Maechael Kareem "BigMike" Muin

Photographer, Pre-School Owner, Social Activist

Grade School 1986, High School 1990

 Briefly describe your work now.
Professionally, I am a photographer. I am a professional events photographer, basically I shoot birthdays, weddings, and other events. I also have a day care center. I’m an owner of a pre-school.

Describe ADZU during your time.

During my time, bago bago pa lang ang Mass Comm Department.  We were the kings of LRC (Learning Resource Center) because we occupied the third and fourth floors of the building. During my time in ADZU, it was okay, it was one of the best years of my life because it was where you widened your mind to opportunities in life. Karamihan sa amin pumasok ng Mass Comm dahil we were into arts. The Mass Communication Department opened my artistic side.  Aside from tri-media, we were also doing theatre.

What’s the best thing being an ADZU student?
As a student you won’t realize it but when you become an alumni of Ateneo, you will realize the influence you have. Merong higher expectation ang tao sa’yo especially kung totoong Atenean ka, ibig sabihin you embody the vision of the Jesuits na you should be complete in mind, body and soul. That’s the best thing about being an Ateneo student.

What is your favorite subject?

Most are major subjects in Mass Communication and other English subjects. During my time, there was no internet yet, so we were forced to read to know the arts. Literature then was very important, mythology, especially greek mythology, history. Those stimulated our minds to perform and create, especially in theatre and when we needed to do production works for TV or radio or writing. We related these things to the things that we read.

What organizations were you part of during your time in ADZU?
Aside from being in the student government, I was also very active because I was the vice president of the Liberal Arts (student organization) during my time. I was into sports, but I'm not an athlete. I handled most of the athletic programs of the Liberal Arts organization during my time.  Then in the Mass Communication Department, we have organizations of media outfits. Aside from our On-the-Job-Training, we also had separate groups for Mass Communication students only. We also had a debate team.

Who is your favorite teacher?
My one and only dean, Father (Jose “Pepe”)Bacatan.  Marami akong favorite teachers, marami akong teachers na I really like tulad nila Ma’am Sandy Marquez, Ma’am Hitalia.  Pero a mentor and a real teacher talaga for me is Fr. Bacatan. He was very strict.  Most of the time pinapagalitan niya ako. Pero now looking back, karamihan ng mga sinabi niya sa akin, kung sinunod ko lang mas mabilis sana ako napunta sa tamang daan. I'm 40 plus na. I realized na kung nakinig lang talaga ako sa mga sinabi niya, either in academics or in life yung mga tinuro niya sa akin, kung sinunod ko lang talaga yun, mas mabilis, di ko sinasabi na wala ako sa landas ngayon, I'm on my right path now pero ang ibig ko lang sabihin, it would’ve been faster if sinunod ko yung mga sinabi niya during that time.

Favorite place to hang out after class.
The back field, aside from the Mass Communications Department.

What are your favorite memories of ADZU?
The memories that I keep in my heart and in my mind are the relationships that I have built during my time in college, in the Mass Communications Department. Yun yung didikit sa mind mo as you grow older, it is the relationships that you built and the relationships that you need to leave behind, kung  ano yung nagstick sa akin na memories na nakatatak talaga sa aking isipan.

The top three most important things to you now
My faith and then my family and ngayon na I know in my heart na I have a good relationship with my Lord and I know that I am keeping my family well and okay. Ang third ko is tinatawag kong Social ResponsibilityThat is why I am here at the ZAMCELCO power summit, to prepare a better world for my kids. Do I find my ambitions importantYes, it is important but it is not in my top 3 anymore. Do I find money and wealth important? Yes, it is important, pero wala na siya sa top 3 ko. So bale ang pinaka importante sa akin ngayon ang Diyos, ang pamilya ko at ang pagiging socially responsible ko para sa mga kids ko. I'm building something for my children.

The top three people that made an impact in your life.
Father Bacatan, Dean (Aldrina) Hitalia, Fredo. Si Fredo ay very close ko yan, hanggang ngayon close pa rin kami.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Kung alam ko lang na ganun ka importante ang pera, di kosa na ginastos yun during that time. It took me six years to finish my four year course, hindi dahil hindi ko alam ang subject, kung hindi nagrelax  lang talaga ako, so kung alam ko lang talaga na it is money wasted, sana narealized ko ang value ng money earlier. Number two sana na realize ko yung mga concerns ng mga adults, marami eh. Ngayon medyo matanda na ako, mas marami na, hindi naman pagsisisi pero mas marami na akong realizations na there are things that are important na akala lang natin nung time di importante. Kahit sa love life, yung akala mong heartbroken kana, nagiba na mundo mo, yun pala hindi, may plano talaga lahat, merong darating, meron talaga na hindi tama para sa’yo.

Anything that you regretted while you were in ADZU?
It took me long to finish my college. I rejected many opportunities in life kasi feeling ko nung time nayun babalik lang ulit yung chance pero hindi pala eh, lalampasan at lalampasan ka pa rin ng panahon. I'm happy in where I am now, pero looking back, there are so many things na dumaan lang sa akin, kung nung time nayun na realize ko na yun, na I have to do it that time, malamang hindi lang ito yung naabot ko, malamang mas malayo layo pa sana.

What are your career goals at this time?

I don’t know if you can call it a career but I would like to make it a career: to be a good father to my children. My parents were both lawyers. My father even became a judge during his time. My brother is CEO of a big hospital in Manila. But lately I’ve realized na it’s not the position that you achieve it’s more of how your children regard you. Mas gusto ko gawing career ay ang tawagin ako ng mga anak ko na “Papa, idol kita”. Mas gusto ko yun kaysa sa yung sabihin nila na “My father is a ganito in a company or is the president of a something”. So career wise, siguro more of the fatherhood

na talaga yung aking habol ngayon. Financially, I think I'm stable with the business I’ve created, it’s not that much but di ko na iniisip as a career, okay na yun, sustaining na yun para sa akin.

Best thing about being an ADZU graduate.
Best thing is the influence, first and foremostThe influence at pag sabihin mong I'm an alumni of Ateneo especially this time that you need connections, you need networks, relationships that you can build on. Once you find someone from Ateneo also meron ka agad na certain trust kasi from Ateneo ka, from Ateneo rin siya, so nagkakaroon agad ng certain trust.

Advice to students who want to have the same career as you.

I'm professional photographer. It’s a hobby that became a career. Will I encourage students to follow the same path? Ang advice ko lang talaga is this, find something that you like in your heart and in your mind, wag mo muna isipin kung kikita siya or hindi. Then just do it and do it and do it and eventually things will fall in to place, I believena as long as you are doing good, good things will come back to you. So ano ang ibig kong sabihin diyan? Kung sabihin natin mahilig kalang magcut ng paper, you find the art of cutting paper, eventually a field will open for that talent. So ngayon ang question is, will I encourage you to follow your dreams? Para sa akin, I will advise that, at the same time you should also be practical and intelligent enough to know na kailangan meron ka pa rin business on the side to support yung economic concerns mo.  Tulad sa akin, I'm into photography, it started as a hobby then it became a career, does it bring me money? Yes. Is it enough? No, that is why I also have my own business like the day care that provides more than what I need. So yun yung advice ko, to follow your hearts, follow your dreams and always do good because things will fall into place if you always do good.


ADZU 15 Questions is a Q & A series with ADZU alumni. As you can already guess, alumni will be asked 15 questions about their present lives as well as their lives during their time as an ADZU student.


This interview was conducted by Lawrence Agustin (BA Communications 2007) on August 12, 2015 as a project for his Advanced Journalism class. Edited by Yen Blanco Delgado.



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