by Ma. Jaya Ariola | Feature Editor
Considered as one of the most highly anticipated events in the celebration of Silliman University’s Founders Day, Mr. Hibalag aims to “being the embodiment of competence, character and faith.” Through the years, this pageant has served as an avenue for men to express their passion and love for things they believe in and has been both a medium and a means for their advocacies to be concretized.
Through their personal interests, dreams, opinions and advocacies, the candidates will let us know whether or not they have what it takes to become Mr. Hibalag 2018.
STEFANO RAFAEL LEDESMA
Cuernos de Negros Mountaineers Club, Inc. (CNMCI)
With his passion to express his emotions and thoughts through art and writing, Stef chose Literary and Cultural Studies (Creative Writing) as his course because he has always found it more cathartic when he expresses himself through poetry and stories than any other way.
This is why he plans to spread his advocacy on Mental Health through art, because this is what makes people empathize with someone the most. He wants to use writing and art to remind people that they aren’t alone.
“To me, the essence of Mr. Hibalag is passion. It’s a very diverse group of guys, coming from different organizations and advocating different causes. However, what we all have in common is our drive and passion to move our advocacies forward,” he said.
He believes that trying to continuously grow as a person already takes a lot of strength in character, competence and faith.
‘G-Near/Engr,” as he prefers to be called, is a 5th year Civil Engineering student, a 70.3 Ironman finisher, a member of the Team TriONe (Triathletes of Oriental Negros) and a full-time environmentalist.
He advocates for the Betterness of Environment through innovation. He is currently working on a thesis research project about green and sustainable construction and is also one of the people who is responsible in spearheading the advocacy project of the Fraternity/Sorority Alliance of Silliman University entitled “Project: Ecowall,” using Ecobricks in wall construction.
“The essence of Mr. Hibalag 2018 is to showcase and celebrate the totality of beauty of Sillimanians,” he said.
He has embodied character by joining the pageant, competence by his way of handling various issues, and faith by knowing he can do all things he puts his mind to despite the struggles along the way.
PAUL EMMANUEL PEDLEY
Sigma Alpha Lambda (COPVA)
Seventeen-year old Paul loves to workout and travel.
He advocates Against Body Shaming and he plans to spread this by going around schools and conducting talks, team building activities and workshops to the youth because he believes that it’s best to educate those who are still young.
When asked about the essence of the pageant, he said, “Mr. Hibalag is not just about showing the physical appearance but it encourages each candidate to promote an advocacy which will reach out to the public, and show that we Sillimanians care.”
He has embodied competence, character and faith by being honest, because for him, it summarizes the way these values should be lived by.
Silliman University Medical Technology Society
Not only is “Baste” into photography, graphic design and videography, he is also interested in traveling and discovering new places.
His advocacy is entitled “Blood Donation: Promoting Real Life Heroes” by conducting free blood typing services and conducting seminars on health and blood donation to the people in the barangays of Dumaguete City.
“Pageants like Mr. Hibalag represent one vision of Silliman University and that is culture. Through this pageant, the students can express their personalities through performing arts, which enhances their ability to be competent in facing challenges, and to mold them to become people with good character through Christ, the Via Veritas Vita,” he said.
Baste believes every man should inculcate within himself a competitive drive not just in the local and national arena, but also in the global environment.
JAY LOUIE JARBONIDO
College of Education Student Organization (CESO)
Jay is 18 years old, taking up Bachelor of Secondary Filipino Language Education. He is fascinated by discovering new things and when he sees nature at its best.
His advocacy is “Educaravan: Enriching Filipino Language towards Reviviscence,” and he plans to implement this by introducing it to the youth and giving emphasis on the importance of our own language. He, together with his team, will go to places here in Dumaguete City, one of which is the Little Children of the Philippines.
“The true essence of Mr. Hibalag is having keener understanding and wider perspectives about different aspects that can help mold individuals holistically. It is a platform to spread awareness about societal happenings, and the actions that must be done in accordance with these,” he said.
He has exercised his love for the pursuit of knowledge and truth, and believes that this is what makes him a good role model.
Silliman Junior Business Executives (SJBE)
Woo spends his free time and vacation by going out to beaches, because according to him, Philippines has the best ones. He is also building his skills in gymnastics and other sports.
His advocacy is on Self-Discipline and Self-Image, by being a leader who can reinforce this to people who want to make themselves better.
Woo expressed his own sentiment for the pageant he had grown to love, saying, “Pageants for men are not really that common in the country and I believe that the same is true for all the other countries in the world. I believe that the Mr. Hibalag pageant is one way of showcasing what men are really capable of doing and being good examples to the rest of the men in the community as manifested in the advocacies that each of us is promoting.”
He believes in the golden rule, which is to treat others the way you want to be treated, and he tries his best to live by it.
RHYL TRAVIS MANSO
Silliman University College of Nursing Association
A 4th year Bachelor of Science Major in Nursing student, Rhyl mostly works out at the gym to help get rid of stress before studying for exams. He loves music and adventures.
