Meet Therese Villarante, a confessed lover of words
By Deneb Batucan
THERESE Villarante was lost once. She took up a course that she, in her heart, never really wanted. She stunted her growth as a person by doing something that seemed like fitting a square peg in a round hole.
Then she found the love of her life: literature.
Therese has always had an inkling to writing. Her hands seem to gravitate into arranging on paper the words that her mind forms. But she had no idea how her happiness largely depended on expressing herself on paper.
“So much of our talent and passion is easily passed off as a hobby when in fact it is actually something you can never do without,” Therese said. “Literature was an education that made me excited about the world, the people around me and my life. Every favorite fictional character was a brilliant lesson on humanity and purpose.”
When Therese left the nursing world and shifted to literature, the doors of the art world freely opened for her. She became engrossed with theater, with one of her first roles being Eponine of the epic Les Miserables, a production made possible by the Creative Thespian’s Club.
Then she was part of You’ve Been Facebooked: The Musical by the Offbeats Production. Now she is rehearsing for the third stint of the popular Cebuano play, Gugmang Giatay, which is set to take stage October and November of this year.
From theater, Therese met Jude Gitamondoc, a renowned songwriter, who helped her shape her songwriting skills. Together they made Girl With a Broken String, series of songs and song illustrations that have been making rounds online through YouTube and Tumblr.
Songwriting led to making music videos. Therese’s interest in film grew as she joined FatBoys Productions, a local production group, as a scriptwriter and songwriter.
Finding her passion in literature has led Therese to a multitude of possibilities that she would never have dreamed of before. But with everything that she does, Therese will always come back to her first love: creative writing.
“I am very drawn to storytelling in literature, theater, music and film because that is where my heart feels most and speaks its loudest,” she said.
Therese believes that storytelling comes alive when you are living your story. Once you’ve started living a life that is wholly yours, the creative juices just keeps on flowing. “And I squeeze every ounce of courage in my system because while I’ve well accepted that my fears will never go away, I always get to choose what happens next. I decide that this is going to be great. I decide that I can do this,” she said.
Given that she does so many projects, and at the same time still keep her job as a part-time literature teacher at the Cebu Normal University, Therese still surprises herself how much she could accomplish in so little time.
“I’m a lot of things at a time,” she said with a laugh. “It’s surprising because I don’t put a lot of thought to it. I’ve found that it’s way more difficult NOT to do what you love. I am tired most days of the week, but I’m happy. Every night when I sleep, I rarely make wishes. I thank God that this is the life I wake up to tomorrow.”
And the life Therese leads has so much in store for her. She is one the verge of releasing her first poetry book, Somewhere My Anger, illustrated by Alexei Vidal. FatBoys Producation is set to release a music video of a song she wrote with Jude Gitamondoc called “My Morena Girl,” sung by Hey Joe Show. So many things are sprouting up, and Therese could hardly wait.
Inspiration is a big part of Therese’s craft, and she’s happy she could draw inspiration from so many brilliant people in her life.
“I’m inspired by my family. They are ever present in the person that I am. I’m lucky that I have friends I can’t help but be a fan of. I also learn so much from my students. They’re bright and full of possibilities,” she said. “Most of all, I am inspired by the craft itself. Whenever I’m writing, rehearsing or watching a really good movie, it’s as though the world has cracked me open and I am a universe of understanding and love.”