Miguel Luis Gacutan Ochosa was born into a small family from Las Piñas City, Philippines. Growing up, he had two energetic dogs who back then, weighed much more than he did. (Yes, he is a dog person!) This May, he is graduating with a major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).
Miguel is fascinated by the intricate ways people relate to society and the world.
For his capstone project, Miguel explored how civil servants in the Philippines’ national poverty alleviation strategy, The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), try to find agency to conceive and pursue a form of redistributive justice or equality. For him, this project brings up important questions about development; about how local citizens can be empowered to define what progress and justice should look like for them.
Miguel is also enamoured by the ways in which people communicate and build connections beyond conventional speech and reason. As a performance artist, he explores how elements of theatre, movement and music can inform other facets of life, and how we can engage with others in a deeper and more empathetic manner.
During his time at Yale-NUS College, Miguel had the privilege of contributing to school life as an Orientation Group Leader, a Tours and Outreach Associate for the Admissions Office, and a member of the Senior Class Gift Committee. He also engaged deeply with the performance art scene on campus. He was a member of the Society of Yale-NUS College Dancers (SYNCd), and a performer in various productions such as the play, Amihan in Playdough 2020 and the musical, Next to Normal. In his final year, Miguel formed Artists' UNITY to cultivate collaboration across art groups on campus. He is also co-creating an original musical, Tiwala (Filipino for ‘trust’ or ‘faith’), which posits that faith and trust, though sometimes irrational, are valid ways of knowing that should be talked about.
Miguel is truly humbled and honoured to speak at this year’s graduation ceremony, and hopes that everyone is able to find pockets of time to rest, reflect, and be thankful amidst the hustle and bustle of their final school year, as their season as students in Yale-NUS College comes to an end.