Alumni Letter May 2013

Alumni Letter May 2013

Dear Fellow Sillimanian:

The Silliman University National Writers Workshop, the oldest creative writing workshop in Asia,  turned 52 last month.  The workshop is held for three weeks every May, with new set of guest panelists every week who instruct and interact with the writing Fellows. A loyal alumnus of the Workshop, Krip Yuson of The Philippine Star, wrote on May 27: “The 52nd Silliman University National Writers Workshop concluded last weekend in Dumaguete City with a farewell program at the President’s Dinner at the University House on campus. It gave us final-week guest panelists (Dr. Gémino H. Abad, Dr. Marjorie Evasco, Grace Monte de Ramos and this writer) an opportunity to thank the host, Dr. Ben S. Malayang III, for everything he has done to maintain, strengthen and enhance the annual tradition and summer rite of passage for young writers. Indeed, since Dr. Ben took over the presidency and reinstituted Silliman’s patronage of the celebrated writing program in 2008, it has developed in leaps and bounds.

ImageFirst, the Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writers Village in Camp Lookout, Valencia, was established, giving the workshop a permanent venue for Maytime’s three weeks of sessions conducted in a bucolic setting, as well as providing ideal lodging for the writing Fellows.  Nestled on a verdant, picture-pretty knoll on Mt. Talinis, the Writers Village has also since hosted visiting lecturers and musical artists, apart from offering a scenic open stage for theater and other performances. With an environment that is instantly acknowledged by first-timers as cool in more ways than one…. The three-week workshop program has been so steadily streamlined over the past few years that I can say with authority that this month’s edition has been the best and most fulfilling in all the decades that have seen my participation as a literary panelist….”

Other  May events in Silliman  include:


  • There were 114 summer graduates who received their diplomas in the Summer School Commencement Ceremony on May 19 at the Silliman University Church.  Among the graduates is the out-going president of the Student Government Marian Vanslembrouck  who graduated cum laude in Nursing. Former Acting President  of Silliman University Rev. Dr. Lourdino Yuzon was the Summer Commencement speaker. His sermon was based on the passage found in John 14:1-6, and it reminded the members of the summer class of 2013 on the meaning of the Silliman motto, “VIA VERITAS VITA.” To stress on Truth, Dr. Yuson shared this: “‘I am the Truth.’  One practical implication of this central claim of Jesus is that it challenges us – you and me —  to lead morally and spiritually upright lives  in  the way we relate to God and to others. It will empower us to resist the culture of lying, dishonesty, deception and double talk.  We will not say with a devious bamboo philosopher, ‘I swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth even if I have to tell a lie.’ We will not download essays from the internet, call them our own, and submit them to our unknowing and trusting professors.  It inspires us to fervently pray, ‘Teach me Thy way, O Lord, that I may walk in thy truth.’ The philosopher Immanuel Kant claimed that truthfulness is so fundamental a moral virtue that without it, a viable community life is virtually impossible.  Isn’t it that even robbers recognize the need for each of them to honor the promises they make to one another?”
  • Silliman Church elected new officers on May 26.  In turn, some of them were chosen by their peers to head the following positions: Prof. Carlos Plaridel M. Magtolis Jr. as Chairman of the Church Council, Prof. Alphita Jaculbe-Enojo as Vice Chairperson of the Council and Chairperson of the Board of Elders, Dr. Gloria Villanueva-Basa is Secretary of the Council and Chairperson of the Board of Christian Education and Nurture and Dr. Krypton Kho as Chairman of the Board of Deacons. Silliman also welcomed a new pastor for Christian Education, the Rev Grace Alquiza – Bangisan.


  • Among the highlights of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop this May was the launching of  “Caesuras,” a book featuring 155 new poems by Silliman’s writer-in-residence  Dr. Cesar Ruiz Aquino on May 10.  The University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, through the leadership of Prof. John Jack Wigley, a panelist in this year’s workshop, published the book.
  • Among the best practices at Silliman that is being shared with other universities around Asia through the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA) is the service-learning program – an avenue for students to have community exposure and immersion with the help of advocacy-oriented  agencies.  On May 20 to 22,  Director for Research Dr. Enrique G. Oracion was one of the facilitators of a workshop on service-learning conducted at the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT) in Yangon, Myanmar.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Susan D. Vista-Suarez, Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts (COPVA), was happy to report a wider scope and participation in the summer program offered by COPVA.  Recitals and exhibitions were mounted for 348 student artists on May 16 to 19.  There were 100 students  who had lessons in piano, 74 in voice, 19 in the violin, 24  in classical guitar, 22  percussionists in drums, 19  in  instruments, 52  in dance, 10 in painting, another 10 in acting, and 18 in multimedia arts with photography and photo/video editing.


