‘My Biggest Regret Was Studying Hard And Doing Nothing Else,’ Says UP Cebu Summa Cum Laude

By Judy Santiago Aladin for Smartparenting.com.ph

“I have been chasing excellence my entire academic life, but reflecting on my college stay, I was actually missing out in life.”


As parents, it is expected that we hope our children will strive for good grades when they enter school. However, an honor student from the University of the Philippines Cebu reminds us that being book smart is not enough.

Last July 21, 2023, UP Cebu held its graduation ceremony, and its top graduate, Edsel Suhayon Codoy, delivered the valedictory speech. He became the second Summa Cum Laude since the university’s establishment as a constituent university in 2016.

The full video of Codoy’s speech was uploaded by MyTV Cebu on Facebook and has now garnered over 68k views. With permission from Codoy, here’s a transcription of his 11-minute speech, which shares his inspiring journey, including his regrets and learnings along the way.

Transcript: UP Cebu Summa Cum Laude Edsel Codoy Speech

“My biggest regret in UP Cebu was actually studying hard. Wait, wait. Let me finish.

Studying hard and doing nothing else.

You know, I have been chasing excellence my entire academic life, but reflecting on my college stay, I was actually missing out in life. I missed out on the unique opportunities for personal growth, exploration, and building meaningful connections.

Since high school, I have always been reclusive and shy, socializing in the most minimal levels of interaction. The most convenient people I had around back then turned out to be the closest circle I have.

“I have been chasing excellence my entire academic life, but reflecting on my college stay, I was actually missing out in life.” —Edsel Codoy, summa cum laude, UP Cebu

A few years forward, I was able to bring the same reserved behavior in college. And I would have to say, it got the best of me. I passed on a lot of things in college. I was not joining orgs. I was declining offertorship nominations. I was only going with the same group of people I would meet on a class basis. And even in school events and programs, I remained as an observer.

Because while my block mates and friends were genuinely trusting my abilities, I sadly was not. Only recently, I was able to recognize that the self-restraint that was holding me back was coming from my fear of failure.

As a result, I settled with what I have been doing and what I do best. Spending all my time with school.

On the bright side, it brought me to where I am now. However, it took me a long time staying in that comfort bubble before I realized that I was actually only becoming book smart. I was in fact sabotaging my own personal growth by passing on the opportunities openly offered to me.

Now I’ve come to my senses, I’m starting to broaden my horizons one action at a time. I’m starting to unlearn self-doubt and to reframe failure as another learning experience.

Right now, I’m actually in the middle of my second internship, taking on a tech role I know little about. Admitting that I have so much more to learn and so much more to try.

My friends know how much I dread public speaking, but I am taking this on as a challenge and a privilege. I am saying this to encourage everyone to take calculated risks and embrace a growth mindset. Don’t be too hard on yourselves. Cultivate self-compassion. We do this so that at the end of the day, we leave no regrets.

I congratulate everyone for having made it this far.

The term commencement might seem counterintuitive and contradictory to the actual matter of today’s gathering, that is, to celebrate the culmination of our studies.

However, it is more symbolic than that. It actually refers to the start of our journey as we transition to much bigger and bolder plans in life.

May that be pursuing higher education, I mean postgraduate education, starting a professional career, or prioritizing personal growth. And to gather without transition is a realization of a bigger influence and a bigger social responsibility.

We will be seeing ourselves in various industries and sectors, taking over bigger roles and affecting many lives. Our future decisions and actions will shape the world around us. Let us apply the skill sets and expertise we have built in this university in addressing national challenges, hoping to effect a positive social change.

I, for example, as a person in tech, envision the use of AI technologies and large language models to build a more just, sustainable, and equitable world.

I know many of you have tried using generative AI applications. Chat GPT to name one, at least once. We are witnessing a very big potential for it to revolutionize various aspects of our lives.

For instance, AI has been helping scientists hasten and optimize drug discovery, which in turn makes these drugs less costly and more accessible to people of all classes. AI is also able to fill the gaps in the education sector with platforms facilitating personalized learning experiences for students. The technology is basically out there, waiting to be harnessed as a tool for positive social impact.

This is the time for us, iskolars ng bayan, to find our niche so that we can see what we can do and locate our place in the collective for a future gain for all Filipinos. And being able to hold greater positions, we will also be dealing with greater enemies and demons in the real world. The ethical dilemmas will not come from the books anymore. They are real. They are real and they are critical.

We might see ourselves confronted by these dilemmas manifested in issues around social injustice, environmental degradation, and political corruption, as well as economic inequality. In these times, may we remember the mandate we accepted when we entered the grounds of UP Cebu. That is, to serve no one else but the people, to stay loyal to the public interest, and to uphold the UP motto, honor and excellence at all times. The true task of education is not from the grades we get nor the distinctions we see. It is evaluated on the choices we make when no one else is watching, as we leave the university and fulfill more civic duties.

Although too idealistic, but let us rectify the broken system and let us never allow ourselves to be consumed by it. Let us not lose hope and let us not give up on this country. After all, we are the country’s hope and we are the country’s future.

As we gather here today, let us remember and acknowledge the significant people that we have met along the way and the key contributors that made it possible for us to be part of this memorable ceremony.

