Text by Royanni Miel M. Hontucan; photos courtesy of Mac Florendo
Mac Florendo has always been adventurous. His curiosity and zeal have led him to many ventures: he is a voice artist, a food rescue advocate, a multimedia producer, and a magic show performer.
“I am not comfortable in my comfort zone,” he said when asked about why he continues to create and perform. Florendo´s passion fuels him in his journey.
The young creative
Florendo was born on January 14, 1995, in Zamboanga City to Esmeralda Florendo and Marcos Florendo Jr. who was a regional director of the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a child, Mac has found enjoyment in the performing arts: music (guitar) and playing cards; although being a creative person wasn’t very appreciated in his family when he was young. He recalls, “I always thought I was the black sheep of the family for being creative, but it didn’t discourage me in developing my skills. I failed a lot at first, but I was becoming wiser in every failure.”
Florendo took up Bachelor of Mass Communication at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, and graduated Cum Laude in 2016. His degree, despite not being his first choice, proved to be valuable later on when he pursued Voice Acting as a career.
In October 2020, he enrolled in the Certified Voice Artist Program (CVAP) of Pocholo “The VoiceMaster” Gonzales whom he considered his mentor. In February 2021, he left a full-time job and decided to do freelance work creating videos and voice overs. “The voice is an instrument that doesn’t get taken away from you. Voice acting is an art of becoming and another art form of storytelling. In the world of artificial intelligence (AI), emotions are still unique to humans. AI, despite it being very smart, could never copy emotions.” Florendo states.
To widen his world, Florendo exposed himself to local and foreign culture. In 2013, he studied Global Communication and advanced video production at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea under a foreign student exchange program.
In 2015, he was selected as one of the delegates in the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) where he got to study in the US and met the former President Barack Obama at The White House in Washington DC. “When I was studying in the US, I always ask myself: ‘How would I become a better Filipino?’” Florendo recalls.
This question led him to form a nonprofit organization Food Rescue Philippines (formerly Food Rescue ASEAN), where he and his team would bike around public markets and collect surplus but perfectly edible food. This food would then be distributed to the low-income families in need of food in Dumaguete, quite similar to today’s community pantries.
“Food Rescue is not a feeding program. We are addressing food wastage and hunger by redistributing still-edible food to people in need,” Florendo explains.
Food Rescue Philippines was recognized at the YSEALI Seeds for the Future 2015 and was awarded a grant by the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, and one of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) of the 14th TAYO Awards in 2017. This recognition motivated Mac to pursue causes that contribute to society.
Florendo is part of Cuernos de Negros Mountaineers Club, a nonprofit organization that gathered mountain climbers and environmentalists. As part of his sustainability and environmental efforts, he would ride his bamboo bike through the streets of Metro Manila in continuing the mission of Food Rescue Philippines in collecting and rescuing food to be distributed to the needy.
But among all these, if Florendo isn’t voice acting or pedaling around to rescue food, he is performing magic.
Magic has always been his fascination: “My father used to gamble a lot and there were a lot of playing cards lying around our house. I played with it and learned magic tricks. I wanted to be a superhero, and I think that performing magic is the closest thing to it,” he said.
Performing magic has led him to become a member of the magic group The Story Circle. In 2017, he won the Championship award in the Runit Decks Cardistry Death Match Championship and became a talent for a Unilab TV ad.
To a more creative future ahead
Presently, he focuses on entertaining people by performing in magic shows, while continuing to develop his voice-acting skills and rescuing food for the community.
Following a creative pursuit is paved with challenges and uncertain times, but Florendo maintains strength by believing in his capabilities, embracing failure, and always moving forward. By committing his life to all these social and creative causes somehow made his childhood dream come true: a superhero.
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