path to the top and it was available for everyone who worked hard enough—no matter your gender,” she says.
Having a boss or a mentor who is a fellow woman also helped her be better understood when it comes to her personal circumstances, struggles or limitations. But while her current boss is now a male, she says she still feels understood and enabled because equality and inclusion are already ingrained in P&G’s culture.
“P&G is truly a gender inclusive workplace, and I don’t think I would have advanced in my career and at the same time been able to raise four children while juggling work if not for the programs and policies that we have in place,” she says.
One of the reasons she joined P&G was to have better work-life balance while still being able to do a “challenging role.” P&G had adopted the 105-day maternity leave benefit well ahead of the enactment of the law, which allowed Malvar to spend more time taking care of her youngest son. The company also provides a breastfeeding room, which helped her nurse her children until they were 2 years old.
“As a breastfeeding mom, I have also had to endure expressing milk in the unlikeliest of places—the most memorable of which was in a van on a dumpsite with mountains of garbage around me—because I had to be there on a learning mission for CSR (corporate social responsibility) work. I try to take these challenges in stride, learn from and be better [from] them,” Malvar shares.
P&G also embraces a relatively flexible working schedule. Even before the pandemic, P&G already had a hybrid work setup, with employees allowed to work from home once a week. This increased to two times a week after the pandemic.
“I love work-from-home days and being able to have meals with my children and unplug from meetings with some quality cuddle time and/or being able to help them with projects or homework,” she says.
As women have to take on various responsibilities at home while also doing challenging roles at work, this leaves many women frustrated if they are unable to manage all of their tasks.
“I see a lot of women struggling with self- or community-imposed pressures: the pressure of being the perfect mom with the perfect kids who are all behaved and do well in school while, at the same time, having the perfect career, never making mistakes and impressing all of their colleagues at work,” she says.
“I think we should always challenge our notion of what it means to be a good wife or partner, a good mom and a good boss/worker. Hopefully, this will allow us to release unrealistic expectations of what we should be doing.” INQ
More photos here
It was a memorable reunion—30 years in the making—when pioneer students from the UP Visayas-Miagao campus gathered for an intimate Christmas get-together at the Bonifacio Global City recently, three decades after graduating from college and leaving the august halls of their Alma Mater. Attendees were those whose student numbers start from 86 to 90. The group did not only look back at the fun times, but they also looked forward and discussed programs and activities that can support UP Visayas.
Joining the get-together was UP Vice President for Administration Nestor G. Yunque, who also used to be a UP Visayas professor. Attendees included former Passi City Mayor and now Undersecretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform Jesry Palmares, General Manager of the Philippine Reclamation Authority Atty. Janilo Rubiato, Petron Corporation Manager Marbelson Jiz, and Cosette Vargas Canilao, President and CEO of Aboitiz InfraCapital.
The professionals and industry experts of public and private companies who reunited that eventful night included Inquirer.net Senior Correspondent and PR maven Jeans Cequina, PNOC Renewables Corporation Director Malou Andrada, Aivan Amit of World Vision, Joseph Macarilay Gen. Manager of CPK Foods Corp Philippines, Kathleen Paragas, Diplomat Russel Grace Ocampo, Mavi Xavier, Gerald Maneja, Agnes Engada, and Mark Anthony Abisamis.
Also joining the revelry were professionals from the academe, and both public sectors including Dean Acel German, Lutze Aplaon, Julieta Buendia Hubo, Lynly Tanco, Gerald Maneja, Juliet Celis-Villa, Rebecca Nieto-Litan, and UP Visayas’ Anna Razel Ramirez.
Several activities and programs to support UP Visayas have been planned for the coming year as the group agreed to meet again soon to finalize these projects. Truly, it was a night like no other.
Source: University of the Philippines Visayas Facebook
Rumor has it, Dolly de Leon is in the running for an Oscar.
