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Maxi’mizing to her fullest potential

Words by Lucky Chan

Photos by Ginggoy Lotho and Karl Angelo de los Santos

Girls dream about their debut celebration from as early as 14 to 16 years of age. In the Philippines, when a girl reaches 18 years old, her debut is one of the major milestones in her young life. From hereon she is now treated as a “dalaga”.  It is for this reason that teens start to plan for this event to the minute detail, long before that actual event takes place. The debut is a ‘rite of passage’ from puberty to an eligible young Filipina. Accordingly, it is said that the parents can now allow their daughter to start dating or officially have a boyfriend.  Thus the “debut celebration” is such a big event for the young girl to be introduced to the adult world. This traditionally includes a big celebration complete with 18 roses, dances, and lots of guests.

But who would imagine a girl celebrating her 18th birthday performing in a musical concert for her guests? Well, that’s exactly how Maxine, together with her parents Jet and Miles Pampolina decided on how to do it.

Maxine with her parents Jed and Miles

A few years ago, Maybank Performing Arts Theater was buzzing with activities as Maxine celebrated her 18th birthday by performing snippets of her favorite Broadway musicals with guest performances from her friends, her parents and two brothers – Ethan and Kyan Will.

Music is very much a part of her life and her family. “In High school, I was part of every musical production my school held each year. It was something I enjoyed doing, from rehearsals to the actual performance, and sharing my passion with my friends and the student community was an added bonus” said Maxine.

But it was not just music that interests Maxine. She adds “Well, since High school up till college, I’ve been very active with a lot of extra-curricular activities. At DLSU, I’m currently a part of a number of extra-curricular organizations, such as ‘TeamComm’ and ‘Allyansang Tapat sa Lasallista’ and also a member of the Arts College Government. I think the reason why I enjoy working outside of my academic life is because I enjoy collaborating and working with a lot of people. Academics or ‘Acads’ as we like to say can be a bit stressful, so joining these activities is a way to balance and to maximize my stay in DLSU.” 

People who know her say that she is “a hardworking and passionate student, and a caring and loving friend, sister, and daughter”. Maxine admits that “I’ve carried these characteristics from High school up till the present. Despite being the youngest in most of my groups of friends, a similar thing they all say is that I act like the ‘mom’ of the group!”

Singing started at a young age of three. One of her earliest memories was “singing at the top of my lungs inside my lola’s house, not caring what people think” recalls Maxine.  My dad influenced me to sing. I’d like to give him credit for that. When I was younger, he used to bring me to school. Since it was an hour away from my house, my Dad would play 1 song, then we would just sing to it over and over again”. Her friends on Facebook would see her and her dad engaging in Carpool Karaoke.

“My voice is mostly fit for musical theatre. I’m quite a thespian.  In family events, I would mostly sing songs from Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Wicked or Hamilton” says Maxine, and her favorite singers are Sara Bareilles, Sia, and Kelly Clarkson.

With such a gift, one wonders if she would like to take her talents to the next level abroad like America’s Got Talent? X-factor. She responded by saying “I have no plans at the moment since my focus is college but I hope to get to be a part of a professional musical soon! I miss performing on stage”.

Whatever she decides to do in the future, she has her family, Jet, Miles, Ethan, and Will, behind her. And with her enthusiasm and perseverance, she can achieve and ‘Max’imise to her fullest potential.

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