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How #WokeUST Inspired Five Students to Follow Their Passion and Start a Movement

Meet the movement behind movemen+.
IMAGE Myron Anarcon

The issue of UST's recent elections has caught the attention of many. Not content with the candidates that were running for their student council, a large portion of the student body chose to abstain instead of vote for someone. This whole movement, called the Abstain Nation, led to only two of the six positions—secretary and public relations officer—were filled, whilst the other four positions were not.

Both of the winning candidates were independent candidates, meaning they were not part of a party or a group. According to UST's official student publication The Varsitarian, the elections were held from April 18 to 21, only 66 percent of the entire student body voted, a visibly lower amount compared to last year's 68 percent. The rest had chosen to abstain.

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This stemmed from how a lot of the students were not happy with the candidates they could choose from, knowing that they deserved better students to trust with the rest of their school year. It was also because of how, when asked about controversial topics like the martial law, plenty were extremely unhappy with how the candidates handled the questions given to them. Abstaining served as a protest vote against people that have failed to meet the standards and expectations set for them. From this experience, the student body hopes that the candidates for the following elections will be more firm in what they are fighting for, and in what they believe in.

Here's how that movement—along with so many other ideas that influenced them—inspired five young students to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

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Wanting to spread a positive message, along with what they had seen during the elections, five Thomasians used this event to spread a positive message to the world, and with their newfound inspiration, they started movemen+. They are Melvin Dave Jordan, Nathan Hernandez, Ernest Macasil, Juan Lorenzo Rivera, and Kurt Tecson. With the italics representing progressiveness and the plus sign (+) showing positivity, they put these two together to spread a simple, yet powerful message:

Progress can only be attained if we are positive enough that it will.

After what happened in UST, movemen+ has seen their students stand their ground on something they believed in, wherein they chose to abstain instead of voting for a candidate that they knew wasn't exactly right for the position. This event is what got movemen+ together since they are, after all, in the same college building. To them, their building Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building (BGPOP) is like Pandora's Box but is instead full of creativity and talent, waiting for someone to open it and to unleash it into the world. Since their building holds the largest population within UST, they played a large role in the elections, and where movemen+ was born.

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They shared the idea that they had the power to choose, and these students made the powerful choice to make a change; these students chose to come together and wake up their political parties to produce more competent leaders, not just ones to fill up the vacant position slots.

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"The UST election is just one of the factors as to why we named our brand movemen+. We saw Thomasians, for the first time, take a stand on something, and it led to a movement," says Melvin, one of the brand's founders.

Another reason the group came to the idea of movemen+ is because of how they see the country's disdain for new ideas. The Philippines has grown to become very accustomed to the traditional "grow up, get a 9-5 job, settle down, die" mindset. Though there's nothing wrong with this, this idea often causes the younger generations to do what everyone is accustomed to doing. They grow up and live life as safe as possible because they are too afraid to simply try, because why try if you might fail, right? This is the way of thinking that movemen+ wants to break. Through their clothing brand, they hope to inspire other young entrepreneurs like themselves to pursue their dreams regardless of what others think or say.

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To this group, they are not just starting a fashion brand. They are starting a movement. They want to teach everyone—not only to just the Philippines, but to the whole world as well—that you don't have to fit into the mold that society has made for everyone to follow. You are allowed to try and, as a human being, you are allowed to fail. Nothing great can be achieved if you do not work hard for it.

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Since movemen+ has started, they have done everything with nothing but passion, love and determination in achieving the vision that they want to share with the world. There is not enough time for you to waste your life doing something that doesn't make you happy. The world desperately needs more creative minds and brave leaders in the world, and if you think you're one of them, why stop yourself from being so?

Follow your own dreams. Pave your own path. Leave your own unique legacy behind, and always remember to say #SalamatPanginoon!

With these positive, hard-hitting messages in hand, movemen+ just may help pave the country's way to a more progressive, more creative path.

The official release happened on May 28, 2017, after the group had taken their final exams. They have priced their shirts at P400 each, and their merchandise is available for either delivery or for pick-up. These five strong minds have yet to reach their full potential, and when they do, they hope that everyone will be ready for the movement that is yet to come.

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Gaby Agbulos
Candymag.com Correspondent
Gaby Agbulos is a strong, determined spirit that enjoys doing anything as long as the people she loves with her. She enjoys listening to music, writing stories, and meeting new friends, especially if by friends, you mean puppies.
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A community page where you can share your feels and show your skills! Learn more here

"Today, I Won"

I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.

When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.

For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.

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After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.

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It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.

To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.

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Juliana Rebong 6 hours ago

Why our high school barkada is the best?

Remembering our high school years entails quite a lot reminiscing of the things we all been through when we were younger. You’ve experience a lot of new things during those 4 wonderful years and did most of them with the few people you consider your barkada. And through a series of all the lunch breaks you had together, the walks you took on the way home, and taking the same classes, you never thought you’d survive, you have made your life’s greatest friends.

Here are some of the reasons why your high school barkada is the best:

1. You figured out early teenage life together. The transition one have undergone from being a kid to a teenager wasn’t easy. For a moment you are not sure whether you should have played with your friends during recess or you should have just sat down and ate your food because you were too old for games. But whatever it is you chose to do, having friends who were as clueless as you make everything feel easier because you know, deep down, you’d figure things out eventually. You just need good company.

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2. They were with you during your “jeje“ days. I bet you have pictures taken with Camera360 and Retrica. You also have pictures edited using Pizap with embarrassing captions and you somehow kept some of them so you could have something to post online during their birthdays.

3. They know all your exes. They will never EVER forget the name of an ex-boyfriend, an ex-fling, an ex-crush, and an almost you had. They will remind you of your every questionable love decision but you’ll just laugh anyway while saying “Past is past”.

4. They never judge you. They have welcomed you to their lives when you thought jelly shoes and checkered polos were the bomb! They were quick to have told your teachers that you were not feeling well so you could go home when you really just needed to poop. You tell them every embarrassing story you have and were fine with it.

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5. You can always count on them. From the moment you first fell in love and the moment you first had your heart broken, they were with you. They were with you the moment you lost a parent and at moments when you thought you had nothing. Through every break-up and breakthrough, they were there to be your support system.

6. They are your family. Your high school friend’s family is your own family’s extension. Their parents are like your own. Don’t you feel a little kilig whenever your friend’s parents call you “anak”? And then eventually calling them mama and papa became so natural? I felt that, all the time.

7. They will always be your home. They are your place of refuge and security, the place who offers you their hands when you feel lost and the place you run to when you need saving. No matter how much time and distance separate you, they will be the one’s that you always long for and they are the one’s that you will always return to.

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