That is, of course, for her electrifying performance in the Palme d’Or-winning film “Triangle of Sadness,” which tackles inequality, privilege, and injustice to a tee despite its satirical execution. Showcasing an exemplary multinational cast, Dolly stars alongside the likes of Woody Harrelson, Harris Dickinson, Zlatko Burić, and the late, great Charlbi Dean, under the directorship of Swedish writer and filmmaker Ruben Östlund.
In the film, Dolly portrays Abigail, an overseas Filipino worker of humble beginnings working as a toilet manager for a luxury cruise carrying aboard oligarchs, arms dealers, and fashion models, all oozing entitlement. Though her character’s beginnings start off powerless, things take a sudden turn after a twist in the third act, leaving everyone to fend for themselves and with Abigail, later on, delivering a satisfying comeuppance.
Needless to say, Dolly has been a very busy woman. Now managing her time between the United States and the Philippines, I managed to catch up with the actress in a moment of stillness as she settled back into Manila while prepping for the Philippine premiere of “Triangle of Sadness.” Acquired by local distributor TBA Studios, the film is set to hit theaters this coming November 30.
Following several weeks’ worth of email exchanges with her manager, I finally had the opportunity to speak to the woman whom I had only read about and watched onscreen leading up to the interview. Unsure of what to expect, I open up our Zoom call and enthusiastically greet Dolly hello. Dolly is gracious. She smiles throughout our conversation and makes it a point to mention my name in between her answers, adding a more personal element to our interview.
A seasoned theater, television, and film actress with over 30 years of experience under her belt, Dolly has an undeniable confidence that translates itself into a gentle yet indelible sense of control. It’s a feeling I have yet to associate with anyone else I have interviewed. As our conversation begins to flow, I slip into a state of ease.
A graduate of the University of The Philippines, Dolly took up theater arts for her bachelor’s degree and was mentored by the late Tony Mabesa, a National Artist for Theater. For decades, she took on roles of all sorts, once calling them “devices” in a Vanity Fair interview. “In the Philippines, my characters are usually devices: A device to get the story moving or a sounding board for the lead. I play nameless characters—the doctor, the judge, the lawyer,” she says. As her career grew, Dolly’s filmography diversified, leading her to work with some of the Philippines’ most notable directors such as Lav Diaz, Erik Matti, and Antoinette Jadaone.
Prior to her work in “Triangle of Sadness,” Dolly had previously received recognition for her performance in “Verdict,” a film by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez for which she took home a FAMAS Award, which many consider the Philippine equivalent of an Oscar. She has also been nominated for a Gawad Urian Award for her work in “History of Ha.”
When asked how she feels about all the talk of her getting an Oscar nod, Dolly explained, “You know, all this buzz, it’s great. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that something like this would happen to me, and that, for me, is a reward in itself,”.
“Kung ma-nominate tayo, ang sarap talaga nun. Kasi nga, ang sinasabi ng lahat ng tao is it would be the first Filipino actor to ever be nominated, and of course, that wouldn’t just be my victory eh. It would be everyone’s victory. Even yours, Sophia. It would be the whole nation’s award.”
(If we get nominated, that would be so incredible because of what everybody’s saying about this being the first nomination for the Philippines.)
Should all this buzz be seen through, Dolly will make history as the very first Filipino actor to ever be up for an Academy Award. “But if it doesn’t happen, then it doesn’t happen. It’s just great na nakakatanggap tayo ng buzz. But if we don’t get it, then that means someone else deserves it, and I’m fine with that. Kasi the fact na napapansin tayo, ’yung bansa natin, ’yung talents natin mga Pilipino, masaya na ako.” she explains.
(It’s just great that we’re getting all this buzz. Because the fact that people are noticing us, our country, our talents, that already makes me happy.)
It actually wasn’t until recently that the actress decided to take on acting full-time. She shares that she used to facilitate team-building programs and teach presentation skills and social networking etiquette as a side hustle because acting wasn’t enough to pay the bills.
