Aljun Cayawan, or Datu Agong to the Manobo Agusanon tribe, is a real-life prince. He has come to Manila, not in search for a bride, but to try showbiz out, promote his tribe's culture while being a noble representative of his community.
Aljun’s parents separated when he was just 2 months old and left him under the care of his grandmother, Bae Agong, the leader of their tribe. Due to poverty, most children of the Manobo tribe in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur struggled to have an education. Aljun vividly remembers his childhood.
“I crossed two rivers to go to school. I joined singing contests and went home carrying a trophy on one hand and a bag of rice on the other. I used my cash prize to buy food for me and my lola,” he recounted.
Refusing to accept his situation, Aljun strived to be a scholar throughout his school years. In grade school, he was an academic scholar and a singer representing Sibagat Central Elementary School in regional competitions.
In Sibagat National High School, he was an athletic scholar, as a swimmer and also worked as a student assistant. In college, he literally sang his way to a scholarship when he belted out “You Raise Me Up” in front of the owners of Agusan Business Foundation, who granted him a vocational course in Computer Secretarial. He further pursued Business Administration in Arellano University again as a swimmer and president of the school chorale.
A seemingly tireless young man, he is also a member of Coro Obcento, the grand champion of MBC National Choral Competition. He is also part of Earth Savers, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Artists for Peace.
“You see, I’m not a prince of wealth but a prince of responsibility,” he told members of the entertainment when he was launched as the newest brand ambassador of Megasoft Hygienic Products Inc., “I was given the title by my lola to serve the tribe.”
As their prince, Aljun wanted to be an instrument to develop awareness about their tribe. He said because of technology, the internet, this task becomes much easier to accomplish. But of course, his effort doesn’t stop there.
“I still remember as a child when people would say that I am just a Manobo and would not reach anything in life. That day, I cried but told myself that someday I will make something out of my life because I am a Manobo,” he shared.
His stint at the Mr. Philippines pageant, where he was named 2nd runner-up, translated to more singing engagements in 5-star hotels, celebrity events and corporate shows. His earnings from these projects enabled him to register and compete at the 2018 World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Long Beach California, where he won division champion.
The 25-year-old prince also works hard to reach out to politicians from and ask them to stop using minorities or tribal communities to further their political ambition.
“I’ve seen so many instances when politicians just use our tribe as front. I am not generalizing but many of them have promised to help us out but in the end they, they only did that for their political career. Much worse, a lot of them even look down on us,” he said.
This inspired Aljun to put up “Sagip-Katribu”, which aims to give Manobo children school supplies and “Adopt-Katribu,” a shelter that would house Manobo children whose communities are far from school. This is thru the help of various NGOs, foundations and philanthropists here and abroad.
“The reason I am driven to help my fellow Manobo especially the children is because I don’t want them to experience the pain I felt when people would look down on us; that they could also dream and hold on to a promise that they too can make it in life, just like Datu Agong,” he related.
Megasoft VP for sales and marketing Aileen Choi-Go believes in Aljun’s talent and advocacy.
“It’s an honor for us to have a world class talent as a brand ambassador especially now that Megasoft is going global and gaining ground in the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Africa. And what’s really admirable is his love for children and education which reflects the advocacy of the company. Supporting him is also a way of helping the Manobo Tribe.”
Aljun wanted to be a flight attendant. But for now, he tries to soar and reach for his star in the entertainment industry.
Catch Aljun perform on Oct. 9 in Oroquetta City, Misamis Occidental. He will also be part of the 2018 Megasoft School Is Cool Tour with fellow Megasoft endorsers Myrtle Sarrosa, Ryle Santiago and Young JV Kapunan.
For more info, please like Megasoft pages on Facebook: sistersph, SuperTwinsBabyDiaper, TwinsLampeinBabyDiaper, GrandAdultDiaper, CherubBabyCare, FascleanDetergent, follow Megasoft_ph on Twitter and Instagram and log on to www.megasoft.com.ph.
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