August 12, 2017

Filipino Debater hailed as Best Debater in Asia

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  • There has always been something different about Filipinos- their capability to give emphasis on what they are fighting for, like the fresh MA graduate from Ateneo de Manila , Andrei Kristian Buendia, who was hailed as Asia’s Best Debater.

    The last time a Filipino took home the “best debater” title was when Pearl Simbulan of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman won in 2012. However, Filipino debater, Andrei Kristian Buendia managed to break the said norm by beating more than 200 international students at the United Asian Debating Championship (UADC),  held at Siem Reap, Cambodia last July 28-August 5, 2017 after being awarded the highest individual award- Asia’s Best Debater.

     Andrei Buendia was always a talker as a child. He would converse with people three or four times his age and would do so nonchalantly. He was very comfortable in speaking; it was only a matter of time before his teachers noticed and asked him if he would like to participate in public speaking competitions. He got his first taste of debate back in 2010 when he was just in his third year in high school at San Beda College – Alabang, when the said school was just forming their own debate team.

    Although he never really dreamed of becoming a debater,  he considered debate as something that was just asked of him to try out. He eventually  liked it, and ended up dedicating so much of his life into it. During the duration of his career as a debater, at some point, he had to defend the legitimacy of Satanism as a religious belief. He believes that what he learned from defending things that he is personally against, is that many things we consider to be morally black and white, are actually not so absolute. ” I guess doing so at a young age also forced me to understand the reality that sometimes we just have to do what we’ve got to do, even if we don’t like it. At the end of it all, we are here to do a job. All we need to do is get it done.”

    Being part of United Asian Debating Championship (UADC) means reading a lot. He was only given the motions (or topics) 15 to 30 minutes before the round actually started and were not allowed to access the internet during the preparation time.Topics will touch things like international relations, feminism, finance, philosophy, environmental issues, etc.. Debating, after all, isn’t just spewing out facts. It is persuasion. He had to train to be persuasive with how he talked, how he made contact with judges, etc.

    For Buendia, representing the Philippines is great simply because the Philippine Debate Community is very supportive and being crowned the Best Speaker of Asia was just the best way to give back to the community. “Of course we didn’t come home with the Championship, but Ateneo got the 2 closest things to it: a Grand Finals Appearance (care of Ateneo 2 comprised of Roi Lim, Victoria Barcelon, and Inna Fermin), and the top individual award which I took home. It’s also amazing because I’m being offered so many opportunities to teach debaters around Asia. But most importantly, it just feels like all the hard work finally paid off and I can retire from competitive debating in peace.“, he adds.

    Semi-Final of the Cambodia UADC 2017 , Ateneo1 Govt vs NUS1 oppMotion: TH supports materialism#cambodiaUADC2017

    Cambodia UADC 2017さんの投稿 2017年8月3日

    What do you think of Andrei Buenida’s win as Best Debater in Asia? Share your thoughts with us, below!

    Written By: Patricia Antoinette M. Nacianceno
    Image Source: Facebook, Ateneo Debate Society; Video from: CambodiaUADC

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