Music plays a big part in Sean Dandasan's life. The Speech Communication major from UP Diliman confesses his love for singing since he's a kid. It's always been his passion.
"I’ve always loved music! I spent a lot of time listening to the radio and CDs. Growing up, I really just wanted to be a singer," he shares. Now, Sean begins his journey in the music industry as a student jock of Magic 89.9, but never losing touch of that dream of making music, or hopefully, his own album. In the meantime, working for radio seems to be the right path for the 22-year-old.
His current stint in the local station encouraged him to chase for more dreams. "When I finally worked up the nerve to audition and got accepted, I wondered, 'Which of my other crazy dreams might actually come true for me?'" He's on steady pursuit of many things since then, which led him to join the Chalk Bright Young Manila competition.
"I saw Bright Young Manila as a challenge, an opportunity to look at myself and see how I could make myself better and grow. I realized I cared for so many things, and my advocacy is just one of them," the BYM winner relates. Bagging the title is a pressure he's welcomed, taking the chance to be the role model he believes our generation needs to have.
"If there’s even one person who looks up to you, that’s a challenge for you to put your best foot forward everyday and make sure that in the long run, the steps you make become bigger, more confident, more assured, and less alone. You have to show them how to catch up with you, and then walk alongside you and beyond," he adds.
Joining the competition also made him realize what he wants to champion for, which is acceptance of and support for non-traditional families, a cause that's close to his heart. As a child of separated parents, he wants others to have the same support that he was given. "My family today is happier—much happier, I believe, than when we were complete," he says. The so-called "perfect" family set up doesn't always equate to a better quality of life, and Sean understands that, sometimes, stepping away from each other is the first path to healing.
"There’s still so much pressure to force ourselves to fit into standards that disregard our personal situations, and that can take a toll on everyone," he shares. For one, these families go through hardships in many forms—conflict, turmoil, separation, and abuse can be traumatic not just for the involved parties, but for the brood as a whole. Knowing where people in these situations come from, the UP resident can grasp their sadness and longing, thus dealing with them with more sympathy and compassion. "Let’s not judge or encourage them further to force themselves into those situations. Let’s be there for them and help them find what’s best for them."
All they need is the chance to be heard, as Sean knows too well. He uses this, instead of pouring unsolicited advice when not really necessary, as means to acknowledge and comfort those who seek it. In the simplest sense, Sean is just being a friend. Reaching out is a start.
"The youth of today care so much that it hurts, that to other people it even seems silly. People think caring makes us snowflakes, but it's brave," he muses. So this changemaker fuels his passion with ways to debunk perception in this very personal issue. For one, inclusion is best done with people within reach—virtual friends included.
"We have to accept that the scars are part of us now. You have the power to move past it, and if the cut was too deep, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to carry all of your burdens on your own," Sean claims.
And when the timing is right, this Chalk Bright Young Manila champ is ready to reach out to more people—in this cause, in music, and beyond.
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
ALSO READ: Chalk Bright Young Manila: Meet Our 5 Winners Who Will Inspire You to Move with Passion