Unraveling centennial gems
One of the measures of the strength of any academic institution is its alumni. That’s why I am attending this reunion,” declared Atty. Norman Yap, BA Political Science 2003 during the second reunion of the Political Science Alumni Association of UP Cebu on May 26, 2018 at Parklane International Hotel. The reunion was part of the celebration of the Centennial of UP Cebu. The gathering brought back the challenging times of being a UP Cebu student and a political science student from the 1980’s and 1990’s to the new millennium. Norman Yap who is based in Manila recalled that on the first day of classes, his professor told him that “Political Science is not a preparation for Law but for anything under the sun” and he affirmed that.
Prof. Henry Francis Espiritu (PA Pol. Sci. 1992), presently a professor of Asian History and Philosophy of UP Cebu, shared a more vivid and interesting experience in his four years as a political science students. He considers those years as the “Golden Age of Political Science” where there was intellectual ferment and he was intensively influenced by the late philosophy professor, Dr. Manolo Vaño. He cited the period where there were two visiting American professors in the political science program who had extreme political orientations, one was a leftist, a specialist in Latin American Studies, the other was an ultra CIA who was on the lookout for activist teachers and students, but the students learned from both.
There was a balance between the parliament of the streets and their studies, a point stressed by Prof. Espiritu reminding present day activist students.
There were accounts of how they surmounted the very limited resources of the library and still come out with outstanding works, of hilarious and creative ways of meeting their basic needs with the delay of allowances from the province since there were no cellphones or pera padala. They would go to the temples of the Brahma Kumaris, Hare Krishna, Taoists, and Buddhists to join their vegetarian food festivals and would later develop a taste for vegetarian food.
The late Dr. Manolo Vaño was one of the pillars of the political science program and his legacy is very much alive in Prof. Henry Espiritu who makes philosophy very interesting and relevant. Prof. Espiritu will write about Prof. Vaño and the “Golden Age of Political Science” as part of the 100 stories of the Centennial of UP Cebu.
I truly agree that the 1980’s to the early part of the 1990’s was the “Golden Age of the Political Science Program, because it was during this period that outstanding student leaders emerged, and also within this period it produced three bar topnotchers — Ruben Carranza, Noel Fernandez, and Recaredo Borgonia Jr..
There will be more upcoming reunions and get together and make these occasions the time to unravel the gems of your batch or your program. The alumni are the gems of the institution and while the centennial year is still within us, let us look for the rare gems that have been hidden in our batch or generation and share them with the community.
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