Heart Evangelista joins book unifying rivals Ateneo, La Salle
From left: Actress and artist Heart Evangelista at the Cream Silk 'Conditioned for Greater' event; Ateneo de Manila University President Fr. Jett Villarin, S.J. receives the first copy of 'Siya Nga! Reflections with Art' from De La Salle University President Br. Raymundo Suplido, F.S.C. (top, right); De La Salle University facade lit up in blue and green to signify the collaboration between two arch-rival universities.
Philstar.com/Kat Leandicho, Maan D' Asis Pamaran; ADMU,DLSU/Released
Heart Evangelista joins book unifying rivals Ateneo, La Salle
Maan D' Asis Pamaran (Philstar.com) - February 6, 2020 - 10:24am

MANILA, Philippines — It was a milestone moment as the façade of the De La Salle University in Taft Avenue, Manila lit up in blue and green to mark the launching of a book penned by Ateneo President Fr. Jose Ramon “Jett” Villarin, S.J. and edited by David Jonathan Bayot, then published by the De La Salle University Publishing House. 

These two colors are symbolic of the decades-long rivalry of the two universities within the arena of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). Hence, the book collaboration for “Siya Nga! Reflections with Art” raised a few eyebrows, those who produced it said in jest, but it was all for a good cause.

"Siya Nga! Reflections with Art" contains 52 reflections on terms like Incarnation, Trinity, Word, Freedom, and Christmas. Each of the 300-word reflections in the book are based on the works of noted Filipino artists, including Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Benedicto Cabrera, Arturo Luz, Dame Betsy Westendorp (whose painting is featured on the book cover), Elmer Borlongan, Love Marie Ongpauco-Escudero (Heart Evangelista), and Kenneth John Montegrande, to name a few. 

“I envision the book to be one that contains images of artwork by a broad range of Filipino artists: from the canonical ones including the National Artists, to the younger voices in the Philippine art scene. In so doing, the book seeks to foreground the artistic representations of the Filipinos and the range of the representations,” the book’s editor, David Jonathan Bayot, said. 

Fr. Villarin’s short homilies aim to shed light on the terms that both the author and the editor deemed significant in the life and living of those who share the Christian faith.  

“What we wanted to do is to make these familiar words unfamiliar once again,” Fr. Villarin said. “The book aims to look at these words in a different way, in a different manner so that we may show that the newness of God will never grow old, and the bigness of His love will never grow small.”

He talked further about the impact of words in today’s society. “Before I write for my homily, for example, I pray. I pray that I am not leading people on the wrong path, especially during this time. We need to recover the power of words, which have become cheap. In fact, in Tagalog, we have a word for it: ‘mura.' Sometimes it even comes from our leaders who have become cavalier and careless about it, forgetting that words can hurt. With this collaboration between the Ateneo and La Salle, we can help young people not to be traumatized but to recover the beauty of words.” 

The creative process begins with prayer, and as Fr. Villarin said, “It is a grace-filled moment, when I feel that it is not just me who is talking. The words for reflection are not just Christian, they draw from human experience such as Law, Silence, and Love.”

The book ends with blank pages opposite chosen artworks, where the reader can draw their own reflections. 

Apart from contributing to the book, Heart recently took part in haircare brand Cream Silk's recent campaign, "Conditioned for Greater," which aims to encourage and inspire every Filipina to believe that no dream is too big and they should go for greater in their chosen field. They also partnered with Edukasyon.ph for online educational modules covering a range of topics, from the arts to business and communication.

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