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College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

To the University President, Dr. Maria Leonora V. de Jesus, and the members of the Pamantasan Executive Committee, Executive Vice President Engr. Jose A. Silerio, and the Vice Presidents, college deans, heads of departments and offices, faculty members, staff, and most especially to the crown jewels of Manila, mga ka-Isko't ka-Iska, a pleasant afternoon.

Never have I imagined that I would proudly stand on this podium to deliver a speech. Most of the time, I deliver the opening or closing remarks of the organization I am heading, the Mass Communication Students' League. But this time, it is totally different and it amazes me so much -- the Pamantasan is bound to hear the thoughts of the Most Outstanding University Student which, for this year, is a mass communication student; the fourth mass communication student to be bestowed the award in the last 15 years.

Lahat ng taong nasa bulwagang ito ay paniguradong may pangarap. At sa pag-abot natin sa mga pangarap na ito, gumagawa tayo ng iba't ibang pamamaraan sa pagsasakatuparan nito. But on the road towards our myriad dreams, the question is, what makes us still grounded on truthfulness and in morality along the process? Paano maging marangal sa pag-abot ng ating mga pangarap?

In the four years of my stay in the University, experiences taught me a lot. I can truly attest that way beyond theories, experience is the best teacher. At sa bawat karanasang iyon, kay saya man o kay pait, unti-unti, natutunan ko ang konsepto ng pagiging marangal.

Just like others who want to be successful in life, it has been a difficult time for me as well to get to where I am now. Truly, there are no easy mechanism and short cuts in life. Muling sumasagi sa isip ko ang mga araw na kailangang magsakripisyo. Sala sa oras ang pagkain, kulang sa tulog, mangarag sa mga deadlines, pigain ang kaisipan kahit minsan ubos na ubos na. At dahil estudyante-lider din ako, kasabay sa hamon ang tugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng kapwa ko mag-aaral. Tunay ngang, "when you're inspired on what you aspire, you need to perspire."

With the toughest and difficult tasks I had to face and endure day by day both as a regular student and as a student leader, I realized that to be noble, one needs to sacrifice. I remember those times I often got home late. My mother would often ask me, "Oh bakit ngayon ka lang? Gabing gabi na" or would rather text, "Anong oras na. Di ka pa umuuwi?' Even the word "holiday" and phrases such as "summer vacation" and "semestral break" are no longer part of my vocabulary. In short, time sacrificed for a noble purpose. I am not complaining because this noble experience let me see world in another dimension. I take to lead students, accepting the challenge to change people's lives while still holding on to my dreams. Masarap kapag ikaw ang laging nagbibigay, kaysa sa ikaw ang laging binibigyan.

And with all of these, I realized, to earn people's trust and to be cited as meritorious by the society, building an image of competence takes time. Because the most successful people in the world are those who experienced the roughness of life, those who sacrifice, those who get rejected multiple times, those who were even betrayed, those who we were once thrown rocks, but persisted to endure all of these 'till the end. Their shield? Their faith. Their commitment. Their character. Born with the same set of body parts, all of us have equal chances to dream big; thus, all of us have equal chances to realize our dreams as well. It is the level of determination and passion that makes the bearing.

Ang taong marangal ay taong totoo. Totoo sa kilos, sa salita, sa gawa, at higit sa lahat, sa kanyang sarili. I remember those times when my character has been compromised. Why? Modesty aside, I graduated with honorable mention in elementary at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Bacood; finished Valedictorian at Victorino Mapa High School. I even had the opportunity to be the Philippines' delegate in 2014 to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California, and now as the Most Outstanding University Student of our Pamantasang Mahal. With these, I used to live in a world of expectations, of stereotypes, of labels, and a lot of times it was difficult to discern who I truly am. Because of pressure and stress, I forgot who Michael De Chavez is. It was during those times that I almost omitted the word "happiness" in my vocabulary. I tended to consider other people as my competitors, as my critics. I always tried to prove myself to others. And I am grateful that this University became instrumental in my healing process. Special thanks to Ms. Margielou Peralta of the Office of Guidance and Testing Services. She helped me realize I don't have competitors, there are even no competitions, no contests. It is just me battling myself. Mga ka-isko't iska, minsan lagi nating ikinukumpara ang sarili natin sa ibang tao, pero ang totoo, sarili lang pala natin ang kalaban natin. Then, I meditated; I don't need to be pressured. I need to be real, be unique because my personality, my edge, will benchmark me. I had to tell myself not to forget the concept of happiness. Because in every noble purpose, one needs to be happy as well. Don't let society change and label you, instead, change the society. Be the change!

At panghuli, ang taong marangal ay taong marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan. All of us, my dearest awardees, are lifted by the people around us. Without them, we are nothing, I am nothing. And I am truly grateful that I became a PLMayer. PLM taught me a lot. PLM's education is way beyond theories; it taught me real life experiences. With most of our students coming from the underprivileged sector, they have been able to develop an exceptional capability to surmount and excel amidst the inadequacies. Kapag nakikita nating may kakulangan at kawalan, kapag tayo'y walang wala, we tend to be resourceful. Lumilikot ang pag-iisip natin para makahanap ng alternatibo para magtagumpay. Perhaps this is the reason why we, PLMayers, are smart. Truly, PLM is a good laboratory for us. It trained and helped us craft mechanisms for our own survival. This is what PLM taught me along the way – to be strong enough in defying the challenges of life. Ika nga, "to be job-ready, life-ready.'

