Living like a pirate

Valedictory Address of Arjean Banting (Summa Cum Laude, FEU Institute of Education) delivered during the 86th FEU Commencement Exercises held last April 21, 2014.

Our commencement speaker; chair emeritus of the FEU board of trustees, Dr. Lourdes R. Montinola; ,members of the board of trustees chaired by Mr. Aurelio R. Montinola III;/ administrators led by Dr. Michael M. Alba;  faculty, parents, friends, fellow graduates, good morning.

I always wanted to become a pirate. When I was young, I loved watching cartoons. I would take out my toys and re-enact the awesome scenes. There was this time when I watched Peter Pan. I hurriedly looked around the house a long object that I could use as a sword. I took the “walis tambo” but mama scolded me. So again, I looked around and I saw dead branches under the guava tree. I collected and fastened them with a string which I secretly took out from mama’s sewing kit. I could not explain the excitement that I felt when I held my own improvised sword and became like Peter Pan. Even if my parents had told us not to go out, I sneaked through the gate and played freely outside.

But unlike Peter Pan who was able to escape the troubles caused by Captain Hook, I was not able to do the same. My obedient younger brother watched me as I was ran over by a red car driven by a drunken man. Thinking that I was dead (I thank God that he did not think that I was still role-playing), my brother told my parents what had happened. I was rushed to a nearby hospital. I learned my lesson the hard way; it took a couple of months before I could walk again, and the worst part was, I and my brother were grounded for a year.

But neither accident nor punishment can stop me from becoming what I wanted to be. I still want to become a pirate, but no longer like the boy-who-never-grew-up.  Steve Jobs gave this statement /that has inspired me to become a pirate, like him.

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?”
He was not pertaining to the pirates who are selling knockoffs at a cheaper price in Quiapo, or those who are lurking at the waters of Somalia to plunder resources from ships. He was pertaining to people who dared to live differently. He redefined pirate as a proud person, an innovator and a risk-taker. For him, to become a pirate is to be different.  Today, I would like to reiterate the challenge of Steve Jobs for our generation, “Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?”

In this fast-evolving world, let us admit that it is never easy to live differently like a pirate. We love to like a beautiful selfie, share an awesome video, re-tweet an inspiring quotation or follow a popular person. There is nothing wrong about these activities; but to focus only to these, and forget about the fact that you can create something that people can like, share or re-tweet, we are depriving ourselves to become a pirate.

The society dictates what we should become – we wear what’s in, we listen into what’s popular and we buy what most people buy. And I bet, when we go back to the time you we’re looking for a school where you could enroll, the so-called “Big Four Universities” are on your list. These universities cast a big shadow that many would like to follow. But, why stay in their shadow, if you can also step forward along with them to cast your own shadow?

I’ll boldly say that Far Eastern University is one of those ‘pirate’ universities that has chosen to step up and cast her own shadow, and as graduates of this university, we should be very proud of this fact. I know most of us will be immediately looking for a job, so let me tell you my experience.

0-170 - CopyWhile I was waiting for my turn during the final job interview, a co-applicant asked me, “What school are you from?” I raised my Tamaraw horns and proudly replied “I’m from FEU.” “FEU? May Eduk pala doon?” I felt a suspicious tone on her reply, and inasmuch as I wanted to tell her “Yes, I’m from F-E-U, did I spell it incorrectly?” I just smiled back /while repeatedly telling myself “Uprightness, Uprightness. Uprightness…”

Some of us might have already started living apart from the standards of this world. But let me emphasize that most of us do not live like a pirate, not because we cannot do it, but because we have not realized that we can do it. Do not think that you will not get hired/ just because you did not graduate from the “Big Four”. Instead, think that you will get the job /because you are a proud FEU graduate. Graduates, let me ask you a question, are you proud to be a product of FEU?  The first step in becoming a pirate is to be proud of where we come from.

