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Weekly Centralian Link (January 6, 2017)

New Year Message of CPU President, Dr. Teodoro C. Robles

The past year brought many successes to Central Philippine University. Certainly, these triumphs have strengthened our faith and have fueled us to go forward and face the future with dynamism and complete trust to our Almighty Father.

As we start this new year, we are also in the lookout for new opportunities to better this institution. More importantly, we are more focused in extending these plans so that we could participate effectively in nation building. I would like to believe that we have understood and accepted the challenge for those in the academe; that is, by providing quality education, we also impact the society or even help in changing the status quo. This is why, guided by Scientia et Fides, we try our best that all members of the Centralian community get to have the mind and the heart to succeed, to share and to serve.

As much as we would like that everything that we intend to start or finish this year be smooth sailing, we know that it will not be. Just like the past years where we have to face challenges as we realize all our goals, 2017 is no different. However, I am hopeful, that with our utmost dedication and with unwavering faith to the Lord, we will equal or surpass what we have thus far achieved.

May we be off to a good start this 2017.
Happy New Year!
God bless us all!

Dr. Teodoro C. Robles


Christmas Party and Induction of Officers for 2017-2018
December 10, 2016 1000 Bascom Ave.  San Jose CA 95124

It was a rainy day on the 10th of December but the anticipation for several weeks about the event did not deter the CPU Northern California Alumni Association family.  Some had to drive three hours or more but, that too, was not a reason to miss the big event.  You see, each time there is a gathering of this group, it always paints a picture of a family gathering; so eager to see each other with laughter, sharing of food and fun.  Hearts overflowing with joy and love characterize each time we meet.

The beautiful ladies of the CPU Northern California Assn. posing with the traditional and nostalgic Filipino lechon.

Our delightful Pat Desales was our master of ceremonies that day and kept the program going.  The Gasacao family provided the sound system and music.  Pastor Eduard Faalam gave a Christmas message. A thought provoking question he asked everyone that day was:  “What gift can you give to Jesus this Christmas?”  Singing was led by Ortha D. Lumanlan and Pat Desales, and Lisaer Carlo Pineda provided a special violin number.  This was followed by the induction of officers for 2017-2018.  Our very own FOAA VP Northwest, Lee Plagata inducted the group.  After the induction, Kathy Leyble Kriewall, incoming president, gave her acceptance speech.  Kathy emphasized the unity, love and respect amongst each other as describing the CPUNorCalAA family. Dear to her heart was a quote by Beth Moore, “Effectiveness depends on our connectedness.” This quote reflected several of her platform points, e.g.: a. an updated directory to be distributed to all CPUN or CalAA members; b. intentionally connect with younger alumni; and increase membership by personally being involved in connecting with other Centralians.  In addition, there is a plan to have a newsletter featuring both a seasoned member and a younger alumni, to help bonds grow stronger, an on-going prayer ministry, meeting workshops, and involvements that make a difference both locally and abroad, like being a part of Operation Christmas Child or a Gift Giving Outreach to the remote places in Iloilo province to school children, or locally, hosting a fellowship meal with the Firefighters, Veterans or members of the Law Enforcement.

Oath taking of alumni officers for 2017-2018 led by Mr. Lee Plagata.

Leveraging from the love, unity, and respect already in place, additional efforts in connecting with each other and the desired actions to make a difference and sharing what has been entrusted, with the Lord Jesus as our Ultimate Leader, success of these dreams and visions will become a reality.

Centralian Camaraderie – the smiling faces of the CPU Northern California Alumni Association.

The outgoing and fabulous former president Marah Rafols Torres gave some acknowledgements, which was followed by a surprise appreciation presentation to her for a “job well done”.  We concluded the event with dancing, visiting, packing some “take home” and a swift clean-up.  Hearts were warm, full of joy, and many will bask in the glow of such a fine time and thank God for a chance to be together as a family. It was a delightful and memorable event!

Today, I Will Live

Dear Family, friends & fellow Centralians,

The year 2016 is not going to end without my sending you a “love letter.” This love letter is quite simple! I am sharing something valuable and beautiful with you. It is more than something that I/you could pay in gold.

