Mr. Ronald B. Kinilitan
George Bernard Shaw’s ashes must be churning in the wind in some secluded garden somewhere in Dublin. Had the Irish playwright foreseen a century ahead of time the coming of Silliman High’s Ronald Kinilitan, he would have sung a different tune, one that doesn’t lament how youth is wasted on the young. This strapping young lad from barangay Calindagan is nothing but a walking contradiction of one of the 1925 Nobel Prize winner’s most famous pronouncements. He proves right instead what Rizal had said about the young ones as the hope of the land.
For someone who spouts Gandhi at the drop of a hat, it comes as no surprise that Ron (as his CAUSE party mates fondly call him, Boboy among his neighbors and childhood friends) is neck-deep in his social involvements. What blows the mind is how he goes at it with such pizzazz and fire. Like a hyper juggler on a super-sized double espresso macchiato with an extra shot on the side, he zooms through his engagements one after a million others without skipping a meet. But hyperbole and trite clichés aside, Ron does – like a true Sillimanian should – make good use of his time in the service of a greater good.
To his students, “Sir Ron” is one of those rarified few whose class sessions they look forward to. To his colleagues, he is the über-fun colleague who is always willing to lend a helping hand, a sympathetic ear, a comforting shoulder; one who keeps secrets safe and in whose company there’s no such thing as dull moments as he always seems to manage to stir a hornet’s nest of laughter with his funny ways. To his parents, Ron is – well, the look in his mother’s eyes says it all when she talks about her son (and we might as well talk about defining the ultimate meaning of parental pride).
As a student, Ron was all over the campus activities map. He was voted governor of the College of Education Student Organization while still a sophomore and was elected Student Government (SG) representative for three consecutive years. At the SG, he chaired the Cheering Committee in 2006, the Socio-Cultural Committee in 2007. He also became Speaker Pro-Tempore of the student assembly and was appointed student-representative in the Board of Trustees’ Programs and Services Committee. He capped his curricular achievements by graduating magna cum laude and receiving the Silliman University Service Award. He is currently the lead adviser of SU High’s Samahang Maharlika.
But it was his extra-curricular involvements that separated Ron from the rest of the nerdy bunch. He co-founded the GABA-AN Youth Lead (a youth-facilitating team that offers team-building and leadership training to Negros Oriental youth for free) in 2007, serves as an adviser of New Ground Events (an organizing team that specializes in putting together events with social concerns, such as the recently held KALINGA Run, the Dumaguete Extreme Amazing Race, and the Nation of Heroes and Tatak #Selfie Pinoy Youth summits), coordinates the Children’s Liturgy at the Mary Immaculate church, and works as a volunteer facilitator during Flores de Mayo. He also helps organize the community Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties and the Easter Egg Hunt for the kids in their barangay.
Sometimes, though, smart aleck sayings do come true. As for Ron, he personally found out how much harder you fall the higher you soar. Or what it feels like when you’re drowning in the flood when it rains and it pours, especially when the storm springs from such a minor glitch as botched up music for a cheering team’s performance, as it did when he headed the Cheering Committee. And when the sludge hit the fan all he could think of was to run as the ensuing furor reached fever pitch. He felt like ditching school, running away somewhere where he could disappear for a while. Straight home he went right after classes, sweating bullets whenever his phone rang or beeped message alerts. Never had he felt so down as he did that time. Lucky for him Nietzsche wasn’t being a wise-bum when he proclaimed what doesn’t kill you makes you firm. Since then, whenever Ron encounters a problem, he tells himself it is but a molehill and not a mountain, that it’s nothing compared to what he went through back then.
Yet, more than being a dream student-turned-teacher, way beyond being a model youth, Ron is the son every tender-hearted parent dreams about. Though neither the oldest nor the youngest, Ron looms larger than his siblings in moments that matter the most to their parents. Such is his impact that, though wont to the icy business-like demeanor of lawyers as secretary of the College of Law, his mother could only do so much to keep in check her tears when she intimated how her son would draw greeting cards or rush about the neighborhood to pick flowers that he would give to his parents on their birthdays and other special days. With Ron, his parents are simply thankful for what they wished for.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” To this, Ron replies, “Ahem, amen.”
Describe yourself in three words.
Simple (yet) glamorous (and) gorgeous.
What is your mantra in life?
“Be the change you want to see in the world” by Mahatma Gandhi.
What makes you laugh?
When my friends call me… well, glamorous and gorgeous, hahaha.
What makes you cry?
Things about my family.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
Mornings, because I’m a morning person. I’m very active in the morning.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Sunday. After I attend church, I do as I please with my time, mostly taking things easy by watching TV or going to the beach.
What do you love doing when not working?
Going out with my friends, nature-tripping.
What is your favorite hangout in the University?
When I was in college, my friends and I spent a lot of our free time at the Catacombs. These days, I sometimes sit at the airy steps outside the Luce lobby late in the afternoon, passing time watching students go by.
What makes you blush?
Seeing my crush (lol).
If you were an actor, who would you be?
John Llloyd Cruz. Aside from being famous and good-looking, he’s so versatile in his acting.
Could you tell us something amazing about yourself?
I’m a natural performer – I love to act, sing, and dance. In fact, I take teaching as some kind of a high-level performance done live and with a different script every time. That’s why I’m always on my toes inside the classroom, always raring to give the performance of my life.
What was your favorite game growing up?
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
Cook breakfast for myself then watch TV all day (with plenty of snacks – tons of chips and Cheezy and gallons of iced tea – on the side, certainly).
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
I can cook some jaw-dropping, taste buds-scorching fried rice for breakfast.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“Halaga” by Parokya ni Edgar. I find the music video very cute, the song has a nice melody, and the lyrics speak of giving importance to someone who is taken for granted by someone else.
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Check my phone for messages.
What’s your idea of a family?
A group of people with whom you are always comfortable, to whom you can show who you really are, and from whom you get loving and care like no other.