You probably haven't seen too many smiley soldiers before, but Major Abdul Ontok is proof that just like us, these men in arms know how to loosen up, too. The Zamboanga-born and bred soldier may have seen much strife and death, beginning his younger years when bombings would occur right in their neighborhood, yet his heart didn't harden, nor did it give up on optimism because of fear. Through it all, Major Ontok's eyes remain on the goal: To protect the country and serve its people.
"Masaya kami nung high school pag walang pasok dahil sa war. Syempre, bata pa kami nun, pero yun pala mababalitaan namin may classmate kami patay na sya, yun pala rebelde pala sya. Hindi ko talaga nagustuhan yung effect ng war sa civilians," he recalls. His parents were adamant all their children become doctors though, so Abdul traded his Philippine Military Academy dreams for medical school. But after graduating at the top of his class, he decided it was time to follow his dreams.
He has since climbed up the ranks as a medical officer in the Philippine Army (what better way to utilize his medicine degree), training incoming army doctors and lending his specialty in neurosurgery. Fun fact: He's one of only about 120 neurosurgeons in the country. Who would've thought that the self-confessed "black sheep" of the family who also majored in fraternity, drinking, and DoTA in college would be this accomplished at only 31. He's definitely giving the millennial generation a lot to be proud of.
How millennial are you and why?
"Sa age oo, pero definitely [unlike others] alam ko naman yung gusto kong gawin sa buhay."
How did you get started with using social IG in your projects/advocacies?
"Kung mapapansin mo yung routine ng mga post ko eh military, then may mga workout din."
How meticulous are you with your posts? Describe your process.
"Siguro for example po for 100 na shots ko, isa lang kinukuha ko. Karamihan ng mga pictures ko na pino-post ko ay yung mga may subject parang ganon. Hindi kasi ako marunong mag-picture ng walang subject. So ayun pinipili ko po kung saan good ang subject and then kung yung contrast ng colors. Minsan ine-edit ko na lang yung brightness and contrast. Pero filter wala na."
What was your greatest social media/ online moment like?
"Transformation, siguro ayun. Maraming na-inspire na pwede pa pala may chance pala na pumayat pa mga ganun. Kasi may pinost ako na before and after. Sa tingin ko ayun."
What do you think is your most ‘exciting’ post? Which one receives the most likes?
"Mga war pictures po namin. Nag-e-enjoy po akong mag-post ng mga bloody na mga intestine minsan or mga brain o mga trauma mga ganun po."
What are your mid-summer plans?
"Wala po, eh. Kasi sa hospital lang po kami."
Any dream destination and why?
"Mukhang gusto kong pumuntang China to learn more about history, war, and civilization. At para makita yung Great Wall. Pinaka-goal ko is Germany, again dahil sa history para makita yung mga sa Holocaust."
Ideal summer escapade and why?
"Beach because relaxing. Hindi ko matandaan somewhere sa after Bacolod. Malapit sa may Kawayan.
Your most effective gwapo trick?
"Malinis, bagong gupit, unique hindi ko kailangang magpa-gwapo."
Your most effective trick to get the girl?
"Sa'min kasi for example kung may trip kami na nurse or student yung ginagawa namin, ma’am paki-text na lang po yung lab result ni ganito ganyan, para lang indirectly makuha yung number and then start ng conversation. Eh kasi naman nakakahiya diba doctor ka so kailangan may mga hindi direct yun pagpapa-cute mo."
Ideal date and why?
"Kung gusto nya yung place? Kung comfortable sya? Kung anong pag-uusapan namin. More on sa kanya naka-focus. Kung okay sa kanya ang food, okey ang ambiance."
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Produced by The @ABSCBNLifestyle Team (Katrina Angco, Julia Arenas, Duey Guison, Angela Sy, Mels Timan, & Barry Viloria) | Cinematography Jana Jimenez with Gio Vibar | Photographs by Vyn Radovan | Grooming by Raf Bardon, Johnson Estrella, and Ryan Wong of MAC Cosmetics | Styling by JM Gumatay, Shaira Mariel Habon, and Carl Pabilona of @TheStylistCrewPH | Hairstyling: @VivereSalon
Shot on location at: I’m Hotel 7862 Makati Ave, Makati City
Special Thanks to: Melissa Lim of @IMhotelPH | Gabs Azarcon and Vanessa Vergara of @MacCosmetics | Arvin Amaro of @VivereSalon