Talent is a hard enough thing to come by, but talent matched with a drive for excellence – even harder.

Mariella Laurel is one such rarity.

You could say that talent runs in the family. Mariella is the eldest child of world-class singers and theater actors Franco Laurel and Ayen Munji-Laurel. In a home where artistic expression is given free rein and strongly encouraged, Mariella has taken a natural liking to the performing arts – singing, dancing and acting, and being actively involved in several theater productions since high school.

"Performing is really my passion," says Yela, as she is fondly called by friends and family. Indeed, at 20, her experience ranges from playing the drums, the guitar and other instruments for leisure, to playing a wide assortment of roles – from backup dancer to lead star – in musical productions.

The drive for excellence, however, is something that Mariella nurtures in herself. Despite school getting in the way of any long-term involvement in theater at this point, Mariella keeps herself in tip-top performing shape by training year-round nonetheless. "If you stop doing it, you get rusty, so I train even while I have school and am not part of any shows."

It is Mariella’s love for the craft that drives her to continue to excel, whether in front of a crowd or away from the limelight. She holds herself to a high standard, with her Christian faith keeping her grounded and reminding her that she is ultimately living before the audience of One.

And even though these pursuits take up a huge chunk of her time, Mariella is still able to make room for other adventures. Now a college sophomore taking up a minor in Literature, Mariella the health buff also enjoys working up a good sweat. She makes it a point to eat healthy, she dances as a form of exercise, and – every now and then – she likes to give the gym a surprise visit and get a good old workout.

All this she does, while juggling with her responsibilities in her org, Innersoul, where she heads the HR and documentations committee.

"My work for Innersoul involves almost 24/7 use of the computer," says Mariella. "I’m always online, always emailing, always making calls." Of course, she admits, she enjoys social networking just as much as the next person. The internet is her venue for connecting with friends and exploring photography, a hobby she wants to get into.

That’s part of the reason why high-speed unlimited internet is a key part of Mariella’s lifestyle. PLDT MyDSL’s unparalleled 5Mbps allows her to browse, surf and connect as much as she wants, completely worry-free. It’s unlimited with no strings attached – so there’s no need to be hassled by per-kb charging in excess of data cap. No need to run to the nearest coffee shop to make sure that emails get sent and files get downloaded. She can do all of these in the comforts of their Alabang home. In a family like theirs that likes to hang out at home and bond over YouTube videos, movies and TV shows, this internet subscription is ideal as it is able to support simultaneous multigadget high-speed browsing. As dad Franco watches movies on his laptop and mom Ayen browses online on her tablet, Mariella has noneed to worry about slowing down their internet speed while sharing the same internet connection. PLDT MyDSL is the internet connection for their home.

It helps Mariella as she weaves seamlessly between her passions and her responsibilities. At the rate she’s going, we know there’s definitely a lot to watch out for.

We’ve often heard it said that youth is wasted on the young, and most of the time, that’s true – but every once in a while a Mariella Laurel comes along, who assures the rest of us that it will indeed be well-spent.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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