MAGIS (pronounced "mh-gis") is a Jesuit phrase taken from Ad majorem Dei gloriam, a Latin phrase meaning "for the greater glory of God." The term refers to the philosophy of doing more, for Christ, and for others.

Based on the life experiences of St Ignatius Loyola, he used the word magis to talk about a quest for the greater good, and always striving to do more, achieving more and embracing wisdom in return.

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I was privileged to be a part of the event of the Mass Communication graduating class under good friend and Professor Rikki Jimenez.

Organized by the Last Waltz Productions, "The Evolution of Magis: Then and Now" was an exhibit of photos and videos by present Ateneo students as well as chosen alumni who went into photography.

The list included me, Bong Eliab (who's teaching photography in campus) and good friends Paul Borromeo and Niko Villegas who were both out of town.

Our selected images were on exhibit at the 5th floor of Finster Building, while cocktails were being served and the short video films were being shown on a large screen.

The young student photographers on exhibit were Roark "Wacky" Masbad, Dominique "Nikki" Milan, JM Mercado, Adi Leuterio, and Giancarlo Tancontian.

After the impressive short film viewing, I got to say something inspirational to the students (I hope!).

In my enthusiasm, it was quite a mouthful. My anecdote was on how I moved out of my first love as a dancer because of my worsening asthma condition. The short-lived dancing career gave way to writing, painting, and eventually photography. I was encouraging them not to give up on dreams, but be open to other possibilities or skills that they have.

As an expression of aspiration and inspiration, the term magis relates to forming the ideal society centered around our faith, and the desire and inspiration for us to seek more, to be more, and to let go of what holds us back.

So I told them that while the world is waiting for them outside, life is not exactly a bed of roses, but we can learn from our mistakes and move on.

Find our niche in the society. Create a respectable name and principles to live by. Be somebody. Never get discouraged. Be wise. All the quotes they've heard again and again but have yet to apply as they conquer the real world.

I thank the Mass Communication class for treating me and my friends superbly during cocktails, and warm congratulations to the new graduates and my fellow Ateneans.

Here's a nice apt quote I picked up on the net: "Accept surprises that upset your plans, shatter your dreams, give a completely different turn to your day and to your life. It is not chance."

More profoundly, though, is a written homily of Fr. RB Hizon, SJ, of the Ateneo de Manila University way back in 2007. He clearly puts it as such: "The magis is more than just excellence, more than just being smart, more than just being up there, more than just being number one. There is a difference between being good at something and being and becoming good for something.The magis has to do more with being, doing, desiring whatever it is that will get us closer to God more. That is the magis. Put in another way, it is wisdom."


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