Dr. Evangeline P. Aguilan
“The love of a mother is the veil of a softer light between the heart and the heavenly Father.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge
It’s that time of the year again when we celebrate mothers everywhere. This week, we hope to honor one of many mothers in the Silliman community, Dr. Evangeline Parco-Aguilan.
Vangie, as she is fondly called by colleagues and friends, is a native of Dumaguete. She is the sixth child in a brood of ten. With a judge for a father, Vangie and her siblings were raised to exercise fairness in dealing with everyone.
Recalling her childhood, she describes herself as a competitive student. Her mother, being a public school teacher, taught her the value of performing well in school. She remained humble and gracious, especially to those who had difficulty understanding their lessons. Her frustrations over teachers who didn’t relate well with students developed in her the desire to pursue a career in teaching.
But it was her two-year experience working under a school for children with special needs that convinced her to study Psychology. She enrolled in a Christian university in Manila where she would later meet the man who would soon be her husband, Dr. Victor R. Aguilan.
They were just undergraduate students who simply knew each other from a few classes. But things took a sweet turn after Vangie administered a Rorschach test on Victor for one of her class assignments. Friendship quickly ripened into romance and they both got married a year after graduation.
Victor and Vangie are blessed with two children: Ignatius Victor and Elizabeth Karla who both completed degrees in Information Technology from Silliman University. Ignatius recently completed his academic requirements for his MBA in a university in Manila, after working for eight years as a systems analyst for a British company based in Hang Zhou, China. Karla, on the other hand, who graduated magna cum laude for her undergrad and cum laude for her second degree in Law from the University, is now a lawyer at the Office of the University General Counsel in Silliman and concurrently Deputy Director of the Jovito Salonga Center for Law and Development.
Vangie’s background in Psychology helped her understand better how to properly relate with her children as she guided and disciplined them. For some time, she did not take on a fulltime job because she wanted to make sure she could be with her children as they grew up.
When asked what advice she had for all young mothers, she said: “If there is a choice, it’s really good for mothers to be with their children during their younger years. The first six or seven years are very important.”
Vangie started her career in Silliman as the Guidance Counselor at the High School (HS) Department back in 1990. She applied for the post immediately after completing her master’s degree in Guidance Counseling from Silliman University. At that time, her professors warned her that taking on the post was tantamount to “professional suicide”. But Vangie considered it as a challenge worth taking on.
Nine years into the job, she decided to expand her skills by pursuing doctorate studies in Manila. In 2004, she completed her PhD in Counseling Psychology from De La Salle University. When she returned to Silliman, she was appointed Head of the Guidance and Testing Center. Three years later, she was reassigned to handle the Career and Placement Office where she stayed for another three years.
In 2011, the University opened SU CARES, an arm of the University’s Human Resource Development Office which provides free and confidential services to individuals and groups needing help or support. Being a registered psychologist and counselor, Vangie was determined to be the best suited to lead the program. She considered it a blessing that could have resulted from an earnest desire for professional development and a conscious commitment to outstanding performance.
Describe yourself in three words.
Honest. God-fearing. Sincere.
What is your motto in life?
Be as faithful to God as He is faithful to us.
What makes you laugh?
Anything that’s funny.
What makes you cry?
It brings me to tears whenever I witness injustices that result to pain and suffering, especially to the most vulnerable. I also tear up whenever I converse with the Lord. Most of the time, during my most earnest prayers, I am reminded of how unworthy I am to even speak His name and I simply burst into tears.
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
I’m an early bird. I’m more productive in the morning.
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Each day is a gift. It’s how we make the day that matters.
What do you love doing when not working?
Watching the news, political discussions and good movies
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
I don’t hangout. But you can always find me in my office.
What makes you blush?
At my age, I don’t think I do anymore.
If you were an actress, who would you be?
Cate Blanchett or Julia Roberts
Tell us a fact about yourself.
I don’t hold grudges.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
A day spent watching TV (particularly, good movies, the news or political discussions) or meditating or gazing at the beautiful sceneries of nature.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
I wouldn’t know what they would be interested to know about me.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
The worship songs “Take and Receive, Oh Lord” and “All to Jesus I surrender.”
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
What’s your idea of a family?
A family is just one of God’s instruments to propagate His love and mercy.