Alumni Letter May 2011

Alumni Letter May 2011


The 50th year of the Silliman University NATIONAL WRITERS WORKSHOP

Gaudeamus! Let us rejoice!  The Silliman University Writers Workshop, the first in Asia, turned 50 in May 2011.  It was one of the important literary events of the Philippines (see photo of workshop participants, alumni and panelists on Luce Auditorium stage). With leading newspapers and magazines allotting spreads to feature the golden harvest, Sillimanians know why celebrating this legacy of the late Professor Emeritus, Edilberto K. Tiempo, and currently the only woman National Artist in Literature, Dr. Edith Lopez Tiempo (pictured above with daughter, Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas) is wide and enduring. This was explained by workshop alumnus and multi-awarded Sillimanian literary artist Ian Rosales Casocot,  “… it is because of Mom Edith and Doc Ed that Philippine literature has lain claim to a mythic Dumaguete—the same literary sense of geography that embraces Manuel Arguilla’s Nagrebcan, Carlos Aureus’ Naga, Nick Joaquin’s Old Manila, and NVM Gonzalez’s Romblon. But while each of these places are mythologized in one writer’s dream of words, Dumaguete seems to breathe heavily on more than one pen, and has colonized more than one imagination. Every summer since 1962, the Philippine literary world knocks on Mom Edith’s doors. Since then, the quiet appeal of Dumaguete has made its way prominently to the magic pages of books, journals, and literary magazines, immortalized in countless stories, poems, and essays. The authors we’ve read, and often praised and emulated in college, have been through here, have made sonnets to the sunrise off the famous Rizal Boulevard, have seen Edith Tiempo at work, and have ended up calling her Mom for the rest of their literary life. For her, there are poems for every acacia tree that grows towards the horizon, to Tañon Strait.”

ImageThe 50th year (celebrated during, the first three weeks of the month of May) had certain evenings when gratitude and recognition was publicly expressed to the workshop pillars and supporters through the years. After all these tributes, the founder, Mom Edith, expressed, “What else can I say to you except that I am happy, happy to be with you as I have always been happy all these 50 years with writers, and I hope that each one of you will be happy to say that, ‘Oh, last night I was with a 92-year-old woman who claims she is a writer.” By coincidence, a group of writing students and their mentor on tour from the University of Iowa arrived in Dumaguete and took part in the final celebration. Ed and Edith Tiempo learned their craft at the University of Iowa. They established the Dumaguete Writers Workshop in 1962 after their return. The present workshop Director-in-Residence, Dr. Rowena Tiempo Torrevillas, has consistently acknowledged that the seed of this workshop came from Iowa, “Truly, the world comes to Iowa, even as Iowa goes out into the world, carrying the seeds of that brave, creative idea. Sometimes those seeds, taken from a wondrous new crop grown far away, return, to be replanted in the land that first brought them forth. This is the golden harvest we now celebrate.”

Now, everyone is looking forward to another grand homecoming in 2013, the celebration of the centenary of Doc Ed’s birthday.


Many groups from different international schools come to Silliman every year for the varied Service-learning programs that we offer. Our University has become the leading institution in community-based education in this part of the country.  Silliman was the venue for the “Service-Learning Development Seminar-Workshop for Visayas and Mindanao” held on May 18 to 20. The program was sponsored by the Private Education Assistance Council/Fund for Assistance to Private Education (PEAC/FAPE) and the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), chaired by Dr. Ben S. Malayang III. The workshop promoted service-learning as a teaching pedagogy to more than fifty leaders of educational institutions.


ImageOne thing new in Silliman which has been followed for two school years now is the holding of three graduation ceremonies annually.  Graduates in October and during the summer term need not come back for a March graduation for they now have their own graduation program.  This summer, a Baccalaureate in the morning and Commencement in the afternoon with guest speaker Rev. Jonathan Pia were held on May 15 for 65 graduates.  Among the members of the graduating class was Mr. Dave E. Marcial, Dean of the College of Computer Studies, who finished with a PhD degree in Education (see picture).

