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Candy Rookie Bong Gonzales Will Inspire You To Celebrate Being Different

Bong is part of Candy Rookies 2020, a group of influential and aspirational college students handpicked to represent #GenerationCandy in the year to come.
IMAGE Rxandy Capinpin

School: Ateneo De Manila University

Year and Course: 3rd year, BS Management

Age: 20

Instagram: @bonggonzales_

Bong Gonzales may be interested in many things, but he makes sure that he does everything with passion. The 20-year-old balances his time as a student-athlete, repping his school in collegiate tennis competitions while grappling with the pressure that comes with it.

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“It was difficult not to compare myself to others,"says Bong. "But as I grew older and more mature, I realized the only one I was ever competing against was myself. And so I learned to rely and trust in developing myself even more, not for the sake of glory or winning, but for the sake of growing, and becoming a better person.” 

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Aside from sports, he’s also huge advocate for equality, “not just in terms of gender and sexuality but in all aspects of being different.”

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Bong has felt firsthand the struggles of finding a safe space that would accept him as he is, but he’s also aware that he’s privileged to be surrounded by loving and accepting family members and friends. “There are people out there experiencing hardships even far greater than mine, not being able to find the comfort that my friends, family, and community has given me. So as an advocate for equality, my hope is to help make the society we live in a more open and accepting one for people like me. My wish is that we celebrate our differences, all of which make us human.”

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Bong is part of Candy Rookies 2020, a group of influential and aspirational college students handpicked to represent #GenerationCandy in the year to come.

Photography: Rxandy Capinpin

Art Direction: Hannah Villafuerte

Team Art Director: Jico Joson

Producers: Ysabel Y. Yuzon and Mylene Mendoza

Shoot Coordination: Lou Ferrer

Styling: Van Mercado

Makeup: Jopie Sanchez

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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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PRIMO.

First. Pixie dust and paper cuts – these are the first things Wendy knew about Peter Pan. Aurora first met Prince Philip when she was sixteen. Learning how to ride a bike was also a first while I was growing up, but you are probably the first of too many. The first collection of dust and stars; maybe Luna will try to ask, who was your first? I might answer and tell her that it was you.

The first of too many stars in the sky. You are the first of too many fallen leaves during fall – and you will be the most anticipated snowflake as winter comes. A dark path that you can’t see without any light, hence, you were once the moon and there are the stars that shine so bright at night. Are we too early? Or we just really want to be ahead of time? Even in a glimpse, I would like to see the two of us connect as if we can reach the sky. There are other parts of the heavens you have never saw and other oceans you haven’t laid your feet onto – but the constellations will always wait for you. Close your eyes, love, close your eyes. Start counting backward: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Count backward until you see the twinkling lights that will guide you to the right path. To the right satellite; to the right person. A first.

There are many firsts – first love, first heartbreak, first sport you played, the first thing you do in the morning, the first thing you remember about the person in front of you. There are a lot. It’s actually up to us how we will consider something as a first. So, Primo, you are already a first of too many.

Bea Alamis A day ago
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