Alumni Letter November 2011

Alumni Letter November 2011

Dear Fellow Sillimanian: 

ImageAllow us to bring you back to the classroom with a tula (poem) by Andres Bonifacio.   Born on November 30, 1863, he was the Filipino leader of the First Revolution in Asia against European colonial rule (1892).  Note: we are sharing only four out of the 28 stanzas. The lines in English are not the exact translation; they are from  We selected this English version because it somehow preserved the beauty of the tula form . The painting depicting the heroism of Bonifacio is from the famous mural by National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco. 



Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa (Love of Country)
Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya
sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila
Gaya ng pag-ibig sa sariling lupa?
Aling pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga, wala.

(Is there any love that is nobler
Purer and more sublime 
Than the love of the native country? 
What love is? Certainly none.) 

Pagpupuring lubos ang palaging hangad
Sa bayan ng taong may dangal na ingat,
Umawit, tumula, kumata't at sumulat,
Kalakhan din niya'y isinisiwalat

(Though the mind may not cease reflecting 
And sifting with perseverance 
What humanity has printed and written: 
That will be the result, none other. ) 

Walang mahalagang hindi inihandog
Ng may pusong mahal sa Bayang nagkupkop,
dugo, yaman, dunong, katiisa't pagod,
Buhay ma'y abuting magkalagut-lagot.

(Sacred love! when thou reignest 
In a loyal heart,be it even 
A plebeian's, a rustic's untutored 
Thou makest it grand and revered.)

Bakit? Alin ito na sakdal ng laki,
Na hinahandugan ng busong pagkasi,
Na sa lalong mahal nakapangyayari,
At ginugulan ng buhay na iwi?

(To give the fatherland boundless honor 
Is the purpose of all who are worthy 
And who sing, or compose, or make verses 
To spread their country's glory. )

ImageWelcome Home! There is always a sense of pride in every welcome event for our alumni who are on a nostalgia visit to our campus by the sea! Among this month’s balikbayans are Priscilla Magdamo Abraham, State Artist of Vermont and our country’s pioneer in ethnomusicology, and her husband Fred Abraham, the Chaos Theory prime mover in the world of Psychology.  As in every homecoming, the Abrahams spend their time island hopping with a purpose: they do productive sessions with Filipino students. We value this gift of heroism from Ma’am Precy and Sir Fred, who come home and give lectures and workshops for free.

Since her arrival, Ma’am Precy, the world’s first Filipino expert in McClosky Voice Method, has been doing the rounds sharing her expertise.  She had a session with the Silliman University Gratitude and Goodwill Ambassadors (SUGGA), and Dr. Elizabeth Susan Vista Suarez, Dean of the College of Performing Arts, expressed that the voices of the members of SUGGA have become bigger after the workshop with Ma’am Precy. Also in this homecoming, Ma’am Precy went to Cebu for the choral direction workshop at the University of San Jose Recoletos. Other beneficiaries of the transfer of wisdom are the members of Cebu Chamber Singers. Her “Building Voices” workshop for choral conductors and individual singers might just be the needed magic to bring choral groups to the level of global excellence. She also conducted the “Freeing the Voice” workshop, which focused on the non-singing voices of public speakers, classroom teachers, church preachers and readers. Her mission to promote a “Healthy Voice Use” was generously extended in this homecoming.

Indeed, Ma’am Precy, the 2002 Outstanding Sillimanian awardee, is an unsung National Artist, acknowledged by the late Dr. Lucrecia Kasilag as her mentor and the other National Artist during the celebration of Kasilag’s 10th year as a National Artist. Too bad, the NCCA has a rule that a Filipino working abroad can’t become a National Artist. Ma’am Precy would more than give the award justice, especially that her pride for her country and its beauty is unwavering.  Even abroad, Ma’am Precy would visit school children  to promote the Filipino folktales and music from tribes like the Manobo and the Ifugao.  No other Filipino artist has this enduring lifetime commitment to show to the international arena the richness of Filipino culture.

Sir Fred also has his own mission: to strengthen the very young field of Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino Psychology). It’s awesome to see this zeal in Dr. Abraham who is an American professor in Psychology. Through his classrooms, the Silliman University PhD students in Psychology had great opportunities exploring local colors in Cultural and Critical Psychology. During the first class session last Novemeber 5, Sir Fred and the class got worked up discussing two papers Abraham’s The Dynamics of Culture and Bhabha’s preface to the 2004 edition of his The Location of Culture.  Sir Fred proudly reported, “Also we discussed images of Rizal and Juan Luna’s art.  We also covered some basic issues addressed by post-modern, post-colonial, and critical theory, along with some related issues in psychology.”  Silliman is so fortunate to enjoy the loyalty of the Abrahams.

ImageThe United Nations’ Year of the Forests in 2011 is echoed by Sillimanians in so many different expressions of GOING GREEN!  Last November 26, the Silliman University Student Government launched two new environmental projects: they have the Orgs C.A.R.E. (Conscious Awareness of our Responsibilities to the Environment) and the SU Sikad, followed by a campus clean up and a bikade/parade the city. Aside from the campus clean-up drive, the SU Sikad, a bicycle rental program for Silliman students, got the students excited. The Sikad aims to promote a healthy, active lifestyle of students with the use of vehicles with zero carbon emissions. Sixteen bikes are ready for rent at Php 250.00 per month. This project easily got the support of the other eco-warriors, health advocates, and civic organizations, such as Friends of the Environment in Negros Oriental headed by Leo Mamicpic,, the Negros Oriental Bike Association(NOBA) headed by Romualdo Seneris, the SU Association of Biking Enthusiasts (SUABE) led by Dr. Earl Jude Cleope, and Gawad Kalinga.

