(This is an oratorical piece I wrote for my nursing students at the Trinity University of Asia. It is now also being used in speech classes in other universities and colleges in Metro Manila. I am sharing this with you because by all accounts, the election fever has begun, and the youth should play spectator no more.)


Eight years ago, in the year 2001, our voices were heard, loud and clear for the world to know that after all, we, the youth, have enormous power to change the course of history.

Yes, sometimes, you may see us, young people, who compose over 40% of this country’s population, getting engrossed with mundane and trivial pursuits, like malling, Friendster or online computer games, but, in my short talk today, allow me to show you what many don’t see. Continue reading “YOUTHFUL VOICE IN AN ANGRY SEA OF APATHY AND DISBELIEF”

Congratulations, classmates!

The other week, I was surprised to find on my table a paper bag containing a violet-colored something. It was the class jacket of MMSU Pharmacy Class of 2009, with my name embroidered on the chest part. A personalized handkerchief came with the package.

On the paper bag were notes handwritten by members of the class. The words were so moving, I began to understand why they gave me a hanky as well. Sorry to disappoint you, but I stopped reading after a few lines. For one, it feels awkward when people love and adore you so much. Also, I felt undeserving of such words which can only be as sweet as those who wrote them.

Our friendship started in 2007 when they were my students in Society and Culture. They were already in their junior year, and I was on my first semester in the university. All members of the class were so jolly and vibrant that no one looked sleepy nor bored even when our class was scheduled at the proverbial “unholy hour” of 1:00 p.m., and was held in a humid classroom in a faaar-away building. They always came on time, listened to me attentively, participated in all activities and, most importantly, laughed at my jokes even when they were not so funny.  These students sure know a lot about modern medicines, but they confirm that laughter, as the cliche goes, is still best.

After that semester, we met very rarely. But we knew, deep in our hearts, that we have established a special bond. We would occasionally meet at the corridors and in the stairs, and each time was always as if we had not met for years.

I think the class appreciated it very much that on the Valentine’s Day of 2008, I sent them an acoustic band to serenade them with their favorite songs. This year’s season of hearts was even more memorable. Shortly before V-Day, the class invited me to speak on Job Hunting in a training-workshop they organized with much fanfare. On the scheduled day of the event, I was set to join my colleagues in a trip to Adams, a place we had always wanted to visit but never had the chance to do so. I was really looking forward to the trip, but gave it up anyway. My favorite class was more important. Adams will be conquered on another day.

Classes come and go. Faces and names are forgotten. But I have reserved a special space in my heart for this group. I appreciate it very much that they have considered me as their “honorary classmate”.

I am publishing their names in this space in the hope that the next time I read them, it will be on a national newspaper announcing their successful hurdling of the board exams. And, why not, our university has been perennially recognized as a top-performing school in Pharmacy, among many other fields.

So go their beautiful names: Continue reading “Congratulations, classmates!”