Saturday, May 31, 2008


Devi Joy


by Agustin Martin G. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

When my daughter had the chance to finish high school in New York, we
agonized about it: I more than her. Her agony centered around the need to
moderate her desire to embark on this adventure because she knew it would
break my heart. My agony had two thorns. Firstly, I didn't want her to go
because in all our lives, we had never spent more than 2 days apart from
each other. Secondly, there was the irony of her studying in the United
States. As a nationalist academic and development worker, I always believed
that one's spirit had to be formed with one's people—among their myths and
their sufferings—in order to understand who one is, what one's
responsibilities are and to whom one's heart belongs. I know to the
sophisticated global citizen I would sound archaic and provincial, but I
still believe that before our spirit can embrace the world it must be rooted
in a home we love. But I knew that the idea of giving up this opportunity
was breaking her up inside because, as she said, she might spend the rest of
her life wondering what if, so I let her go. She left with the promise that
she would come back for college because I still believe that the university
years are formative. But we all know how those promises go. Two years in the
glitter of a new world could weaken the bindings of promises made in times
of great emotions. It has been a year and we are now completely at peace
with her decision to leave.

All that I have said is a prelude to why I am writing this piece. I am
writing this to explain why I believe her formation in the Ateneo would
still be the best for my daughter. I want to clarify to everyone else who
raise their eyebrows at me, what I mean when I say that I believe an
education here is superior to any ivy league education. Many of my
colleagues who know that my daughter has a chance to study in an American
university cannot understand why I would prefer that she study here. One of
them even exclaimed: "You would prefer that she study here even if she had a
chance to study in Harvard!" with a you-are-so ridiculous tone. And to me
the answer was "Yes, of course, you're so ridiculous." And the reason is
simply this: she may get a superior technical education in some top ranking
university abroad but only in the Philippines will she have a superior
education in being a Filipino for Filipinos.

My daughter wants to be a writer and recently she has had a chance to attend
a prestigious workshop in an American university best known as a center for
writing. And I was witness to how because of that opportunity, her writing
skills have advanced light years from when she left. I have no doubt that if
she studied creative writing in one of the US universities known for it, her
skills would be strengthened even more. But what would she write about? A
great writer is as much about her skill as it is about her great insight. If
you have the skill but not the immersion in the profound re a l i t i e s t
h a t h ave formed yo u r s o u l , w h a t i s t h e re t o w r i t e
about? And who would she write for? A truly great writer is one whose
passion is fueled by the need to speak for her people, especially the mute.
And to even begin to want to speak for them, you have to be grounded in
their misery. One's people are never generic: they take concrete form in the
faces that resonate in your heart. I think an education in her own country
would prepare her to face the faces that resonate in her heart and perhaps
an Ateneo education could awaken the passion to respond to those faces.

I know that many complain that Ateneans lead a very sheltered life in this
campus. In an infinite number of ways that is ridiculously true. In the end,
the Ateneo is the Ateneo: a separate world from the world of the margins.
But what most people don't understand about the Ateneo, is that the Ateneo
is not just about the majors or the specific programs. It is about a spirit
that pervades among its best people.

When I was young, I was ready to quit the Church because I was convinced
that there were no intelligent and just Catholics. And then I came to the
Ateneo where I met Catholics who strove to serve the margins because of
their love of God. And because they loved God's people, they strove for
excellence. That realization astounded me and kept me in the Church and in
Ateneo. If anything, Filipino Jesuit education just means to teach people
that the love of God means nothing but to love the people who suffer
forgotten in the margins, and that we strive for excellence in what we do to
serve them best: otherwise excellence and the love of God is empty. What
else does faith mean? What else grounds excellence? What else measures the
good of a life but that? And if you take Ateneo education seriously enough,
and if you are open to its opportunities enough, it will lead you to that
realization and it will lead you to your first opening to the faces that you
will have to serve. At its core, Ateneo education is an apprenticeship in
the work of being a Filipino for others. This is only a slogan so long as
one misses out on the living examples of alumni, scholars, administrators,
maintenance and staff who show us the way to realizing the truth of an
Ateneo education. Open your eyes to those who serve radically and they will
radically educate your heart. And if one is open enough one can see that
such people dwell in this school because there is a spirit in this school
that cradles them and supports their vocation. It is intangible, but it is a
spirit that guides the best of us.

