Asst. Prof. Emervencia L. Ligutom
Living near Silliman campus prompted a little girl to dream of getting a diploma from the institution. That simple dream was turned into a beautiful experience years later as she formally became a Sillimanian, no longer just a “Silinganian” — as her family lived at the back of Doltz Hall.
Asst. Prof. Emervencia L. Ligutom, the Director of the Institute of Service-Learning, openly shares her life experience. She had her share of hard times in the early part of her life. But like many in her shoes, instead of being discouraged, she dreamed bigger and aimed higher.
Emy, as she is fondly called by her colleagues, reminisces those times well spent with her parents. She beams with pride recalling how she has developed the person in her through the love, dedication and hard work of her parents.
She credits her work values to her father who was a market sweeper, and her spritual and emotional strength from her mother, a laundrywoman. She recalls how she would often join her father in the market, just so he could finish his job on time and he could go home early. Her mother, on the other hand, was resilient, always positive in helping ends meet for their family as she catered to did the laundry of her clients who were mostly Silliman students.
To her, the hardship that they went through only tested her faith and perseverance. “The situation itself should be the inspiration to make life better and to attain goals,” she shares.
It was a dream come true for her to finally be able to study in Silliman for college. Before entering in college, Emy's heart was already for Social Work. It was a choice influenced also by a social worker that she often saw in the community. But her brother discouraged her from taking up Social Work, so she enrolled in Medical Technology. In her semester though, she was convinced that it was not the right fit for; she dreaded working in a laboratory with microscopes and pendulum exercises. That phase in her life helped her conclude that she did not like chemistry at all.
She then shifted to Social Work where she found and established her niche. In 1976, she graduated cum laude. In the same year, she placed second in the licensure examination for social workers. That led to a number of employment opportunities for Emy, but it was an offer as a social worker at the Silliman University Medical Center that rang the bell for her.
While already working, she was endorsed by the Social Work Department of Silliman University for a scholarship from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. She was accepted, paving the way for her master's degree from the University of the Philippines. In 1978, fresh from her graduate studies, she returned to Silliman where she fulfilled a condition of the scholarship: to teach in a school of social work outside Manila. Emy was initially hesitant to carry out the role of a teacher as a young scholar, but she eventually grew a strong affinity to teaching and found meaning in helping students give the best of themselves to the community.
In the same way that she was brought up, Emy incorporates into her lessons the value of faith and service. She wants to be remembered as “someone who instilled values of loving God, loving others, loving oneself… and on how to be passionate with one’s work and service.” Service to Emy is “faith in action.”
There are many things about her Silliman experience that keep her grateful, humble and young at heart. Among those that top them is having met her “ex-boyfriend” and partner for life, Ponciano, who is currently the Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment-Region 6. They are blessed with children Noyme Lour Abegil, now working as a clinical instructor at the College of Nursing, and twins, Pons Joseph Panfilo and Pons Joseph Julian, who are professionals different companies.
As a woman of strength, Emy has found a way of balancing her time for family and work. She manifests her talent and love for singing whenever she facilitates training in the country or abroad, making it a point that a song finds its place in the program. Emy also loves to cook, do gardening and decorate — and how her home is a testament to her creativity.
Let us get to know Emy more:
Describe yourself in three words.
Silent. Honest. Reflective.
What is your mantra in life?
“Every day is God’s gift to me. What I do with it is my gift to Him in return.”
What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at jokes. I cry when someone dear to me dies.
What’s your favorite time/day of the week and why?
Weekends – I can have more time and meaningful interaction with my family.
What do you love doing when not working?
I’m busy doing household chores, rearranging the house, attending to plants, and taking care of my grandchildren – “APOstolic Mission.”
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
What makes you blush?
When there are kind souls asking me, “What’s your secret?”
If you were an actor/actress, who would you be?
I prefer to choose a saint rather than an actress. I would pick St. Theresa – a woman with very strong faith, simple, compassionate, and has passion for service.
Tell us a fact about yourself?
I wake up very early.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
”Tubig-tubig” and “Bato-lata”
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
Listening, singing, and enjoying the music together with my family.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
How my husband and I have been able to maintain our relationship, despite the distance. We both believe that love transcends time, space, and distance.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“Thanks To You”
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
What’s your idea of a family?
Members are loving and respectful in a way with each other despite the differences.