To become a pirate is to be an innovator. The technology that we are enjoying today is not given to us just “to take selfies” and “flap our birdies”. We can use it to re-invent ourselves and re-invent our environment. We should not wait for someone to take the lead; I think our university has equipped us to be innovators. Remember Edukahon – an innovation used to teach children with special needs? It is a brainchild of an FEU student who was one of last year’s Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines. We do not need to have high IQ or Pac-man muscles just to be different. All we need is a little courage to do what others cannot, and a large amount of hard work to make it happen.

To become a pirate is to be a risk-taker. Living like a pirate has its risks; you will meet accidents (including car accidents), you will fail sometimes and you will be alone. Do not be discouraged by what you might lose, but be encouraged by what you might discover or gain. Since we are talking about risks, here is a ‘risky’ situation that I think we might have gone through while we were students. During examinations, cheating is an option, especially for those who were not able to study. I’m not pertaining to the risk of being caught while cheating, but about the risk of failing by being honest. To risk living differently will pay off especially when others notice you and eventually live like you do.

Graduates, before we sail away with our ships to the new and unknown world out there, let’s put off our hats to those who have helped us in our journey as a student. Have you uttered a prayer of thanksgiving to God, the One who promised that he will never leave nor forsake you, so that He will be glorified through your life? Have you dedicated this achievement to your parents, those who have strived hard to send you to school, so that they would know how much you value and honor their sacrifices? Have you visited your professors, those who have shaped your mind and shared their lives to you, so that they would have fulfillment and motivation to teach with passion? Have you embraced your friends and classmates, those who have stayed up late and stood up with you, so that they would know that you are also there for them?

As we sail into the unknown, remember these words, my fellow Tamaraw pirates:
“Your power to change the world lies on your ability to realize that you can be different
and that you can do a difference.”

Congratulations Tamaraws! Dare to be different! Dare to become a pirate!

FEU Holds Grand Alumni Homecoming 2014

The Far Eastern University Grand Alumni Homecoming was held on April 12, 2014 at the FEU Manila campus grounds. Co-organized by the FEU Alumni Relations and Placement Services (ARPS) and FEU Alumni Foundation, Inc. (FEU-AFI), this year’s homecoming was part of the University’s 86th founding anniversary celebration with the theme, “Coming Home @ 86: Honoring our Alumni.”

The Homecoming program featured the performances of the FEU cultural groups – Chorale, Drum and Bugle Corps, and Dance Company – which entertained the attending alumni and guests. During the registration, the FEU Bamboo Band welcomed the participants with its musical repertoire. The FEU Cheering Squad impressed the audience with its celebrated stunts and routines. In between the program, raffle prizes were drawn.

Challenges, encouragement, involvement, inspiration, and gratitude were the themes of the messages delivered by Dr. Lourdes R. Montinola, FEU Board of Trustees’ Chairman Emeritus, Dr. Michael M. Alba, University President, and Mr. Victoriano V. Cruz, FEU-AFI President. One of the highlights of the occasion was the recognition of the golden and silver jubilarians who graduated in 1964 and 1989, respectively both for high school and tertiary levels. Special awards were also given to Heidi del Pilar (Early Bird), Girls High School Batch 1975 (Most Number of Attending Alumni in a Batch), and FEU Tech Alumni Organization (Most Number of Attending Alumni in an Association). Mr. Adrian Policena (AB Mass Communication, 2000) was the evening’s master of ceremonies. Policena is a popular disc jockey of 90.7 Love Radio. The FEU Theater Guild supervised the program’s technical flow.

CDO Foodsphere, Inc. (founded and owned by Ms. Corazon Dayro-Ong, BS Food and Nutrition, 1964, FEU Institute of Education) and State Properties Corporation (headed, as President, by Mr. Allen Roxas, BSC Banking and Finance, 1970, FEU Institute of Accounts, Business and Finance) were the event’s sponsors. Supporting the Homecoming as event partners were Tinapayan Festival Bakeshoppe (owned by Mr. Lusito Chavez, BS Psychology, 1981, FEU Institute of Arts and Sciences), Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, Healthy Options Corporation, and SMART Communications, Inc.


