Benito V. Sanvictores Jr. – Diliman Information Office
UP Diliman (UPD) bid farewell to two of its former deans: Josefa M. Saniel, PhD, professor emeritus of the Institute of Asian Studies (IAS), now UPD Asian Center (AC), and Leticia Cecilia Z. Peñano-Ho, PhD, retired professor of the UPD College of Education (CEd).
According to an AC website post accessed on Jan. 15, Saniel passed away on 21 Dec. 2023. Meanwhile, a post on the CEd website, accessed on Jan. 15, stated that Peñano-Ho passed away on Jan. 14.
According to the same AC website post, Saniel was among the generation of Philippine scholars who led the establishment of area studies as a field of study in the Philippines. A renowned Japanologist, she developed Japanese studies as a graduate degree program in the University.
Saniel specialized in Japanese studies and published various works on Philippines-Japan relations; Japanese culture, society, and literature; and Japan’s foreign policy in Southeast Asia.
In a Jan. 9 post on its Facebook page accessed on Jan. 16, the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines stated, “Dr. Saniel’s unwavering commitment to the development of Japanese studies has rightfully earned her the title ‘grand dame of Japanology.’ Her impactful contributions to fostering cultural understanding between Japan and the Philippines have left an indelible mark on our shared academic landscape.”
According to the same Facebook post, Japan conferred on Saniel the Order of the Precious Crown in 1986 as “a testament to her significant impact on Japan-Philippines relations.”
Saniel began serving in the University as a history instructor in the 1950s. She was the IAS dean (1974-1979), until she was appointed AC dean (1980-1985). She was appointed professor emeritus in 1993.
Meanwhile, Peñano-Ho was a clinical psychologist, neurotherapist, and professor at CEd who focused on gifted education.
Peñano-Ho was the founding president of the Philippine Center for Gifted Education (PCGE). According to its website, the PCGE “actively search(es) for Filipino gifted children and individuals and to provide ways of nurturing them.”
In 2019, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) bestowed upon Peñano-Ho the Outstanding Psychologist award. The PRC website stated that Peñano-Ho received the award for her “distinguished contribution to the field of clinical psychology and neurotherapy. Her exemplar service in her profession shows her commitment and professionalism in her field… as clinical psychologist, neurotherapist, and educator.” Furthermore, the PRC recognized her pioneering work in neurotherapy and brainwave biofeedback modality, which according to the PRC, were “found effective for many disorders.”
Peñano-Ho was the CEd dean (1998-2001 and 2001-2004), and UPD vice chancellor for student affairs (1992-1993).
According to the CEd Facebook page, accessed on Jan. 15, a necrological service to celebrate the life of Peñano-Ho was held on Jan. 18 at the Loyola Memorial Chapels Mercy A Room along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.