AS THE BEDAN community mourns the recent loss of two students who have made an impact on the lives of the people they met within the University, namely, Danica Lao and Ezekiel Gualvez, we remember their lives and legacies as we speak to those who hold them dearest in the community. 

Danica Lao, a student from the Management and Accounting department and former Associate of the San Beda Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (JPIA), was remembered as a dependable and selfless friend. 

Maria Juliet Arroyo, a close friend of Danica and a fourth-year student from the Department of Psychology, shared her memories of Danica and experiences with her.      

A friend you can count on

Photo courtesy of Maria Juliet Arroyo

Danica was described as a “selfless friend” who could be relied on. “Tipong, you can really count on her whenever you need her,” said Juliet.    

Juliet also expounded on their friendship and shared what kind of person Danica was and the relationship she shared with her.  “She’s also a very energetic person every training na parang never ko siya nakitang nagagalit kahit na mahirap or down yung mood ng team kasi not all training days are good days din for us.  

Danica is also remembered as a kind and caring person. Juliet mentioned that these adjectives are not enough to describe Anica because of everything she had done for her and the team. 

To Juliet, Danica is dependable not just as a teammate but also as a friend. A ‘one call away’ friend, Danica, would always support them in doing things they know best for them. 

“Her loyalty and trustworthiness as a dependable person will always cease to amaze me,” Juliet mentioned.    

The start of a friendship 

Photo courtesy of Maria Juliet Arroyo

Danica’s passion for dance became the common ground for her and Juliet to become close friends. Juliet discussed the start of their friendship and shared, “Anica and I were part of a dance team called Vasileia back in senior high school here at San Beda.” 

“We were trainees that time and kami yung laging magkasama every training kasi yung isang common friend namin ay kasama na sa competition team and every after training, silang dalawa lagi ko kasamang kumain at umuwi and that’s how we began to be friends kasi sa kanya na rin ako nagrarant and also laging magkakasama ang ABM at HUMSS noon when there were seminars or events.” 

On the other hand, Juliet’s favorite memories with Danica revolve around her selfless and supportive nature. She reminisced when Danice would always treat her and the rest of the team and Danica’s unwavering support for her accomplishments and humble attitude towards her triumphs 

“Like what I said, she is very selfless. Yung kahit nagjojoke ka lang na, “Anica libre mo ‘ko”, she’ll say “sige” with a straight face and dahil kilala talaga namin siya, kailangan mo sabihin yung “joke lang” sa dulo kasi gagawin at gagawin talaga ni Anica yung favor mo and that’s how reliable she is,” Juliet expressed. 

She also emphasized Danica’s humbleness in her achievements and gave it back by becoming a top supporter of dancing and life.  

I miss her everyday and kahit hindi na kami naging teammates sa BDT, she always messaged me ang cheered me sa mga sayaw ko with my new team,” Juliet stated. 

Of Passion and Appreciation 

Photo courtesy of Maria Juliet Arroyo

Danica found passion in dance, as mentioned by Juliet. “Well, since part kami ng isang dance team, we share the same interest in that passion. Siya rin lagi kong nakakasama when we watch dance competitions and concerts nung pre-pandemic so mostly talaga ng time that we have spent together ay puro lang sa pagsasayaw.” 

But one thing that Juliet likes in their commonalities is their profound love and appreciation for dogs.  

Meron din siyang alagang aso sa Ilocos and I have mine sa Bicol and we always share videos noon sa IG ng mga funny dog videos para pagtawanan and panggigilan and tuwang tuwa rin siya sa alaga ko kasi ang kulit daw ng vibe ni Omi and ayon, I just wish na sana na-meet niya talaga si Omi,” Juliet expressed. 

If you had one message for Danica, what would it be?  

“Hi Anica. Thank you for all the things that you have done for me and your friends. Wala na kami ibang mahihiling pa ng dose kundi yung maging okay ka and be free from all the pain of this world. You know how much we love you and yes, hindi namin papabayaan yung isa’t isa dito so you can rest easy. We’ll always check on one another and ikaw na bahala mangurot samin kapag mali na desisyon namin sa buhay. Babalik kami ng Ilocos at sana naman hindi na kami niyayanig ng bagyo, pero kung oo man, never back down never what na lang talaga. Pangako namin yan Princess! See you soon! Magbibeach at gagala pa tayo sa hometown mo kaya antayin mo kami diyan bumalik! To our Danica Princess, we miss you every day and we love you very much.” 

