Asst. Prof. Warlito Caturay
If one can conjure enigma by nomenclature, it will respond only to the name Warly. Warlito to most colleagues, Warlix to close friends at the English depth (all sorts of pun intended), Prof. Caturay is mystery personified, a colossal puzzle that hides in plain sight among the faculty and staff of Silliman. But that's just for starters.
Warly graduated from Silliman top of the MassComm class in 2001, got nothing but A's as a Fulbright scholar in Skyline Community College in San Bruno, California in 2007, and breezed through his masters in TESOL in 2008. He eats Nina Simone and Astrud Gilberto for breakfast, munches on grammar and syntax for snacks, edits graduate theses and the Weekly Sillimanian for lunch, and twists and shouts to thundering Karaoke at the end of the day. Aside from pursuing post-graduate studies in TESOL, he teaches Intensive Composition, Applied Linguistics, Register Analysis, and Communicative Grammar and is a coordinator of the English Orientation Program and the Language Center of the university. Exactly why he teaches English instead of MassComm courses is a query he’d rather not answer.
An avowed gourmand, Warly prowls Dumaguete’s food outlets and restaurants along with his foodie-buddies in search of new treats for discerning palates. He also bakes killer cakes and pastries and feeds family and friends such fave Pinoy dishes as humba and kinupsan that are so yummy yet so lipid-rich they send doctors into a fit of cholesterol-control frenzy. Friends run to him, those in the know point to him, whenever where-best-to-eat-what questions arise.
A native of San Carlos City and the favorite of his clan, Warlito is the proxy baby of older siblings Benju-Lito, a Philosophy and Nursing graduate and currently a sophomore at Silliman’s College of Medicine, and Rovianne, a graduate of the SU College of Nursing who now works as a nurse in the state of Washington. His dad was a pediatrician who spent his career tending to the children of San Carlos and his mom was someone who looked after the needy as Social Welfare officer of the city and as caregiver in San Diego, California.
But beneath his jolly façade and easy ways, in his heart of hearts Warly harbors a hurt too deep for tears, a shadow that lurks where even mirth’s tiniest fingers could never reach. This he tries to forget, to bury in oblivion, but at times it rears its dreary head. It first took hold when his dad succumbed to Diabetes complications. It later threatened to possess all of him, to consume the very core of his being, when, still reeling from his father’s death, his mother’s heart was overcome by myocardial infarction alone in her apartment in San Diego – a state away from his sister, a country removed from home.
Upon learning of his mother’s passing, Warly couldn’t help thinking that the universe was conspiring to send the world as he knew it crashing to the ground all around him. In his bones he felt as though the strings of existence had taken a quantum leap to a contrary dimension and had commenced vibrating in strange frequencies. That he wasn’t there when it happened, that her mom was all by herself at the final moment, was the very dagger that cut him the deepest, nearly driving him to go to pieces.
But calls from family and friends – from San Carlos, Dubai, Washington and California – kept him going, as well as the overflowing support of the Silliman community. To this day he is grateful that on that fateful day he got a condoling text message from Dr. Betsy Joy Tan, VP for Academic Affairs, and word from a colleague how the university president, Dr. Ben Malayang, gave instructions for him to look after Warly’s needs. In fact, the president would stop his car whenever he passed by just to say “Hi”. And in Warly’s head a voice kept whispering that because he is a Sillimanian he must know how to look such tempest in the eye without shaking, to live through the ordeal no matter how heart-wrenching.
If Warly were a delicacy, he would be a fruitcake: sweet and intoxicating, a bit dark, and (full of) nuts. And that’s just how those who love him like it.
Describe yourself in three words.
Patient. Fastidious. Gourmand.
What is your mantra in life?
“No regrets.” I also like what my Dad used to tell me: “Live life one day at a time.”
What makes you laugh?
I laugh at small things. Also, my encounters with people make me laugh.
What makes you cry?
Thinking about my parents.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
Evenings. It’s the time when I’m more relaxed and I come up with more ideas.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Saturday, since I don’t have to get up early – no work, no chores, no obligation to take anyone anywhere.
What do you love doing when not working?
Baking. Feeding people. Chatting with friends. Karaoke.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
Office. (How sad, no?)
What makes you blush?
When people say something good or flattering about me.
If you were an actor/actress, who would you be?
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Tell us a fact about yourself.
I can bake a mean Red Velvet cake.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
Scared of getting cuts and bruises, my cousins and I were mostly sedentary, but on rare occasions we would play Bulan-bulan.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
Curled up in bed with Nina Simone singing in the background.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
That I can sing if my life depended on it. [Never mind that he took formal voice lessons and counts Karaoke as a prime pastime.]
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“A Certain Sadness” by Astrud Gilberto
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Check my emails (ahem, Facebook bitaw).
What’s your idea of a family?
People you allow to see you as you really are, people with whom I can put my guard down and be myself.