Originally published in SugarSugar Magazine, May 2008 edition
Photography by Cyrus Panganiban of Lumina
Make-up by Claire Seelin-Diokno of Shu Uemura
Hair by Ricky Diokno of Kiel’s Stylist Series
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”
There are people who are destined to aspire to greatness. There are those that live to chase after dreams, and for some, to unearth the purse of gold at the end of the rainbow. There are also those who exist solely for the pursuit of beauty and excess, as there are those who live by avoiding all such things. And, if the generation is particularly lucky, there are those remarkable few who live to help others—shunning fame, personal gain, and any form of monetary compensation. These people are blessed with the capacity to give, and they live exceedingly uncommon lives in the service of mankind. SugarSugar has been quite fortunate to meet one in the persona of Nyx Martinez.
Nyx, in every essence of the word, is a missionary, albeit not a typical one. She is a woman with a mission to make a difference in the hearts of people, one aorta at a time. Through Our Life Outreach, a non-denominational Christian missionary program that her family started, Nyx has touched the lives of people from all walks of life, who at one point, needed much care and love. From her Thursday sessions with cancer-stricken children kids in PGH, the semi-regular Living AcademY of Arts (LAYA) Sessions, to the various FunDay activities she prepares for disadvantaged children; she spends most of her time creating ways to draw a silver line of happiness from the ominous cloud of hardship and poverty.
The path she took could not be considered orthodox by any means. Home-schooled in a family of thirteen, Nyx grew up in an environment that allowed her to pursue many talents, from painting, writing, hosting, singing, and yes, even Bollywood-style dancing. She was exposed to service at a young age, watching her father visit prison inmates on a weekly basis. Her first mission was to teach art to abused kids in a Children’s Education Center in Thailand. After two years of fulltime volunteer work, she heard of a mission program in Africa, but was wary of the lack of financial support to make it possible. This was the point where she felt God’s hand in her life. “I believe that when you make a decision, you should always ask God because he might have another plan for you,” Nyx pensively recalls. After three months, God had told her it was time to go. All of Nyx’s apprehensions vanished as everything suddenly fell into place and she found herself on the next plane to Africa.
And what a trip it would prove to be! In her three years in Africa, she journeyed up north to the Ik lands, where she created awareness for the then-forgotten tribe through an exhibit of her paintings in Uganda. Never forgetting her passion for helping children, she painted happy stories on the walls of a pediatric ward in Mulago. She was a local celebrity in every place she visited, and had everything going for her. When the Tsunami hit countries in South Asia, however, she knew she would again have to leave everything behind to offer her assistance to those who needed it most. Within weeks of her decision, she found herself in Sri Lanka, awaiting the trials she would have to face with quiet resolve.
After her many voyages, coming back to Manila for a vacation that eventually turned into a semi-permanent holiday was a bit of a challenge and a whole new mission for Nyx. As she has gone around the world helping people, she finds that she now wants to make a difference in the place where she started.
“I want to do things with so much talent in this country,” she declares excitedly. Her enthusiasm has had her spearheading the many activities of Our Life Outreach, all in her unrelenting dedication to the spirit of service.
With this endeavor and along with her new advocacy of promoting cultural awareness in Asia through her hosting job with the Living Asia Channel, she hopes to inspire people to find their true calling and make them realize that the pursuit of greatness lies not in declarations of success, but in the uncounted lives you touch in the passing of your lifetime.