Jesson Ramil Cid: From FEU to the Southeast Asian Games

South East Asian Games 2013(1)(Originally published in Rappler, April 9. 2014)

Jesson Ramil Cid looks back at the soil field in Dingras, Ilocos Norte where he first tried the high jump.  Unlike in the UAAP or other major tournaments, you can only do the scissors jump here since there is no foam to land on.  It all began here 7 years ago for the man now recognizedas South East Asia’s best all-around athlete.

Discovered while playing basketball at age 13, Cid was persuaded by coaches from Dingras to try the high jump so he could represent the Ilocos Region in the annual Palarong Pambansa.  It was not all roses as he only placed third in the 2007 Palaro as a high school junior.  Even worse, he did not even get a medal during his senior year.

Despite his Palaro shortcomings, he was spotted by the Michael Keon, former director of the Gintong Alay that produced the likes of Lydia De Vega and Isidro Del Prado.  Keon immediately recommended Cid to a familiar face, former Gintong Alay national coach and FEU mentor Rosito Andaya.

Cid immediately became known in UAAP the circles as the iron man of athletics.  He competed in so many events that the UAAP had change to its rules to limit the number of events an athlete could join.  His potential was breathtaking and Andaya felt he could be the next best FEU athlete since De Vega.

Potential quickly turned into results in the 2010 National Open as Cid shattered the Philippine junior record in the decathlon with 6097 points.  He would follow this up with breaking the UAAP decathlon record as well and winning the Most Valuable Player award in 2010 and 2012.

His meteoric rise from Palaro nobody to UAAP superstar was phenomenal and Cid qualified to represent the country in the South East Asian Games in Myanmar last December 2013.  After graduating with a degree in education at FEU, Cid could now concentrate on athletics full time and work on his weaknesses. Team FEU at UAAP 2012

“I was already good in the runs but I needed to improve my throwing and jumping to get a medal in the SEA Games” said Cid.  National coaches Sean Guevarra and Arnold Villarube worked with Cid as he prepared for the SEA Games where it all came together.

On December 18, 2013, Jesson Cid’s name was added to the roster of Philippines’ sports history with a performance to remember.  With the country struggling to find medals in the SEA Games, Cid scored a new Philippine record of 7038 points to win the gold in the decathlon at age 22.  The future indeed looks bright.

“Asian Games is my next target.  There is still a lot to improve.  I need to reach around 7700 points to be competitive on the Asian level.  I will continue to work hard and give my best to my country” beamed an extremely focused Cid.  “FEU has given me the discipline and the skills to pursue my dreams.  Now I am ready to take on the world.”

FEU PE continues to give hope to inmates

FEU's Project Hope for inmates has been running for four years.

FEU’s Project Hope for inmates has been running for four years.

By Bernadette D. Zamora

“The emotional investment grows deeper and deeper each year,” shares Dr. Jayson Cruz of the FEU PE Department.

As one of the umbrella programs of Project Hope, the FEU PE Department in cooperation with the FEU Community Extension Services held its 4th Community Extension Program for the female and male inmates of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), around the theme Sound Mind and Sound Body Fitness Program.

Under the program FEU donated a sound system to the BJMP Female Dormitory and volleyball equipment to BJMP Male Dormitory.

“We provided the inmates with rubber shoes in the past years, but for this year, we gave them something that all of them can enjoy,” Dr. Cruz added.

The project ran for a month and was facilitated by FEU PE faculty. They visited the penology daily to teach the female inmates basic aerobic and ballroom dance routines, while volleyball games were held for three weeks for the male inmates.

“The venue could not accommodate all of the inmates and so most of them just stood up from where they are seated, danced and followed the routine, it was such an overwhelming site.”
BJMP JCI Ma. Loraintina M. Manengyao thanked FEU for its continuous support in conducting programs for BJMP inmates. She shared that since the program started in 2011, the Dance/Aerobic Exercises that were taught by FEU PE Professors were incorporated to their Therapeutic Community Modality Program.

