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cecile s. yumul
cecile s yumul [The author wrote this piece in late 1996 to air sentiments of people then working at the Holy Angel University—views also shared by the old-timers—who couldn't stand up and speak out. Originally it was meant just for HAU employees, but a visiting former student chanced upon her just as she had finished writing the paper. She volunteered to have it photocopied. Little did she know that she gave a copy to a member of The Angelite staff. The university organ withheld her name because the editors knew that merely citing her name would cause an upheaval. The Angelite was successful in getting the piece published in its December release that year, but the issue's run was shortlived. Although copies reached the offices and the morning and afternoon sessions of the different colleges, the issue never reached the entire student population later that day. The staff was ordered by the school administration to withdraw its distribution. Ten years after, a copy of the issue found its way into the author's hand. She contributes here her recent rewrite of the "Manifesto" to share whatever lessons it might still teach today—if not to offer just an interesting read.]

YOU TELL us we are proud—that we have been pampered and made stubborn by the old administrators who were not specialists in the field of education management; that we couldn't care less about the welfare of students and the university; and that leaving it means nothing more than for a bigger pay scale offered by capitalists.

You do not understand. Perhaps you never will.

Yes, a few senior faculty of Holy Angel are a stubborn lot. They are strongly bound by the true founding mission and vision of this once greatly honored and respected institution.

If by chance you meet us here and there, scattered in nearby and faraway lands, it is because of the capacity of the administrations of the 60's, 70's and early 80's for compassion and understanding of employees' economic welfare that allowed us to seek greener pastures and find our destiny.

But even then the university's doors were not closed to us, so that we may return, as a son would to his home after having gone to seek his own place in the sun.

Yes, a few senior faculty of Holy Angel are proud, carrying an impressive roster of achievements by our graduates to whom we have dedicated the best years of our life burning the midnight oil until the early morning light.

Yes, it is with pride that we have carried the name of Holy Angel. During every significant moment in the darkest and brightest hours of our country, a few senior faculty voluntarily joined hands as active participants in turning the tides of unrest so that Holy Angel will continue to thrive in its mission and provide a venue for those lesser in material possessions but who are gifted with a thirst for knowledge and a desire for intellectual growth.

In the past few years, however, the unexpected and therefore alarming exodus of mentors—who are perceived to be most deserving of a niche in the historical pages of the institution at that—is being seen and thought of as an abandonment.

Rather than flight, the hegira heads towards respite and hibernation of the demoralized spirit seeking refuge for a while.

It is a statement of nonconformity with the ongoing distortion and complete disregard by the present administration that operates along guises of uplifting educational standards, but which are contrary to the very reason why this institution flourished and for which it earned accolades throughout the country—that is, to be in the service of poor students as it provides for the pursuit of intellectual excellence of members of the community towards the vision of an improved future generation of leaders contributing to the country's general welfare.

Should the founders' mission statement remain ignored or waylaid for selfish and vested interests, not only long-departed founders will turn in their graves but also living true-blooded Angelites will unfold their wings and rise up to restore their rightful place in Holy Angel.

Our Alma Mater may be overwhelmed by massive overhauling—with demolition, leaving to decay in the dump the remnants, of old buildings and seemingly useless three-seaters that witnessed the making of some of our country’s best citizens, whose names had reared over the years Holy Angel to great heights are threatened as well with obliteration from the annals of HAU history by incumbent manipulations. But the decimation is confined to only that, and nothing more. Etched in blood and sweat are the labor of love and the sense of belonging and unity, manifested not only at the peak harvest of achievements but even at the decline of the institution as it falls into the hands of lethargic, indifferent administrators, whose barometer of excellence is rigged to reward mediocrity and confer titles that cloak the intellectual inadequacies and impotence of the pretentious to the prejudice of the true leaders and educators.

All those tribulations can only strengthen the bond and firm resolve among true-blooded Angelites to resurrect and bring back the old glory of this institution. Students, faculty and personnel who know the difference between then and now walk the streets with heads up high.

You still do not understand? Perhaps in the near future you will.

Yes, there is a persistent stubborn streak dominant in us true-blooded Angelites. That is what makes us different from the rest who become easy prey to unfeeling manipulations.

All concerned, take heed. For there are those who now choose to remain silent and bend to carry the burden of your experimentation, but who shall one day sooner than you expect rise up from their stoop, freed by inner strength, to regain their dignity.

The few senior faculty and us retired Angelites will live long enough and watch this dark moment in the history of Holy Angel pass away. For we believe in the founders' intent in naming this institution "Holy Angel." More than the years of shining glory we had lost shall be gained.

The temporary invasion of outsiders unfamiliar to the nuances of true-blooded Angelites will be thwarted. For like those in search of the Holy Grail, only seekers who carry in their hearts the true mission of the Holy Angel will stand fast, unshaken and firm in principle and commitment.

The rest who enjoy foothold under cloak or in guise will be blown like dust in the wind when the hour of reckoning comes. Only those who believe in the founders' mission statement of Holy Angel will carry on to start anew and bask once more in the light of idealism untainted by materialistic interests. Not so far into the next millennium, "Respect, Honor, Integrity and Prestige in Praise of God Always" will reign once again as the battle cry of future Angelites.

The few remaining senior faculty, retirees and concerned Angelites reaffirm the founders' mission statement. Our seeming accommodation, whether out of resiliency or inaction, is not surrender. It is, as in war, what a true warrior must do—hold back in the meantime, take stock, and then rise once more to face the challenges, recharged and whole again.

This is written from the heart with the hope that true-blooded Angelites will finally restore the utopia that was once in Holy Angel.

[About the author. Cecile Santos Yumul is a veteran award winning Broadcast Journalist, a visionary teacher (Most Outstanding Teacher of the Philipines in 1992), a nationalist (Most Outstanding Kapampangan for Education in 1993), an environmentalist, and a dedicated daughter. She has over 35 years experience in the field of arts as an actor, director, and author. She is a published writer (Woman's Magazine) of essays, poems, short stories, and social commentaries. She currently resides in Lakandula, Mabalacat, Pampanga with her Mother, 18 dogs, doves, and bonsais.]

-Posted: 6:53 AM 6/4/10 | More of this author on eK!

Papa Osmubal (of Macau) writes...

Wow, Atsing Ces, what an article! Things you said are jagged double-edged daggers that hacked my heart and soul real hard, but at the same time they are soft hands that caressed my entire being. You are still my teacher you were once-- an enigma-- soft and yet strong, diplomatic and yet unflinching, romantic and yet realistic, you name it. I knew then, since our HAU days, that your smile was a clenched fist, and your clenched fist was a pulsating heart. Ah, but perhaps it is just because we are fellow Angelites, perhaps because you were my teacher, thatís why I feel this way. But, no, your article really meant to do that. Your article is a burning finger pointing at where it wants to point at, and the guilty are guilty in front of the blazing truth. Truth is always painful-- a burning inferno. And it hurts us even more when the painful truth is ignored, forgotten and neglected. But we keep and nurture the honor and dignity of HAU because whatever will happen to it will affect what we, Angelites, are doing, have done and will do. Yes, hit them real hard! Yes, wake them up! Snakes have familiar responses to disturbance: they strike with a vicious or they lie silent in their holes. Either way, we will know who they are.

-Posted/Via Email: 2010-06-03 19:29:53 PDT

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