To our parents, parent figures, and family members, we greatly thank you for your unwavering support from start to finish, for being the foundation of our core values, and for being our immediate fallback when things start to get overwhelming and unmanageable. Your nurturance and sacrifices are not left unnoticed. You truly deserve a heartfelt “Daghang salamat” and a round of applause.

To the lifeblood of our university, the teachers, instructors, and professors know that you have immensely influenced our perspectives in life, and we are truly grateful for that. You never fail to incorporate essential life lessons in your teaching, which we so do appreciate as they build up lifelong learning. You have shaped our minds and mentored us to the best of your abilities. And during the height of the pandemic, while us students had struggled adapting to the rapid transition to distance learning, our teachers behind the curtain also had their fair share of hiccups and difficulties in delivering the best teaching they hoped to do. Their passion and dedication are unwithering and unparalleled. With that, we should acknowledge them with a big applause.

To our inner circle, the friends we met in UP, and the classmates we academically struggled with, thank you for being there as someone we can often relate and connect to. Thank you for hearing our rules and celebrating our successes alongside us. Thank you for checking up on us and not leaving us behind. University life definitely wouldn’t be the same without you.Big shout out to block B.

To the source of strength, inspiration, and all grace, we thank our creator, God, for orchestrating the universe in our favor and for giving solace to the faithful.

To UP as an institution, you are a lighthouse. Like a lighthouse, you have guided us to the direction befitting for us, iskolars ng bayan, and that is towards the service of the people. You have awakened our sleeping consciousness and opened our eyes to the real state of the nation. You have shed light to the reality outside, in the streets and communities of the Philippines. You have provided us opportunities for critical thinking and fostered academic freedom, which made our education more powerful and transformative.

And most importantly, to the Filipino people, to whom we owe our free education, we will make every cent of our investment worth it. As expected from us, iskolars ng bayan, we will strive to contribute positively to nation building and alleviate the suffering of those in the marginalized sector.

To end my speech, I’ll leave you this reminder from Atty. Leni Robredo herself. “You do not lose sight of what you believe in. You do not lose sight of the goal. You drown out the voices because there are bigger battles to fight.”

Once again, congratulations graduates. Thank you.

Source: https://www.esquiremag.ph/long-reads/features/up-cebu-summa-cum-laude-regret-speech-lfrm

Dr. Dolores Ramirez Continues To Plant The Seeds Of Tomorrow

By Ria de Borja
Photography By Artu Nepomuceno

The Filipino geneticist has garnered many accolades in her lifetime, including having two flowers named after her.

Dolores wears CAROLINA HERRERA dress, BALENCIAGA shoes, KULTURA hat, and J MAKITALO necklace. Photographed by Artu Nepomuceno.

Ninety-one-year-old National Scientist Dolores Ramirez began teaching at the University of the Philippines in 1956. She explains her ethos as a professor: “The genetic component in one’s aptitude for mathematics is only 12 percent. That means the gene contributes only 12 percent, and 88 percent comes from the environment. You can’t blame your parents if you’re not good at math. The biggest factor is your math teacher. If you know this as a math teacher, you should teach math in a way that your students will learn. How do you do that? You will probably make it simpler and be more encouraging, especially with children.”

As somebody who has advanced the field of plant biochemical genetics and cytogenetics in the Philippines, Ramirez certainly believes in logic and the scientific method. “I’m also a product of somebody else’s mentoring, so I’m sincerely part of the chain. There are many students, such as my students, for example, who have widened the scope of what I’ve done,” she explains. “In genetics, there’s a wide latitude. I specialize in one section, and my students have gone forward and sidewards in expanding the science. My research is invariably communicated to students, which adds to my accomplishments. My students will bring it to the next level. I’ve had several generations who have done that and have continued.”

Ramirez also emphasizes that throughout her life, the generosity of the people around her helped her achieve. She says that she was fortunate to receive government resources to conduct her research and has had “a lot of good breaks and good bosses.”

Genetics is a basic science, she explains, but in its application, you can create something new. In plants, for example, you can produce a new variety that has more yield, is more attractive or beautiful, or is more resistant to stresses, insects and pests. “I do not directly produce those varieties yet, somehow, I indirectly contribute to national development,” she says, adding that she plants seeds, so to speak.

Before being named National Scientist for the Philippines, Ramirez had been the SEARCA (Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture) Professorial Chair for Genetics, a recipient of the Gregorio Y. Zara award in basic research and the Rizal Pro Patria award for outstanding achievement in science. She also received the UP Professorial Achievement Award in agriculture. But she’s more popularly known for having a gumamela hybrid and a mussaenda hybrid named after her.

“When you work, you have a goal in mind that is sometimes even beyond your own,” she says. “These add to your accomplishments. And your accomplishments contribute to your self-worth and essentially spread goodwill.”

By Ria De Borja. Photographs by Artu Nepomuceno. Beauty Editor: Joyce Oreña. Fashion Director: Pam Quiñones. Makeup: Gery Peñaso of M.A.C Cosmetics, Ting Duque. Hair: JA Feliciano, Mong Amado. Art Director: Jann Pascua. Production Design: Justine Arcega-Bumanlag. Producer: Bianca Zaragoza, Anz Hizon. Multimedia Artists: Gabbi Constantino, Tinkerbell Poblete. Production Assistant: Zofia Agama. Photographer’s Assistants: Choi Narciso, Jordon Estrada. Stylist’s Assistant: Ticia Almazan. Production Design Assistants: Gabrielle Mantala, Geber Cunanan, Jan Abal, Olderico Bondoc. Makeup Assistants: Charisma Contaoi, Leilani Samson, Lorrine Villamayor. Interns: Jean-Jacques Girod-Roux, Sophia Lanawan.

