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Mr. Hibalag’s challenge for advocacy, purpose, goal

By Francis Ryan Pabiania | News Writer

Vol. XCI No. 5

Aug. 28, 2019

The spotlight focused firmly on every candidate as they embody the Hallmark of Bourne and Purpose, but there’s one candidate that has been holding the light until the end.

Silliman University College of Nursing Association’s (SUCNA) bet, Dominic Fernandez, 19, was crowned as this year’s Mr. Hibalag during the pageant night last Aug. 22.

“You can do anything you set your heart and mind to, and seize any opportunity that would benefit yourself and others around you,” said Fernandez.

Bested eight other candidates, Cedrick Antiquina (Silliman University Medical Students Association), Robert Aguilar (College of Education and Student Organizations), Sherwayne Hornig (Young Entrepreneurs Society of Silliman) and Ralph Libradilla (Silliman University Physical Therapy Students Association) were runners up to Fernandez.

As a second-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing student, Fernandez said he was chosen by his Clinical Instructor, Zorinna Luague, who found his potential to make change in the lives of others and even to himself.

He mentioned his grit and sense of competitiveness without settling for mediocrity and among other qualities he has. Luague pushed him to fight for the crown, for the college.

“This was my first experience in a pageant and it really challenges you to be in situations that one may not be comfortable in,” he said.

Mainly focusing on studies, spending time in the gym, playing sports or basketball and bonding with friends and family; Dominic did not imagine himself joining pageantry.

But, what he considered “hectic” schedule and demand in studying as a nursing student, having one or two examinations or quizzes from Mondays to Saturdays were his main hindrance to joining.

Later on, Fernandez finally decided to join and represent SUCNA for Mr. Hibalag with his reason to advance his advocacy, “Conserving our Oceans.”

Fernandez, who fought for the first time in the pageant stage, “I saw this pageant as an opportunity to raise awareness, not only about the environment, but changing our own individual habits for the betterment of the society,” he said.

Nearing almost two weeks of his preparation, he tried to manage his time by prioritizing his work, duties and studies on weekdays; and used the weekend for his pageant preparations.

“[work and studies] Investing most of my energy in those areas. If I know there is practice one day, I will study material ahead of time or whenever I am free,” he said.

His duty and works include a community duty in Dumaguete City’s barangay, Bajumpan- dan, every Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon with pre and post conferences, a hospital duty at Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital every 7am to 1pm with post conference and lectures and skills lab in the campus from Mondays to Fridays, and sometimes on Saturdays when he’s not on duty.

“With schoolwork and duty, my preparations were not as lengthy as I would have wanted,” he said. He also added that with the help of his family and friends, he was able to prepare his talent, speech, theme, and formal wear in just almost two weeks before the pageant.

The support of his college friends and family helped him reach the final night bagging most of the awards.

Fernandez practiced piano on his own and asked helped with Kazhan, Kit and Reina for the dance, as his talent presentation. Gabby and Jaymielle, both gave advice for his speeches and advocacy, as he was challenged to practice by himself and compressing advocacy speech into three to four minutes.

He mentioned the preparation took less than a week for the pageant night. Cheska, did his makeover; Mitchie, his family and a few friends helped to make his theme wear; Gerry designed his formal wear; and Mikko, Rimlee and Girlie further trained him for his speech and for the pageant night.

Currently, Fernandez is also a licensed scuba diver, who is still learning underwater photography and used to guide other divers “on their paths to open water or advanced licenses or embark on fun dives where I explore different areas of the ocean.”

As a licensed rescue Scuba Diver of Professional Association of Diving Instructors, he shared that he was able to experience firsthand the effects of plastic waste and other polluted materials in the oceans.

Fernandez went back to his reason for joining as he will push through his advocacy. When asked during the final question and answer portion on, “What does it mean to be a Silliman Man with Bourne and Purpose?”

“To be a Man with Bourne and Purpose, you have to set goals in life to achieve and purpose, we all have our own purpose. We have different lives, so we have our own goals and purposes. In my life, my goal is pushing for my advocacy, Conserving Our Oceans, and through this, I plan on raising awareness about the environment we are living in.”

“You have to realize that the environment we are living in does not last long. We have to conserve it. And my purpose is to push through with this advocacy and to not only make a better life for myself, but for others. I have developed into the best version of myself as a Silli- man Man, inspired by his goals, yet humbled by his purpose. Ladies and gentlemen, I AM A GAME CHANGER!” he said.

Fernandez bagged multiple awards: Best in Talent, Best in Theme Wear, Best in Production Number, Best Speaker, Best in Formal Wear, AD Models, and Mr. Freshmen award.

He also received a two round trip plane tickets to Boracay via Philippine Airlines, from Purple Skies Travel Agency.

After earning the crown, he shared his plans of pushing forward with his advocacy. He will raise awareness about plastic waste in the environment, organizing beach and underwater cleanups.

“My advocacy is an extension of the Silliman Mission and Vision as it aims for the well-being of society and environment through individual development,” he said.

He added that targeting the 5C’s of Silliman, he would be able to maximize his experiences and integrate his advocacy within the university and President McCann’s Zero Waste policy.

His purpose will pursue for environmental health and better lifestyle for himself and for the community.

Fernandez tested his abilities and comfort zones. What he gained from the pageant were his growth as an individual, the development of his strengths in speaking spontaneously in front of crowds and learning how to adapt and react on the spot. These attributes strengthened his confidence and mindset.

From the typical “Dominic Fernandez,” and people’s description of him being competitive, hard-working, adventurous, and determined to achieve his goals and aspirations – embodied the title as a Silliman Man: A Hallmark of Bourne and Purpose.

“I believe I am more confident and well-aware of my capabilities, as I was able to discover more about myself as an individual. I am a stronger advocate for the environment than I previously was and I am going to continue to do my best to implement my advocacy into the daily lives of others,” he said.

Moreover, Mr. Hibalag chairperson Dani Fuentes said “… what really makes this year different is the gentlemen and their burning passion to be in the pageant. And that joining Mr. Hibalag is not just a joke or something to be frowned upon. They were there for a purpose – to embody a Silliman Man: A Hallmark of Bourne and Purpose.”

She added that it’s the first year to have a Mr. Hibalag Foundation, and where candidates performed and organized their own programs and activities based on their advocacy and visions.

The organizing team wanted to see the candidates or a Sillimanian to have a goal, vision and purpose, “to be the voice behind their advocacies and to be of inspiration not only to their organization but to the people around.”

According to Fuentes, Mr. Hibalag has been the university advocacy driven male pageant for 11 years already.


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