Some people feel that we are an elite school that cultivates an elite
rationality. Radioactive Sago's brilliant third album is entitled "… Ang
Daming Nagugutom Sa Mundo Fashionista Ka Pa Rin." In one gig, Lord de Vera
was plugging their album and he said "Bilhin ninyo ang aming album '… Ang
Daming Nagugutom Sa Mundo Atenista Ka Pa Rin.'" I could understand his
sentiments exactly. Just listen to conversations in the pocket garden where
people complain about the heat, their slow laptops and their old school
phones and anyone who knows anything about the hardships in our country will
easily agree with Lord. But then, if you think about it, although some of
our graduates are oblivious to the suffering around them and even if some of
them do reinforce structures that exploit the suffering, there is that core
of Ateneans touched by the spirit of this school who choose to genuinely
build communities founded on justice, to found enterprises that serve true
needs, to lawyer for the oppressed, and to doctor for the poor. Many
innovations of justice building in our country arise because of their
apprenticeships in the magis of our service. We just don't hear about these
things because they don't find their way into our tarpaulins. But the spirit
is there and it is the spirit that defines us more than basketball
championships or the number of CEOs we produce. Somehow, because of our
formation, Ateneans still tend to be idealistic about service. And so I say
"Dahil ang daming nagugutom sa mundo kailangan mong seryosohin ang pagka-
Atenista." This is why, my dear fellow parents, I think an Ateneo education
is more valuable for my daughter than a Cornell or Harvard or Princeton
education: because here, we learn to be excellent for something
important—our people and our Filipino humanity.

Dr. Rodriguez is currently an Assistant Professor of the Philosophy Department of the Loyola Schools.
His daughter, Leal, is a freshman in the Ateneo majoring in AB Humanities.
Edited version of "To my colleagues: On the meaning of an Ateneo education"
by Agustin Martin G. Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Chalk Marks. The Guidon. Volume LXXV. Number 6.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May 2008 Shoot

More at Flickr

Ahleen G.
Ahleen at the Food Court (Wifi)
Ateneo de Davao University

Studying at the American Resource Center
Ateneo de Davao University

Faculty Resource Center
Ateneo de Davao University

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Creative Commons Video Bumpers

For the Summer 2008 Production Class (click the image for choices of license that will suit your project):

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Earthquake Prediction on SMS

I got several same SMS that say: "Received a forwarded message about a predicted 6.8 earthquake will hit (sic) philippine plates tonite from the u.s. geological society in hawaii. let's be alert and pray for miracle. please share with others for stronger prayers." How true is this? I know some people go ballistic on hearing calamities that are beyond the common sense.

However, according to Wikipedia:

"An earthquake prediction is a prediction that an earthquake in a specific magnitude range will occur in a specific region and time window. Predictions are considered as such to the extent that they are reliable for practical, as well as scientific, purposes. Although there is evidence that at least some earthquakes in some tectonic regimes are predictable with useful accuracy of time and space, the reliability and reproducibility of prediction techniques have not been established and are therefore generally not accepted by seismologists. For practical purposes, seismologists bring forth seismic hazard assessment programs by estimating the probabilities that a given earthquake or suite of earthquakes will occur."

Read more.

Attention Blue Eagles!

Ateneo Blue Eagles Fellowship May 17

“Mary for you, for your white and blue . . .”

In line with Ateneo de Manila University's preparation for her 150th anniversary in 2009, a team from Loyola Heights has been visiting key cities in the Philippines and abroad updating alumni of developments in the university and the activities lined-up for her sesquicentennial celebration.

For the Davao leg, the roadshow team will be led by University President Fr. Bienvenido Nebres SJ.

Alumni of the grade school, high school, college of arts and sciences, graduate school, law school and professional school of Ateneo de Manila University, as well as students who are currently on summer vacation, are encouraged to attend the gathering of Blue Eagles on Saturday, May 17, 6:30 pm at the Harana Pavilion along F. Torres St., Davao City.

Generous servings of cocktail food and drinks will be available. No assessment will be collected. To confirm attendance, please contact Benjie Lizada, Tetet Tolentino-Aviola, Melissa Suarez, Bong Eliab, Gilbert Veruasa, Dennis Sto. Domingo or Paul Garcia. You can also call Taps Inc. (305-8031), Tricom Davao (227-4137/4138), Terra Romana Realty (226-8659) or the Ateneo de Davao Admission Office (221-2411).

“Win or lose, it's the school you choose. This is the place where we belong.”

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Classes Start on June 10

Classes Begin on June 10, 2008 (Tuesday) for College, High School and Grade School in Ateneo de Davao University. June 9, 2008 is a holiday per Proclamation No. 1463 dated February 2008. See link: PROCLAMATION 1463


As part of efforts to get feedback effectively,
the University is in the processing of setting up
the InfoBoard powered by SMART Communications.
(For SMART Phones Only)

To send feedback to the Office of the President: key in OPFEEDBACK YOUR MESSAGE, and send to 700ADDU.

To send feedback to the Asst. to the President: key in ATPFEEDBACK YOUR MESSAGE, and send to 700ADDU.

To send feedback to the Admission Office: key in ADMISSIONFEEDBACK YOUR MESSAGE, and send to 700ADDU.

To send feedback to the OSA: key in OSAADDUFEEDBACK YOUR MESSAGE, and send to 700ADDU.

To send feedback to SICO: key in SICOFEEDBACK YOUR MESSAGE, and send to 700ADDU.

To send feedback to the SAMAHAN: key in SAMAHANFEEDBACK YOUR MESSAGE, and send to 700ADDU.

I am still in the process of training other personnel on how to use the technology which includes group broadcast, poll, text your grade, text your balance, text your dean.