At the Center for Tropical Studies (CENTROP), the seedlings of the endangered White NARRA are now available for the tree planting programs of socio-civic organizations. It can be recalled that the smooth-textured White Narra is no longer in existence in many of our country’s forest covers. It became popular to furniture makers that most of the islands in the country don’t have a single living tree. Many Sillimanians who are actively participating in the Year of the Forests celebration are already thinking of giving a White Narra seedling as Christmas gift to a friend.

ImageSilliman University's representative to the Search for Top 3 International Students of the Philippines Baraka M. Karafuli was chosen as the Most Outstanding Foreign Student of the Philippines. Earlier this month she was chosen as among the 12 finalists. The beauty from Congo is president of the Overseas Fellowship of Silliman Church. Baraka, a student nurse, presented a poem for the Talent category.

Baraka’s parents are both Sillimanians. Her mother Muteho Kasongo was a PhD in Theology graduate who is now a strong feminist activist in Congo through an NGO called Action Aid International where she is the coordinator of the Education Program. She is also a lecturer at the University where her husband is currently president.  Baraka’s father, Dr. Kambale Karafuli received his Master in Public Health from Silliman in 1998.  He is now President of the Université Libre des Pays des Grands Lacs(ULPGL) in Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. He is the first university president who did not come from the Theology field.

“We are all worthy of one another.” This is the famous quotation by 2004 Pulitzer Prize Awardee for Fiction and American novelist Edward P. Jones who visited Sillimanian University on November 13 sponsored by US Embassy Cultural Affairs Section. He is accompanied by William Cocks and Tony Perez of the US Embassy Cultural Affairs Section. His lecture at the Writers Village in Camp Look-out was attended by Sillimanian students and aspiring writers.

The new president of the United Board of Christian Education in Asia (UBCHEA) Nancy Chapman visited Silliman University on November 10. It was indeed inspiring that Ms. Chapman visited the campus on her first year as president.  It is also her first time to visit the Philippines and coming to Silliman means a lot to us. It was an expression of commitment to continue the long years of fruitful relationship. Chapman was accompanied by our very own Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann, Vice President for Programs of UBCHEA.

The College of Business Administration (CBA) is back as the Home of the Champions with a back-to-back win in the Silliman University Intramural Games in 2010 and 2011. Gathering a total 385 points from all the games last November 18-23, they overshadowed the tandem of the College of Education and School of Basic Education High School Department (COESBE) which gathered 335 points. Ironically, the ballgames were not the main attraction. In this annual event, the dance sport competition was the crowd drawer. The College of Nursing team composed of soccer varsity player Carlo Caballes and Kahayag Dance Company soloist Ruby Calahi dominated the Standard category. College of Engineering and Design team composed of reigning Miss Silliman Alexis Dawn Masangkay and Kahayag Dance artist Kent Rey Ibero won in all the Latin dances: Chacha, Samba, Rumba and Jive. Masangkay was again named the Best Performer, her fourth straight win.

One thousand choral voices were gathered on November 19 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao for the ABS-CBN Christmas Special: “Maestro Ryan Cayabyab at Sang Libo’t Sang Tinig ng Pasko.” Among the choirs invited was the Silliman University Gratitude and Goodwill Ambassadors (SUGGA).  The ensemble was personally chosen by the maestro himself, Ryan Cayabyab. Dr. Elizabeth Susan Suarez, SUGGA Director and Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts (COPVA), said:”You cannot pay for an experience like that. You sang there and you feel so small because the auditorium is so big but when you really look at it, your presence is the one that makes the one thousand. That’s how important our smallness is.” The project, dubbed “Thousand-Voice Choir,” was organized for choirs whose directors are members of the Philippine Choral Directors Association (PCDA). The Maestro made special mentions of the Madrigals, The Ambassadors from the University of the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas choir, and SUGGA of Silliman University. Among the soloists were international star Lea Salonga, international pop music champion Jed Madela, country’s heartthrob Piolo Pascual, and the UN Youth Ambassador KC Concepcion. 

The Cagayan de Oro Sillimanians will be hosting the SADYA MINDANAO on May 3-5, 2012. This gathering of Sillimanians in Mindanao will include a Northern Mindanao nature adventure. Please alert your area leader and inform Cagayan de Oro President Lingling Bacal Guarin [email protected] of your participation.

HUDYAKA VISAYAS, the gathering of Sillimanians in the Visayas, is moved from December 2011 to April 2012. Please contact the leader of the host chapter Caesar Pacalioga of Bacolod City for details: [email protected]

IN MEMORIAM: Lina de la Torre Pastor (Education 1952) on October 17, former Metro Manila Alumni president Lilian T. Pickard (SUHS 1947, Business 1951) on October 31, Virginia T.  Vicuña (mother of Sillimanians) on November 6, Macario I. Baliwis, (Agriculture 1979) on November 9, Sozelun N. Zerrudo (BS Pre-Med 1970) on November 16 and Mamerto P. Villegas (BSE Music Education 1965) on November 20. 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