Ezekiel Gualvez was a former student of the Legal Management department from the academic year 2021-2022, and from then on, of the Human Resource Management department. We talked to Khy Soliman, the Vice President for Internal Affairs for the Human Resource Development Management Society (HDRMS), who expressed her friendship with Ezekiel as ‘unexpected’ as they battle their academic life through hardship. We also spoke to Dr. Jenny De Guia, the moderator of HDRMS, who noted Kiel’s excellence in his studies. 

The outgoing and loving guy 

Photo courtesy of Khy Soliman

Khy remembered Kiel’s outgoingness, sense of humor, and observantness. She mentioned how he’s not the type of person to show his soft side, as it’s rare to Khy as well that Kiel would have a problem. 

To Khy, Kiel is full of adventures. “Kiel is very into different kinds of adventures in life, through ups and downs of his journey, alam kong kada lugar at taong nakikilala niya, I know that he will forever treasure them,” Khy shared. 

Kiel’s outgoing personality is something that Khy will miss. She recalled when Kiel had been there for his friends, “He might be putting jokes all around, but he observes his friends silently if they’re doing fine or not.” 

On the other hand, Dr. De Guia mentioned that Ezekiel is a serious student but a loving son to his family. 

A responsible and spontaneous friend 

Photo courtesy of Khy Soliman

Khy recalled her initial interaction with Ezekiel and the catalyst that started their friendship. “It all started nung 1st sem 2nd year po kami, shiftee po siya from Legal Management, together with our other friends rin po, then doon na po nagsimula lahat ng paunti unti kasi si Kiel hindi sya ganon nakikihalubilo sa GC pa react react lang siya ganon not until nakasama na namin siya personally, doon po nagstart yung bond.  

As the bond continued, Kiel became Khy’s ‘human diary,’ which turned into sharing their hardship through jokes and seriousness.  

As a spontaneous friend, Khy shared his favorite memory of traveling to different places with Kiel and their other friends to coffee shops around Rizal. She will never forget Kiel through the panoramic scenery that they went to. 

She also recalled the time when Kiel went to her house and ranted about things that reached until dawn. As the outgoing and spontaneous he is, Kiel also sends random conversations and videos through I-message and TikTok to his friends. 

“We will forever miss his random aya sa mga iba’t ibang lugar at bagay. As we all reminisce Kiel’s memories with us, we also realize that while he was here, one of the things he did for us was to connect all of us in a possible way, to meet different people because of him, and to connect with them, because of him,” Khy expounded. 

Despite his serious appearance, Dr. De Guia mentioned that Ezekiel is a responsible student. He met the deadline and passed all of his subjects. He interacts well with his classmates.  

Through humor and music 

Photo courtesy of Khy Soliman

Khy shared how they both have the same interests through humor and music preferences. They both like to send songs to each other, especially if they like it.  

“We both have the same interests pag dating sa nga malalalim na jokes, also when it comes to our music tastes, same rin kami kasi nagsesendan kami ng kanta kapag sa tingin namin na magugustuhan namin pareho” 

Khy mentioned their interest in movies. Whenever Ezekiel discovers a good film, he initially suggests it to her. 

If you have a message for Ezekiel, what would it be? 

Khy concluded, in her message to Ezekiel, “Kiel, know that every memory we shared will always be treasured. You may be out of our sight, but you will be forever in our hearts. Alam ko/namin hindi naging madali sayo yung mga bagay na kinaharap mo sa buhay, kaya we are all hoping that you are now at peace, no more worries to think, no more heavy heart to dwell. On behalf of your San Beda and AHR family, mahal na mahal ka namin kiel, lagi’t lagi.” 

If Ezekiel was in front of Dr. De Guia, she wanted to say, “Be strong and fight,” but now that he was not here, she wanted to say, “Find peace.”  

As we remember Danica and Ezekiel, we are forever grateful for their contributions in and outside San Beda. The impact they left on their friends, families, classmates, and professors will live on as the Bedan community always holds Danica and Ezekiel dear in our hearts. The Lions’ Den is deeply saddened as we lost two exemplary members of the Pride, but their legacies and memories will forever be cherished and preserved.   

(With Mika Isidro)