Source: https://vogue.ph/lifestyle/people/dr-dolores-ramirez-continues-to-plant-the-seeds-of-tomorrow/

Writing about science, telling humanity’s collective story

Iya Gozum

It is the job of the UP-Diliman College of Science communications team to mine mountains of information from technical scientific papers and produce bite-size information digestible for public consumption

MANILA, Philippines – Science as a topic of discussion can be a real head scratcher. Writing about it, and parsing through technical scientific papers, can make any journalist break into a sweat.

As science and technology expand in a fast-changing world, there is a pressing need to communicate breakthroughs. But there is a gap because communication is left far behind by the bullet-train speed of breakthroughs.

Among those pushing to narrow that gap is a science communication team based in the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS).

The UPD-CS Science Communications team dissects the work of Filipino scientists and researchers, digs the angle that they think would pique the readers’ interest, and breaks down the technicalities of scientific papers for ordinary people to understand. It’s like they mine this mountain of data and produce bite-size information digestible for public consumption.

It is a lean team, headed by science journalist TJ Dimacali, and includes a pair of senior science communicators – Eunice Jean Patron and Maria Asheidee Masayon, and one graphic designer Genesis Anne Mercado.

While the work of making the public understand dark quantum matter, the origins of humanity, or algorithms that make sense of an ancient writing system are downright daunting, the team sees their inability to comprehend as the first step towards effective storytelling.

“One thing that we tried to keep in mind is that that [failure to comprehend] can also be a strength because we’re in the same shoes as the public we’re trying to reach out to,” Dimacali told Rappler in an interview.

“If there are things that we don’t understand, most likely the public doesn’t understand that too,” he added. “And if we’re able to condense it into words that we’re comfortable using, [when] we can wrap our heads around it, then it’s likely the public will understand it too.”

Storytelling is a two-way street

The science communication team is housed in the College of Science Administration Building, smack in the middle of the university’s National Science Complex and surrounded by the institutes of chemistry, biology, mathematics, geology, marine science, and molecular biology and biotechnology.

This is one of the strengths of their team, Dimacali said. Working within the college affords them immediate access to journals, related literature, scientific papers, and the scientists themselves. It makes doing their homework easier.

The team monitors new studies that come out and vets research they can storify. Sometimes, scientists themselves approach them to make space for their research. They interview the scientists involved and the dialogue continues with them as they write the story.

Afterwards, they show the full draft for the scientists to check. They then publish online and send the press information to media outfits. The team also explores making social media posts, and even videos, although this is something they are still experimenting with.

COMMUNICATORS. The UPD-CS Science Communications team collaborate with scientists to tell the story in their research for the public’s consumption. Photo from UPD-CS Science Communications

Aren’t there worries that laymanizing stories would dilute the science?

“You can’t info dump the public,” said Dimacali. But also, he said, they don’t blame scientists for feeling anxious over attempts to simplify their research.

“Almost all of them are PhDs. So they spent years studying these things…. And then suddenly condensing all of these into five minutes or a 500-word article,” said Dimacali. “Parang ang hirap ‘di ba?” (It’s hard, right?)

They remind scientists that a press release is just part of a bigger and ongoing initiative to communicate science to Filipinos.

It’s a two-way street between scientists and the communicators, where ideas are exchanged, the main story pinned down, and the language refined. But there is still a long way to go. In other countries, science communication is more developed because media practitioners grew alongside science, said Dimacali.

For example, the United States boasts many popular science magazines. The first issue of the famous yellow-bordered publication National Geographic was published back in the late 19th century.

It was around this time when a vaccine against rabies was invented, the world’s first coal-fired power plant was built, and electromagnetic waves were detected by German physicist Heinrich Hertz.

Wired to tell stories

“I like to think of science as the story of humanity,” Dimacali said. “It is the collective story of all of us. And we are built to tell and to understand stories.”

In the age of multimedia, there are more ways to tell science stories and ideas that do not necessarily pander to a crowd.

Pop culture has been an effective platform. Marvel Comics and its movie adaptations, for example, borrow scientific concepts to develop their plots and characters.

In one instance, American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, a known advocate of science literacy, tried to explain the science behind 2019 superhero film Avengers: Endgame. Tyson talked about the concept of the rare metallic ore vibranium found in fictional African nation Wakanda, or the ever-returning shield of Captain America.

More recently, animated film Spider-man: Across the Spiderverse explored the concept of multiple universes or the “multiverse.” This is a concept that acclaimed film Everything Everywhere All At Once also tried to tie in with an immigrant narrative and the dynamics of a strained mother-daughter relationship.

Pop culture has provided an easy way “to get ideas that people are familiar with…and then guide them towards the scientific explanations behind them,” said Dimacali.

For the UPD-CS Science Communication team, they try to relate scientific concepts with Filipino pop culture.

One example is their story written by Patron enumerating the possible scientific explanations behind famous Filipino folklore stories.

