You Haven’t Met Me Yet: HAPI Scholars Edition
by Donna T. Darantinao
“It’s like all my life everyone’s told me, “You’re a shoe! You’re a shoe! You’re a shoe!” Well, what if I don’t want to be a shoe? What if I wanna be a purse or a hat? No, I don’t want you to buy me a hat, I’m saying I am a hat. It’s a metaphor, Daddy!”
This is what a frustrated Rachel Green said to her Dad when he called her after she ran away from her ‘almost’ wedding in the 1994 American sitcom, Friends. She ran away. She ran away because she realized there’s more to life than just living the luxurious life she had always been used to. She ran away because she realized she had never really known what’s out there— what’s in store for her.
This moment may have been a pretty good laugh if you may have watched it because of Jennifer Anniston’s loud delivery, but it sure made a lot of sense. In life, most of us, or more probable than not, we have been raised and molded to be some sort of individual other people would want us to be. They make us do this or that because that is what society thinks about what’s right.
But have you ever been placed in a ‘shoe’ you feel like doesn’t fit you? You feel your toes curl because the space of the leather material suffocates them or you feel them seemingly big for your feet that it almost feels like a half-empty glass. Nobody wants to be half-empty. Nobody wants to be half of what they really wanna be. And nobody wants to be a shadow of another person’s light.
Here are our HAPI scholars to single-handedly prove to you that limits should be left to the imagination and that we can be whoever we want to be regardless of borders and constructs.
MICHAEL ANGELO MONTOYA GREÑAS
Angelo is from the Industrial Port City of Region IV-A, Batangas. Still 18, he has already accomplished so much like finishing his first charcoal painting and being a good cook. He also likes to draw, make films, and read books so you better ask him for some recommendations! According to him, his secret talent is writing. It pretty much shows as he is a very hardworking individual, especially with his studies. He dislikes bagoong, though, and fundamentalist religious folks.
Already in his first year in college, he aspires the world to be a secular utopia wherein every individual of countless differences is able to coexist harmoniously.
SHERWIN DANE ZAURO HARO
Hailing from the most populous town of Antique is none other than Sherwin, a HAPI scholar affiliated with HAPI Manila. Almost 24, he does seem to have a crazy lot of hobbies that you may want to look into. You see, he is a fitness freak that does calisthenics and weightlifting. He does seem to love a lot about the universe since he is a Carl Sagan fan. Aside from that, he does live hosting, likes movie dates (insert puppy eyes… ‘awwwww’), and believe it or not, he writes poetry and a lot of pop music musings on Reddit (no one should know about this, but oh well). He dislikes a lot of things but to be specific, he definitely dislikes hypermasculinity and fake strawberry flavors.
This 3rd-year college student from the University of Santo Tomas can bend a finger at the back of his palm and randomly drop a pop music fact in a jiffy! He continuously discovers himself day by day, and has even hosted professionally! While writing frees him from social constructs, his ambition for humanity is simply education through a purely secular lens (that is, making religion optional) and being a fan of the Queen of Pop, listening to every Madonna album back-to-back.
STEVEN ABELLERA ANGELO
From the region of Ilocos hails Steven, a 20-year-old lad currently with HAPI Northern Luzon. He is from the City of San Fernando in La Union, the province of soft brooms and home of San Juan beach, the surfing capital of Luzon’s Northern area. He is a versatile individual who crafts researches, writes feature articles, fosters trees, and tends an indoor garden! He is a 3rd-year college student taking up a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at Don Mariano Memorial State University – North La Union campus whose secret talent is…(drum rolls) singing!
He is a very simple person who leads numerous activities with the purpose of making the world filled with earth-loving youth who advocate sustainability and selfless love for humanity. With this, he personally dislikes dishonest people and aspires to link his ambition for humanity to one of the famous lines of actor Adrian Hempsley in the movie 2012 (2009), “Humanity is to be human and in order to be human, we need to own our humanity deeply.”
Joshua is from the City of Smiles, Bacolod, and also affiliated with HAPI in the same chapter. He is an 18-year-old Facebook junkie who likes to “Netflix and chill” while still being an activist. According to him, “Hobby ko na rin mag-rally every time may anti-people na issue.” This being said, he dislikes people who have disregard towards human rights and especially those who are not genuine. He believes a few of his many milestones are being able to conquer his fears, speaking during a National Climate Change Conference by the Department of Education (DepEd), and just by simply being alive now.
He aspires that someday, every individual would realize how connected we are with nature and that we are a part of it, not the owners of it. Currently, he is on the hunt for the perfect school where he can enroll in his first semester as a college student.
