A most valuable time with MVPBy Team Malayan High School of Science
Philippine Daily Inquirer
What they’ve learned
The remaining two teams among the five finalists in the Inquirer in Education-Nokia My Dream Interview contest talk about their experiences interviewing businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan and new media CEO Maria Ressa in this issue. Next Monday, we will be coming out with the first of the five interview stories written by the finalist teams. At the end of the series, we will announce the top two interviews that have been entered in the global My Dream Interview Festival of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.
HAVING the opportunity to meet the country’s leading CEO, the man who is quite possibly the busiest person in the country, was— there’s no other word—awesome.
When we were informed that our interview with Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan had been set, we were ecstatic.
Upon arrival at the interview venue, we were briefed on what we were supposed to do when we meet him. We were served juice and sandwiches, with chips on the side.
The door opened gently, bodyguards (we think) came in and an awkward silence filled the room when Mr. Pangilinan entered. Not only were we awed, we felt a wave of nervousness, too. The opportunity to interview such an influential and powerful man doesn’t come to students like us every day.
At first, we could sense some tension in the room, but when MVP started cracking a few jokes, the atmosphere changed completely.
MVP, it turned out, had a great sense of humor.
After he told us some stories, we proceeded with our questions. His answers were interesting since nearly each one had a story behind it and life lessons he learned.
People usually see MVP as a rich, powerful and influential man. Yet he doesn’t wish to be remembered as a rich or a powerful man. He would rather be known for what he has done to help improve life in his country.
Not only did he give us the opportunity to interview him, he also gave us a lot of strategies and advice: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. In the end, it is courage that counts.”
Mr. Pangilinan is bold enough to accept the reality of life and what may come and go. We think this is one of the many reasons he is where he is today.
There were only a few questions that he hesitated to answer. He seemed to be open to most of the questions we had prepared. Further in the interview, we asked him if there were people who had turned their backs on him. He gave a straight answer: “Yes. People may turn their back on you when you fail. You have to be ready for that. But the simple fact that you’re alive should be enough to keep you from giving up.”
He told us the harsh reality that one could not just depend on others. “At the end of the day, your life’s journey is a lonely one. … Do what is expected of you.”
When we asked what he expected from the youth of today, he said simply: “More.” He said we would have to improve the economy so the Philippines wouldn’t just be known as a country of entertainers.
Mr. Macam, who had some hesitation when first asked to coach our team, will always remember something that MVP said during the interview: “It is your own values that will measure how successful you are, not the material things that you have. The question is, what have you done for others?”
We learned a lot from Mr. Pangilinan and, someday, we hope to be just like him—successful and able to keep a smile on our faces.
The lessons were irreplaceable. The stories were unforgettable. The moment was simply remarkable.
When the interview was over, we agreed that we should do this more often if we were to have the chance.
We have no idea how to thank the people who gave us this once-in-a-lifetime chance and experience. So we give the Inquirer our eternal thank you.
Erwin Macam (coach )