Published in the The GUIDON’s Graduation Magazine, March 2012
Photo by Ean L. Dacay
COMMUNICATION major by day, theater actress by night, Jenaira “Jai” Mae Jalasco is the rare student whose hard work shines through every play and project. This lively, petite girl always appears unruffled and poised, as if she’s ready to perform under the spotlight at any moment. True enough, she’s always up and ready for more. “I’ll miss not having enough time for studies while doing plays, but [still] taking on the challenge anyway,” says Jai, who graduates with cum laude honors.
Her first foray in theater was in high school plays such as “Miss Saigon” and “Footloose.” Craving for more serious acting, she auditioned for ENTABLADO, Ateneo’s socio-political theater organization. “Unang Baboy Sa Langit” was her first play in freshman year where she nabbed the leading role. Since then, she has starred in a number of plays with her most recent role as Ichay in “R.I.P.” capping off her four-year stint as ENTA actress.
Juggling academics and theater is no mean feat, and the most difficult phase came to Jai during her thesis semester—while she was also production manager of another play. But she continues to see the value in the work she does. “There’s so much more to discover and learn. I’m thankful Ateneo has given me much to enjoy aside from the education,” she says.
One thing that Jai likes about acting is the chance to communicate a message. “You somehow feel you’re making a difference in the world by making people aware of their stories,” she says. She does not mind portraying roles with views entirely different from hers, especially voices that need to be heard nevertheless.
When it comes to the greatest life lessons Jai learned in college, it’s that the room for excellence is always there. “You have to keep striving because you will never cease to get better. But all of these will merely be in vain and empty unless you discover magis—the skill to be a man for others,” she says. “Knowing you can make a difference by being of service to others is what makes everything worth it.”