The University’s famed South Gate underwent a significant renovation in 2017. Gone was the little nook older Lasallians were familiar with and here was its natural evolution: a state of the art entryway reminiscent of those in posh malls. Everyday, many hurriedly pass through the spacious area, oblivious to the looming structure standing in the room.
The statue of St. John Baptist de La Salle cuts an imposing figure, its powerful aura only enhanced by its regal features and softened only by the quiet joy of the two children playing by his side. At night, after classes have all ended and members of the community have left the campus, when the automatic glass doors close shut after the last designer bag leaves the premises, the statues breathe to life.
Statue, who you?
Although the statue is commonly known as the St. La Salle statue to the Lasallian community, his name is Miguel Stoner—Migs for short—he says. After a long day of standing very still, Migs, brought to life by a mysterious nighttime enchantment, is finally able to stretch his frozen limbs.
“Sorry, I gotta stretch a bit,” he tells us right before the interview. “Kasi eh it’s so hard to stay still the whole day pero we have to! Kaya stretching is so important eh.”
What the Lasallian community also doesn’t know is that the three figures in the statue are a family, with Migs acting as the father—the daddy—to Paolo and Pepe.
The two stood behind their daddy; while Paolo tried to connect to Animo Connect on the RockPhone he stored underneath his stone robes, shy little Pepe remained quiet, adjusting to having three human interviewees in front of him aware of his magical nature.
“We were created together, you know? Parang at first I acted like a kuya ganoon. I asked myself, ‘what would St. La Salle do?’ The dude wouldn’t just leave these kids alone. But like they started calling me ‘Daddy’, bro!” confesses Migs. “So naging single dad nalang ako but wala pa rin ako jowa.”
(I became a single father, but I wasn’t in a relationship.)
The nightly grind
While being an enchanted statue may seem like something straight out of a movie or a fairytale—full of excitement and drama—their nightly routines can easily get boring, explains Migs.
Once Migs awakens from his daily stupor, the first thing the Stoner family does is to kneel and pray. “God is my Alpha and Omega, bro. My first moment and last moment of the day is all for Him,” he declares.
After his morning prayer, Migs stretches, shaking off the last bit of heaviness and lethargy from his body. His wakeup schedule is never complete without a splash of cold water on his face and a visit to his favorite restroom at the Faculty Center. Sharing an insight he picked up through his nightly walks, Migs advises, “If you’re not in a rush, the Faculty Center has the best banyo, dude. It’s cleaner compared to other restrooms, the aircon is malamig, and they have solid bidets!”
Meanwhile, Paolo and Pepe spend a few moments of their day relaxing, connecting with friends online. “You know what they say: when [the] campus is closed, the statues come out to play!” cheers Paolo, his phone finally connecting to Animo Connect after seven attempts. Immediately, he took a picture of his chiselled abs, posting a quick update on Twitter regarding his current workout routine for his other statue friends. “Bro, I may be made of metal, but I gotta work for these cuts, pare.”
Migs takes his time with his routine. After all, he does the same things every night. The highlight of his late night shenanigans is bonding with the two boys over the resident campus cats. The rock-solid family enjoys borrowing cat training books and teaching the felines tricks.
“Secret lang ‘to pare, but we actually taught the cats to stay on laptops and bags. Just a cute way of cheering up the students. I’ve never actually studied here, pero it looks so mahirap,” he shares. In fact, Migs explains that it was little Pepe who taught Mooncake—a newly inducted University professor—to sneak into the Faculty Center. “Apparently, cats love books. Who knew no?”
Despite the joy of their daily routine, Migs feels a deep-seated loneliness that can never truly be sated. “The boys and cats are fun and stuff, but parang they don’t get me, you know?” he expresses. “My birthday is coming up on April 20, and I’m medyo scared they’ll forget about it ulit. I just want people to greet me. Okay lang walang jowa, basta I have good friends.”
(I’m kind of scared they’ll forget about it again. I just want people to greet me. It’s fine if I don’t have a significant other, as long as I have good friends.)
A place to belong
Certainly, statuary sentience is among the many things that exist outside of human rational comprehension, but this doesn’t mean that these anomalous entities don’t have feelings too.
DLSU is steeped in rich history and beloved tradition; therefore, it shouldn’t require much to suspend one’s disbelief regarding supernatural anomalies within the campus. Migs is really just like the rest of us—all he wants is to belong.
“Being a statue is hard, pare,” he laments. “It’s lonely and boring kasi eh. All around me, I see students doing all kinds of stuff—going to classes, laughing with their friends, and making TikTok videos. Like, I want the same, pare. I want to have a purpose. I want to have a life,” he adds.
Additionally, Migs pleads to Lasallians that they should look at him not as a terrifying violation of natural law, but rather as someone who is not so different from us. “I like to consider myself a millennial. I’m smart and responsible, and sometimes I can be marupok, char. I have a Netflix account, and I’m willing to share it with anyone who wants to chill.”
With that said, there are many things that the DLSU community can do to help alleviate his eternal loneliness. On the safe side, one can simply offer a casual greeting during the day whenever passing by South Gate; risk-takers out there can opt to stay in the area past curfew against established campus regulations, possibly to take him up on his offer to watch Netflix with his family.
Sure, to expose one’s self to such supernatural entities like Migs is to risk losing any notion of sanity one has left. However, that shouldn’t be too big of a problem, given that as college students, deranged outbursts are hardly out of place in the everyday Lasallian’s lifestyle. Migs encourages any brave soul out there to reach out and give a lonely, rock-hard man out there a chance.