  • Using an opportunity to visit  Sillimanians in Indonesia,  Director of the Office of Information and Publications Mr. Mark Raygan E. Garcia, attended a little fellowship of Sillimanians in Jakarta.  They discussed the possible organization of Indonesian Sillimanians and the marketing of the university programs in the region. Mr. Garcia was in Indonesia from May 7 to 9 as participate in a planning workshop to establish a formal group which advocates local knowledge. The group is now organized as the University Network for Digital Knowledge (UNDK).   
  • Dr. David Padilla, a Fulbright visiting professor to Silliman who used to be executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, inspired his students in JD 214 (International Human Rights Law) to organize a film festival on Human Rights from May 6-9.  They successfully screened for free public viewing at the Aldecoa Moot Court in Villareal Hall, four influential films: “Rwanda”, “The Stoning of Soraya M”, “Unthinkable” and “Blood Diamond”.
  • Reaching out to the public school teachers are the college dean Dr. Dave Marcial and faculty of the College of Computer Studies (CCS) who organized a series of training on information and communication technology (ICT) for teachers in four provinces: Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Cebu and Bohol held on May 14 to 18 in Silliman University.


  • The following academic leaders have been appointed as Deans and Directors for School Year 2013-2014:  Dr. Ma. Stella F. Lezama as OIC Dean of the College of Business Administration, Dr. Yung Gyun Kim as OIC Dean of the College of Computer Studies, Engr. Jesus V. Amiscaray Jr. as Dean of the College of Engineering and Design, Dr. Evalyn E. Abalos as Acting Dean of the College of Nursing, Dr. Reynaldo Y. Rivera as Dean of the University Graduate Programs, Prof. Cyflor E. Putong as Acting Director of the Institute of Rehabilitative Sciences (Physical Therapy), Atty. Tabitha E. Tinagan is Director of the School of Public Affairs and Governance, Dr. Janet S. Estacion as OIC Director for the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences and Dr. Pablito A. de la Rama as Director of the School of Agro-Industrial and Technical Education.  Re-appointed as deans and directors who will continue to serve their respective schools and colleges are: Dr. Jose Edwin C. Cubelo of the College  of Agriculture, Dr. Margaret Helen U. Alvarez of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Earl Jude Paul I. Cleope of the College of Education, Atty. Mikhail Lee L. Maxino of the College of Law, Dr. Ma. Cecilia M. Genove of the College of Mass Communication, Dr. Elizabeth Susan D. Vista-Suarez of the College of Performing and Visual Arts, Dr. Jonathan C. Amante of the Medical School, Prof. Prof. Teodora A. Cubelo of the Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (Medical Technology) and Prof. Carlos Plaridel M. Magtolis Jr. as Dean of Students


  • ImageA new building of the Silliman University Medical School was formally opened and dedicated on May 10. The new two-storey building boasts of 10 discussion rooms, 5 basic sciences laboratories, 3 lecture rooms, a faculty room and a function room on the first floor. On the second floor are the Learning Resource Unit, administrative offices and the student lounge.


IN MEMORIAM:  Gerfe P. Lojo (High School 1959, Business 1964) on May 1, Elizabeth Saldivar (Nursing 1975) on May 9, Mathematics teacher and volleyball coach Leo I. Villagonzalo (BS Math 1972) on May 9, presidential son Ramon Calderon (High School 1976, Business 1985) on May 19,  and National Artist and 1996 Outstanding Sillimanian in the field of Arts & Film Eddie S. Romero (Elementary 1936, High School 1940) on May 28. If you know of any Sillimanian who is not on our memorial list, please inform us.

President Ben Malayang has requested this office to update you regularly about the 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].



The Officers and Staff of the Alumni and External Affairs




cc: Dr. Ben S. Malayang III