College of Engineering alumnus Mr. Harold Mascardo arrived to a warm homecoming on May 12 at Silliman.  He was welcomed and was given a reorientation to the campus by the staff of the Office of Alumni and External Affairs.  His main goal in coming was to represent his fraternity brothers of the SU Lambdans in establishing a scholarship for poor and deserving students. The SU Lambdans scholarship was launched on May 13, with the deadline for applications set on June 26.  He thanked the Vice President for Finance and Administration, Prof. Cleonico Fontelo, Mr. Jose Mari Jonathan Antonio of the Institutional Advancement Office, and Mrs. Rodora Sagun of the Student Scholarship and Aid Division for their help in setting up the scholarship program.  During his visit, he also decided to enroll in the PhD in Social Science program of the School of Public Administration and Governance (SPAG) and is grateful to Dr. Reynaldo Rivera who facilitated the distant education arrangement for this US-based alumnus.

  On May 17, Science educators and research scientists from around the country came to Dumaguete for a Seminar-Workshop on Preserving and Sharing Local Knowledge, with the theme “Preserving and Sharing Local Knowledge and Indigenous Practices in Coastal Resource Management using Digital Tools.” The five-day, cross-disciplinary workshop provided a common understanding of coastal resource management (CRM), digital tools and the benefits of using technology to promote CRM.  It provided skills for librarians, IT developers, CRM researchers and multimedia/ communications faculty from colleges and universities across the Philippines to collect, document and disseminate local knowledge of and indigenous practices in CRM. The educational workshop was funded by The United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.

Silliman sports icons Jennifer Chan and Joan Chan-Tabanag did it again! The international archery queens harvested gold medals for the Philippines in the 2nd Asian Archery Grand Prix in Vietnam.  Jennifer also won two bronze medals from the individual and the mix challenges.

Silliman University 1989 College of Law alumna Judge Pamela Abella Maxino has been appointed by Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III to be Justice of the Court of Appeals.  The former Regional Trial Court judge in Guaga, Pampanga is the third Sillimanian law graduate to be appointed Justice. The other two  are Justice Ramon M. Bato, Jr. and retired justice and former Silliman President Venancio Aldecoa Jr.

Sillimanians in Hawaii had a chance to have an Aloha Fellowship with Dr. Ben S. Malayang III on April 24 at the Mililani home of Sam and Miriam Luz de la Peña.  Chapter treasurer Meda Magdamo Palencia was happy to report that they have reached the goal of their collection for the completion of the Aloha room in the SUACONA Oriental Hall project. Chapter President Miriam Luz Somera de la Peña and Vice President Jean Tantano gathered around 20 Sillimanians for the event.  

The Silliman Run was launched on May 15, inspired by the successful Founders Day event in Cebu City last year, the “Run to Educate,” organized by the Cebu Sillimanians.  The Silliman Alumni Association, Inc. (SAAI) headed by President Judge Rafael Crescencio Tan together with Cebu alumni led by their president Siegfried Sia will hold the 11-km run in Dumaguete on Augusts 7. It will still be dubbed as “Run to Educate” and will serve as the opening salvo of the 110th Founders Day.  Interested runners may register at the SAAI office in Silliman University or may email [email protected] Register before July 11 and pay only P300, P270 and P270 for the 11k, 5.5k and 1.1k categories, respectively.

IN MEMORIAM: Lucia Corazon Jalandoni Raterta (BS Social Work 1977) on April 30; Romulo Po Tambis (Management 1984) on May 12; Rosario L. Flores (ETC 1940) on May 22; Perpetua Tinambacan Bacarro (Early Childhood School faculty member) on May 26; and Eugenio S. Rio (SU Cafeteria cook) on May 31.  If you know of any Sillimanian who is not in our memorial list, please inform us.


Thank you for always being there for dear old Silliman.

President Ben Malayang has requested this office to update you regularly about happenings on campus. We are also interested in knowing what you and your alumni chapters are doing.

Please keep in touch and update your file with our office if you have not done so. We would truly appreciate it. You may reach the President’s Office through this email address: [email protected] You may also contact the Alumni Affairs Office through this address: [email protected]



Jocelyn “JONG” Somoza de la Cruz
Director of Alumni and External Affairs


cc: Dr. Ben S. Malayang III