Glemir is a 19-year-old member of HAPI Junior based in Bacolod City. She likes watching and reading all about crime documentaries. This smart lass dislikes people who present a close mind during discourses, and of course, the iconic cockroach (ha-ha!). She is a senior high school graduate of La Consolacion College and was able to start writing articles in primary school.
Despite having the hots for anything about crime, she loves anime and enjoys the sunset. She also aspires a world free from superstition and constraints brought by religion where people view things in a kinder and empathetic perspective. As of the moment, she is already starting her self-care journey.
SHAWN EVANS V. QUIMING
Officially the ‘bunso’ of the HAPI Scholars, Shawn is 13 but is certainly not going last on the tracks. He is a member of the HAPI Central Luzon chapter and lives in Malolos City. He dislikes bullying and racism and also aspires to put an end to them all around the world. He considers drawing as his secret talent and he even writes for the HAPI website!
He is currently enrolled at the Laboratory High School of Bulacan State University and still continues his journey to improve his drawing skills.
DONNA TENORIO DARANTINAO
Growing up in the suburban skirts of Northern Leyte is a writer by choice and a youth leader by chance. This 21-year-old lass is a sucker for Filipino pocketbooks and swoons over beautifully-written song lyrics that dazzled during the 50s going to the 90s. She is currently with the HAPI Dumaguete chapter and HAPI Youth. Donna writes a lot of stories with ill-fated endings but is a very positive person in real life. She also has a handful of quotes stashed somewhere in her Google Drive and Pinterest for daily inspiration.
Donna aspires to be an inspiration for other people to get back on track and keep the ball rolling. She is also a former student exchange in Singapore for the TFI-SCALE program in 2018. She graduated with a Social Science major and is looking forward to her first semester in Law School this year. Finally, she speaks fluent Waray and has been a Justin Bieber fan since ‘09. #HatersGonnaHate
Johnny is from Cagayan de Oro, and with HAPI Northern Mindanao. This 29-year-old youth leader likes organizing the youth, especially in various community engagements. He is also a sucker for movies and songs of all genres! But he does not like not being able to take sides. He is currently a history book reader and a junior college student at PHINMA – Cagayan de Oro College.
He aspires the world to be a springboard where people are able to embrace differences to combat poverty and to move into the next era of humanity.
JAVAN LEV A. POBLADOR
It’s Kuya Javan, everyone! He is a nature lover from Bacolod City and is currently with HAPI Dumaguete. He loves to climb mountains (the higher, the better) and free diving. He is an artist and writes well. This 25-year-old Adobe master dislikes socializing within a populous crowd and people who walk slow. Javan proudly represented the Philippines in Thailand during one environmental conference and is a part of the Association of Young Environmental Journalists (AYEJ, which previously won during the 16th TAYO awards. He is also active in a good number of civic engagements and community development.
At present, he is studying at Negros Oriental State University, Dumaguete City with the goal of creating change and aspiring to live in a world where people do good just because and not for the reason of reward or fear of punishment.
ELDEMAR R. SABETE
LOL player Eldemar is almost 19 and is affiliated with HAPI Junior in Bacolod City. He likes hanging out with his peers, reading books, and oh, he’s a Netflix junkie. He feels like his secret talent is drawing and just recently graduated senior high school at La Consolacion College. Realizing he wasted something very valuable after it’s gone is one of the things Eldemar dislikes. He is very ecstatic for receiving his first academic honor and starting a new job! He also plans to move forward with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
Eldemar aspires for people to someday pursue a world of common good, justice, freedom, and equality to attain peace, just as he did while being a student leader in his high school years.
JUNELIE ANTHONY VELONTA
This 22-year-old Physics student from HAPI Dumaguete is somehow fascinated by the history of places and the etymology of words. He loves to write and read, and a prolific writer as well! He also likes finding out the physics of how things work. A few things he dislikes are fundamentalism, not thinking about one’s self and mass manipulation.
He is at ease that humans have reached the moon (soon, hopefully, Mars) and that we have the technology to heal and feed the world. He also emphasized the power of the atom but was unfortunately used first for the wrong purpose. Nevertheless, Junelie aspires the world to advance beyond the need for indoctrination and for everyone to be educated without political and religious biases.
Now, if you feel like you are wearing shoes you don’t like, I want you to take a pause and read through as you discover beautiful individuals who never settled with meals served before them, who never wore the shoes that don’t fit them— our HAPI scholars.