It’s difficult to remain unfazed by the uncertainties and challenges brought about by the pandemic. But for Markdel Ventura, a certified ‘raketero’ from Bulacan, giving up is never an option.
Markdel draws his courage from his parents and the desire to help them. “Ang trabaho po ng parents ko, kumukuha po sila ng mga basura sa mga kompanya, kunwari mga plastic, karton. ‘Yung sinasabi nilang ‘may pera sa basura,’ ganoon ang eksena ng aking parents. Kinukuha nila tapos binebenta,” he shared.
Earnings from this kind of livelihood are not fixed. Not having a regular family income pushed Markdel to take on different jobs and help his parents. He was a student-entrepreneur, starting with selling cellphone load to his classmates and teachers in high school. He also sold soap and bags. With a lively personality, Markdel would also take on hosting and singing gigs for events.
Markdel doesn’t stop working hard to give back to his parents and their sacrifices. “Nakita ko po ‘yung hirap at pagpupursige ng mga magulang ko. Napakaano ko naman kung hindi ko tutularan ‘yun. Kasi, kung hindi ako kikilos, made-deads po sila sa gutom,” he said.
When online businesses started to boom this pandemic, Markdel ventured into online food selling as well. With research, faith, and unbreakable tenacity, he managed to find opportunities amid the challenging circumstances.
“Malaking kagaanan at kasiyahan sa puso ko na gumagaan ‘yung sitwasyon ng mga magulang ko,” he expressed. Markdel will continue to pursue bigger dreams not only for himself but for his parents.
Avid fans of Janine Berdin knows her success story is a proof that dreams happen if you would just believe and wait for the perfect time. Before she was hailed as the Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 2 grand champion, Janine had quite a struggle in entering showbiz.
She first joined Star Circle Kids Quest in 2011 and made it to the semi-finals. She also tried her luck in The Voice Kids and Tawag ng Tanghalan Season 1 but it wasn’t yet her time. There came a point when Janine thought of quitting. Others tried to belittle her singing talent, which they say isn’t fit for mainstream ‘birit’ material.
“Ever since I was a kid, music po ang gusto kong i-pursue pero maraming nagsasabi, dahil nga po garalgal ‘yung boses ko, parang hindi ko po maaabot ‘yung dream na ‘yun,” shared Janine. She wouldn’t forget when someone who is no longer part of her life told her to focus on acting instead. Those words wounded her self-esteem, maybe not enough to stop her from trying but she felt tired of dreaming big.
Janine embraced the thought that she is not meant for showbiz. From her wish to become a mainstream artist, she settled for a simple dream to become a bar singer in her hometown in Cebu. To reach that little wish, she must make it on national television first, so she auditioned for the second season of TNT.
“Sa Cebu po, kapag nakita ka lang sa TV saglit, kukunin ka ng mga restaurants tapos pinapakanta ka na po doon. ‘Yun po talaga ‘yung sinasabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘Naaabot ko na ‘yung mga dream ko, kakanta na ako sa TV kaya kukunin na ako sa mga restaurants.’ Pero sobra-sobra po ang binigay ni Lord, tinuloy-tuloy Niya,” expressed Janine.
Despite all the rejections, Janine found the courage from her family and the desire to make them proud. Her family’s support would keep her going. They believed in her so she never wanted to fail them.
“I want to make myself and my family proud. Gusto kong marating ‘yung point na happy lang po talaga kaming lahat, ‘yun po ang number one goal ko. Aside sa passion ko po talaga ang music that’s why I keep on doing what I do,” she said.
The New Gem of OPM takes 2020 as the year of embracing changes. Apart from her trending glow up, she got a happier attitude and a braver mindset. While others aren’t celebrating with her, Janine would rather focus on those who do.
“Nagulat rin po ako sa sarili ko na every time I would read a bad comment, wala po akong nafi-feel kasi sobrang happy ko lang po talaga sa self ko. Sobrang secured po ako sa self ko. Wala na po akong iniisip na negative because my family, friends, and supporters have always been there hanggang ngayon,” Janine added.
