Byline: Justice RENATO C. CORONA
ATTY. Augusto W. Go, University President; Ms. Candice Gotianuy, University Chancellor; Justice Regino Hermosisima, Chairman of the Board; Dr. Enrique Grecia, CHED Regional Director; Dr. Erlinda P. Barcelo, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Atty. Nendell Hanz Abella, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs; Atty. Baldomero Extenzo, Vice Chancellor for External Affairs; Atty. Paul Yabao and Atty. Pio Go, University Legal Counsels, my good friend Atty. Eugene Espedido; the deans of the different colleges and members of the faculty of this great institution of learning:
Maayong buntag sa inyong tanan. Nalipay ko kanunay sa pag-anhi sa Queen City of the South.
I am always delighted to find myself in Cebu for two good reasons.
The first concerns the senses. Cebu is at once both city and province while yet retaining its country charm in a sophisticated cosmopolitan setting, an unparalled ambience which all too many of our country's other urban centers have lost many years ago.
The second involves the intellect. Cebu, in some inexplicable manner, manages to set the mind to thinking, to what we were as a people in the past, to what we are at present, to what we can yet again be in the future.
A few weeks ago, by some streak of happy coincidence, I came across a delightful historical essay on Cebu and the Cebuanos by the eminent writer Carmen Guerrero Nakpil. What caught my attention about her piece entitled "Magellan and Lapu-Lapu," was that she quoted the detailed observations of the Venetian Pigafetta, the official chronicler of the Spanish flag-bearing Portuguese navigator, Fernando de Magallanes. I share this vignette with you:
"(The Cebuanos) were graceful, neat and courteous, ornately adorned with gold earrings and armlets, and very pleasant and conversable. They traveled in large boats, armed with swords, daggers, spears and bucklers, eating and drinking out of porcelain dishes and jars, living in houses divided into rooms; and their rulers, dressed in embroidered silk, were perfumed and used dishes and house ornaments made of gold... Their women were as large and as white as our own women... They had weights and measures, calendars, bamboo manuscripts, an orderly and stable social structure governed by oral and written laws, elaborate manners and customs, and a vast and active trade among themselves and with neighboring countries."
All these idyllic details point to and spell out an advanced civilization and a high state of cultural development within a harmonious, sophisticated and affluent society. This is your proud Cebuano, our pristine Filipino, heritage as first recorded by western eyes.
But, if it were not for the fact that the quotation was lifted from the pages of history, what Pigafetta said is no less true today. For, in the context of the present, Cebu has undeniably become the virtual center of power and influence in the south, a potent political, socio-economic force that has made a significant impact on the entire country. Events in and personalities from Cebu have made their indelible mark in the national landscape. Which brings me to what I would like you to reflect on this morning.
What is the relevance of our education? And what do we intend to do with it?
Education is infinitely more than passing all your courses and receiving your diplomas this morning. In the final analysis, the art of thinking is what true and genuine education and the university, the University of Cebu in particular, are all about. Academe is the cradle of the art of thinking, specially today more than ever before when our world is being swept up to the dizzying heights of the digital age with its quantum leap in diverse modes of technology bearing upon, and intruding into, all aspects and dimensions of human life, for good or for bad.
Education is the formation and stimulation of the mind to think and to think correctly, and most importantly, to be able to choose rightly, wisely and well. …