“I think that the film industry here, the entertainment industry, actually, has a really skewed way of looking at artists. They tend to look at people based on popularity, if they have a huge fanbase, or how they look. It’s very unfortunate, but that’s the reality here in this industry. They tend to judge based on looks and popularity. What I’m hoping will change is that they recognize talent more than any of those other things. Because you know, that’s why it’s called acting because you can portray any character regardless of how you look, and it’s the production team’s job to fix you up according to the character you’re playing. Your job as an actor is to portray that character.”
Ang dami nating mga Pinoy na napakahusay na artista sa pero hindi sila recognized. Hindi sila pinapansin. Bakit? Because they’re not tall enough. Because they’re not pretty enough. Because they’re not popular enough. That has to change.
“That’s the big difference between here and abroad. They value talent, and that’s what you’re seeing now with Soliman Cruz, Chai Fonacier, Ruby Ruiz, etc. These actors are starting to work abroad because they’re getting recognized there for their talents. Sana magbago ’yun dito.”
(There are so many of us Filipinos that are so gifted in acting but aren’t recognized. Nobody pays attention to them. Why?)
For a brief moment, Dolly even considered quitting acting, but it was her daughter who told her to keep going. “If the calls keep coming, just keep doing it,” she advised. And it wasn’t long until the call that she had gotten the role of Abigail would arrive. “I remember that day. The day I found out I had gotten the role for Abigail. It was nighttime. I remember it all, and the first people I told were my kids.” She even recalls keeping the very shirt she wore the day of her audition.
The weekend before our interview, I watched Erik Matti’s directorial debut for the HBO Asia series, “Folklore.” An anthology of stories that revolved around the different superstitious beliefs of Southeast Asian countries, Dolly portrays the honest-to-goodness cop Lourdes Magpayo. A widowed mother seeking answers to her son’s strange and sudden illness, she stops at nothing to find answers. “The character I play has to navigate this world where men are more recognized as powerful people rather than women. That’s really what attracted me to the part. And what a woman, or what a mother would do to defend her children. Kasi para sa akin, ang mga nanay, matatapang. Pinaglalaban nila ’yung katayuan nila sa mundo, pinapaglaban nila ’yung anak nila, those are very important stories to tell because sometimes we put too much emphasis on the male heroes of this world. Women heroes need more attention,” Dolly says.
(For me, mothers are very brave. They fight for their place in this world, they fight for their children)
Similar to her role in Folklore, Dolly’s role in “Triangle of Sadness” aims to shine a light on the power and authority women inherently possess. When asked about how she prepared for the character, she notes that it was vital for her to exude a sense of sensuality as a woman. Something often overlooked in women or characters her age, a sense of sexuality was integral in the formation of Abigail’s persona. “I wanted her to be a 100 percent woman in that sense. That despite her status in life, despite her age, despite the fact that she wasn’t in a relationship, sensual siyang tao.”
(she was a sensual person.)
Further explaining Abigail’s character, Dolly shares: “She’s an inspiration. She is a reflection of what we all have in us.”
I think people will resonate with seeing a reflection of themselves on screen. And she’s not just any ordinary person. She’s a force to be reckoned with.
She’s a woman who’s meant to be admired for who she is. That’s what I think people will be inspired by. When they see that side of themselves that they perceive as dormant or inactive. Hopefully, this activates something in them and inspires them to just go and fight, you know?”
Admittedly, this was also the actress’s most physically taxing role. Having to portray someone who was—quite literally—fighting to survive, meant she needed to train in order to achieve the physical stamina of someone who was stuck on a deserted island. “I prepared by doing cardio every day for 45 minutes, nag-te-treadmill ako every day kasi alam ko na marami siya [Ruben] mag-take, so kailangan ko ng stamina, and siyempre, marooned kami on an island.”
(I used the treadmill every day because I knew that [Ruben] was going to be filming a lot of takes, so I needed the stamina, and of course, we were marooned on an island.)
Breathing into a tiny vape, Dolly’s relaxed demeanor is maintained throughout the entire interview. I identify this as an indication that things are going well, and ease into my next question. How did she think the Filipino audience would receive a film with subjects that hit so close to home?
