18 August 2006

aklan's patrick alcedo bags 2007 rockefeller fellowship

for the record, i am on study leave from the university of the philippines (u.p.). i've been teaching there since 1988. contrary to rumors (from london, of all places), i have not resigned from my job. and i've got no plans of doing so. i will return to teach in spite of my measly salary as soon as i finish my studies here. diliman is my vocation town. the germ that defies petty departmental politics and low wages. teaching in diliman makes me really happy. that which my heart compels me to do. and with all honesty, i wouldn’t be too rational about hanging on. i've been overwhelmed emotionally by rows of acacia trees embracing diliman’s academic oval. circles of light flushing out of these trees have convinced me to stay.
one of the big reasons why i am always committed to teach at the university of the philippines (u.p.) is that my classes would always have the brightest students from metropolitan centers and rural edges all over the country. many of these former students would become movers and shakers in their professions. it remains a delightful experience to look back and be overwhelmed by the thought that i had been an instrument to teach and encourage these luminaries when they were younger.

certainly, i have nothing to do with the success of my students. but in a small way, i would hope to think that i did not do anything to hold in their unfolding. at the very least, i must have encouraged them and showered them with heaps of positive energy when they were in class. so it moves me immensely when many former students drop by and visit with their partners/kids (and scream "i won the elections!!!"), send emails (“i passed the board exams....yipeeeeh!”) or make that quick phone call to say hello (“i just finished a new movieeeee!”) in spite of their busy schedules.

i will probably run out of space should i be required to name my students from 1988 onwards. but every time i hear a good thing about my former students, i would always burst out with thrill and energy. at the end of the day, i am always affirmed by my decision to stay.

just days ago, i learned from former schoolmates at cambridge that a filipino from u.c. riverside has received the 2007 rockefeller humanities fellowship at the smithsonian in washington, d.c. according to my friends, there were 140 applicants from 45 countries. only 10 were nominated for the fellowship. immediately, i became certain about the identity of the filipino rockefeller recipient.
he can only be russ patrick alcedo. originally from aklan (where boracay is). a very diligent student. one of my very first students when i started teaching in 1988. in fact, he took me twice: in communication ii (types of academic discourse) in 1988-1989. and humanities 1 (literature, society and the individual) in 1989-1990. i even remember the grades he got from me. 1.75 (89-91%) in comm. 2 and 1.5 (91-93%) in hum 1. during those days, i wasn’t too generous with grades. but i do remember patrick receiving one of the highest marks in his batch. he got on top of his limitations and pushed himself double time so he can be the best of the lot.

as soon as he got an email from me, patrick was very pleased to confirm the news. he got the rockefeller! i suddenly remember how patrick was a b.a. english (language) major who worked part-time to support himself and his brother to college. he became an active member of the u.p. filipiniana dance company. and he was ably guided (both academically and artistically) by veteran filipino dancer/dance choreographer/dance critic steve villaruz. oftentimes, i wondered how he managed to work, study and perform simultaneously with great agility.

once upon a time, patrick also taught courses in u.p. the very same people who labored many times to put me down when i was starting out (these people are now mostly retired; the ones who are still in active service are either losing their cohesion or varying in shades of desiccation) once described patrick (during a department meeting) as someone who “couldn’t write,” “who didn’t belong.” so patrick switched places and taught somewhere else within the university.
now it’s patrick alcedo who made it all the way to the top. the one who received postgraduate research and teaching awards, earned a phd in dance history and theory and was conferred with a postdoctoral fellowship at the university of california, riverside. then he became freeman artist-in-residence at the university of hawaii at manoa. the very same patrick alcedo who will be moving to the smithsonian institite as a rockefeller foundation humanities fellow on theorizing heritage.
meanwhile, walang nangyari sa career sa mga naging detractors niya----come to think of it, someone should write a tv drama or movie about the meanie means of academia. but then, no one should be glorifying criminals of that ilk.

so i’ll stick up for the likes of patrick alcedo. he who defies the meanie, greedy pundits....

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bulwagang rizal (previously known as the faculty center), u.p. college of arts and letters

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siyam na diwata ng sining by national artist for scupture napoleon abueva outside bulwagang rizal
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the oblation by national artist for scupture guillermo tolentino outside quezon hall, u.p. diliman
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new u.p. college of arts and letters building
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u.p. main library (gonzalez hall)
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u.p. sunken garden

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two u.p. presidents: francisco nemenzo (1999-2005) and emerlinda r. roman (2005-2011)
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u.p. diliman by google
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university of the philippines (b.a. english: language) and university of california, riverside ( ph.d. dance history and theory) alumnus patrick alcedo by u.s. photographer david cheney

5 comments:

Coffee fairy said...

hi sir w!
sayang I just got back from Riverside last Monday and was only able to read about this today. Di bale, I'll be back in Riverside naman for sure, I'll try to drop by UC next time.

P.S. Just wanted to let you know that you have to also give credit to yourself for all your former students' achievements because it is the inspiration and support from people like you that takes us/them where we/they are now. :)

wendell said...

foyan!! jetlag isn't part of your vocabulary. one day you're in paris, the next day you're in orange county. presumably, you have returned to singapore. so say hello to the merlion for me. every time i pass by singapore, nahihiya ako magpapicture sa may merlion. but holland village is my favorite area over there. lots of late night coffee and dining. and lots of pinoy staff members in the restaurants too. im very proud of their resilience and determination to support their families back home.

keep in touch!!

hag / fag said...

http://churchofthehagandthefag.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

i met Manong Pat, a few years ago when he was still at UC Riverside. :P

wendell said...

shouldn't we be all proud of him? he remains humble in spite of his many accomplishments. hopefully, he'll be able to encourage more people by way of his academic career.

cheers,

w.