Please allow me to give you the background of what inspired “my love letter.” On December 1, 2016, I received a special gift. A poem! The name of the poem is “Today, I Live.” The author is Ana M. Veria. Ana is married to Dr. Girma Wubishet and she is the Policy Director for the Department of Behavioral in The District of Columbia. Her poem reflects great writing skills and as what she said, “My training, education at CPU have equipped me to write rules and policies.”

If you studied or worked at Central Philippine University (CPU) in the 50s through the 60s & possibly 70s, you might have met a very wonderful man named Paul Veria. Many who knew him, lovingly called him Tiyoy Paul. When you think of Tiyoy Paul, you think of Rose Memorial because he used to be the Janitor there. He was married to Clara Montano Veria and they have five children: Eva, Mike, Anita, Ana and Paul, Jr. Many of us were classmates and/or friends of one of Tiyoy Paul+s children. When I received the poem, I wrote Ana right away and thank her for the beautifully written and awe inspiring poem. I also requested that she allow me to share her poem with all of you. She said “YES,” to my request. The first person that I shared it with was Dr. Johnny Ancheta. Manong Johnny was so happy to receive Ana+s poem. He was also so touched and impressed. Through this poem, they are now connected.

Now before I end this “love letter to you,” I would like you to know how Ana wrote this poem. She wrote, “Today, I Live” in the context of her “having cancer at terminal stage.” She also said, “just finished chemotherapy and continued my speaking engagements and full time job. God is with me.” “There is no evidence of cancer in my body. The doctor stopped the last chemotherapy dose.” Family, friends & fellow Centralians as we face our future, specifically 2017, may we all be inspired by Ana+s life and in how she has been living it so valiantly.
May her poem “Today, I Live,” provides the impetus or a launching pad or an inspiration to all of us, in how we ought to live our lives. May we continue to believe in ourselves, go out on a limb and inspire others. May the ripple effects of the impact that we have on others, will be beyond measure for generations to come. May we really believe and live the mantra or the “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin in me.” Thank you for your part in my life! Love you!


Today, I Will Live

By Ana M. Veria

Today, I celebrate life, all of life.
I will not despair over things that has not happened despite my desire,
Or regret the unfavorable things that did occur.
Not worry about the uncertainties of the future.
Today, I will simply live.

I am grateful for all the things I have received and the opportunities for giving.
I am glad to see lives whom I have touched and those that touched mine.
I will hold on to faith, hope and love –
Tenets that feed my mind and soul invigorating my body.
Today, I will simply live.

I will see the sun rise, its rays revealing the colors for pleasant ambiences,
I will feel each blade of grass beneath my feet,
Touch the blooming petals of roses with my fingertips.
I will bathe naked in the rain, breeze caressing my hair.
Today, I will simply live.

I am thankful for all who journey with me.
Share my stories and lessons learned.
Taste the bitter and sweet experiences that soon become memories –
Tidbits of self-reflections and pathways to living life a day at a time.
Today, I will simply live.

I will dance the googly-gu where I swing my hips to and fro,
Laugh until I can sense my lungs and stomach joggling air,
I will walk and run until my feet become weary.
I will drink lemonade with pepper until I don’t care.
Today, I will simply live.

Musings of a Centralian Leader

By Keziah Huelar

The sun was at the center of the sky and it hung there like a pendulum tossing sunrays to and fro – CPU is covered in sunbeams. Centralians fill the atmosphere with talk and laughter. Their footsteps carry the weight of their dreams – their hearts place a home for both faith and ambition.

A certified Centralian – Peñol graduates from CPU with a degree of Bachelor of Arts major in Political Science and Public Administration.

Jo Jan Paul “JP” Peñol walks with the crowd with silent but steady eyes. His heart is present but his mind wanders away to ideas and opportunities – as a law student he has his classes to worry about but beyond the heavy books he carries he knows that learning must not be caged by education.

He didn’t have the luxury of a slow-paced life before. He became the Chairperson of the Sangguniang Kabataan at 16, was elected as a regular Councilor of the Municipality of Pavia at the age of 19, was chosen as Chief of Staff at the House of Representatives at 21, and was appointed by the President as Commissioner of the National Youth Commission at 23. According to him he never really got to enjoy his teenage life. “I was deprived of the joys of my teenage life but I believe that I have always been a kid at heart. I enjoy serving the people, and I think that satisfies me.”

