Mr. Michael A. Patron, Jr.
In the good book they call him Mishael, Hebrew of his Anglicized name Michael, patron archangel of God’s army of angels. In Spain, Portugal and South America, he is Miguel, vaunted brand name of a famous ale, in Russia Mikhail, first name of the Bolshevik revolution slayer. In pop culture he is Mickey, title of an early ‘80s New Wave stomper, and to the tambays killing time at a sari-sari store somewhere in Mindanao, he is the namesake of Mikko, their quasi-loco barkada supremo. In Silliman University, however, he is but Michael Patron, Jr., secretary and verification meister at the Office of the Registrar.
Michael is the third of ten children of Sally and Michael Patron, Sr., the partner for life of Prof. Myla June Tumbokon-Patron of the English department, and the doting pater (erpat) of Lance Gabriel and Kenric Lorenzo. By virtue of his office he is the right hand of Ms. Annabel Pa-a, the University Registrar, and by academic affiliation a part-time instructor at the Office Management Department of the College of Business Administration (CBA). He was formerly connected with the English Deep (all depths of pun intended, as in the profile on Prof. Caturay) and in college was a poster boy of student assistants who got a CBA commendation in 1997 for “giving the best of his ability in performing commendable endeavors as self-help student.”
While working as a student assistant, he augmented his income by taking part-time jobs on weekends, holidays, and summer breaks. At times he’d join his uncle who drilled water pump springs for a living, but mostly he apprenticed to a hollow block maker. He graduated BBA major in Management in 1997 and finished his MBA in 2002. A few years later he enrolled in Law, and had his work not picked up such a hectic pace, especially with the periodic arrival of hordes of Korean students who came for the then Intensive English Program (IntEP) during their summer and winter breaks, Michael would have gone on to become a lawyer, practically eclipsing everyone else at the English Department with all the degrees that would have stuck out of his belt.
With an MBA degree and units in Law, Michael has spawned speculations on his motivations for shunning the classroom for ho-hum office tedium – indeed a mystery worthy of Sherlock or Jung. But one can catch a glimpse of its subconscious roots in Michael’s scholastic training and professional grounding, starting from when he propelled himself through college by working part-time. At the English Department, he mastered the art of sorting and tracking things and established himself as “the fastest mimeographing hand in Silliman,” a distinction that he would brag to his boys when they come of age. By the time the previous secretary requested for a transfer, Michael eased into the job like ube to ice cream, his bum hitting his predecessor’s throne with fingers running riot on the keyboard or flipping through the myriad of handouts that the department used to produce.
For most of his working life, whether while still a student or as a full-fledged secretary, Michael has been doing office stuff, and the classroom was something he contemplated only when fixing room assignments for English classes at the start of each semester. But though he had a blast at the Anglo-Saxon realm, even if he was having the time of his life with the English pips, no matter if he got so good at filing things he could practically name the title of the handout for any English subject under any teacher at any point in a given semester, in the end he asked to be assigned to another office. Since his wife, whom he met while still on probation, was already given a permanent tenure, he felt delicadeza required him to move somewhere else to dispel any notion of giving her undue advantage when assigning subjects, class schedules and classrooms to the English teachers. His reassignment turned out to be a boon incognito because even if on paper it was a mere lateral transfer, now he is a secretary whose scope spans the entire university.
These days, aside from attending to his tasks at the CBA and the Registrar’s Office, Michael sits in the University Committee on Decorum and Investigation. But no matter how busy he gets, no matter how tedious things become, he makes it a point to never forget to attend to his family’s needs. To this day, he still makes the coffee for his wife, cooks for his children their favorite pancit and seafood pasta, and on weekends takes everyone for a leisurely ride on his scooter. His dedication to his family, he says, is but a mirror image of his love for Silliman.
And to that, all the angels in heaven nod in agreement.
Describe yourself in three words.
Conscientious. Devoted. Practical.
What is your mantra in life?
“Give each day your best shot for you’ll never know what tomorrow brings.”
What makes you laugh?
I laugh at jokes.
What makes you cry?
Seeing displaced children.
What’s your favorite time of day and why?
1 p.m. – when I can take my power nap.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Saturday, because it’s family day.
What do you love doing when not working?
Going on a leisurely drive with my family.
What is your favorite hangout in the University?
There’s no hangout in the University for me other than the office.
What makes you blush?
When I make mistakes, of course.
If you were an actor, who would you be?
Liam Neeson 😉
Tell us a fact about yourself.
I can tickle your funny bone with my off-kilter dance moves (as when he does a Mr. Bean jig with Prof. Philip Van Peel).
What’s your favorite game growing up?
I grew up playing volleyball with my father and his friends.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
Spending the afternoon at the beach forgetting about work, feeling the soft caress of the breeze on my cheeks.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
Like a child, I can get utterly amazed with such frivolous things as toy cars and sliding windows.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“Warrior is a Child” by Gary Valenciano (originally done by Twila Paris in 1984).
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning (excluding morning rituals)?
Staring at my 3 angels (wife and two kids).
What’s your idea of a family?
A family is composed of a mother, father and kids, with God at the center.