“I think that the Filipinos will really receive this film with a sense of pride and a sense of, yeah, we are that powerful, we are that great. So it really means a lot to me because especially now where we’re feeling quite vulnerable.”
Tayo kasing mga Pinoy, may tendency tayo na ang perception natin sa sarili natin, inferior sa ibang mga ethnicities eh, sa ibang nations. Which is really sad because there’s nothing inferior about how we navigate this world.
(We Filipinos have a tendency to perceive ourselves as inferior to other ethnicities, and to other nations.)
“We are so brave that 1.7 million of us choose to leave our homes so we can be better providers for our families, and that takes a certain amount of courage and strength. Ang kalungkutan dun, ang perception sa mga ganung klaseng tao, in-a-abandon nila ’yung families nila, pero actually hindi. Kaya sila nag-ta-trabaho para mabigyan ng mas mabuting buhay mga pamilya nila, ’yung mga anak nila. So I think that is one thing that Filipinos can be proud of, you know?”
(What’s sad about it is that, the perception of these individuals is that they are abandoning their families, which is really not the case. They are working to provide a better life for the families and their children.)
“To witness this and to take pride in the choices that they make in their lives, regardless of how social injustice rules over our whole planet. That should not get in the way of tapping into our potential and continuing to edify ourselves and regard ourselves as really great people who deserve respect and recognition.”
As to what a lasting legacy would look like for her, Dolly’s answer reinforces the unfaltering humility she has displayed throughout her entire career (and our interview). “I think a lasting legacy would be to continue inspiring other people. Inspire people to be better at being human, inspire people to always give their best at everything that they do. Inspire people to be kind to each other, to treat every single person, regardless of their status in life, their race, religion, or gender, with an equal kindness that everyone deserves.”
Wrapping up our conversation, I quickly ask Dolly what lies ahead. Maybe more Hollywood films? A return to her first love of theater? She laughs.
“I would definitely love to go back to theater. Ay nako. Sophia, I haven’t done a play in over five years! So I’m really dying to do one. But because the theater industry in this country is not enough to sustain an actor, I’m afraid I can’t do that because I need to work!” I sense the disappointment in her voice and hope she isn’t finished. “But the good thing is, I am definitely filming next year in America. I’m doing a comedy where I’ll be playing Jason Schwartzman’s mean stepmom. So I’m excited for that.”
My sigh of relief disguises itself as an exhale. I see Dolly’s face light up in enthusiasm for sharing the news and infectiously, I realize I find myself just as excited. “I’m really looking forward to working in a set with different cultures. I’ve been acting here [the Philippines] for more than 30 years, and I love working here. I love the industry here, but I’m also hungry to learn more about other ways of working—best practices and improving the craft as much as I can—and I believe the only way to improve the craft is by learning from other environments.”
Several years ago, I encountered a quote saying “We are always one choice away from a completely different life.” This quote rings ever so true as I spoke to Dolly who, in spite of all the challenges she has faced as an actor in the Philippines, is living and breathing proof of how far one’s passion can take them. From braving the new horizons of a completely different industry landscape to physically preparing her body to take on the role of an underdog-turned-leader of the pack, Dolly’s dedication to her craft has taken her to great heights, far beyond even her own imagination.
Undeniably irreverent, smart, sometimes kinda gross, and belly-laugh funny, Dolly is the heart and soul of “Triangle of Sadness,” tying Ruben Östlund’s cinematic vision together magnificently. As for that Oscar nomination that potentially awaits Dolly’s future? No one can really tell for certain until nomination day arrives. However, one thing has been made quite clear: Dolly de Leon has already made history.
Triangle of Sadness premieres in Philippine theaters on November 30, 2022. For more information, visit TBA Studios.
Photography by Martin Diegor, shot on location at The London Hotel, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.
Creative direction by Nimu Muallam
Produced by Sophia Ysabel Concordia
Cover layout by Julia Elaine Lim
Special thanks to Adam Kersh of Fusion Entertainment & TBA Studios Philippines
The UP Visayas College of Management Batch 1992 reunited after 25 years last November 19, 2022 at Vikings-Iloilo. The event was made special in a ‘Denim’ get-together and attended by the College of Management Dean Christopher Honorario and UPV Chancellor Clement Camposano.