Peñol with former President Ninoy Aquino.

With his dad as a Chief Marine Engineer abroad and his mom as a public school teacher, Peñol grew up with sufficient means for his needs; this however, made him grow up with the realization that when life gives you more than enough you have the exceed the things you were given by sharing it with others.

His heart for leadership started at an early age. During his elementary education at Colegio de San Jose, Peñol became the school’s Science Club president. For JP, leadership is not about being the best but about bringing out the best in others. “Sometimes, when you start being a leader, people expect that you will always be the leader. When I became the club president, it seemed that they always wanted me to be president every year, but there are times that I stepped back to allow others to lead and learn from them as well.”

Instead of continuing his studies at CSJ, Peñol chose to enroll at Pavia National High School despite his mother’s opposition. “I was officially enrolled when I realized that the amount that I had could actually send more people to school if I studied in a public school. So, secretly, I withdrawn my enrollment at CSJ and enrolled at Pavia National High School. With the said amount, I was able to help twenty (20) out-of-school-youths (OSYs) to enroll at PNHS as well. My mother, a teacher at PNHS was surprised to see me at her school during the first day of classes. It then became a tradition in our family to help Pavianhon youth pursue their education.” The students Peñol and his family helped send to school encouraged him to run for President of the Supreme Student Government (SSG) and eventually became his campaigners.

JP Peñol encourages the Filipino youth to dream big in his speaking engagements as NYC Commisioner.

For his college education, Peñol wanted to study at CPU. “I actually didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grow up. Originally I wanted to become a pilot, then on some days a doctor, a seafarer – I didn’t have a fixed dream but CPU has always been my dream school.” According to JP, it was the holistic education offered by CPU that made him want to be a Centralian. “CPU wasn’t only convenient because it was the nearest university from my hometown but it also offered formal education coupled with character – character is an integral part of education.” Peñol took up Bachelor of Science in Nursing but later shifted to Bachelor of Arts major in Political Science and Public Administration.

When asked how he managed to balance study and public service, Peñol said it was the loving support of his family that keeps him motivated. “It’s very difficult to balance my studies and my job as municipal councilor but it was the encouragement and love of my family that helped me along my journey. I would sleep during vacant periods, get rest as much as I can – I deprived myself of the comfort of being a regular student but the experience was worth it.” Alongside his studies Peñol also became the Editor-in-Chief of CPU’s student publication, The Central Echo in 2012.

His exposure in politics made him immune to disappointments but it also made him find one of his greatest joys – serving others. “In everything I do I never ask anything in return, I do it sincerely because I love what I’m doing.” Peñol ran for Vice Mayor of Pavia but lost, it however, became a blessing as he focused his energy on his final year in college and his staff work at the House of Representatives under Second District Congressman Arcadio H. Gorriceta.

After graduation, President Aquino appointed Peñol to a post in the National Youth Commission. He became the agency’s Commissioner alongside Jose Sixto “Dingdong” Dantes. In his stay with NYC, he was able to help implement the “Abot-Alam” Program in cooperation with the Department of Education – the program helped train more than 2 million OSYs to get free education, skills development training, and employment. After two years, he filed his resignation to give President Duterte the prerogative to choose someone he likes to succeed Peñol.

With his resignation is the realization of his desire to explore the judiciary, after having served both the executive and legislative branches of the government. Peñol returned to Iloilo and enrolled at CPU College of Law. Away from the bustling lights and traffic of Manila, he found solace in the provincial air and the familiar faces that saw him grow up and become the man that he is today. “When I came back to Iloilo, I gave myself sufficient rest, gave time to reflect about my past, and went back to my old hobby which is biking. It’s really the simple things about life that make it magical. Happiness can never be bought nor dictated. I found myself in loosing myself. It’s probably why I love serving others because in losing myself for others, I realized that no one lives alone, we are bound to assist each other. Our life is a blessing and we are bound to share it.”

With his experiences in public service and his newfound pursuit of studying law, Peñol advices young Centralians to dream big – “Men who succeed best are those who take risks by standing on their own principles. One must also think good and do good because by doing so, good things will happen.” According to Peñol, his optimism helped him rise beyond the challenge of becoming ordinary. “I am a positive thinker. I believe that everything is possible and that I am bigger than my problems. Optimism also comes from experience; to be successful you have to know how to make good decisions, you get good decisions through experience – you get experience from the wrong decisions you did in the past.”