The routine is performed daily from 6:16AM to 6:45AM. On the last day of the program on April 7, 2014, the inmates became emotional when Dr. Cruz shared his insights about family and second chances. “It was emotional not just for them but for us as well, sure we have known most of them from time the program started.  Some of them would even beg us to stay longer because we were the only ones who visited them; they were like family to us.”

He added that the over-all goal of the program is to prepare the inmates for their return to their normal lives when they leave. “They have to be physically fit for their families and their work. There is a life waiting for them outside.”

Dr. Cruz also extended his gratitude to the FEU Community and the dedicated professors who spent hours and days to personally supervise and teach the BJMP inmates. The Sound Mind and Sound Body Fitness Program was spearheaded by Prof. Cristybel dela Cruz and Prof. Jeremy Floyd Pedregosa.

Baccalaureate Address, 2014

0-33(Delivered by FEU President Michael M. Alba during the 86th Baccalaureate Mass on April 8, 2014)

Chair Emeritus Lourdes Reyes Montinola, Chair Aurelio Montinola III, FEU trustees, your excellency Most Reverend Bernardino Cortez, DD, administrators and managers, faculty and staff, parents, alumni, and distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen:

On your behalf, allow me to congratulate the graduating class of 2014 for completing their courses of study and bestow upon them our blessings before they continue on with their journeys to their future lives.

Graduating students, may you live long and prosper! [Vulcan salute]

Next week, in what hopefully will be grand and stately commencement ceremonies, we will formally usher you into the rolls of educated women and men. When I confer upon you your respective degrees, among the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining will be the distinction of being referred to as may pinag-aralan. It will mean not only that you have successfully hurdled the rigorous curriculums of your academic degrees, but more substantially that you are deemed to have the requisite occupational skills plus the other attributes and proficiencies intended to be developed by FEU’s general-education program: critical thinking, a moral and ethical character, a civic faculty, and a capability to undertake self-directed study.

However, as changes in the economy, the workplace, and our day-to-day lives continue to accelerate, as new knowledge is created ever more rapidly, and as information becomes more and more accessible, you will need one aptitude above all to maintain your place as an educated person and to flourish in the world: the commitment to life-long learning and a capacity for self-directed study—because at certain points of your life, each one of you will need to formulate and reformulate your own personal and deeply-held answers to life’s deepest questions.

I don’t know if you have ever had the chance to reflect on your schooling. But a high achievement but at the same time misleading feature of formal education is that learning is structured by discipline and answers to questions are aggressively packaged for students to master (rather than left for self-discovery). This is a high achievement because the transmission of knowledge is organized, systematic, and efficient. But it is misleading in that the delivery gives a false impression of a seamless, unified, and complete body of knowledge.

As you will come to know in your life outside the university, however, learning in real life is iffy and touch and go. Sometimes, you are lucky to derive insights from your experiences; perhaps at many other times, you miss what you should have learned. Moreover, if you are sufficiently sensitive and reflective, you will become aware that life’s questions cannot be answered using just one method.

Thus, for questions about how stuff works, the scientific method of making falsifiable claims and gathering empirical evidence will be the appropriate approach. But for questions about how life is to be lived and what the ultimate meaning of life is, the methods of discourse will have to be those of philosophy and theology. After all, on questions of belief and the will, “the heart,” according to the philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal, “has its reasons which reason does not know.”

And so henceforth, resolve to be committed life-long learners and pick up the skills, if you haven’t already, for self-directed study, such as the ability to understand the nature of the question bugging you, the knack to know what tools are needed for its discourse and resolution, the discipline to study systematically how others have addressed it, and the reflective capacity to formulate your own personal answer. Arguably, only when you are able to do this will you have truly earned the title of may pinag-aralan.
On a lighter note, may I ask you to stay in touch? The bonds that have developed between you and FEU over the last four or five years are supposed to tug deep in the heart. Together let us work to maintain these bonds of friendship, respect, even love. Take pride in your alma mater, just as we take pride in you.

