though friends meant well, i felt small and insignificant from everybody else. it took a long time for me to accept that i can’t help it. my brain really works oddly. it takes ages for me to make coherence out of the things i want to do. but instinctively, i always get somewhere.
i was initially reluctant when u.p. arts and letters dean (2000-2003) rosario torres yu appointed me to be her associate dean for administration and development in 2000. i had been designated to raise funds for and supervise the construction of the new arts and letters building. the problem was, i didn't have any marketing or business background. but dean yu trusted my intuitive ways. working on the project, i knew the government had slashed u.p.'s budget by heaps. money for capital outlay was the first to go. engineering, law, medicine, sciences, business and economics have huge endowments from alumni groups and private corporations. meanwhile, arts and social sciences are traditionally poor colleges. i reckoned, all u.p. students take 2 years of general education courses (g.e.) from my college. many u.p. alumni met their friends, acquaintances, boyfriends, girlfriends, crushes, lovers, secret loves and flings out of these classes. given my gazillion e-groups worldwide, i embarked on a campaign to raise funds by way of emails. i emailed everyone i knew in the philippines and elsewhere. i argued that english and literature, foreign languages, humanities, philippine studies, rizal course, theater, speech communication and art studies should have good classrooms too. i complained that u.p. is losing its edge because g.e. classes are being taught in dilapidated rooms. some of us were actually teaching under the shade of trees. not surprisingly, our best students and teachers end up working elsewhere.
i was uncertain whether i can pull it through. but there’s absolutely no corruption throughout the fund-raising campaign. not a signle cent had gone to anybody's pocket. i sought former students from my 18 years of teaching to vouch for my integrity. i also sent emails to my alumni and writers’ e-groups in the philippines, america, japan and the u.k. the emails were passed on to other friends, acquaintances and their friends. and the friends of their friends. soon, the college was able to raise money for professorial chairs, scholarships, building equipment and the construction of the new college library. while receiving donations from individuals, companies, institutions and groups, encouragement and support had come especially from u.p. president francisco nemenzo and u.p. diliman chancellor (now u.p. president) emerlinda roman. they both allocated millions of pesos from u.p.'s diminishing funds to revitalize the state of arts and letters and general education in the university.
it’s been 3 years since the new u.p. arts and letters building had been inaugurated. the hoopla over the fundraising campaign has been forgotten. hardly anyone remembers it now. but I remain happy and fulfilled. i do not wish to claim any credit for the building's existence. after all, the building’s concept had evolved from deans pablo botor (1986-1988), vivencio jose (1988-1991), rogelio sicat (1991-1994) and josefina agravante (1994-1997; 1997-2000). dean rosario torres-yu and national artist/dean virgilio almario's (2003-2006; 2006-2009) foresight and visual sense directed me ably towards the building’s completion in 2003.
having a.d.h.d. didn't stop me from becoming an instrument to do something worthwhile. i can only hope that people will always persist in finding meaning and purpose in spite of their limitations.
the new u.p. college of arts and letters building (dec.2001)
the new u.p. college of arts and letters building (dec. 2003)
with dean rosario torres-yu, makati city mayor and u.p. alumnus jejomar binay, u.p. diliman chancellor (now u.p. president) emerlinda roman and professor apo chua; mayor binay wanted to donate professorial chairs in philippine studies anonymously but we didn't allow him to do so
the family and estate of carlos palanca jr. donated creative writing scholarships for u.p. arts and letters students. sylvia palanca-quirino (1st row, 2nd from left) represented her family during the formal ceremonies
u.p. college of arts and letters building inauguration last december 2003; l-r: dean and national artist virgilio almario, dean vivencio jose, dean josefina agravante, u.p. president francisco nemenzo, college secretary teodoro maranan, quezon city mayor feliciano belmonte jr. and u.p. diliman chancellor (now u.p. president) emerlinda roman
the university of the philippines (1908) in diliman, quezon city