Learning beyond the classroom
The alumni had a very significant presence when e-UP was launched in UP Cebu. The UP central administration officials were fully transparent and presented all features and phases of integrating electronic media in the operations of the university. They stressed the speed and efficiency that this would provide. Since it would promote interconnectedness, I am hoping the system will actually reduce any forms of marginalization of the regional units. The students vigilantly asserted their rights and asked: “Will tuition be increased because of putting such a system in place?” A clear no was the answer. Prof. Lawlita Cabahug of the All UP Academic Employees Union made clarifications about the compensation of people directly employed with the program.
Wilson Ng, UP alumnus and faculty member, was an exhilarating presence in this event. It was really heartwarming for him to mention how he enjoyed teaching. He declared that his three hours of teaching had a positive effect on him. Then he finalized his message by calling attention to a practice of the Massachusetts Institute Technology of putting online courses for free. He hoped UP would do this, too. Vice president for planning and development Elvira Zamora said they would modify the program to include this proposal!
UP high school students were again blessed to be part of “Guitar Extravaganza.” As in the past, Viking Logarta arranged for the group: Franco Maigue, Ramoncito Carpio, and Triple Fret: Cate Belle, Marga Abejo, Jenny de Vera to have a session with the third year students who have been studying guitar-playing. Then we were provided tickets for the concert. Here I will focus on the females because for the first time females were a major feature.
All the guitarists were graduates of the UP College of Music. I was very glad that our students learned that the three young women started training early, in their teens during high school. Jenny de Vera became the first Bachelor of Music Major in Guitar graduate of the UP College of Music. She was a soloist for the Guitar Orchestra and one of her most memorable performances includes her Philippine Premiere of Handel’s Harp Concerto in A Major for Guitar and Guitar Orchestra. She has performed all over the Philippines and Thailand. She teaches at the UP College of Music Extension Program and the Miriam College of Music. She continues training under classic guitar masters.
Aside from being a classical guitar player, Cate Belle is “the vocalist for Soul Page and talent manager.”
Viking, in his introduction, described Marga Abejo: She “has not only written a book on learning the guitar for children, she has formed a functional and performing guitar ensemble of out of school youth. She also teaches 4-year-olds, who cry in protest when the class ends.” One wish she holds: “one day, she will make a positive impact for change in national education, arts, and literacy.” Pablo John Garcia and Viking provided the high school students with copies of Marga’s book.
Aside from the classical pieces, Triple Fret played “Leron Leron Sinta” and a very unique version of “Si Filemon, Si Filemon.” The audience that filled the Marcelo B. Fernan Cebu Press Center Theater applauded enthusiastically.
The ladies expressed gratitude and joy to the Arts Council of Cebu and their corporate sponsors, Cebu Luthiers Education Foundation and Guitar Friends. They enjoyed this Cebu experience.
Prof. Henry Francis Espiritu arranged a wonderful Eidal Fitr Muslim-Christian Peace and Friendship Celebration which he titled: “Pagpakig-ambit sa Kinabuhi Kauban sa Pagsaulog sa Eid al-Fitr.” There were Christian and Muslim Prayers as well as Quranic Ayah reading on Ramadan. “In the Light of the Crescent Moon,” “Sisilah Muslim-Christian Dialogue” directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya was viewed by the political science students of Prof. Espiritu and the Christian and Muslim guests. The portion I was able to view projected Christians who had the openness to live and interact harmoniously with Muslims. Mutual acceptance between the two groups had given rise to the harmony. For deeper reflection, he provided guide questions. After the viewing, there was a Christian-Muslim dialogue. My partner was al-Mufti al-Ustaz Najeeb Razool. From him, I learned there was prejudice against the Muslims in our society in job placement and in certain sectarian schools where Muslim female students were not allowed to wear their head covering – the hijab. But there was mutual assistance from both sides. I noticed that in this activity that Christian mothers and Muslim mothers are really the same; they often bring their children along in activities they join.
Dr. Madrileña de la Cerna shared her initial experiences in translating the Koran into Cebuano. She said she was being very careful and serious about the task because she was conscious that her work made her a participant in the transmission of valuable heritage.
Dr. Rhodora Masilang Bucoy had lived in Mindanao and taught in the Mindanao State University. She had done a research on the Bangsa Moro struggle; she asserted that the conflict was not a religious but an economic and political affair. Both Christians and Muslims have been victims of forces implementing a divide-and-rule policy.
Prof. Claire Jabines shared her experiences as a part of the Ahmadiyya Movement, which works for better understanding of Islam through the dissemination of accurate information on authentic Islamic principles.
At 6 p.m. there was a break for Muslim prayers. Gift giving was followed by certificates of appreciation for the contributors. Then everyone partook of Eid al-Fitr Dinner.
This very enlightening activity was realized with the complete cooperation among Prof. Francis Espiritu, his colleagues in the Social Science Cluster, the political science students, and his contacts in the Cebu Muslim Community.
I really appreciate all those who initiated this and followed through to provide our students and the rest of the UP Cebu community with diverse enriching activities.
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