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Former ‘Oras Na’ Host is Mabalacat City College president

DR. Michelle Aguilar-Ong.

By Rogelio Constantino Medina

DR. Michelle Aguilar-Ong, or Ate Mich as I usually call her, did not only produce my early short films but also treated me as part of her wonderful family when I was just starting my career as a theater actor and as a filmmaker,” begins multi-awarded indie film director Carlo Enciso Catu who directed ABS-CBN’s Paano Kita Mapapasalamatan but later gave it up due to the untimely death of his mother.

Ong produced Kalasing, Lakbe, Matwang Dalaga, and Miss Daka. She says that director Carlo is like a son to her and her husband Jessie. “I saw in him a very talented man who needed a little support during those times but I never doubted that he will be successful on his own.”

She hosted “Oras Na”, a one-hour public affairs program under GNN TV 44, now One Media. She got to interview national and local personalities in the government about pressing public issues. She believes that giving your best at all times, even when no one is watching.

One time, director Carlo Catu mentioned to me about the useful rule of thumb, the 3 H’s, that Ong has ingrained in him. “Hardwork, humility and honesty, the three H’s, that shape someone’s character. I learned it from my mentor and I passed it to Carlo,” says Mich Ong, who took Behavioral Sciences in UP Manila. She is a meritissimus awardee, both in her masterate and doctorate from Don Honorio Ventura State University, with coaching certificate from Chartered Management Institute of London.

She is the former executive director of Nayong Pilipino Foundation under the Department of Tourism. “Clark was my choice office then. It was a brief stint but I got to closely work with my first love which is theater and being surrounded by artists made the work more awesome.”

During weekends, she usually spends reading and having fun with her kids, sometimes picking up on her hobbies such as painting, or playing golf if schedule allows.

She admits that this pandemic is bringing major changes in the industry landscape. Pampanga’s Mabalacat City College (where she is its president) has to prepare its re-entry plan to make its graduates competitive in the next months. “Right now we’re gearing towards industry-relatedness and that is not just about curriculum and instruction but that goes for infrastructure development too…. MCC is prioritizing its people, the wellness, and advancement because a lot will be asked of them as we continue to move in the digital era.”

As Christmas season, which she considers one of the happiest days (because they usually host the annual lunch for family and cousins), is approaching, she believes that Christmas would be the same as before. For her, the pandemic only restricted the gatherings but the “feelings will always be the same, it might even heighten it.”

She reiterates that the essence of Christmas is family. “It’s that time of the year that should be theirs exclusively,” she says with a sweet, wide smile as she adds that she does the cooking so it is not only the happiest but “the busiest”.

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