There’s a good chance that by accident, you’ve bumped into someone brilliant. Whether you’re rushing through school halls or squeezing through the small spaces of a train station crowd during rush hour, you’ve rubbed shoulders with a bright and talented individual who spends long days and sleepless night honing his or her craft. Creatives and entrepreneurs, acolytes by age but experts in their own right.
They’re everywhere, shaking things up and pushing the envelope in so many forms and fields: art, sports, literature, fashion, music, acting — you name it. They may be young, but they’ve made it this far because of the right mix of talent, dedication, and most importantly, hard work.
Remember these names, because you’re sure to hear more about them in the future, as they prove why youth can really be about your passions — minus the bull. Without further ado, we present 2015’s Fresh Produce.
Actor, 17, @RuruMadrid8
Nag–join ako sa isang reality show sa GMA which is Protégé. Hindi ako naging winner, but after Protégé, nagkaroon ako agad ng soap (opera), which is Parao and then biglang naubusan, like after Parao gumawa ako ng dalawang movies: Above The Clouds and then the other one is Bamboo Flowers.
Noong shino-shoot namin ang Above the Clouds, sobrang hirap. One month ako nandoon: Baguio, Sagada, Mt. Pulag. One month di nakasama ko ang parents ko, one month di ko nakasama mga kapatid ko, so nakakahomesick rin pero okay lang.
Namiss ko rin ang parents ko dahil bawal ko sila makausap eh. Siguro okay rin sa kanila kasi kinausap sila nang maayos ngproducer at director namin, para sa ikakaganda ng movie.
Ang dami rin na problema na nangyaridahil siyempre, di ko nakakausap yungparents ko so that time sobrang pikon na pikon ako. Kung baga parang “Di ba akoprofessional para magawa tong pinapagawa niyo?” Parang yun yung nasa isip ko, pero at the end of the day, na-realize ko na tama pala.
Kailangan na maging mas professional kao kailangan na mas mag-concentrate ka sa ginagawa mo. And then mahalin mo lang yung trabaho mo. Like ako, mahal na mahal ko yung craft ko na parang kung gaano ko kamahal yung sarili ko, ganun ko ring kamahal yung trabaho ko.
Ako kasi, sobra akong mahiyain sa una. Pero pagkadating sa actual na, kasi pipilitin ko na matalo ko ang kabahin. Kasi kapag may kaba ka, di mo magagawa yung scene mo eh. O di mo magagawa yung isang bagay na pinapagawa sa yo. So para magawa mo yung isang bagay na maganda, kailangan tanggalin mo yun. Pero mahirap. (Laughs)
Ako kasi yung tipong tao na sinasabi ko na kaya kong lahat, kahit na hindi ko siya nagagawa.
Every time na nakakakita ako na nagagawa ko ang isang scene, parang ang saya. ‘Tas parang pag lumabas na siya tas nakikita ko na marami akong napapasaya, marami akong napapaiyak, marami akong napapatawa, iba yung feeling na ganun.
Sa pag-akyat namin ng Mt. Pulag — makikita mo talaga kasi na parang siyang sea of clouds — anywhere you looked talagang clouds lang — parang doon ko na-realize na parang ang dami pang mga bagay na natitira para sa akin. —Mariah Reodica
Jam 88.3 Radio DJ, 25, @jobimism
I grew up in Caloocan and I went to school in Ateneo for, like, eight years, and so the car ride would be a minimum one hour every day. So for at least two hours a day, going to and coming from school, I’d always be listening to the radio. I just thought it was really cool that these dudes got paid to talk three hours a day.
We had a huge album collection at home, from G3 to African folk songs. And y’know, as a curious kid, it’s kinda like when you get dropped off at a library for the first time, you just wanna grab and devour everything? And in the ‘90s, CD players were the sh*t, so everybody had a CD player.
The best part about what I do is that it doesn’t feel like work at all. It never feels like work. There are people who live to work, my job allows me to work to live.
Once you get complacent with what you do, once you become comfortable, you kinda fall into routine. For me, our job is never about that. It has to constantly evolve with people’s musical tastes, with people’s interests, with what’s relevant in the world.