His advocacy is entitled “One Day Or Day One: Physical Fitness Towards Optimum Health” for each individual. He wants to be an advocate for those who have gone through a difficult time with a chronic illness, and managing it through physical activities.
He believes that his experience as a student nurse has made him competent, caring and holistically excellent.
“To me, Mr. Hibalag is not just about looking good and smiling all the way until the end but to hold true to what you have presented through your advocacy,” he said.
ERIK LENNART VISSER
Higala International Students from Around the World (HI:SAW)
Erik is a 3rd year Bachelor of Science Major in Psychology student. His hobbies include fishing, swimming and anything that involves adventure and thrill like cliff diving or riding rollercoasters. He is also currently a private pilot, and this is his biggest passion. He loves hitting the gym and he is also a big animal lover.
He advocates for Equality among Races and he plans to spread this by giving public seminars and talks, pushing for more awareness about fighting racism in schools.
According to Erik, “the true essence of the Mr. Hibalag pageant is to use our voices and capabilities to reach and inspire a wider audience, and to express and implement our advocacies so that we can strive for the betterment of our society.”
By living his life in a selfless way, rendering service to the less fortunate, and caring for the environment, he believes that he has embodied competence, character, and faith.
JOSEPH JOAQUIN ABREGANA
Commonly called ‘Joaqui’ or ‘Joe,” Joseph is a Grade 11 Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) student. He strives to become a flight attendant and proceed to becoming a commercial pilot or make a career out of showbiz and music. He has a strong inclination for language and the musical arts. He has been a competitive national debater for about five years now.
His advocacy is on the Social Responsibility for Mental Health and he plans to implement this through constant information campaigning, raising public awareness towards the existence of mental help platforms like school counselors as well as the Silliman University Suicide Hotline while incorporating expression, art, concrete facts and informative writing.
“To me, Mr. Hibalag is basically portraying the ideal Sillimanian. That the ideal Sillimanian is one who embodies competence, character and faith. Through being aware of social issues, and mobilizing change, we are the embodiments of what it means to be an ‘ideal Sillimanian.’ That being handsome applies on the inside as well,” he said.
He has rendered community service with various organizations, has constant work in the field of leadership and competition, and has helped serve in Silliman University’s church events.
PAUL ANDRE VILLAFUERTE
Paul, who is Andre to his peers, is a graduating student taking up Bachelor of Business Administration Major in Management. He likes to watch movies, chill and play basketball. Andre also firmly believes that pineapple goes with pizza.
His advocacy is Against Violence towards Women and Children. He wants to convince people that this is not just something to be ignored. He aims to prevent, if not stop, violence.
Based on his own experience in the weeks leading up to the pageant, he said, “To the many guys out there, the Mr. Hibalag pageant has changed and will keep changing their lives, grooming them from an ordinary boy into a prince of their own world. We get a plethora of opportunities and a life changing experience.”
He believes that the harder the challenge, the more competent he becomes. When he goes out to the world outside of Silliman University, it will be a tougher challenge and he must be ready for it.
Froilan, also known as “Pipo,” has a passion for dancing. He feels so much more alive when he is able to express himself through dance. The way his body moves with the music is his way of telling a story. Currently a 4th year Bachelor of Science Major in Biology, he has expressed his aim on proceeding to medical school next year to pursue his dream of helping the Filipino people.
His advocacy is Teaching Dance to Underprivileged Children of Dumaguete City. This advocacy will come to action through the organization of regular, yet free, dance workshops for children in low-income areas. He wants to show them that expressing oneself through dance is not only fun but can also help them get through the hardships of life.
“To me, Mr. Hibalag is an opportunity to take a stand for something that I believe in, and to show the people that expressing yourself through dance is very important physically, emotionally, mentally and socially as well,” he said.
According to Pipo, obstacles are the best anvil to forge Character. He has shown competence as a student, because he is still able to maintain his grades and have a healthy, balanced life. He also originated the Hip Hop Dance program at MEV Dance Company.
A student who is passionate about trees, Justin is mostly called Mandi by those around him. He has conducted research studies in the past and one of those involved the endemic and vulnerable Intsia bijuga which then led to creating an actual forest in the Center of Tropical Study Valencia where people can go to visit. During his vacant time, he adores playing the guitar, sketching and doing sports.
His advocacy is entitled “Think Before You Throw.” The goal of this advocacy is to spread awareness within the different institutions in Silliman and the community about the importance of segregating wastes properly into their respective trash bins.
“The essence of the Mr. Hibalag pageant is to build confidence to those who are not able to speak. It can build stairs in solving current issues we are facing right now and creates steps for younger generations to instill in their heads what we’re dealing with right now. This pageant serves as a wake-up call to students from different courses, across different generations,” he said.
By joining the pageant, he has become a face and a voice to people. Still, he tells himself that he must never forget to balance things in life and to give his one hundred percent in all that he does.