Mr. Bernard T. Duran
Safety Officer Bernard T. Duran is one of many “invisible” faces working in the background, committed to ensuring a smooth and safe campus experience for members of the Silliman community.
His story is a testimony of how good education widens the doors of opportunity.
This Dumagueteño from Barangay Piapi is the second child in a brood of four. His father worked as a government employee, while his mother was a homemaker. To help augment the family income, his mother would spend her weekends doing laundry for some dormers in Silliman, and Bernard was often tasked to pump water from an artesian well for her.
Came high school. Bernard shares he spent eight years at the Negros Oriental High School because of his Chemistry subject. And though true education takes time, Bernard admits he looks back with regret at this episode in his life. By the time he earned his high school diploma in 1989, most of his batchmates had already completed college.
But instead of wallowing at this realization, Bernard eagerly looked forward to starting college at Silliman University. With his National College Entrance Examination results showing strength in Mathematics, he decided to enroll under the Mechanical Engineering program. But at the end of his first year, Bernard did not meet the grade requirement to move on to a higher subject for his course.
The following year he decided to shift and pursue the course Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. However, the hassle of commuting from the main campus to the farm discouraged him from continuing on with his new course.
Undecided on what course he would shift to next, he thought it good to stay in the general Bachelor of Arts program. A year later, he got convinced to take up a major in Sociology.
Bernard was only three subjects short of completing requirements for graduation in 1997 when he decided to drop out of college again. This time, to marry Daisy, his girlfriend of three years. At about this time, he was already nearing his 30s.
Without a degree in hand, his employment prospects were limited to those which involved hard manual labor. The first job he took was with Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. located in Sibulan, Negros Oriental. He was hired as a process helper, which meant loading and unloading supplies or merchandise, among other things. Bernard stayed with the company for four years before an opportunity to work in government opened up for him.
For the next three years, he was tapped by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Dumaguete City Government for various road-building projects. Years working under the scorching heat of the sun, inhaling dust and asphalt fumes convinced him to seek employment elsewhere.
In 2005, he enlisted himself for training with a security agency. When he passed the training, he was deployed by the agency at Silliman University where he was stationed at the small annex gate in between the Portal West Building and Hibbard Hall.
Two years later, he sent an application letter an employment agency that caters to Silliman. He was hired as janitor. Bernard was stationed at the Uytengsu Computer Studies Building and Guy Hall, which used to house the College of Performing and Visual Arts, College of Mass Communication and the Office of the Registrar and Admissions.
Five years into his janitorial work in the University, Bernard heeded a friend’s advice to complete his college degree. In October 2011, he enrolled to pick up where he left off under the Bachelor of Arts major in Sociology program. He finally earned his diploma from Silliman University in March 2012.
Immediately after graduation, he applied for an open post at the University Public Assistance and Safety Office and was hired that year as one of its Safety Officers.
“That piece of paper changed my life,” Bernard says, referring to his diploma.
He tells this story to his two sons, Clint Bernard (Grade 7) and Carl James (Grade 2), time and time again in order to teach them the importance of education and hopefully spare them from the trouble of having limited opportunities in their chosen careers in the future.
Describe yourself in three words.
Friendly. Discerning. Hardworking.
What’s your motto in life?
My life experience has taught me that education widens the doors of opportunity.
What makes you laugh?
Funny people and jokes.
What makes you cry?
Offensive or harsh words.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
Afternoons – During my student years, afternoons are usually spent hanging out with friends. Now that I’m employed, I continue to enjoy afternoons as a time for unwinding at the office after a good lunch break.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Friday – because it makes me look forward to the weekend.
What do you love doing when you’re not working?
I enjoy watering plants at home.
What’s your favorite hangout place in the University?
When I was a student, I enjoyed hanging out at the VH lobby.
What make you blush?
If you were an actor, who would you be?
Tell us a fact about yourself.
Ever since my decision to marry, I have always recognized that my primary responsibility as husband and father is to provide for my family’s needs.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
“Kayukok” , “bato-lata” , “dakpanay” , and playing with my homemade “tirador”
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
Enjoying a good TV show or movie at home during a nonworking day.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
The story of how earning my diploma changed my life.
What song best describes your life right now?
I can’t think of a song that describes my life but my favorite song is “Open Arms” by Journey.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Wash my face.
What’s your idea of family?
A family is a group of people with a special bond. I would like my own family to feel comfortable with each other as if we were all friends in a “barkada”.