Monday, July 15, 2024

TWO-ONE-FOUR…”Val Amiel Vestil went to Indonesia. Mac Edsel Florendo will go to Korea. “

By Maya Angelique B. Jajalla

Val Amiel Vestil went to Indonesia. Mac Edsel Florendo will go to Korea.
Mac and Val are both Filipinos. They are both Sillimanians. Mac is a Mass Communication junior from Zamboanga City, while Val is a Mass Communication sophomore from Cagayan de Oro City. Mac and Val are honor students. They are active in extra-curricular activities.
This is a story of two student ambassadors.

Let’s start with Val.
1 in the 19
Aside from hosting parties and events, Val can be seen touring visitors around the campus by the sea, telling the stories behind halls of Silliman University (SU). Val is a member of the SU Corps of Campus Ambassadors (SUCCA), among many others.
This 17-year old says that the things he does are driven by interests, instead of needs. He goes for “I like experiencing new cultures, socializing with different kinds of people and traveling” rather than “I need to do things to be popular.”
“I always make it a point to try something new every year… to get out of my comfort zone,” he added.
Val proved that there is, indeed, no room for monotony in his life when he applied for the search for the Google Student Ambassadors in Southeast Asia – a search that is famously known to have information technology students composing 90% of its applicants.
With his impressive academic standing, list of co-curricular and community involvements, and excellent essays, Val became one of the 19 Google Student Ambassadors in the country – the only Mass Communication student in the group. He is part of the roster of student liaisons in Southeast Asia that will introduce the expanded Google applications as learning tools in Philippine schools.
“We went to Yogyakarta, Indonesia last July…we were introduced to the new Google ‘products’ which can help our own teachers in presenting their lessons in a more convenient, interesting and comprehensive way,” he said. Val wants to establish a “Google Core Team” in Silliman so that they can start introducing the learning tools that Google has provided in this generation of clicks and buttons.
His next project is “map making”, which aims to provide an updated and accurate Google Map of Negros Oriental. However, he can only do this if the core team is already established. So if you want to try something new this year, you might want to contact Val.
However, there’s always a downside to everything. So when asked about his take on Google being a factor in today’s culture which lacks resourcefulness and creativity, Val said: “Using these tools is not really totally relying on technology. It’s about making use of new discoveries so that we can do more things in a more convenient, accessible and comprehensive way.”
For Val and the generation that he represents, Google may be the slow death of manual library research. But it is not the death of learning. Indeed, the world revolves and humans evolve. If one does not go with the rhythm, then Vilma Santos might be right: Si Val (at ang kanyang henerasyon) ay walang malay.
From SU to HU
A poster tacked on a bulletin board sealed the fate of Mac Florendo.
Five months ago, Mac saw a poster of the SU Exchange Student Program with Korea’s Hannam University. It was posted on the SU library bulletin board. Studying in a foreign country with a completely different culture and language was an interesting thought. But it was certainly out of his comfort zone.
For days, the poster kept on crossing Mac’s mind. Until finally, he decided to apply. “I tried many things in my life before. I tried to be part of LACUU (Luce Auditorium Corps of Usher and Usherettes) and [SUCCA] during my freshman year. And I’ve failed to be part of both. So I wasn’t really scared of failing that time. Because I know that we learn many things through failures,” Mac said.
This time, things are different. Because it won’t be failure that Mac will be learning from. This time, it will be experience. In August, Mac will be studying Global Studies and Communication in Hannam for six months.
“There are only a few people who are given a chance to study abroad. Korea is a progressive country. By studying there, I can observe how they do things their way. And maybe I can ‘tweak’ those things and apply it here in our country,” he added.
Mac will be a student ambassador to Korea. Next year, posters will be posted again on the bulletin boards in school. And like all opportunities in life, we might want to ask ourselves: Are we willing to take the challenge?
Last school year, a freshman student entered Vernon Hall and called it his home. At first, he was scared that he might end up having roommates who only cared about playing DOTA. Fortunately he had a dormitory “big brother” who motivated him to explore the possibilities that college opens for one’s self instead.
An exchange of intellectual ideas always happened inside their room. The two roommates were both brilliant in their own fields.
The freshman found his niche in public speaking. The big brother became the man behind video teasers and trailers for school activities. Theirs is a story of how the people you are with affect your own competence and goals in life – a story of how others make you and how, in turn, you make them.
The freshman and his big brother stayed in Room 214. Mac and Val stayed in Room 214.
The world provides. It provides failures, joys, frustrations, triumphs, places and people – all with the same purpose–for us to discover our gifts, hone them, and share them to the world.
We are all ambassadors in this life – we represent our families, our homes, our beliefs, our own principles, our emotions, our experiences, our schools, our country, our church. And like Mac and Val, this human race existed to motivate each other to develop what we represent. Because the world – with all its fears and beauties – is one big Room 214.


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