That’s it. Goodbye, good luck, God bless. Again, congratulations. Welcome to your future.

Two Tams place in March 2014 MedTech Board

Jose Rexiel Rano Dela Cruz and Allain Banjo Magoncia made the Top 10 of the March 2014 Medical Technologist Licensure Examination.

Jose Rexiel Rano Dela Cruz and Allain Banjo Magoncia made the Top 10 of the March 2014 Medical Technologist Licensure Examination.

Two Tamaraws placed in the Top 10 list of the March 2014 Medical Technologist Licensure Examination. Allain Banjo Magoncia Mariano landed fourth with a score of 89.40%, while Jose Rexiel Rano Dela Cruz registered eighth with a score of 88.40%. Far Eastern University, Manila made another solid performance as it posted a 90.91% rating (40/44).

Mariano said he was ecstatic after learning he passed and made the Top 10. “A  friend who also passed called and broke the news and he was screaming for joy.”
Dela Cruz meanwhile was praying in St. Jude Church during that time. “It was an answered prayer. I thank God for this blessing.” he shared.

Mariano admitted placing high was far from his mind during exam day.  “Honestly, it’s something you wouldn’t even dare to think of while taking the exam. You aim for it, but you can only do so much. The hard work really paid off.”

List of passers: March 2014 Medical Technologist board exams

FEU Math senior receives top student award from PSITE

UntitledThe Philippine Society of Information Technology Educators (PSITE) – NCR Chapter recently conferred the Most Outstanding IT Education Student Award to Justin A. Tanjueco, a graduating Applied Mathematics with Information Technology student, for SY 2013-2014.

Tanjueco is also Vice President of the Far Eastern University Mathematics Society.

He was judged based on his academic performance, awards, extra-curricular activities, leadership qualities and thesis. Of Tanhueco’s numerous leadership achievements, his team was recognized in FEU for organizing a national event, the Software Freedom Day 2013 with the “Prism Break: Protecting Privacy and Freedom with FOSS (Free and Open Source Software).”

“Being chosen as one of the top IT education student awardees in NCR was one award I never thought I would receive. I am honored to be recognized by my alma mater and PSITE-NCR. This award means much more to me than any other as I know I am in an institution of great leaders and achievers.  I would like to extend my appreciation and gratitude to Prof. Immanuel T. San Diego for his unending support and to my Mathematics Society family for making all of this possible,” he said.

In partnership with the FEU Mathematics Department and Computer Professionals’ Union, Tanhueco and his team led the project’s public education initiative of promoting the use of FOSS for arts, education, mapping, open hardware, among others free of charge. The event served as a platform for educating people on encrypting information and lessening the use of propriety services using FOSS.

“I will definitely continue what I have started here in FEU in my post-academic life. I am going to devote myself working professionally mindful of the core values FEU instilled in me. Promoting information technology will still be one of my main advocacies and I will still come back to FEU to continue what I and the Mathematics Society started which is to build a long-term framework. The organization aims to promote and introduce new IT and Mathematical skills to all FEU students.”

FEU’s initiatives in urban development

Dr. Miguel Carpio, FEU Vice President for Academic Services; Dr. Michael Alba, FEU Preisdent; Dr. Trevor Hogan from La Trobe University in Australia; Dr. Edilberto C. de Jesus, former FEU

Dr. Miguel Carpio, FEU Vice President for Academic Services; Dr. Michael Alba, FEU Preisdent; Dr. Trevor Hogan from La Trobe University in Australia; Dr. Edilberto C. de Jesus, former FEU

From its location in the heart of Manila Far Eastern University (FEU) has witnessed the city’s evolution and has a unique view of its daily goings-on.  Armed with this knowledge, the university has stepped up its involvement in helping raise awareness of  current concerns that accompany Manila’s continuing development as a major urban center.

“We consider ourselves to be actively involved in urban development, especially here in Manila,” says FEU Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts (IARFA) Dean Dr. Lorelei De Viana.