I think (radio) puts the power back in the hands of substance. Since the advent of MTV and visual media and the sheer ease of access that people have, it’s true what the song said, “Video killed the radio star.” That’s because it became about what bands look like and how well you could market them visually.
If you’re scared to push the envelope, then you’re never gonna get anywhere. You’re just gonna become stagnant.
You have to have a really strong work ethic. I think that the problem with a lot of people my age, with my generation, is that a lot of them feel like the world owes them something. That because they paid their “dues” in school and whatnot, because they made a little effort, that they deserve to be given something. They do the bare minimum and expect to reap the rewards when it’s a never-ending struggle, man. It’s never enough. Working hard enough is never enough. —Jam Pascual
Photographer, 16, @_positivity
Nowadays, people think that photographers, yeah, they just click a button and then they get it. I don’t want to be blunt about it, but people nowadays, they underestimate. Especially (me), I’m young, so whenever people ask me, they’ll say like, “Oh, do I have to pay?”
It’s really hard now to be different, to be unique. It’s more about being open-minded, and being grateful for what’s around you. If you’re open-minded, then you really get to see stuff differently.
I had this stage before. Like, when I was still in second year high school, I was so conscious of how my feed looked, that whenever a picture didn’t reach a thousand likes, I’d delete it. But then, after a while, I realized that I shouldn’t be posting my pictures just for people. Like I shouldn’t reach the standard of others, I should reach my own first.
I really enjoy taking pictures of dancers. I really enjoy dancing. I was a gymnast for a year, and then I quit because I had to balance time with school. And in school, I was a cheerdancer since third grade. Of course (dance photography) is just a still image, but then, it’s also more interesting if there’s an action being done in the picture, because it’s what catches attention.
The best thing is that you get to go out, explore, and actually meet new people. And not only meet new people, you see things from a different perspective. People always tell me, like, “How do you see things this way?” It’s really just, you have to appreciate more of it. —JP
Illustrator, 20, @themichlife
I’ve always liked drawing since I was a kid, and I had different influences and things that I’d get inspiration from mostly like, cartoons, animé, video games, comics.
I just really like the idea of marrying narrative and pictures. And I’ve always been fascinated with all the different possibilities of execution. So I like the idea of telling a story through pictures, and telling it in a way that is seamless, in a way that feels natural.
I feel like, sometimes, because I draw comics and cartoons, people don’t take it seriously. And I feel like that’s… no. You shouldn’t rule out an entire genre or art style. There’s so much potential in it also. Just because there’s this notion that it’s for kids, it doesn’t mean that it’s not substantial, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have potential.
Making comics and drawing is just a process of bettering myself and also challenging myself. Seeing it that way keeps me motivated and keeps me wanting to make better stuff.
There’s so much competition. Especially in what I do. I guess it’s already a bad thing to see it as competition, but like, sometimes you can’t help it. There’s just so many people who do it better than you. Usually I just get thrown off because, you know, I get jealous often. But that’s natural. I learned to overcome that, anyway. Instead of having a negative perception of other people, which is really bad, just use it as motivation. Use it to challenge yourself also.
I am most vulnerable when I’m not doing anything. I feel like, as an artist, you really should be scared of stagnancy. If you feel like you hit a wall or whatever, that’s a problem. But if you really love what you’re doing, then you’ll overcome it.
I just like to think realistically. Especially as an artist, there’s so much competition and there’s so many good people out there. And I don’t really wanna aim to be the best. ‘Cause I know I’ll never be the best. But I just wanna be the best for myself. —JP
Basketball player, 17, @Tyler_Tio
It’s the little things that you do to help the team win. Like the little things that don’t show up, like an extra pass to a teammate or a simple box-out. Those things can really help.
When I was a sophomore (in Xavier), we were against La Salle Greenhills and it was the finals. They were mostly seniors so they had an advantage, and we were really the underdogs. I think during the elimination round, we lost to them by 20 points. When we got to the finals, we didn’t really think we had a chance, but we just kept fighting. I think I finished with like 52 points that game, and I think that was the greatest challenge for me.
Finals last year, different league, we went up against San Beda and we lost by around 30-40, so we were just really disappointed because we thought we had a chance. But they showed us what it was like to be a championship team, and they really executed well and showed us what it was like to play at that level.
