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Old-Fashioned Values in a Digital Career

by Christian Gabriel Pareja l  Positively Filipino

When asked for three persons who have influenced her life, Annella Manalo Mendoza named eminent Philippine writer Virginia R. Moreno, who founded the University of the Philippines Film Center, as one. “She taught me that life and art are one,” she recalls. Mendoza embodies this belief as she melds art, career, and her life into one in her endeavors.

Mendoza is a digital-asset-management consultant and librarian at the creative-services department, financial group, of the Bank of Montreal in Toronto. She describes her work as aiding in “arrangement, description, preservation, access, findability, and reuse of digital assets and data.”

Mendoza earned her undergraduate degree in broadcast communication and a master’s degree in library science from the University of the Philippines (UP). Her years as a film archivist at the UP Film Center and her work in television in Indonesia and Canada deepened her understanding and practice of film-and-video archiving librarianship. By 2007, when the television industry completely transitioned from videotape to digital file, digital archiving became the norm.

Digital archiving was her foundational discipline as it evolved to Digital Asset Management (DAM). In time, she earned her certificate through an online course in DAM, in the still-developing field. Her present continuing education means participating in the many webinars offered by the DAM communities in North America. Finally, networking with other DAM professions is essential to growth in the field.

Behind the scenes, Mendoza comes from a loving family and cares for one of her own. Her parents, Fidel and Margarita (nee Mercado) Manalo, and her husband, Angelo Mendoza, also known as “Boboy,” whom she considers her teammate, have also influenced her the most in her life. When asked about her family, Queenie beams with love and appreciation for those who mean the most to her

Her sons, Victor and Emmanuel, and her husband, Angelo, have always been her priority in real-time. (Photo courtesy of Queenie Manalo Mendoza)

.Her father was a trial lawyer whom she credits with introducing her to the arts, specifically, poetry and music, such as opera and symphonies. Until Mendoza was 10 years old, her mother was a homemaker until she got involved in rural banking and founded the Rural Bank of Agoncillo in Batangas. Mendoza credits her mother with instilling a sense of practicality and thrift in her. It is clear to see that her parents played a big role in her life.

“From my parents, I learned dedication and commitment to family and our chosen profession.” Mendoza applies this lesson to both her life and career. She and her husband do what they can to make a comfortable and loving home for their family, devoting themselves to be of service to others and their community.

Mendoza has two older brothers Leo, also known as Noel, and Julio Cesar. Noel is an executive who eventually took over the bank when their mother retired. Julio Cesar (Father Chiqui) was ordained as a priest in 1977. He was the parish priest in the Archdiocese of Rizal, where he served in Project 4 and then in Antipolo. He later served in three more parishes in Pasig.

The siblings grew up in a close-knit family. Their family home was in a compound of seven houses in Makati City. The other houses were owned by their mother’s siblings.  Mendoza appreciates the community of families. “Even if mine was a relatively small family of three children, we were growing up as one big family.” Their cousins ranged in ages from toddlers to university students to young adults beginning their careers. There was a family newsletter edited by their older cousins in which the grade schoolers and high schoolers acted as reporters.

When not in the digital world, Queenie enjoys playing the piano. (Photo courtesy of Queenie Manalo Mendoza)

Her father’s side of the family owned a house in Manila that served as a place of refuge for her relatives. “Cousins who came to Manila to study inevitably boarded there,” she reminisces. “It’s fondly remembered as the Manalo Hotel because of the cousins’ comings and goings.” The famed “Manalo Hotel” also fostered a tight-knit familial community. “Were it not for this house,” Queenie recounts, “I wouldn’t have known much about aunts, uncles, and many more cousins this side of the family.”

Along with being a place of refuge for their relatives, the Manalo Hotel was a lucky charm for newlyweds. Couples had the tradition of living in the house before moving to their own place. Her parents were the first of the many newlyweds to do so. Later on, when her father’s younger brother had married, her father had built an apartment behind the house.  She and her husband, Angelo, would inhabit the same apartment when they became newlyweds.

Today, she and Angelo are raising their own family that includes their two sons, Victor and Emmanuel, in Toronto. From 2000 to 2003, both her parents, as well as Father Chiqui, passed away. Mendoza continues to embody the love for the arts that her father had instilled in her. She wrote poetry inspired by her early associations with Filipino writers. She also finds interest in music. Mendoza describes how she would play the piano for her family, “I am often called on to play for the big family during parties, as a soloist or accompanist while everyone took turns singing.” (At one point she even accompanied a Filipino choir in Jakarta.) Mendoza also believes that if she were not in DAM she would have been a full-time writer. “I could write essays, or travelogues given the opportunity,” she says, “From archiving, I could be drawn to be a historian, and in the process, do historical writing.”

And write she did! She practiced what she preached. She is one of the translators of the Tagalog edition of the children’s book, Ballesteros on My Mind: My Hometown in the Philippines (2016): Ballesteros sa Aking Kaisipan: Ang Aking Bayan sa Pilipinas.

Annella Manalo Mendoza works in the digital world, which is possible only through technology. But her real world, with which she will always stay connected, is her love for her family, people, and the arts. “If I have made the world a little better and people happier, then that’s enough achievement for me,” she says.


Christian Gabriel Pareja writes from Chicagoland. He enjoys sports, the sciences, and life!


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