The road to self-love is teaching her to turn a blind eye to bashing. Janine continues to achieve her dreams and she recently went back to school as well, taking up Mass Communication.
Lyca Gairanod was 9 years old when she blew us away with her ‘birit’ prowess on The Voice Kids in 2014. Now, at 15, apart from the changes in her singing style, Lyca has become a lot braver in pursuing her dreams and facing the hurdles in between.
The young songstress keeps on practicing while at home. Adolescence is slowly turning her ‘birit’ into pop rock style, more runs and riffs than high notes. She has also ventured into vlogging to hone her speaking skills and keep her connected with her one million subscribers.
Lyca is not exempted from bashing despite being a minor. Out of all the negative comments and assumptions thrown at her in the past seven years, she thinks the “surgery” issue is the most shocking. She denied going under the knife.
She turned criticisms into tools for self-improvement and building confidence. So, thanks to her bashers, she became braver. “Sila rin naman po ‘yung nagpalakas ng loob ko para mas galingan ko pa,” expressed Lyca.
The young artist has learned to come out of her shell and be more confident. “Natuto po ako kung paano magpasaya ng tao kasi dati po talagang tahimik, hindi po ako masyadong nagsasalita kasi mahiyain po ako dati. Sa ngayon, nagkaroon po ako ng lakas ng loob na ibahagi po sa inyo kung sino po ako, ‘yung totoo lang po ako,” she said.
Lyca started young as a breadwinner. Asked where she draws the motivation, she mentioned her family and God. She witnessed her family’s financial struggles growing up. So, now that she’s capable of helping, Lyca is eager to provide her family a better life.
“Sila din ‘yung nagpupursige, so lahat ng pagod nila gusto ko pong suklian ng tulong. Pangarap ko po sa family ko maging successful kami, ‘yung maayos po na buhay, ‘yung nakakakain kami sa araw-araw. Dati po kasi talagang bina-budget po namin kasi hirap sa pera dati,” she added.
Lyca urged fellow teenagers to always give their best, to not waste their God-given talent because anyone is capable of dreaming.
Fumiya Sankai and Yamyam Gucong
The friendship of ex-Pinoy Big Brother housemates Fumiya Sankai and Yamyam Gucong can never be weakened by cultural and language barrier, and even by distance. Fumiya went back to Japan since the quarantine while Yamyam to his hometown in Bohol.
Yamyam proudly shared his bakery business in the province while Fumiya is trying his luck in Japan’s showbiz and running his own clothing brand. The Japanese cutie continues to vlog as well. The duo keeps in touch, thanks to social media.
While they remain connected in the digital space, they miss seeing each other and going to tapings together. They miss the old bonding days – just talking about anything over good food and laughter.
They may have different culture and speak different languages but they just get one another, proving that love is the language of friendship. Yamyam said they hit it off at their first meeting, as though they’re soul brothers. They both thought of each other as friendly and jolly people, that’s why they instantly felt connected.
“Noong nasa loob kami ng bahay ni Kuya, siguro ‘yung tadhana din mismo ‘yung nagdidikit sa amin kasi sa binibigay na tasks, palagi kaming magkasama. Merong matatalo kami, pero doon sa mga task na ‘yun, doon nade-develop ‘yung friendship namin,” said Yamyam.
While they were inside the house, Fumiya and Yamyam felt comfortable with each other. It was only with Fumiya that Yamyam felt naturally open. Their different strengths, when combined, made them a strong tandem.
Their friendship goes deeper beyond the hilarious shenanigans. We’ve seen them make sacrifices for each other’s dreams inside the PBB house such as when Fumiya gave up his possible Big 4 slot for Yamyam.
The ‘soul brothers’ went through their PBB journey side by side, thus Yamyam’s big win was a shared victory for them. Everybody saw how elated Fumiya was when Yamyam was declared as the Big Winner.
They are thankful for their friendship and everything they went through since day one. Fumiya said he learns a lot from his buddy and he finds his experiences inspiring. Yamyam is just as grateful, calling their friendship rare and solid.