Prof. Teodora A. Cubelo
Like a coin, there are two sides to life: the good and the bad. Not all the time is it a bed of roses; it can also be a source of tears.
To Prof. Teodora A. Cubelo, without shunning the double-edged sword, she has been able to make the “best of both worlds.”
Teddy is the Director of the Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences.
“I have made the best out of my life!” she says, recalling how trials that continue to come her way open up a richer perspective into who she is as a person.
Her childhood, Teddy shares, had two phases.
Teddy is the 12th among 13 siblings. Getting playmates was not a challenge to her. “It was fun growing up. We transformed every household chore into play. When we were tasked to clean the living room, we considered applying floor wax on the floor and later scrubbing it with a coconut husk a game. And there was an element of excitement in hurrying back home after our classes.”
They would also climb the caimito (star apple) and santol trees that grew in their backyard, and play on them. Together, they enjoyed picking the fruits when in season.
That would be the “first phase” of Teddy's life. Fun and nurturing could be the closest adjectives to describe it.
What followed in her life made her feel an outcast. But it later proved to be to her advantage.
“The second phase of my life was quite a struggle,” she says.
Teddy studied in a Chinese high school where she felt “ostracized” by her classmates and by some of her teachers.
“I would hear my classmates say to each other: 'Today, let us make friends with Teddy.' Then all of a sudden, the same classmates would declare: 'Let's pick a fight with Teddy!'” she narrates.
Her classmates would throw papers at her. And she even experienced being pushed off the stairs.
Despite what her classmates did, Teddy just kept mum about the incident, especially to her parents.
But she gradually overcame her fear and inferiority. “I learned to fend for myself and face my battles head-on. I developed a defense mechanism,” she says.
When she graduated from the same Chinese high school, Teddy was an honor student in the English level. And those classmates who bullied her are now her friends. According to her: “What happened now belongs to my past.”
Living in a big family with both parents working as teachers, Teddy says that over-all, her childhood life was unique. “Our parents never failed to tell us that the only thing they can give us is education. In fact, even if we are a brood of 13, we were never discouraged from schooling.”
Her parents sacrificed enough for all of them. She shares: “My parents always slept late. They went back to the their desks to finish their lesson plans only after putting all of us kids to bed.”
When she entered college in Silliman University, Teddy took up Medical Technology. Upon graduation in 1986, she applied to the Medical Technology Department as a faculty, but was accepted as a secretary — a post she handled for only a few weeks before leaving for Manila.
In Manila, she worked as a research assistant to a medical doctor at the Veterans' Memorial Hospital. But she would later leave after a few months for her missionary work at the Aklan Baptist Hospital.
Teddy came back to Dumaguete in 1989 to take care of their monther, after her father passed away. She applied again to the MedTech Department, and was this time accepted as an instructor. While already teaching, she pursued her graduate degree in Public Health and finished it in 1990.
In 2009. when the MedTech Department was separated from the then College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, elevating it into an Institute, Teddy became its first Director.
Teddy is married to Dr. Jose Edwin Cubelo, the Dean of the College of Agriculture, with whom she has two sons: Jose Joshua and Jose Moses.
“As a wife, I am very blessed to have a husband who is very kind and respectful. That is why I give back to him what he has shown me. I support him 100%. We are best friends. I love my husband,” she says..
Raising her two sons is quite difficult for Teddy. “For me it’s easy to deliver a child but it is very difficult to raise a child especially in this generation. …But we never fail to tell them that we can’t give in to all their needs because it is not right for them; and that they should know that when we are disciplining them, it means we love and care for them.”
Teddy is also like a mother to her students. “I am very close to my students. I love my students. I look after their welfare, not just with regard to their grades, but also in relation to their physical bodies, spiritual conditions and emotional state.”
Let’s get to know Teddy more:
Describe yourself in three words.
Straightforward. Funny. Approachable.
What is your mantra in life?
“There is a time for everything”
What makes you laugh/cry?
I easily laugh at funny things. I usually cry at movies that are very sad, especially those depicting relationships between parents and children.
What’s your favorite time/day of the week and why?
Anytime and any day that is a holiday. The only moment I best spend time with my husband and my children is during holidays and weekends.
What do you love doing when not working?
Talking with my husband and kids. We laugh, talk, and watch movies together.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
What makes you blush?
I would blush if somebody would say I am special, or if somebody gives me very warm and sincere appreciation.
If you were an actor/actress, who would you be?
I can’t picture myself to be similar with somebody else. But I can appreciate an actress.
Tell us a fact about yourself.
I am very fearless.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
Growing up, I love climbing trees. We [my siblings] usually play tag in the branches of the trees and whoever falls is the “it”. I also like to play “bagul-bagul”.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
A relaxing day is any day that I don’t have to worry about anything, there are no test papers to check, no projects to read, and a lot of time to sleep and talk with my husband.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
I feel like I am just an ordinary person.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
We [my husband and children] all sleep together in one big bed. In the morning, when I wake up, I always hug and kiss my children and husband.
What’s your idea of a family?
A family is not perfect, but it has room for love, forgiveness, understanding, giving chances, and it allows people to make mistakes. My family is the source of what I do in life, the reason for my living.
(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.)