In connection with this, our batch, the PLM Class of 2018, is indeed fortunate as we entered the University coinciding with the celebration of its 50th Year Anniversary and I do believe that in the five decades of PLM's existence, its unbridled quality instruction and the true-to-life experiences we have experienced for four or five years of our stay are the University's secret ingredients why it has become prestigious and preferred worldwide. And this noble feat will not be possible without the able supervision of our University Administrators headed by the University President, Dr. Maria Leonora V. de Jesus, our university officials, staff, and faculty members. Dr. de Jesus, maraming salamat po sa lahat ng pribilehiyo at suportang walang sawang pinagpapaguran niyong ipagkaloob sa amin. Mula sa pagpapaunlad ng mga pasilidad, silid-aralan, serbisyong pang-mag-aaral hanggang sa mga bagong oportunidad para sa mga mag-aaral, guro't kawani, maraming maraming salamat po. All your efforts are deeply appreciated, from the bottom of our hearts.

Sa aking mga minamahal na magulang: 'Ma, 'Pa. Hindi ko man po laging nasasabi, maraming maraming maraming salamat. Even every time I get home late, my sacrifices in school are always compensated. Why? Because I saw my family, I saw my parents. Kaya in times I feel demotivated, uninspired and lost, uuwi lang ako sa bahay. Then I'll see my true compass, redirecting me again to my dreams. 'Ma, 'Pa, mula sa pagpapalaki sa akin, pagbibigay ng pangangailangang moral at pinansyal, hindi man naibibigkas ng bibig ko, pero maraming maraming salamat po. Mahal na mahal ko kayo. In seven days, makakatulong na po ako as I am about to start as a marketing executive in my OJT company, a media communications firm in Makati.

To the then-College of Mass Communication and the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, taos pusong pasasalamat po sa lahat ng pagkalinga, pagmamahal, at pagsuporta na nadama ko po mula sa inyo sa loob ng apat na taon. To Prof. Ludmila Labagnoy, our former dean at the College of Mass Communication, Dr. Risa P. Asuncion, our CHASS dean, sa lahat ng department chairperson, sa mga staff po ng aming kolehiyo, Ma'am Racquel, Ma'am Ems, Ms. Tin, Ms. Janette, Sir Pete, sa lahat ng dalubgurong pumanday sa aking kaisipa't pagkatao at sa aking naging nanay sa loob ng Pamantasan na sa hirap at ginhawa ay nakasama ko po, a part of you deserves this recognition. To the seemingly iron lady of the Mass Com. department, yet has a noble and genuine heart, chairperson Maychell B. Jastia. Of course, Prof. Imelda Dometita. Sa Spicy Boyz Production, 'Tay Romy, 'Tay Jonathan, 'Tay Jeff, 'Tay Alex, maraming salamat po sa lahat ng suporta.

Sa Department of Mass Communication, sa mga kapwa ko po Kamaskom, sa Mass Communication Students' League. Sa lahat ng naging officers ko sa loob ng dalawang taon. Sabi ko po nuong una, kahit wala na po akong individual award, basta makuha lang po ng MCSL ang Most Outstanding Academic Organization, okay lang po kasi naniniwala po ako sa collaborative achievement. But here we are, we are truly blessed.

Sa mga naging kaklase ko po, sa BMC IV-2, at higit sa lahat, sa aking squad, sa buong Melgarians. Special mention sa limang taong ito na umintindi ng lahat ng egos at pangangailangang personal ko, Paolo Manoso, Jayzel Deus, Alyanna De Ocampo, Mae Mar Ablang, at Gem Badeo, sa aking II-3 best friends, Jeanne and Elai, aking debate mates, Vinci and Abby, maraming salamat at hindi ninyo ako iniwan.

Sa iba pang organisasyon at opisina dito sa Pamantasan, ang Tugon-ReSCUE, CHASS Student Council, Office of Student Development and Services, especially, Dr. Gina Opiniano and Dr. Apple Saquing; sa Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs at sa Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs sa lahat po ng opportunities and external activities. At sa lahat ng mga tao at iba pang organisasyon na umalalay sa tagumpay ko at sa tagumpay nating lahat, maraming salamat po!

Of course, to our Divine Master and Teacher, Lord, thank you for not leaving. There were so many times I doubted You but You always proved Your existence. Maraming Salamat! You never fail to amaze me, You are truly remarkable.

Mga ka-isko't Iska, I had the opportunity to represent the University in 2017 at the prestigious Ayala Young Leaders' Congress. During its final round of screening, one of the questions I had encountered during the written part is this "Sa iyong mabubuting pamamaraan, paano mo maipapakita na ika'y marangal?"

Being "marangal" or "honorable" is truly a big word. Pero naniniwala ako na isa ito sa sukatan ng ating pagkatao. Ngayon, napatutunayan ko na wala sa plake, sertipiko, at medalya ang pagiging marangal. Mag-aral lang tayo ng mabuti, pagiging marangal na iyon. Mahalin ang ating mga magulang, ang ating pamilya, o magpulot tayo ng kalat, pagiging marangal na yun. Huwag nating gawing komplikado ang buhay. Maaari nating maipakita ang pagiging marangal sa maliliit at simpleng gawain, pero malaki ang pahiwatig nito sa ating pagkatao. Di natin kailangang maging bayani, magkaroon ng monumento. From good simple gestures and acts, our dignity becomes monumental on its own.

Again, what does it take to be noble? Learn to sacrifice, be true to yourself and do not forget to be grateful in your success.

Mga ka-Isko't Iska, suot natin ngayon ang medalya at hawak rin natin ngayon ang plakeng maipagmamalaki natin kanino man. Atin ang mga ito. Bunga ito ng mga sakiripisyo at ating pagpapakatotoo. Paglabas mo sa bulwagang ito, batiin at yakapin ang mga dapat pasalamatan. Dahil yan ang gawain ng isang taong marangal.

Maraming salamat, Pamantasan! It has been a wonderful time staying and learning from you.