But they are also cautious to note that using Western science’s lens is just one way to explain local practices and that “modern science doesn’t always necessarily have to debunk folk beliefs.”

Another story was about the ongoing research on tracing genetic ancestry in Metro Manila, linking the research’s difficulty to wars that ravaged Manila and the ghosts left behind.

“We can think of the lost genetic variation as the ghosts of the people we lost,” research leader Frederick Delfin was quoted in the story.

Science communication needs creativity to thrive and engage the public. Speculative fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin once said that her fiction doesn’t predict the future, but rather describes contemporary life including science and technology.

Le Guin believed these descriptions, aided by imagination, shine light to certain truths. – Rappler.com

Source: https://www.rappler.com/science/writing-about-science-telling-humanity-collective-story/

Choreographer Japhet Mari Cabling’s artistic journey

By Irene de Jesus Obligacion

Dance artist Japhet Mari “JM” Cabling majored in Philippine Folk Dance at the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) and graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines (UP) with a degree of Bachelor of Music (Dance). JM is the first graduate of the CCP Choreographers Series with his work “Bent” (1st place in the Wifi Body New Choreographers Competition 2014), “Nothing Special” (premiered in KoryoLab 2017; finalist at the 2019 Yokohama Dance Collection 2019 and recipient of Alvin Erasga Tolentino Koryograpiya Award), and “Ang Lihim ni Lea” (as one of the featured artists of NeoFilipino 2019).

Currently, JM is the Program Director of Hiraya Fellowship Program and full-time dance faculty at Guang Ming College Tagaytay.

We interviewed JM recently, and here is that conversation.

Dance artist Japhet Mari ‘JM’ Cabling CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/PAW CASTILLO

How did your journey in dance begin?

I was a fan of my eldest brother who was a dancer in our elementary school. I joined the same dance troupe he was in and I found myself enjoying performing those kinds of dances. Later, my parents enrolled me in Pangalay lessons with Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa. They would drive me every Sunday from Cavite to Marikina, and even joined my classes. The classes were worth it, because I passed the scholarship auditions for the Folk Dance program at the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) dancing Pangalay. I eventually graduated from PHSA with a MARIA scholarship and Artistic Excellence Award. After high school, though, I was still clueless what to do after college. I wanted to pursue learning Philippine Folk Dances but there were no college programs specifically catering to just that. And so, even without any background in classical ballet or contemporary dance, I still auditioned for the Dance Program of the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman College of Music. I passed the course and my whole education there changed my views on dance. Dance is not just for novelty.

While studying, I took all the opportunities possible to explore. I attended different workshops, performed in different festivals in the Philippines and abroad, choreographed for plays in Dulaang UP, joined competitions under UP Dance Company and many more. If before It was during this time that I saw myself taking on dance as a career. Right after college, I dove into doing freelance work for dancing, choreographing and teaching dance-trusting that these jobs would sustain me. And they sure did. Even if there were times I would be uncertain about whether the projects would actually build my career, offers to work kept coming and coming. Eventually all the fears and hard work paid off. Mnetwork of collaborators and the experiences I’ve gained working in different environments has shaped me into the artist I am today.

Can you name two artists you admire the most, and describe to us how their creativity influenced you?

There are plenty but top of mind are my folk dance teacher in high-school, Victor Flor, and one of my challenging mentors in contemporary dance at UP, Ma. Elena Laniog-Alvarez.

Sir Flor was my first teacher in choreography. As a Folk Dance Major in PHSA, we did learn our dances, but he was also very hands on in making us appreciate what we were doing. He was invested in giving us tools to be able to have a deeper understanding of the dances and our culture. Teacher Elena on the other hand was one of my contemporary dance teachers, and is one mentor I look up to because of her sincerity in the craft and the care she gives to her dancers.

They might not be aware of this, but they taught me to ground myself, to be more intuitive and trust myself and the process without being swayed easily by doubt. Because for them, there is enough room for all of the artists out there. They influenced me to look for my own space and own way of creating art.

How does ACC grant help you in your art form?

I focus on storytelling as a choreographer. My experiences have given me tools to tell stories well, but I know there is more to learn and the classes I’ll be taking under the fellowship will certainly widen my range of tools. While I am always thankful for getting work, I’m grateful for this time to take a breather from my career here through the ACC grant in New York. I will be able to pause, reflect and focus on refueling myself again.

Lastly, because I am currently teaching young dancers on scholarship in Guang Ming College. I know this grant will help me as a teacher. I have a sense of responsibility to keep myself updated with the knowledge I impart to them because they are hungry and eager to learn more of what’s out there. I will definitely share with them all the gains from this fellowship.

Source: https://www.manilatimes.net/2023/07/02/the-sunday-times/arts-awake/choreographer-japhet-mari-cablings-artistic-journey

Double the Success: A Father-Son Journey in Pursuing Higher Learning Together

Written by Pinky Halos ♦ Edited by Myra C. Almodiel and Anna Cañas-Llamas

Photo credit: UP Open University

Ronald Hilaria and his son Ron David Hilaria share their positive experiences with the University of the Philippines Open University’s (UPOU) Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL) program.

