Despite starting off as a fun Founder’s Day gimmick, Mr. Hibalag is now one of the most anticipated events in the celebration of Silliman University’s Founders day. This event used to be a comedic event where the male candidates aimed to make the audience and the judges laugh. Through the recent years, Mr. Hibalag has evolved into becoming a student-driven pageant where everybody takes seriously and looks forward to.
Presently, the candidates do not need an outstanding sense of humor to get the crown anymore. Appeal and confidence are not the only things that these men need but articulation, intelligence, and well-though out and significant advocacy as well.
Let us all get to know this year’s Mr. Hiabalag candidates.
Candidate No. 1
Kyle Shem Montealto
Philippine Institute of Computer Engineering Students
Not much coaxing was done before Kyle decided to audition for Mr. Hibalag. He already had his mind set on joining and it was his girlfriend’s encouragement that signaled him to push through with it.
After being one of the official candidates, he noticed that people suddenly treated him with more respect. Others would even greet him by calling him “Mr. Hibalag!” With all the attention he is suddenly getting, he becomes really flustered and confused as to how he should react.
He is also really passionate about his advocacy, A Movement Against Domestic Violence, for there is a story behind it and it involves a lot of people he holds dear.
As a videographer and photographer of the Miss Silliman Committee, Kyle has been busy with the preparations for the pageant night. Despite that, he still sets a fair amount of time to prepare for his own pageantry, to spend quality time with his friends, and to study for his academics.
Candidate No. 2
Kurt Wendell Chiu
Silliman Junior Business Executives
Kurt, who was born and bred in Bohol, heard of Silliman from his cousin who is an alumnus of the university. After seeing the good merits and the excellent quality education that Silliman offers, he decided to study and entrust the betterment of his future here. The course he is taking up, BBA Management, is also his personal choice for he thinks he ss business-minded person.
Even before being one of the official candidates of Mr. Hibalag, Kurt has already received a great amount of emotional boost from his SJBE (Silliman Junior Business Executives) family. Despite being away from his family who are in Bohol, Kurt is saved by his friends from being on the brink of homesickness and they are the ones that fill in the gaps with the absence of his family.
Kurt grew up in a home where it is only him and his mom. He saw all the hard work his mon went through for him to grow up to be the man that he is. Hence, he was able to come up with his advocacy Eliminating Stereotypes Through Empowering Single Mother because he noticed that most often than not, society belittles single moms.
Candidate No. 3
Michael John Budgell
Silliman University Medical Students Association
This is actually Michael’s second time auditioning for Mr. Hibalag. The first time he auditioned was when he was still taking up his undergraduate course and sadly, he did not get in.
As someone who went through the nerve wrecking auditions twice, he has advices and reminders to all those men who are interested to join Mr. Hibalag next year: they have to prepare an advocacy they are passionate about; they have to master the theme; they have to practice their articulation; and they have to be pleasing, kind, and humble yet sure of themselves.
It is already a given that most of his time is already spent on his academics. Despite that, he was still able to set some time aside for extracurricular activities. This is because he manages his time well and he values that skill because it helped him go through a lot despite the pressure.
In line with his advocacy The Disease We Cannot See: Removing the Stigma of Mental Health, which he is very passionate about, he is planning on starting a hotline within Silliman together with his organization to help those who need someone to talk to. He also encourages everyone to use the hashtag MentalHealthXPH where every Saturday, from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM, psychiatrists around the country respond to tweets about mental health for free. He wants to espouse the fact that mental illness is not something scary and incurable.
Nowadays, Michael does not have much time to spare for leisure because he is always studying. But when is not, he reads fantasy and non-fiction books. Also, he has been playing tennis for 8 years now and the flute/piccolo for almost 10 years now.
Candidate No. 4
Sigma Alpha Lambda
Ginnethon belongs to the one of the most talented groups on campus yet minority in number, the Music Majors. Given that, he is enthusiastic when it comes to music and he projects this through playing different instruments and dancing.
As a member of the Silliman University Marching and Concert Band, he plays the percussionist.
Empowering the Community and Society: An Enrichment on Music and Arts, Ginnethon’s advocacy, emphasizes on spreading positivity within the community through helping the people channel out their love for music and arts.
Candidate No. 5
Higala International Students from Around the World
Emmanuel admitted that when he auditioned for Mr. Hibalag, he did not know the entire scope of what he was getting himself into. He was just encouraged to represent HI SAW (Higala International Students Around the World) but was not told that it was for a pageant of that sort. Despite that, he was still confident with how he presented himself during the audition because he believes that when you do something, you at least have to do it decently.
He also shared that he was not really into posing for pictures especially for promotional pictures at that. The photographer would to tell him to just do his thing and partly he would, but at the same time, he was not very confident.