Providing a venue for discourse
As part of its efforts to expand this dialogue, FEU recently hosted the National Conference on Urban Studies. A pioneering initiative, the convention served as a platform to discuss relevant issues faced by urban societies both here and abroad, as well as to explore possible next steps to sustain development.

Around 200 members from various sectors—including the academe, government, and civil society organizations—converged to converse about architecture, planning and settlements, sustainable development, and culture, heritage, and tourism.

Distinguished speakers also explored various aspects of urban studies. Former University of the Philippines (UP) Archaeological Studies Program director Dr. Victor Paz talked about the archaeology of Manila while Dr. Frederic Bouchon from Taylor’s University in Malaysia spoke about tourism in a city setting, and how the urban landscape could and should be managed in order to make it even more tourist-friendly.

FEU Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts (IARFA) Dean Dr. Lorelei De Viana says the National Conference on Urban studies recently hosted by FEU is a manifestation of the university's a

FEU Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts (IARFA) Dean Dr. Lorelei De Viana says the National Conference on Urban studies recently hosted by FEU is a manifestation of the university’s a

From classroom to community  
FEU extends this focus on urban development to its internal programs and even its curriculum, instilling community knowledge in its students and faculty which will develop benefit the society at large.

De Viana shares, for instance, that architecture students are taught in their various design courses to create drafts of design plans that are contextualized within their settings. Meanwhile, they also offer a Science, Environment, and Society course that educates students about the latest trends in sustainable architectural solutions and green construction.

“FEU’s vision is to be an active member of the community not only as an educational institution, but also as a partner of the community in the improvement of conditions of urban society,” De Viana says, citing as one example FEU’s membership in the University Belt (U-Belt) Consortium, an association of Manila’s leading higher education institutions which is involved in matters such as development and safety in and around the U-Belt area.

Springboard for the future
De Viana shares that FEU plans to further expand its commitment to urban development by making the urban studies conference a yearly engagement. Plans have already identified the Visayas as a potential venue. Organizing an international conference in 2016 is also currently under discussions.

De Viana hopes that the success of the first conference, and the anticipation of future similar activities, will provide further discourse on urban development.

“One of (FEU’s) agendas is to conduct research. This conference is just a starting point—a springboard—from which future studies can take off,” she says.

TAMVOWS: A First and Not the last

FEU_4235The birth of TamVows (Tamaraw Vows): a  mass wedding organized by Tourism Management students is  definitely the first of its kind.

The plot began with an Events class of 45 with a vision, but no clear plan on how to deliver. First and foremost, there were no beaming brides and gallant grooms to wed. Second there were tons of letters to be signed then sent back. Third, there were invitations; the fancy scented ones. Then, there were still the venue, the buffet and most importantly,  the cake and the blooms.

Preparations were a handful, and all they could do to forge ahead and hope for the best.

As the 4th of March approached, the seven (7) select couples of from all sectors of the Far Eastern University (FEU) group of schools, gathered together to mark a new beginning in their lives.

The wedding was not enchantingly extravagant. Yet it was stunning and breathtakingly beautiful in its simplicity. At the FEU Plaza the rose petals were scattered in the wedding aisle and contributed to dramatic ambience.

One of the most anticipated parts of the ceremony was seeing the beautiful brides walk down the aisle for the last time as maidens.

FEU_4204While the nuptial was unconventional, the program remained traditional. The exchange of vows of each couple was serene, selfless and sincere. The pairs brought their own rings, to make the event more personal and symbolical. The moment of “You may kiss the bride” lingers on.

Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (ITHM) Dean Dr. Melinda Torres, Student Discipline Director Atty. Rosalie Cada and University Counseling and Career Office (UCCO) Director Ms. Sheila Marie Hocson served as principal sponsors.

After the ceremony, the reception went into full swing. The newly-weds lost in their own planet could not care if the outside world looked at them whether in awe or envy or simply out of curiosity.

In lieu of the usual final events organized inside campus, Events Class TM0305 thought of pioneering Tam-Vows, an out-of-the-box event, a first and not the last. What’s next?  Perhaps a mass christening?