An incredible journey at U.P. Cebu

By: Madrileña de la Cerna April 21,2018 - 09:27 PM


I spent more years at the U.P. Cebu than in any other school or institution and I consider it a very long journey from 1974 till my retirement in 2010 (2 years earlier than the mandated age). But even with my retirement, I still go to U.P. Cebu to oversee the U.P. Press Bookstore Cebu which was established prior to the UP Centennial in 2008 (since no one has shown interest in doing so).

The first part of this journey was with the UP Cebu High School which was opened in 1972 with only the first year and second year, then third and fourth year the year after. The physical setup and the very limited resources posed a great challenge to both teachers and students but there was a beautiful camaraderie of everyone in the campus. One thing interesting in the UP Cebu High School was the innovativeness of the faculty in enriching the high school program, particularly in Social Studies and Composition.

After graduating three batches of graduates, Prof. Lutao initiated a follow up study of the graduates. One thing surfaced, the graduates (especially those enrolled in Diliman) were intrigued by the subject Asian Civilization. So Asian History was made Social Studies for the Fourth Years and since it was my major and concentration of my masteral degree, I taught Asian History to fourth year students from 1979-1989. Since it was Martial Law, the context as well as text of the activities in Asian History were Martial Law related. Social Studies was not just a subject, it was also an advocacy for Social Studies teachers in Cebu City who came together and formed the Cebu Association of Social Studies Educators (CASSE) which met every last Saturday of the month for two decades (1970s-80s) with member schools rotating the hosting of the meeting. CASSE tackled content and strategy in teaching Social Studies in the time of Martial Law. In the 1980s, the campaign for a nationalist and scientific education had a tremendous support through the Education Forum (EF) introduced effective strategies in the teaching of English Communication, Philippine History and World History, Socio-Economics, Science, and Math through Summer Institutes, writing and publishing educational materials such as the Teacher Assistance Program. For CASSE, I was president for some time and for EF, I was the coordinator for the Cebu chapter. World History was put back as fourth year Social Studies in 1990 for at that time UP Cebu was under UP Visayas with central administration in Iloilo.

The other innovative feature was the writing of a thesis (a baby thesis) in the Composition subject for Third Years. Started by Prof. Lelani Echaves-Paredes (and joined in by Prof. Fe Reyes and myself), the thesis writing was a preparation for the students for their college and graduate education. This was an offshoot of training in our Rhetoric classes with Sr. Maria Delia Coronel, ICM during our Undergraduate days at STC. The thesis was an individual work. Students researched on a problem, wrote a baby thesis, and underwent an oral defense of their thesis with professors from the college as panelists.

After a study leave to finish my doctoral degree, I transferred to the Undergraduate division specifically the Social Sciences Division where I taught Science, Technology, and Society popularly known as STS. It was a problem because back in Diliman it was the most hated subject. So I went to Diliman and bought a set of 110 readings on STS to replace the medieval readings in the library. Then I brought my classes to watershed tours and we were lucky to have a very good guide who could get the attention of three classes in the tour. We ended with lunch near the watersheds and bought and harvested vegetables from the area. Then by 2004 STS was team taught by the Natural Sciences Division and the Social Division. This time I integrated Cultural Mapping in the towns and barangays of selected towns of Southern Cebu as the culminating activity from 2004 to 2009.

On top of these academic assignments, I had administrative functions like coordinator of the Women’s Desk 1990-1992 and 1997-1999 where I networked with women NGOs and women Leaders. As director of the Central Visayas Studies Center CVSC) of U.P. Cebu from 1999 to 2009, I conducted Heritage Fora, Local History Writing Workshops, a Barangay History Conference, and Community Newspaper Writing Workshop in selected towns of southern Cebu and Bantayan with local historians and writers as resource persons. I also networked with the National Historical Research Committee of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, the Provincial government Committee on Arts and Culture; the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos; and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) through its Culture and Heritage Program.

I was chairperson of two Centennials — the Centennial of the Philippine Revolution in 1998 for the Cebu phase, where we had a two-day Lakbay Aral in Metro Cebu and Southern Cebu., and the Centennial of the University of the Philippines in 2008. For the Centennial, we held a number of pre-launching activities to drum up UP presence in Cebu. One of the pre-launching activities was the establishment of the UP Press Bookstore Cebu Branch which is at the lobby of the Arts and Science building of UP Cebu. One of the activities wasthe participation in the 2008 Sinulog through a dance contingent and a higante. With the CVSC spearheading the activities, we had ten Centennial lectures, one of which was the brief history of UP Cebu to foreshadow its centennial ten years later (2018).

What a journey it has been in U.P. Cebu! But the journey does not end here for I still see to it that the alumni eventually be at the helm of UP Cebu’s traditions after its Unang Siglo..

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Calling all alumni of UP Cebu! Please share your stories while you were in UP no matter how brief it was to add up to our 100 stories. The deadline is end of July 2018.

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