Pio Silva, On Discovering One’s Passion to Create and Educate

Written by: Leah Cioco | 9 months ago

“Have a stake in tomorrow. Taste everything available to you. Point out the wrongs. Immerse yourself in issues,” Pio Miguel M. Silva, a junior at the Ateneo de Manila University taking up BS Management, shares in a recent interview. Although he’s only a few months older than me, he seems like a seasoned doctorate professor, what with his intellect, maturity, and confidence. All throughout the 35-minute interview, I felt like I was listening to a TED talk, if only not for the host occasionally interrupting his eloquent delivery to ask a couple of follow-up questions.

At this point, the intelligent reader might ask, “How can a 21-year-old not even out of college exude such erudition?” To which I would respond: That person must read and fully internalize James Joyce’s Ulysses. In fact, Silva credits the novel as one of his sources of inspiration. For the curious, Ulysses is considered as one of the most important works of modernist literature and has been called "a demonstration and summation of the entire movement." Before Joyce, no writer of fiction had so foregrounded the process of thinking.

And like his role model, Pio is quite a thinker. An autodidact. He spends his free time reading Wikipedia articles, watching documentaries, and listening to educational podcasts. Even more, he shares these tidbits of information with his 586.9k followers on TikTok and his reach of over 10.4 million. He even created another brand, The Holy Conduite, last December 2021 in the hopes to share content focused on spirituality and religion on that platform. Soon, he’ll also be launching what I’m personally excited about: The Silva Circle. Cue the fireworks.

What started out as a hobby during his freshman year of high school has now evolved into what he may be well most proud of today: Finding his purpose and passion to create and educate others. He began his journey to being the content creator he is today by posting his first video on YouTube, which was a compilation of some 1950s videos. Today, he creates his own original content inspired by current events, new learnings, and many others. When asked how he churns out 1-3 videos per day, he says it’s all about balance and not pushing himself too hard. Come finals week or “hell week”, you won’t find him on the platform. And he assures us, “There’s no need to apologize for it.” And by ‘it’, he means the videos he creates or his absence online if and when something more important requires his full attention.

It’s almost surprising to think that behind such a self-assured young man was once an insecure and anxious teen in high school. But then again, one is never more dramatic than when one is a teenager. One’s brain is flushed with chemicals that can make life a story of epic proportions. An A- feels like the Pulitzer. A lonely night seems like an eternity of solitude. It’s almost too much to feel. And somehow, this was the case for Pio.

In high school, he wanted to be known as ‘someone’ for doing ‘something’. He craved for an interesting life—one that he could vlog about, write about, and be known for. His faith wavered, he lost feelings of gratitude and he saw the future as bleak and done for. He felt like an outcast, an outlier, in the Ateneo.

“People couldn’t quite get me,” he says candidly. But the point when the paradigm shifted was when he entered 11th grade and his leadership as class president was tested. Although he considers it to be the worst year thus far, he thanks that time as it was when he fought all his demons. He came out of that seemingly dark and endless tunnel with gratitude. Gratitude that he had surpassed a hell of a ride. "I found people, especially mentors and fellow classmates who did support me and haul me up in the process,” he adds.

Today, approximately four years later, he looks at that time as his defining moment. His eureka moment when he began to truly know himself, so to speak. When asked for advice that he might want to share, he says this: Take the initiative. Take that risk and bet on yourself—you don’t have to start perfectly. Truly a man of his words, Pio is the epitome of self-mastery. And tomorrow is looking bright for him. I won’t be surprised if I saw him give a TED Talk or on the cover of Forbes and Time Magazine in the future.