Despite their busy schedules, Dean Honorario and Chancellor Camposano were able to join and share updates on the developments and programs of the University.
Photos by: Arnold Ermitaño
By: Miguel R. Camus – Reporter / @miguelrcamusINQ
This master of business administration (MBA) school dropout acquired his first company at the age of 27 before leading the transformation of the family conglomerate, DMCI Holdings Inc., into the energy, coal mining, property and construction powerhouse that it is today.
At the age of 73, Isidro “Sid” Consunji—the Management Association of the Philippines’ (MAP) Management Man of the Year” for 2022—is as busy as ever as the chair, president and CEO of DMCI. The prestigious MAP management award, which he will officially receive on Nov. 28 , is flattering and unexpected, but also somehow stressful.
“Writing the speech is the hardest. There are so many things you want to say but the challenge is how to distill your thoughts,” he says in a recent interview with Inquirer editors and reporters.
An intuitive business maverick with a rebellious streak that started from his youth, Consunji makes it clear he won’t be sharing assorted tidbits of management wisdom.
After all, the civil engineering graduate from the University of the Philippines (UP) prefers a more pragmatic approach based on the principles of ‘learning by doing’ that he hopes to impart to future generations of family and professional managers. Through his anecdotes, peppered with irreverence and humor, one better understands the mix of brilliance, calculated risk-taking, good timing and mystifying luck that defined his decades of running the P130-billion family-led empire.
The apple that fell far from the tree
Consunji’s tone turns more reflective when discussing his late father, DMCI founder and construction pioneer David Consunji, who was also named MAP Management Man of the Year in 1996.
While father and son share the same MAP recognition, their management styles were very different. Consunji says his prim- and-proper dad was more focused on the technical side of the business while he is more interested on the commercial aspects, from costs, cash flow and ultimately, profitability.
Even then, he acknowledges the sacrifices of his parents and the path his father had cleared for his future success.
“The most difficult project my father ever had was bringing me up,” says Consunji, the eldest son among eight siblings.
His rise to the top was not a linear journey.
Consunji spent high school in a traditional boarding school in Australia, before moving to Ateneo De Manila University, then exclusively for boys. He schemed to transfer to coed UP after seeing the university oval swarming with pretty girls in miniskirts. That was how he became a civil engineer as his father let him transfer to UP because he had sworn he was interested in civil engineering.
But he didn’t take college seriously at first, prompting his exasperated father to suggest: start working instead.
Consunji took a minimum-wage job that paid P6 a day in the motorpool division of the business. Salaries were paid on Saturdays, but Consunij was already penniless by Tuesday evenings as he had spent his earnings on cigarette and alcohol by then.
“I thought life was hard without an education, so I went back to school,” he recalls.
He completed his studies in civil engineering and passed the board exam in the early 1970s.
It was during this period that an ex-girlfriend convinced him to go to MBA school, lest his career would plateau early.
He enrolled at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), one of the top business schools in the Philippines. He was a Dean’s lister in the first semester, but started getting bored by the second year.
“I asked around, what’s the minimum to pass? In AIM, you’re allowed to flunk three subjects. So I chose three subjects to fail,” Consunji recalls. But he ended up failing five due to unforeseen circumstances involving extra classes.
One of his mentors at AIM, veteran business professional Delfin Lazaro, explained that part of the reason he had flunked was his cavalier attitude toward their classes.
While he learned much from AIM, he admits that his ultimate mistake was miscalculating the classes he had intended to flunk.
“I had no room for contingency,” he says.
The irony isn’t lost on Consunji that he is now a board trustee of AIM, alongside prominent personalities such as Aboitiz Equity Ventures director Erramon Aboitiz, Convergys Philippines chair Marife Zamora and Philippine Daily Inquirer CEO Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez.
Bucking the downtrend
Despite that bumpy start, Consunji today holds an enviable position even among the small circle of Filipino dollar-billionaire families.
