HEADLINES

SU Alumnus redefines concept of “Pabibo”; urges for effective change

By Francis Ryan B. Pabiania | News Writer

Vol. XCI No. 4


People have to be “pabi­bo” and not have to wait for au­thorities or experts “to make real effective change,” said Silliman University alumnus, Val Amiel Vestil, during the AC US Em­bassy Talks at Luce Auditorium, Aug. 19.

“Gone are the days when we have to wait for policy-makers, academic institutions, lawyers, engineers, scientists, and experts to make real effective change. We just have to wake up that inner pabibo in us,” he said.

Vestil, Founder of Asso­ciation of Young Environmental Journalists, explained how the term “pabibo” was associated with negative connotations.

He mentioned a defi­nition he found online; stating, “Pabibo is a Filipino slang word that means someone who wants to show off, who wants to be fa­mous but infamous, acting like a star, a know it all.”

He also cited on students in attendance during the event that they may have remembered their ‘pabibo’ classmates in high school. “Na nasa harap parati, teacher’s pet, raise nang hand every 5 minutes kahit hindi tina­tawag. Oo yung mga pabibo nating friends,” he said.

Despite this, Amiel, who is advocating for Environmental Journalism, said he is becoming a ‘pabibo.’

“In this day and age, considering our pains and con­sidering our privilege, we need to start becoming pabibo,” he added.

Vestil defined ‘pabibo’ as making relevant noise and causing proactive disruption.

“When people rally, they don’t just scream out senseless things. They are actually fighting for equality, fighting for social justice and fighting to get back the inherent human dignity that was stripped away from them,” he said.

He also added that there’s also a need to disrupt the systems that keep us from pro­gressing. “We need to disrupt the order of things that we know isn’t right. Our Filipino resilience has taught us to smile it away, ac­cept things as they are, and try to move forward with life.”

Vestil mentioned his friends, Toby, Mac and Anna, who lead the clean-up of Maning­ning creek after years of being a polluted river, served orphanage children with rescued foods from public market and trained young people about marine conserva­tion, respectively.

“[They are] young peo­ple who feel the pain of the com­munity they are a part of and ac­knowledge the privilege that they have been afforded with,” Vestil proudly said while introducing his ‘pabibo’ friends.

For Vestil, the conversa­tion on climate crisis is no longer a debate on who is right or wrong, but a “debate on human surviv­al.”

Remembering his heart­break eight years ago and his fight for the environment, he said, “We don’t stop at being bro­ken hearted. We try to heal.”

“We don’t need to wait for another storm or another typhoon or another disaster to hit us. We don’t need to wait for another heartbreak to come our way. What we can do now is to transform our heartbreak into social good. Kasi may magan­dang dahilan kung bakit tayo na­saktan,” he added.

Vestil was among the three other alumni Atty. Myrish Cadapan-Antonio, Harvard Hero Awardee; Asst. Prof. Ian Fermin Rosales Casocot, five-time Don Carlos Palanca Awardee; Academic Fellowship fellow Shamah Bu­langis, Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).

Silliman University (SU) Librarian Dr. Myra Vil­lanueva said the event was held through the partnerships of US Embassy and SU through its network of University-based American Corners in key lo­cations throughout the Philip­pines.

According to Dr. Vil­lanueva, the AC US Embassy Talks is a platform of the US embassy to invite the youth of Negros Oriental to become members of YSEALI and US Government scholarships.

“This event is an attesta­tion that a 21st century library is not only a learning hub but also a space of opportunity. The American Corner Dumaguete, which is located inside the SU Library, provides resources to the students, not only of SU but throughout Negros Oriental,” Dr. Villanueva said.

She also added that stu­dents may also have the oppor­tunity to be trained and avail the programs of US Embassy such as Foreign National Stu­dent Intern Porgram, Philip­pine-American Educational Foundation, YSEALI, and Edu­cation USA.

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