For Peñol, the journey is far from over – this phase of his life is just a corner of the long haul ahead – a familiar corner called CPU, a familiar corner called home.

CPU welcomes Korean students in Short Language Program

With the vision of being globally competitive in the field of language education, CPU welcomed 37 students from two Korean partner universities; 27 students from Suncheon University and 10 students from Tongmyung University will be enrolled in a short term English Language Program from January 3-February 7, 2017.

A group picture with the Korean student and the CPU Faculty

The program spearheaded by the Office of International Relations and Cooperation in partnership with the Department of Languages, Mass Communication, and Humanities aims to develop the English reading and writing skills of the Korean students, expose them to basic Filipino culture and to let them establish friendship and camaraderie with Filipino students.

Korean students being oriented at the Henry Luce III Library.

CPU Students are encouraged to let our guest experience the Centralian spirit of friendship and camaraderie. The CPU administration hopes that the program will be a cross-cultural experience for both Korean and Filipino students to the end goal of preserving diplomatic ties between the two nations through cultural and academic exchanges.

Korean students from Yeoju Institute of Technology and Mokpo National University learn more about CPU in a pre-orientation session.

Suncheon University and Tongmyung University are two of the universities visited by Dr. Robles together with Dr. Irving Domingo Rio, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Prof. Leilani Fatimah Ledesma Trompeta, Director of Office of International Relations and Cooperation last November 21 to 27, 2016 in Korea. Their trip aimed to strengthen existing relations, establish international links, develop academic exchange and cooperation, and promote mutual understanding with different Korean universities.

The Gift

By Cyrus Natividad

Here is a good advocacy on education for the new year. It reads: “Read for 20”. The advocacy is a corporate initiative launched by a major daily. It was intended to help bring back the Filipinos’ interest in reading and learning. The younger generations are more inclined to social media.

The decreasing habit of reading printed copy classical books, and even fundamental references is an apt observation. Most students are inclined to write reports and researches with the help of  the internet only. Except that it’s fast, final results may not be as good as one that was researched on the original books properly.
I would like to endorse the “Read for 20” advocacy because while we can do it anytime, anywhere on the more accessible computers and cellphones-hardcopy reading for me is more retentive. Twenty minutes of reading any printed magazine, newspaper, books or paperback every day is what it takes to develop interest in reading, and improving reading skills.

Last Christmas, I was reminded that we can always go back to being a child, Someone has given me a gift which I thought was a children’s story book, based on its cover. Perhaps due to my curious religious question about the advent, I deserved the “little” book entitled “The Expected One” by Scott James. The book satisfied my curiosity and answered the need for the spiritual missing links.

“The Expected One”- a hard-bound with similarity to “The Noah’s Ark” which was presented to me by my elementary school teacher is a valuable gift. Thanks Pastor Neil!
I read the book instead of watching a film- the usual fill-in activity at home before the clock strikes at 12 midnight. Then the noche-buena is served and everyone enjoys the traditional native feast.

Malipayon nga bag-ong tuig sa tanan!

CPU Faculty and staff receive loyalty awards for long service

For their love and enduring work at Central, deserving employees of the University received their fruits of labor during the annual Faculty and Staff Awarding Ceremony on December 16, 2017 at the Rose Memorial Auditorium.  The cash awards were given to employees who have rendered service to Central Philippine University for 40, 30, 25, 20, 15 and 10 years.

CPU President, Dr. Teodoro C. Robles, thanking Centralian service awardees

There was a heavy downpour – but it didn’t stop everyone to be there to congratulate their fellow workers, and listen to the memorable messages of the selected service awardees. There were two faculty and staff awardees who delivered their messages – of looking back and how they love working at Central for a long time.

Service Awardees with CPU President, Dr. Teodoro C. Robles

The longest serving full time staff, Israel A. Samilo (40 years), and full time faculty Ophelia B. Acervo (30 years) encouraged their fellow workers to be patient and grateful; to value their work with love and loyalty.

The awarding ceremony is held every year, before the Faculty and Staff Christmas party. There was a total of 98 faculty and staff who received the awards.

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