Aside from the suddenness of his participation in the pageant, he was still able to come up with his advocacy Fairness for International Students in Silliman University. This advocacy resulted from some known issues that foreign students have with the administration and he saw this as something he can explain best because he first-hand experienced this. He was not only speaking from his personal perspective but from the opinion of the entirety of the foreign students in the campus as well.
Still finds Silliman overall a great school. He also said that if he could graduate here after four years of studying and had the chance of going back and re-experiencing those four years again, he probably would.
As for Dumaguete as his temporary home, he likes the peacefulness that it brings because it geographically small but at the same time, it is the smallness of the city that chokes him out. Sure, he has been to bigger cities like Cebu, Bacolod, Ilo-ilo, and Manila but it is Dumaguete that he chose to stay the longest.
Candidate No. 6
Miguel Agustin Flores
Cuernos de Negros Mountaineers Club Inc.
Before he was even properly trained in mountaineering, Miguel already loved the thrill of traveling and hiking. It was also during those times when “blogger photos” were of trend. So, he would climb and hike wherever just to capture awesome sceneries. After being encouraged by his friends to join the mountaineering club that he is representing, he did not only acquire professional and formal training but knowledge about environmental preservation as well. His love for adventure was then coupled with his passion for the environment. As a member, he wholeheartedly puts to work all the values he learned in taking care of the environment. It is also commendable how his advocacy Leave No Trace is not only his stand but the stand of the entire club as well.
One does not have to be a professional to join their club. What they are only asking for are discipline and passion for the environment and climbing.
Miguel is very much a sports-inclined guy. Football, diving, and racing are just some of the past times he loves to do aside from camping outdoors.
When asked about his girlfriend, who is also a candidate of Ms. Silliman, he said he is very happy and proud of her. She was also the one who greatly inspired him to join the pageant despite having stage fright.
He took this challenge as a stepping stone into becoming a good leader and influencer.
Candidate No. 7
Lance Justin Tan
Silliman University Alpha Rho Sigma and Alpha Rho Epsilon
When he was still in first year, Lance was already encouraged by his peers to join Mr. Hibalag but he brushed off the idea because he thought nothing seriously of it. But when he became more matured, thanks to the people who inspired and influenced him, he realized that he was not getting any younger and decided that it was time for him to give his all and join the pageant.
Instead of representing his academic society, he represented his fraternity because he knows that he already served his society enough and that it was time for him to represent his sisters and brothers from his fraternity who are already family to him.
Many even wondered why he shaved off his hair after being accepted in the pageant. If he was still in first year and you would ask him that question, he would have probably said that it was for a joke. But now that he is taking the pageant and all things in life seriously, shaving off his hair symbolizes his mindset of not caring about physical looks because it will just fade over time. On a side note, he thinks he looks like a fish bowl.
Finding solitude and calmness whenever he goes scuba diving and snorkeling, Lance has a soft spot in his heart for the sea. Also, he is a marine aquarium owner which says enough about his adoration for the life of the sea. That is why when he noticed the trashes in the beaches of Sibulan and Taῆon, he felt sad and disappointed. This led to the conceptualization of his advocacy Zero Waste where his friends from the Sociology Department helped him realize to life through coastal clean ups. His fraternity family helped as well and are very supportive of him and his beliefs.
Candidate No. 8
Carlo Christopher Locsin
Silliman University College of Nursing Association
When someone says they are a Nursing Major, one cannot help but admire them because taking up this course is like plunging yourself into a situation that is hard to get out but you have to endure anyway because the end result is just as rewarding. That is why Carlo is admirable for still being able to set some time aside to represent his society in the pageant despite going through what they “hell year.”
Carlo’s advocacy Health Education to Improve Local Communities gives emphasis on the importance of the availability of health care all over the country especially in local communities and the need to equip the citizens with proper health education.
Candidate No. 9
John Philip Cavales
Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers
Philip was still in first year when he saw Mr. Hibalag for the first time. Since then, to join a pageant became one of his wildest dreams and he told himself that he was going to participate in one someday. That is why he wholeheartedly volunteered to audition for Mr. Hibalag this year because he did want another opportunity to go to waste. It was not just his dream that prompted him to join but his desire to eliminate the stereotype that only women can join pageants as well.
His advocacy To Rekindle the Flames of Confidence Among Children Through Art came to be because of his personal experience of being bullied in the past. Rather than focusing on eliminating bullying, which is unlikely to happen, he wants to help in the recovery of the bullied children instead. Through his workshop-oriented projects that are focused on arts and creativity, he wants to build up the confidence of children because until then will bullying be unrewarding. The objective is to let the children express themselves in a better platform.
Philip also shared some stereotypes of what people think of mechanical engineering students. He said some people think that they will work on vulcanizing shops or as blacksmiths after they graduate. What they really do are just as useful but way more intricate than those. They design, create, and produce machines and appliances that we, millennials, surely won’t be able to live without.