Ronald, the head of his company’s human resources department, enrolled in UPOU’s Graduate Certificate in Distance Education program to better understand e-learning and implement it in his company’s corporate university. The knowledge he gained from the program helped him spearhead the establishment of an e-learning portal, which proved to be very useful during the pandemic. Ronald’s UPOU education also helped him advance his career and create opportunities for him and his son to bond over school requirements.

On the other hand, his son, Ron David Hilaria, was a student at UP Diliman who struggled to fit into the culture of a traditional university and found UPOU’s ODeL program to match his learning style better. He appreciated the flexibility of being able to control his schedule and do advanced study or fast-track the completion of his requirements. In 2019, Ron David enrolled in the Associate in Arts program at UPOU. He also appreciated that his father could better relate to him regarding school requirements. They could talk about their modules, the discussion forums they attended, and all the other things they were going through in their respective studies. His UPOU experience was an eye-opener for him and he was glad that he studied at UPOU for the past two years. Ron would continue with his distance education by taking up BAMS next.

Both father and son highly recommend UPOU’s ODeL program to people who are working and still want to pursue higher or advanced learning, as well as those who want to try something different from traditional university education.

UP Open University utilizes ODeL as its mode of teaching and learning, and its mission is to provide access to quality higher education to Filipinos everywhere. UPOU is open to students who are not able to join traditional and physical clases, since all teaching and learning is done online.

Source: https://www.upou.edu.ph/news/double-the-success-a-father-son-journey-in-pursuing-higher-learning-together

Compassion and care amidst crisis: Dr. Bryan Lim shares his greatest learnings

Christian Gil D. Tugonon

Dr. Bryan Albert T. Lim, M.D. FPCP, FPSMID is currently the Chief Medical Officer of Keralty Prime Cebu, Inc.
During the pandemic, Dr. Lim continued to serve relentlessly at the frontline, serving countless patients and offering his expertise to both the public and private sector in forming systems and models that benefited the greater community. (Contributed photo)
Dr. Bryan Albert Lim received the 2023 Distinguished Health Care Advocate Award at the Philippine College of Physicians National Convention on May 8, 2023, at the Philippine International Convention Center. (Contributed photo)

When the unprecedented health crisis struck in 2020, the world came to a standstill. Lives were abruptly disrupted and the bustling energy of “business as usual” gave way to global pause as societies confronted the harsh realities of the pandemic.

Defining the “new normal” was a by-line often used arbitrarily as communities scrambled to get back on track. It was amidst all this confusion that a few good men stood out, driven by an unwavering commitment and selfless compassion to continuously serve, despite the mounting fear and anxiety.

One of them is Dr. Bryan Albert T. Lim, an Infectious Disease specialist from Cebu who made bold strides in the healthcare industry. He offered different perspectives in approaching the pandemic and helped form policies that married both Science and systems with human compassion—all while continuing his medical practice, serving at the forefront during the pandemic.

With his distinguished academic background, having graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree from the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu and a Doctor of Medicine from the UP College of Medicine, Dr. Lim has consistently displayed a commitment to excellence in his career.

With a subspecialty in Infectious Diseases from the Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Lim’s contributions have been widely acknowledged by various sectors. His groundbreaking efforts in helping establish systems and models in addressing the pandemic with both the private and public sector earned him various recognitions from various local and national institutions.

And as the newly installed chief medical officer of Keralty Prime Cebu, Dr. Lim has been instrumental in pioneering transformative initiatives in primary healthcare, shaping the way primary care patient-centered services are delivered to the community.

Most recently, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), an affiliate society of the Philippine Medical Association and a member-society of the International Society of Internal Medicine, recognized Dr. Lim asthe PCP’s Distinguished Health Care Advocate for 2023, chosen from among 9,111 members.

Being among one of the youngest doctors to have received this award, Dr. Lim’s dedication to his patients and the community is rooted in his personal experiences and core values. Reflecting on the transformative power of compassion, kindness, and scientific excellence, he shared: “I have learned firsthand the immense impact that dedicated healthcare professionals can have. It is this profound realization that has fueled my commitment to serve and offer compassion to those in need.”

Throughout his career, Dr. Lim has encountered significant challenges that have shaped his perspective and reinforced the importance of collaboration and empathy. Recognizing the role of healthcare professionals as collaborators and partners during the pandemic, he emphasizes the value of humility and the need to listen attentively and to work collaboratively.

“We don’t have all the answers. It’s tempting at times to believe that we, doctors, are the experts in all health issues, but solutions can come from the unlikeliest of places. The pandemic wasn’t only a health crisis, it was also a social crisis. As doctors and health advocates, our role goes beyond our medical expertise; it is to guide, collaborate, and most importantly, to listen.”

He continued: “Being a health advocate means embracing the responsibility of considering multiple perspectives and designing solutions that benefit everyone. It is about understanding that healthcare goes beyond the confines of a hospital or clinic—it is about making a positive impact on the lives of individuals and communities as a whole.”

When asked about what struck him most as his greatest lesson during the pandemic, Dr. Lim shared a personal story: “Be kind; everyone is struggling. It is important that we offer our help and assist with humility, patience, and always with compassion. When my father died from Covid early in the pandemic, I almost lost my will to work. My heart was drained, there was nothing left to give, and I had planned to quit. But I found sincere, silent compassion in the unlikeliest of places and that fueled my desire to serve even more. The most difficult times taught me that it is possible to transform pain to passion, grief to gratitude, suffering to grace. “

Dr. Lim continues to spearhead transformative patient-centered healthcare initiatives. His journey serves as an inspiration to his colleagues and the wider healthcare community. His relentless pursuit of excellence and dedication to improving the well-being of others make him a true healthcare trailblazer.