DMCI is that rare stock market darling this 2022 as the turmoil in the global energy markets pays off, thanks to investments in mining, commodities and power, mainly through subsidiary Semirara Mining and Power Corp.
The net income of the conglomerate during the first nine months of the year doubled to P27.6 billion, breaking a record that goes back nearly a decade, while profits at Semirara surged more than three times. That windfall is being showered to investors through dividends equivalent to over 90 percent of the past year’s earnings—well above the company’s standard payout of at least 25 percent.
During their board deliberations, Consunji heeded the advice of an independent director, who said it was better to declare dividends amid the uncertain economic climate.
“The theory of our director is if you don’t have use for your money at the moment, just give it to our stockholders. Anyway, if you need the money, you can always go [back to the market] or borrow,” he explains.
Consunji closed several successful multibillion-peso deals throughout his tenure as DMCI’s chief.
One of his most memorable transactions occurred a few years after school.
While winding down the family’s lumber business in Zamboanga, an opportunity emerged through another distressed logging company operating in Davao.
The logging firm was headed for default amid a crippling dispute with government contractors on the use of a road that needed critical repairs.
The owner of the firm was also desperate since the loan terms placed his personal assets and home at risk of foreclosure.
Consunji, who did not have cash to invest, came up with a novel solution.
He convinced the owner to allow the infusion of heavy equipment from their old logging company as equity in exchange for a 60 percent stake in the distressed firm, plus an option to buy the remaining 40 percent within three years.
He also promised to free the latter of its loan obligations.
“I agreed to do this on one condition, that I run the company. I was 27 years old,” Consunji says.
Over an evening of drinks, he solved what to his mind was a simple problem with the contractors.
“What they were doing is they were destroying the whole road so no one could use it. I said, why not work on one lane and allow our trucks to use the other one? And after that, you can work on the other side and we use the repaired lane. They agreed,” Consunji says. In three months, the company’s lumber production grew swiftly from 700 cubic meters a month to 7,000 cubic meters.
“It was a turnaround. [To make the] long story short, after only three months, I exercised the option to get the balance of the 40 percent,” he says.
Never one to lose his humor, Consunji insisted they sign the final contract on April Fool’s Day of 1976.
“He asked me why did I choose April 1. I told him it was because I don’t know who is the fool here, you or me,” he quips.
The rock bottom
Consunji reveals that his lowest point in business was during the 1997 Asian financial crisis when cash flow became a problem.
DMCI was caught unprepared after spending proceeds from its initial public offering (IPO) in 1995 to snap up land and other distressed companies, including the coal assets of what would become Semirara Mining and Power.
“The important thing during the Asian crisis was liquidity, even more than solvency,” he says. “All the credit was cut down. We had to generate liquidity.”
They decided to expand DMCI Homes, whose property assets at the time were in less prime locations.
“We had to create a unique selling proposition so people will buy,” says Consunji, who was working with his cousin Herbert Consunji, the company’s chief finance officer.
It was during this period that DMCI Homes sold affordable residential projects with swimming pools and security guards. Their condominium units were also upgraded with granite countertops and more spacious sinks after receiving feedback from their customers, helping turn DMCI Homes into a huge success.
“We soon realized, sales would go up as we added features,” Consunji says. “Our intention is always to leave money on the table. If people know they get the best value for money, it’s not a hard sell.”
Today, DMCI Homes is the company’s second largest earnings contributor after Semirara.
Earnings year-to-date climbed 19 percent to P3.85 billion as of September, eclipsing contributions at the flagship construction arm D.M. Consunji, which was once their main cash cow.
“When we did the IPO, construction was 96 percent [of earnings]. Today, it’s about 4 percent,” Consunji says.
One of DMCI’s biggest strategic pivots came in 2005, paving the way for the successful rehabilitation of Maynilad Water Services Inc.
DMCI and Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. joined forces to bid for the company after the Lopez family was unable to turn the struggling Metro Manila concessionaire around.
