Ms. Annabelle E. Pa-a
(NOTE: “Colleague of the Week'” serves as a window into the life of the faculty and staff members of Silliman University. It seeks to showcase colleagues from different departments and units, and present them as “the” faces that form part of the foundation of Silliman. Featured weekly are faculty and staff who have committed themselves to providing members of the Silliman community a campus experience that cultivates competence, character and faith within one and all. We get to know them as people who like any of us also have their fair share of challenges, successes, and an inspiring story to tell. Not all of them may be popular, but not a single one of them lives a life without hope and meaning to share.)
“Good morning, Lord! Thank you for giving me this new day! And thank you for giving me a new opportunity to serve!”
This has become her daily prayer. It is the shield that protects her from what she considers as simply trials that test her faith. The same prayer provides her wings to breeze through the many challenges that her work as Registrar and Admissions Officer brings about.
Ms Annabelle Pa-a considers God her best friend. “Whenever I am down and out, God is always around to lift me up.”
Life for Annabelle while she was growing up “was very colorful”. As the eldest — and while still the only child — she went through a phase wherein the simple joys of a kid were given her by her parents. Her father was a janitor at the Silliman University Church and her mother owned a sari-sari store. But things would change when their family grew bigger and her father got sick.
“My childhood was very colorful as the eldest. There was a time when I got to enjoy and have my needs and wants, with my mother having a sari-sari store and my father being a janitor in the SU Church. Everything was fine when I grew up. However, when our family got bigger — and my seven siblings came, and when my father got sick, things became difficult for us,” Annabelle recalls.
Knowing well the need for her parents to make ends meet, she worked hard towards earning a degree. She entered Silliman in 1973 and took up her undergraduate in Business Administration. She worked as a student assistant, in order to help her parents cover the costs of sending her to the University.
“It was a sacrifice. I had to work hard and at the same time study hard. But I told myself: 'If you have the goal to really pursue your dream, you will achieve it!,'” she says.
And Annabelle drew strength from her parents. “Even if we were poor, they did not discourage me to study in Silliman. My family was very supportive. After all, it was my parents' dream to have me finish school in Silliman. …I am blessed to have them.”
Right after graduation in 1977, Annabelle was hired as an Office Assistant at the College of Business Administration (CBA). She was later promoted to College Secretary in 1982. Within the three-year period that she served as College Secretary, she taught part-time at CBA. A year later, Annabelle was appointed Administrative Secretary to the Executive Vice President. She served the post for a year, before becoming Admissions Chief of the Office of Admissions. It was in 2003 when she was promoted to the dual post of Registrar and Admissions Officer, the position she currently holds. The demands of the job inspired Annabelle to obtain her master's degree in Public Administration in 2009.
Looking back, she describes the position she now occupies as a “calling”. “I was really hesitant to take it because I had colleagues who were my senior. But the position was left vacant, and no one had filled in for it. So I took that as a sign from Him.”
Annabelle adds: “Working here in Silliman is a way of expressing my gratitude to my Alma Mater. This job is an expression of my thanks to God above all, for putting me in this institution and making a difference in my life.”
Even if she has remained single, she finds contentment and fulfillment in her life. She shares: “My dream has already been met: I have finished my studies and I have a job that I love.”
There’s more about Annabelle. Let’s check this out:
Describe yourself in three words.
Hardworking and patient.
What is your mantra in life?
Have faith in God, your self and others.
What makes you laugh/cry?
Funny stories or joke. Empathizing with other people.
What’s your favorite time/day of the week and why?
Sundays. After church and on special occasions with my family.
What do you love doing when not working?
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
I do not hangout, I always stay in the office because of work.
What makes you blush?
When people say something that I don’t expect.
If you were an actor/actress, who would you be?
I am not a fan of anyone in particular.
Tell us a fact about yourself?
I love to cook.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
Hide and seek.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
I love to sing. I love to travel. I am God-fearing.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Pray and thank God for the new day.
What’s your idea of a family?
A family does not need to be biological. A family is when you openly share joys and problems with each other.