With his heart in the right place, Dr. Lim inspires hope, healing, and a brighter future for all. (SunStar Specials)

Source: https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1964217/cebu/lifestyle/compassion-and-care-amidst-crisis-dr-bryan-lim-shares-his-greatest-learnings

Proving Age is Just a Number: Senior Citizen Fulfills Lifelong Dream

Written by Pinky Halos
Edited by Myra C. Almodiel and Anna Cañas-Llamas

Edwin C. Tan’s inspiring story of pursuing higher education at an older age proves that it’s never too late to fulfill one’s dreams. A loving husband and a cool dad, Edwin decided to take the leap, enroll at the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), and complete a Diploma in Environment and Natural Resources Management degree.

UP Open University utilizes open and distance elearning (ODeL) as its mode of teaching and learning, and its mission is to provide access to quality higher education to Filipinos everywhere, even to senior citiizens like Edwin. At the University of the Philippines, including UPOU, no student shall be denied admission to the University System by reason of age, sex, nationality, religious belief, or political affiliations [from Art. 332 of the UP System Code]. In addition, UPOU is open to students who are not able to join traditional and physical clases, since all teaching and learning is done online.

For Edwin, education is an essential part of life, regardless of age, and he believes that finishing a degree at one of the top schools in the country is an advantage. And although Edwin faced many challenges while completing his requirements, he persevered and was ultimately rewarded with a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

Through his experience at UPOU, Edwin developed a greater sense of belongingness, it developed his character and confidence, which has impacted his life in significant ways.

Today, Edwin is a proud UPOU alumni and he encourages others to follow in his footsteps. His advice to anyone considering pursuing higher education at UPOU is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way and not wait any longer. Edwin’s inspiring journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and serves as a reminder that it’s never too late to chase your dreams.

Source: https://www.upou.edu.ph/news/proving-age-is-just-a-number-senior-citizen-fulfills-lifelong-dream/

#KwentongUPCAT elicits nostalgia as well as test tips from UP community

Written by KIM G Quilinguing

Mongol pencils, drinks and snacks were some of the things that quickly came to mind when alumni, students and staff of the University of the Philippines (UP) were asked to share their memories, under the hashtag #KwentongUPCAT, of the day they took the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT).

Launched by the UP Media and Public Relations Office (UP MPRO) on the UP System’s social media accounts on Tiktok, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the #KwentongUPCAT videos are a mix of interviews and other contributions from alumni, students, and staff from different constituent units of the University all over the country.

Among those who shared their experience in taking the UPCAT were ABS-CBN Meteorologist and a UP alumnus Ariel Rojas, who recalled taking a tricycle from his home to the test venue. “I bought chips since my exam was scheduled in the afternoon. I also brought four newly sharpened Mongol #2 pencils,” he added. Rojas earned his Bachelor of Science in Food Technology and his Master of Science in Meteorology degrees from UP Diliman.


Ang #KwentongUPCAT sa araw na ito ay mula kay ABS-CBN Meteorologist Ariel Rojas ☄️ Ikaw, may #KwentongUPCAT ka ba? Share mo na yan sa comments sa ibaba para mas ma-excite at ma-inspire ang mga UPCAT takers ngayong taon! #fyp #foryoupage #UniversityofthePhilippines #UPFight

♬ original sound – University of the Philippines – University of the Philippines

A television personality, Jervi Li, more famously known as KaladKaren, who has built a following by impersonating journalist and fellow UP alumna Karen Davila, also shared her experience taking the UPCAT. She recalled that it was a rainy day when she left Bulacan to take the test in UP Diliman. She remembered arriving at Melchor Hall drenched, and how the proctor offered her a face towel to dry herself off. “The only thing that I was carrying during that time was a plastic envelope containing ballpens, paper and other requirements,” she said. Li earned her degree in Broadcast Communication, magna cum laude, also from UP Diliman.


Umula’t bumagyo, ayos lang ☔️ Pakinggan ang #KwentongUPCAT ni KaladKaren at iwasang maging isang basang sisiw sa araw ng #UPCAT2024 🥲 #fyp #foryoupage #UniversityofthePhilippines #UPFight

♬ original sound – University of the Philippines – University of the Philippines

For the student, JLO Garferio, who is in his senior year taking up Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in UP Diliman, there was a shortage of pencils at the time he was about to take the UPCAT. Hailing from Pigcawayan, Cotabato, he had to travel to Davao City to take the test in UP Mindanao. “I remember we went around Davao City to look for Mongol pencils. Good thing I was able to find three,” he recalled.


Magdala ng grocery sa UPCAT? Why not! 🥖 Pakinggan ang tips at #KwentongUPCAT ni JLO, fourth year MBB student pero fresh na fresh pa rin 😌 Ikaw, ano kaya magiging kwento mo sa darating na #UPCAT2024 ngayong June 3-4? #fyp #foryoupage #UniversityofthePhilippines #UPFight

♬ original sound – University of the Philippines – University of the Philippines

Aside from the videos, alumni of the University also shared some memories, as well as tips to this year’s test-takers, particularly in the comments sections of the UP System’s social media accounts.

