One of the things that Chalk Bright Young Manila 2019 winner Laurence Santiano wants you to know is that gamers like himself, contrary to what the media portray in film and TV, aren’t the types to spend the whole day in the basement with eyes glued to the screen and mind on the console, with little breaks of reaching out for a slice of pizza in between rounds.
“Gaming won’t ruin your children’s lives! Pursuing gaming as a professional career isn’t a waste of time or hopeless,” he says when asked about the misconceptions he’d like to break about the field. Santi, as most people would know him, is here to advocate for this sport—that gaming is more than just child’s play.
The 22-year-old got into gaming in a very typical manner. Back when PlayStation 1 was a god-tier gaming console, little Santi used to stay at the corner as he watched his brother play. And he kept watching, until his turn to hold the joystick came. “I got hooked when I got my chance to play. It was surreal,” he says.
Fast forward to present, he joined Chalk BYM with a cause in mind—to speak out against the stigma in the gaming world. Sure, he admits that he still has a long way to go in being a role model for the youth, but Santi believes that life has plans for him. “It was fun to be able to talk with a lot of people from different places. I appreciated our exchanges of beliefs and opinions,” the UP resident shares.
He describes a Bright Young Manila candidate as someone who helps people understand the world better and inspire them to fight for what they believe in. With this thought in mind, he entered the competition with high hopes of laying his advocacy on the table for everyone to consume.
“I knew in my heart that I am equipped and prepared to fight for it,” he confidently speaks. Wearing the title on his sleeve, he does his best in connecting and sharing his passion and ideas. It applies to gaming, as well as his personal experiences, too—reaching out to a wider audience and encouraging people his age to follow your dreams, whatever it is, and have fun while at it. An inspirational side of a gamer, if you ask us!
His role online as a streamer enables him to showcase the upsides and excitement of gaming in real time, minus the filter and illusions. And Santi has gotten a lot better throughout his stay in the online gaming world—from explaining the wonders of gaming to all the doubters and eventually convincing a lot more others to delve into its thrilling action.
He further retaliates how getting into this field enriches one’s life. Through wearing different characters’ hats in video games, one can take away the learning that comes from the adventure —from working to achieve the next level to figuring out the events as you play one game after the next. The experience itself is growth; its stories are cherished. Just like navigating real life, the reel universe creates special connections that touch the hearts in many ways. As Santi puts it, it changes them for the better.
“I think for us gamers, without gaming, it would function as if the world has no color. Without gaming, creativity would be limited. When people play games, they are presented with a lot of decisions, and they must choose carefully. They are given almost impossible tasks and unbeatable enemies. But with these, they thrive and manage to apply it in real life,” the HRIM student explains.
Some of the games that he recommends people to try are Final Fantasy 8 (his favorite and the first RPG he played), Last of Us, the Uncharted collection, The God of War and Spiderman games in 2019, and Apex Legends. He also gives advice for beginners on how to fully enjoy the ride. “If you’re on a budget and could not afford the latest popular games, watch playthroughs! Also, find friends who are very positive when gaming. You won’t like people who would always lash at you when you do something wrong in game; you’d like individuals who appreciate the spirit of gaming and those who are there to enjoy its challenges,” he suggests.
As much as Santi’s world may involve a lot of gaming, though, he hasn’t lost the fervor in other things. He knows sports, loves singing and dancing, and tries his hands on visual arts like photography and game design. “There’s no secret,” he says. “I just did what I love to do. I just became me. No formula, no shortcut.”
We asked him, who does he think Santi will be in the next few years? “Hopefully, I’ve sorted things out. I see myself trying to help a whole bunch of people doing what they love. I think I have a chance to make their lives a better one. I am confident that I can lead people to their own versions of success,” he answers.
“I can’t wait to be that guy,” Santi ends.
Meet the Chalk Bright Young Manila winners here:
Photographed by Ed Encelona
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Aldrin Ramos
Clothes by Forever 21, Penshoppe, and Mango
Makeup by Chuchie Ledesma, Angeline dela Cruz, Muriel Vega Perez
Hair by Jeff Valenzuela, Arthur Tolentino, Muriel Vega Perez
Video Produced by Deiniel Cuvin
Videography by Mismo Studio
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