It was a viable alliance that combined their engineering expertise with Pangilinan’s strong financial management background.
But a last-minute hitch emerged as the qualification deadline neared: DMCI was still short on financing its share 24 hours before the bid.
With his cousin Herbert, Consunji quickly set a meeting and convinced the late Reynaldo David, then president of Development Bank of the Philippines, to support their bid, which already had the backing of Sy-led BDO Unibank and US bank JP Morgan.
Their team, along with local and international bankers, pulled an all-nighter to finalize their bid submission for Maynilad.
The auction culminated in a final showdown between DMCI-Metro Pacific and the Ayala Group’s Manila Water Co., which was the other major concessionaire in Metro Manila.
Their main dilemma at the time was deciding if their final bid amount would be enough to beat the country’s oldest conglomerate.
Consunji pushed for a more conservative figure, saying it was all the money they had anyway and it was likely the Ayala Group would underestimate them and bid less aggressively.
He recounts, “I said [to the consortium], I think they will bid $450 million. That was our assessment. Manny [Pangilinan] said, okay let’s bid $500 million.”
Pangilinan made further calculations on a white board, coming up with a final amount $503.888 million, which he considered a lucky number.
As Consunji had predicted, DMCI-Metro Pacific edged out the Ayala Group by about $50 million and was declared the winner after the bids were opened on Dec. 8, 2006.
Former Manila Water chair Fernando Zobel De Ayala was among the first to congratulate him from the rival concessionaire. “In less than an hour, he sent me a text saying congratulations, you won fair and square,” he says.
DMCI continues to hold a 25-percent stake in Maynilad following the entry of Japan’s Marubeni Corp. in 2013.
“In our story, a lot of it is crisis, a lot of it is luck,” Consunji says, while reflecting on his career.
The topic turns to succession and Consunji says he is not prepared to make any announcement yet.
But he plans to cede more responsibilities in the coming years to future leaders, including professional managers and family members, among whom there are several viable candidates.
“I want to be semi-retired. If I don’t [retire], people will not grow,” he says.
While the next generation will bring different management styles as he once did when he took the helm, Consunji hopes that the group’s core philosophy and business traditions will endure.
“I think we stand for delivering what you promise, whether it’s homes, Semirara or construction. That’s the intent all the time. We keep things simple,” he says. The other key lesson came from his father, who emphasized the importance of working as a team.
“My father told [me and my siblings]: none of you are exceptional. You have to work together, otherwise you will fall,” Consunji says. “One important thing is that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things.”
Read more: https://business.inquirer.net/374926/sid-consunji-just-an-ordinary-guy-with-extraordinary-tasks
MANILA, Philippines — Call her Dr. Kathy Bersola from now on as the former University of the Philippines middle blocker passed the physician licensure exam.
Bersola bared on her social media accounts that she is officially an M.D., which she considers her “championship and holy grail.”
“This is my championship. My holy grail. For years, all I’ve longed for has been winning it all in one of the big leagues at least once before I stopped playing. It became an obsession and it was mostly the reason why I pushed myself to play pro volleyball throughout medical school,” said Bersola.
“I felt like that was the one elusive thing I had yet to achieve before hanging it up. The individual awards didn’t matter, the podium finishes short of gold were never enough. But, this? This makes up for all of it. This is my championship,” she added.
Bersola last played for the Perlas Spikers in the Premier Volleyball League in 2019 before she decided to beg off from playing in last year’s bubble in Ilocos Norte to focus on her medical studies.
The middle blocker-turned-doctor credited her achievement to her “team” which supported her throughout her journey.
“I’m proud to share it with everyone who journeyed with me through this long, difficult road. This is our win, a true team effort. l’ve said this a thousand times, but it will always ring true. I wouldn’t have been able to get here without my team, my village,” Bersola said.
“This is my purpose. I’ll keep my promise. Q Finally #LicensedToHeal,” she added.
Bersola joined Shakey’s Super League president Ian Laurel, AJ Pareja, and Mika Esperanza among others as volleyball players turned doctors.