On Instagram, an alumna Patricia Tan-Tirados recalled wearing red on the day of her test. And as brain boosters, she brought with her one tablespoon of peanuts, one tablespoon of anchovies, and one small chocolate bar. She also had a lucky coin inside her shoe. “All these were from the advice of my parents. Masunuring bata eh (I was an obedient child),” she added. Tan-Tirados earned her degree in Chemical Engineering from UP Diliman.

On Facebook, an ,alumna Ardythe Santos, shared how she and her fellow test-takers were brought to the UP Diliman campus by her neighbor’s dad. They had also missed lunch, as the afternoon session of her test date started at 12:30 PM. “I brought Eng Bee Tin hopia with me. And once we were done (with the test), we bought meals at Jollibee’s drive-thru service so that we could immediately go home,” she added. Santos earned her degree in Nutrition from UP Los Baños.

Meanwhile on LinkedIn, an alumnus, Raymond Sebastian shared how he lost his test permit the week before the UPCAT and how he was advised to bring instead an identification card and a couple of photos. He was issued a temporary test permit at the testing center. “My parents took it as a sign that I wasn’t meant to take the exam,” he wrote. He was the first graduate of his high school to study in UP. He eventually earned a Bachelor of Secondary Education degree from UP Diliman.

Several more alumni shared their stories and tips to this year’s test-takers, as excitement fills the UP community, which is once again seeing the administration of the UPCAT to applicants after a hiatus of almost three years.

At the height of the pandemic, applications for admission to the University were undertaken online by the UP College Admissions or UPCA, which assessed the students’ application according to their high school grades. No general test was conducted in compliance with health regulations intended to limit the spread of COVID 19 and its variants.

With most of the general population having been vaccinated in recent years, and the number of COVID 19 cases relatively under control, the University is once again conducting the UPCAT on June 3 and June 4 in 102 testing centers nationwide.

Watch the whole #KwentongUPCAT video series for stories and tips via the playlist below.

Source: https://up.edu.ph/kwentongupcat-elicits-nostalgia-as-well-as-test-tips-from-up-community/

‘Empire of Light’

Empire of Light

Within the Expressionist landscape, emotions unfurl in a vibrant symphony of colors, brushwork, and texture. Vibrant hues, bold and unapologetic, embody the spectrum of human sentiment. From the fiery reds of passion to the melancholic blues of longing, each stroke is a whispered confession, each texture a testament to the intricacies of our shared humanity. It is in this realm where the expressionistic fervor of Rafaelle Louise’s literary prowess intertwines with her vivid imagination. The canvas becomes a stage, upon which the luminescent performers–the seemingly teardrop-shaped flames, ignite a captivating drama of existence.

In her newest iteration, Rafaelle Louise’s “Empire of Light” explores the profound interplay between colors, textures, and Zen iconographies by employing nuanced compositions and narratives–tapping the fragile nature of the human psyche. Through a tapestry of poetic imagery and visceral intent, Louise masterfully captures the enigmatic essence of flickering candles latticed across and over the canvas, inviting viewers into a realm of momentary introspection and vulnerability.

“I was interested in depicting a simple yet poetic representation of light: as a natural beacon of hope whether during the night or day, in sleep or in every waking moment, literally and figuratively, the light has always been there. This show is an invitation to look deeper for the light and uphold it for others to see.”

“Empire of Light” embodies the spirit of Rafaelle Louise’s artistic ethos—a profound exploration of the human condition, encapsulated in a canvas that intends to transcend its message beyond the physical realm. It’s in its quiet pleas that beckon us to embrace the impermanence of existence, to find solace in the interplay of light and dark, to awaken the dormant embers within ourselves. It is an invitation to participate in the symphony of life, to let the artistry of the flames’ glow kindles the fires of our own expression, embracing the profound beauty that lies within the depths of our souls.

Meditation | Manta XIII

Rafaelle Louise’s works for this show are a testament to the artist’s emotional journey–capturing the ebb and flow of existence, creating a visual symphony that resonates with the viewer’s emotional landscape. And as she lays bare the depths of human connection, so too do these artworks unveil the unspoken truths of the human condition. They challenge the viewer to confront the complexities of their own existence, to let the layers of artifice fall away, and bask in the transformative power of authentic expression, bright and delicate enough for everyone to feel its warmth.

Rafaelle Louise (b.1990) studied Visual Communication at the College of Fine Arts in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Rafaelle describes her oeuvre as “modern interplay between action painting and minimalism, where the end product stands somewhere between painting and sculpture”.

“Empire of Light” by Rafaelle Louise will be on view at Galerie Raphael U.P. Town Center from May 10 to 24, 2023. Galerie Raphael U.P. Town Center is located at the 2/F Phase 2, U.P. Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Diliman, Quezon City.

Source: https://malaya.com.ph/news_living/empire-of-light/

Filipina CEO Circle fetes lone PH Magsaysay Awardee

By Arlo Custodio

A FILIPINO pediatrician who has been championing the Filipino child’s right to protection by creating safe spaces for abused children nationwide, and the lone 2022 Ramon Magsaysay awardee from the Philippines, was the guest and keynote speaker at the Filipina CEO Circle (FCC) general membership meeting on May 11, 2023 held at the Ramon Magsaysay Center in Malate, Manila.