I think when you get to that level, everyone’s already talented and athletically gifted, but you need to find an extra level and work ethic to make up for what you lack — in athleticism and talent. You need to work on your craft and if you want it more than everyone else, I think that’s what it takes.
I’m not really the most athletic, but I find other ways to contribute for my team.
Whatever your weaknesses are, turn them into strengths. For example, ball handling or shooting, stuff like that.
I don’t really like comparing myself to others, I just try to make sure that I play my game.
It takes up a lot of your time. Every day we have practice from 3-7 p.m. and when I get home I’m kind of tired, so it’s hard to study. You really have to find a balance. Basketball makes it hard. But it’s worth it.
Hopefully, I’ll get to play college ball or UAAP. After that I don’t really know what’s next — just baby steps, one step at a time. —MR
Howard Luistro, 21; Billie Dela Paz, 23; Pappu De Leon, 23; Fries Bersales, 24 www.OhFlamingoMusic.com
Howard: We’re a band that has a certain sense of humor. Di kami nagpapacool. Hilig namin laruin yung music. Like, dadalhin namin yung song to an unexpected place tapos yung mga tao, “T*ngina, ano yon!” ‘Di ko alam kung good or bad, but at least it’s something to startle and surprise people. We’re really just genuinely interested in playing with the music. We don’t do it just to be “unique.”
Howard: Sa simula pa lang ng band, we didn’t know what kind of music we wanted to play so we decided to mix everything up and see where that was going to lead.
Howard: Game lang talaga kami to gig. We give a lot of time to it. May rehearsals, tapos kahit nga maywork ako ngayon, I’d leave the office early sometimes. But we’re making use of this time to play shows so that people can hear our music. Live shows are the best way to spread our music.
Bille: As of last September, I counted 125 gigs since the very first gig we had on Aug. 8, 2013.
Bille: Owel Alvero (Ang Bandang Shirley) made us jam at Pinoy Penguin studio and the owner, Dr. Randy, invited us to another gig called March of the Penguins. Sakto lang, that gig was a big edition with an ukay-ukay by big people like Myrene Academia (Sandwich, Imago) and everybody else. When we played at that gig, doon lang bumuhos ang mga invites.
Howard: It shows how important playing shows is because every show has a different set of people, and you never know who’s going to be there to see you play.
Billie: Dati talaga, the gigs I played were very masculine, unlike now where there are lots of girls. It was really like, “Yeah, machismo!” Like boys would go up to me and give me drinks and say “Miss, ganda mo, pahingi naman number mo.” Parang it went to that point and I was like, “Are you really gonna do that to me?” It also came to a point na, “Uy, babae ka, galing. Minsan lang ako nakakakita ng babaengdrummer. Ang galing mo, babae ka kasi.” I don’t want you guys to base my skills on my gender because my vagina doesn’t really dictate how I play my instrument!
Geoff Del Rosario
Senior Product Officer, Smart Communications, 26, @gdelro
I worked in a multinational for an FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) company, selling carbonated drinks… but my heart wasn’t in it. I would say [taking up] digital marketing was the greatest decision I ever made, because now I get to fulfill my personal passion as well as kind of pay the bills at the same time.
Right now, I get to do a portion of what I studied in digital marketing at Spinnr. But I actually work at night. Like, after work, I really pursue my passion. Reading up on blogs, learning new things about digital marketing, putting it into practice, here and there.
Our team at Spinnr has won different awards, specifically from the Philippine Quill Awards and the Global Mobile Awards (GSMA) in Barcelona, Spain. Spinnr has been active in providing people’s favorite music at their fingertips care of the app. At the same time, providing a unique and personal music experience to its users thanks to its partnership with the biggest labels.
Traditional ways of marketing would work in providing the usual awareness, but bringing in new blood can help magnify conversations. With the power of social media, one can reach millions more and often times, free. Now the playing field is more lucid and non-traditional.
If you wanna make it in this world as a young professional, you have to be open to learn and create the change. —JP
Photos by Karen de la Fuente
Produced by Jonty Cruz
Sittings by Maine Manalansan and Marga Buenaventura