Mr. Ernel S. Balinas
Success, they say, is gauged more by how you are able to share much of yourself with many. To a lot of people, it is simply being able to live a good life. And to some, it is better experienced without turning back on the challenging life that had thrust them to dream big.
Mr. Ernel S. Balinas, an office assistant at the Human Resource and Development (HRD) Office, is among them.
Ernel started his Silliman journey in 1991 as a college student majoring in Management. Because his family could not fully support his studies, he worked as a student assistant through college. His first assignment was at the History and Political Science Department, then later at the Utzurrum Business and Finance Center. What he earned as a student assistant helped him shoulder a portion of his tuition and cover other fees, until he graduated in 1995.
While a number of his classmates did not go through the same work experience, Ernel found a source of professional development in what he was doing. He credits being a student assistant for having hurdled the pressures of school. His exposure to a real work environment allowed him to test and enhance his time management skills and focus on priorities.
A person of faith, Ernel was active in spiritual enrichment activities in college. He considers the opportunity to explore his faith as a teenager in Silliman as among those that developed his strong relationship with the Lord. This was tested when his father suffered a stroke. He could have given up, but he drew from his faith a strong resolve to take command of the situation. What he had saved up for himself, he sacrificed in order to see his father well again and support his medications.
Ernel remains grateful to Silliman for the opportunity of being able to work in the University — now as a professional — a year after graduation. He was taken in as office assistant at the HRD office in 1996. He considers it a blessing. For one, the medical privileges that Silliman employees are entitled to have assisted him in the care of his father. Loyal, he intends to spend the rest of his years in Silliman until he retires.
Happily married though not blessed to have children of their own, Ernel extends help to his nephews and nieces by supporting their education. His wife Gerbonia shares the same fulfillment from helping their relatives finish school. Just recently, two of their nephews graduated from college: one from Silliman and another from a state university. On top of this support is the continuing care that they give to Ernel's father whom they have already transferred to their home from Ernel's hometown, Bayawan City.
Ernel and his wife dreams of having a foundation aimed at helping working students and especially those who are less privileged in the community. The couple’s dream of helping young people attain education stems in large part from Ernel's experience as a working student.
Let's get to know Ernel more.
Describe yourself in three words.
Responsible. Understanding. Independent.
What is your mantra in life?
Be contented and thankful in life.
What makes you laugh/cry?
I cry when I lose a family member. I easily laugh at jokes and comedy movies.
What’s your favorite time/day of the week and why?
Sunday, because it's the time to reflect, relax and recharge.
What do you love doing when not working?
Do some backyard landscaping. I also love cooking.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
I don’t usually hangout, but I love the Amphitheatre’s scenic landscape.
What makes you blush?
When I am insulted in public.
If you were an actor/actress, who would you be?
Tell us a fact about yourself?
I am very independent and simple.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
Basketball. “Shatong.” Playing marbles.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
Attend church service. Go to the beach. Shop at the mall. Sleep at home.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
I am into cooking and landscaping.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“The Gift of Life.”
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Thank God for another day.
What’s your idea of a family?
Somebody you can rely on through thick and thin.
(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.)