FCC co-founder Marife Zamora introduced host Cathy Yang, who in turn introduced pediatrician Bernadette Madrid. The doctor spoke on her advocacy that earned her Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now on its 65th year, Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation’s citation of Madrid reads in part: “Born to a family of professionals in Iloilo, Philippines, she studied medicine and pediatrics at the University of the Philippines Manila (UP Manila) and did a post-residency fellowship in ambulatory pediatrics at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. The center’s Child Abuse Program opened her eyes to a problem that she and fellow Filipino doctors did not quite discern, though this was very much a part of daily reality in her home country, with its conditions of poverty, child labor, trafficking, and violence.

(From left) US Embassy Deputy Economic Counselor Alaina Magnotta, USAid Agreement Officer’s Representative Consuelo Lacson-Anonuevo, Valerie Pama, Susan Afan, The Manila Times President and COO Blanca Mercado, Kat Luna-Abelarde, Bernadette Madrid, Cathy Yang, Karen de Venecia, Margie Moran-Floirendo, Marife Zamora, Esther Santos and Ginia Domingo.

(From left) US Embassy Deputy Economic Counselor Alaina Magnotta, USAid Agreement Officer’s Representative Consuelo Lacson-Anonuevo, Valerie Pama, Susan Afan, The Manila Times President and COO Blanca Mercado, Kat Luna-Abelarde, Bernadette Madrid, Cathy Yang, Karen de Venecia, Margie Moran-Floirendo, Marife Zamora, Esther Santos and Ginia Domingo.

“Upon her return to the Philippines, she tried to establish a Child Abuse Program in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila, the country’s premier public hospital, but the program was short-lived for lack of support. Madrid returned to Iloilo, started a private practice, and seemed headed for a quiet, provincial career until she was called back to Manila in 1996 to head an emergency unit for abused children in PGH, at the insistence of UP Manila and American child protection crusader David Bradley and the Advisory Board Foundation (now CityBridge Foundation). In 1997, Madrid assumed office as head of the PGH Child Protection Unit (PGH-CPU), the first such facility in the country. She would in the next 25 years pursue an active, multifaceted career that would put her at the helm of what has been praised as ‘the best medical system for abused children in Southeast Asia.’

“A one-stop health facility, PGH-CPU provides a coordinated program of medical, legal, social, and mental health services for abused children and their families. As of 2021, it has served 27,639 children. It became the axis of a national network of child protection units when the Child Protection Network Foundation Inc. (CPN), a partnership of civil society, academe, and government, was established in 2002. As CPN executive director, Madrid has designed programs and engaged with family courts, schools, hospitals, local government units, community organizations, and policymakers in advancing the cause of child protection.

“The board of trustees recognizes her unassuming and steadfast commitment to a noble and demanding advocacy; her leadership in running a multisectoral, multidisciplinary effort in child protection that is admired in Asia; and her competence and compassion in devoting herself to seeing that every abused child lives in a healing, safe, and nurturing society.”

Cathy Yang (center) being interviewed by The Manila Times and Asian TV Heritage Network together with (from left) Karen de Venecia, Marife Zamora, Susan Afan and The Manila Times President and COO Blanca Mercado.

Madrid said she was overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award, so honored to have her work recognized by Asia’s most prestigious award.

“I was asking, ‘Why me?’ I found more reasons as to why I am undeserving of this award. It is like the violin player receiving recognition on behalf of the whole orchestra. I am just one violin player. I am just a representation of the organizations in this crusade,” she said in her speech and interview at the FCC event.

Philippine Ballet Theater dancers perform excerpts from the Bicolano epic ‘Ibalon (The Love of Handyong and Oryol)’ which opens the 37th season of PBT in July at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Makati City,

She went on to say that in the last 25 years, she learned that there are no quick fixes, “that we cannot do this alone, that we need the system to work and that we need ordinary people to do their job with purpose, compassion, and skill. Unfortunately, I also found out that ending violence against children will not happen on its own. We need to fight for it. It needs planning, commitment, resources, persistence, and leadership. With it comes accountability.”

Pediatrician Bernadette Madrid PHOTOS BY ARLO CUSTODIO

There is no other cause where everyone in the country has a responsibility – starting with parents, schools, and communities. Universal parenting programs, safe schools, access to justice seem like common sense but they are not, she said.

“The Ramon Magsaysay Award has made me realize how much people care and that I am not alone. I am humbled and appreciative [of this recognition],” she said.

Yang also moderated the question-and-answer portion.

Philippine Ballet Theater (PBT) performed excerpts from the Bicolano epic “Ibalon (The Love of Handyong and Oryol),” which opens the 37th season of the dance the company at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Makati City in July – with shows on July 28 and 29 at 8 p.m.

Sponsored by Diamond Hotel Philippines, PLDT Smart, Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation and PBT, the event was also graced by Miss Universe 1973 and Cultural Center of the Philippines President Margie Moran.

Source: https://www.manilatimes.net/2023/05/14/the-sunday-times/filipino-champions/filipina-ceo-circle-fetes-lone-ph-magsaysay-awardee