Mrs. Maria Rosario Dicen-Villanueva
She is an unfamiliar face to most customers at the Cafeteria, but her charm can easily win people over. She exudes an aura that can quickly brighten up what can be a quiet corner on the second floor of the Cafeteria. She is a beauty pageant winner who, while can be the muse of the Cafteria, prefers to be a clown and a worker in one.
Mrs. Maria Rosario Dicen-Villanueva is the Bookkeeping and Purchasing Officer of the Silliman University Cafeteria. She is an epitome of an empowered woman in her own right, wearing different hats as a caring daughter, thoughtful sister, loving wife and hard-working mother. She has a unique attitude that keeps her head above water, even when troubles are every so often neck-deep.
This charming Dumagueteña from Barangay Candau-ay learned the importance of good financial management as a young girl. Her father is an accountant and her mother a homemaker. Together, her parents endeavored to make ends meet for her and her three siblings, without compromising the value of a good education. Knowing resources were scarce, she often thought of creative ways to make alternatives for the costly things frequently enjoyed by her classmates in the private school. She recalls the popular snack Pik-Nik which she recreated on her own at home so that she wouldn’t have to spend much to enjoy what most of her friends did. And so Rio, as she is fondly called, always found herself away from expensive fads and trends even as a student.
Following in the footsteps of her father, she took up Accountancy in college at St. Paul University Dumaguete.
On her first day for her Fundamentals of Accounting class, she came in late. Little did she know that this proved to be a blessing in disguise. While the experience wasn't serendipitous for her, it led her close to her classmate, Mark Villanueva, whom she would later marry.
She graduated in 2000 — an achievement she considers her greatest as she was only among 11 who survived the course in her batch. Briefly after graduation, she joined Miss Negros Oriental and was adjudged first runner-up.
In 2006, Rio and Mark, who had been very close friends throughout college, finally tied the knot. They are now blessed with two kids: Christian Derek and Veronica Joan ages seven and three, respectively. She delights in waking up early each morning to watch her children sleeping, offering a prayer for them before she starts her day.
When she’s not working, Rio finds fulfillment in cooking for people she loves. She whips up scrumptious meals inspired by her food adventures during her dinner-dates with Mark on Friday evenings. Rio says she doesn’t simply eat food. She savors them, dissecting each new taste and discovering new ways to cook old favorites in her kitchen.
Her love for healthy home-cooked meals and her compulsion not to spend a peso more than necessary led her to start a vegetable garden and have a small orchard of fruit trees at home. She grows tomatoes, spring onions, Chinese cabbage, lemon, mangoes and many others.
Rio also has a heart for hospitality and making her home an inviting place to reflect Christ. She is a devout Roman Catholic, living a life founded on four core beliefs that she has learned in her 34 years of experience: (1) When you do something good, it comes back to you a thousand folds; (2) When you do something bad, you will get caught; (3) Whenever you have a problem, there is always a solution; and (4) Whenever you ask for something from God, it will be given to you in His time.
Rio has confidence that grace abounds in her life so that she may be able to share with others around her.
Describe yourself in three words.
What is your motto in life?
I don’t have one particular motto in life. But I am guided by four beliefs:
- When you do something good, it comes back to you a thousand folds.
- When you do something bad, you will get caught.
- Whenever you have a problem, there is always a solution.
- Whenever you ask for something from God, it will be given to you in His time.
What makes you laugh?
Anything under the sun. It’s that easy to make me laugh.
What makes you cry?
I am empathetic. Whenever I hear of people caught in disasters or suffering, I always imagine myself in their shoes and that brings me to tears.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
Mornings – when the sun is brightly shining.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Friday – It’s that one special day of the week when my husband and I go out for dinner at my restaurant of choice.
What do you love doing when not working?
I love gardening. I grow vegetables and herbs at home. I also love cooking.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
While I wait for my husband to pick me up after work, I love to sit at the guard house in front of the Cafeteria. I face the sea and bask in the scenery, imagining how it was 50 years ago.
What makes you blush?}
I don’t think I ever blush.
If you were an actress, who would you be?
Angelina Jolie – I love her flexibility in doing a wide range of roles.
Tell us a fact about yourself.
I am a planner. I always plan things ahead of time.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
“Bagul”, “shatong”, “tayukok”
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
My idea of a relaxing day is when everything is in its proper place — the house is clean and smelling good, my children are in good shape, and I get to sit down with my husband and talk. We often term it as “lulaw.”
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
The real me.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“God will make a way”
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Watch my kids while they sleep and pray for them.
What’s your idea of a family?
When I was much younger, I always envisioned for myself a family where I am able to provide for all my children’s basic needs, where I am being a good wife to my husband and he being a good husband to me as well. I always strive hard to keep my kids happy being in our family.