• Wayne Manuel

Took a Break from Dentistry and Won an Award

9th day of March 2018. I have been struggling with my clinical requirements lately. 4 patients have already ditched me for my 2nd root canal case, as well as 3 patients for my pediatric rehabilitation case. Hence, graduation is so near yet so far. As the semester was going halfway, I was losing control of things and I was in need of a break to think things through. I gave myself that desired break and it paid-off, non-academic-wise.

A vacated dental chair, closing time at the UE Dental Infirmary.

1/200 sec., ISO500

"Why spend 6 years in Dentistry when you can work your ass off doing what you're really good at?", a friend asked. I just answered that I don't plan on depending mainly on that for it's just a hobby and Dentistry is really the profession I wanted to practice ever since, even though I keep on failing on my clinicals. I have been making videos for years already, but I have been keeping it in private until July of last year when I decided to go public with my YouTube Channel. It went on great for the next few months, de-stressing by creating vlogs.

Last January, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte hosted a vlog-making contest in celebration of the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals. I took a shot. Worked in the clinic by day, creating the 90-second vlog with the topic "What Makes You Proud as an Ilocano" (watch: titled "Siyak ni Wayne") by night. Results came in, I got in the top 15 and the vlog got thousands of views on Facebook, highest compared to other entries. The views didn't bear anything during the judging process (who were the judges again?) though and I didn't get in the Top 3. The sole intention was not to win, but to express. The number of views led me to believing that the project was indeed a success. Hence, I am thankful to have shared to the world how proud I am as an Ilocano. Nevertheless, this event somehow increased the exposure of my work in both vlogging and filmmaking.

A screen grab from the "Siyak ni Wayne" vlog, taken above the UE College of Dentistry.

DJI Phantom 3. 1/60 sec., ISO100, f/2.8.

Multiple projects were offered to me during and after the Tan-ok, including an induction event hosted by ACE (Achievers' Council for Excellence), one of the student organizations in the College of Dentistry. This is also the time when I assembled a group of Dentistry students who have the same interests as me. We named the group UE Dentistry Vlog Squad (because we couldn't think of any.) Happening simultaneously with my Ilocos contest was the Philippine Dental Association - National Dental Health Month Dentistry Dance-fomercial Contest. The whole college participated by learning the dance that Gian Manahan and Gianne Bernal choreographed. Emalyn Bernal revised the lyrics of the original song while Arman Medenilla sang them with his golden voice. Maica Gatmaitan and I were in charge of all the shooting and post-processing (with the aid of the Dentistry Student Council and Ceejay Orencia). We submitted the PDA entry a day after I submitted my Ilocos vlog entry.

The Siyak ni Wayne hype was over (although some professors and friends in the college were still calling me "Wayne manong!") and we waited for a month to get the results of the PDA contest announced. Just last night, my partner Maica Gatmaitan attended the awarding ceremony, I wasn't able to go. She messaged me that we won 1st runner-up as MCU deservingly got the first place (Kudos to their DIY Braces Awareness Campaign!)

After the series of events mentioned above, I happen to have found myself at the Dean's office on a Monday morning to get something signed for our Community Dentistry class. While signing the papers, she told me (non-verbatim): "Mr. Manuel, why couldn't I share your Ilocos vlog on Facebook? I watched it a couple of times and really got disappointed by the results. Even so, for us you still are the winner and I am very proud of you." I replied by explaining the bizarre happenings before and during the event, and of course, thanking her for her kind words. The short conversation with Dr. Luciano made me love what I do even more. For me, it was some kind of an intangible "award" and somehow having to receive it is when I knew the break I gave myself really paid off.

Special thanks to Mr. Emil James Tanagon, Dr. Michael Ramirez, and Dr. Marie Antoinette Veluz for their big support during the shooting of the Siak ni Wayne vlog. All pictures were shot with Canon M6 + 7artisans 35mm f/1.2 lens, unless stated otherwise. Individual shot specifications in their respective definition boxes.