The University of my deep affection
By Ramon ‘Bong’ R. Osorio
I came to UST in 1970 as a freshman in the Faculty of Arts and Letters. I was part of an academic experiment during that school year, where the top 40 entrants---mostly high school valedictorians and salutatorians---were put in one section called 1A9. It was an honors class, and its members were dubbed the A-Niners---driven, competitive, and communicative students, whose hunger for knowledge is overwhelming. To handle this special breed of students, dynamic, talented and engaging professors that include Perla Queyquep, Magdalena Villaba-Cue, Romy Abulad, Mary Joyce Laig, Milagros Tanlayco, Lourdes Bautista, Elena Roco, among others, were assigned.
I pursued and concentrated on writing for the larger part of my college life. During my sophomore year, I joined the Flame, the official Artlets publication, where I served as a member of the editorial board together with Joey Lina, who later made his mark in politics and government service, and Avelino Sebastian, who became a law professor and a partner in a law office that bears his name. The stint got me introduced to a revered professor and literary giant, Dr. Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta, the Flame’s adviser.
An unforgettable story with the Flame happened September of 1972, when the editorial board came up with an all-Filipino issue, translating even the name of the school paper and calling it Lagablab. With such a name, you can guess how hot and fierce the issue was. It came out on September 20, the eve of the declaration of Martial Law. On September 21, the board had thousands of copies in its hands that needed to be disposed lest the whole staff and adviser get caught, brought to Camp Crame, and be charged with rebellion. The board managed to distribute some copies of the 24-page blazing broadsheet issue, and the remaining copies were burned. I managed to keep a souvenir facsimile, but it would require extra time and effort to extract it from my file of school mementos.
My junior and senior years found me occupied with more writing commitments. This time I joined the Varsitarian, the university-wide magazine and newspaper under the fatherly care of Felix Bautista, another respected adviser and mentor, who honed many working journalists in the country---past and present. I became the assistant Filipino editor and the assignment pushed me to write Tagalog poetry and features every week. The chore came easy knowing that I loved what I was doing and that with each published piece cames a five-peso talent fee, quite a hefty sum for a student in the 70s who needed extra money to have a more economically-empowered college life. At the Varsitarian, I developed friendships that lasted to this day, learned the value of working hard and playing hard, and sharpened my grasp of the written word.
I originally planned to major in Journalism, but martial law pushed me to decide otherwise and went to Communication Arts (CA) instead. Media during that time were controlled and muzzled and as a journalist, I believed, it would be difficult to work under such condition. Thus, CA appeared to be a wider field, which offered general courses in advertising, public relations, theater, broadcasting, and research. I reckoned the major would provide broader employment opportunities. In CA, I met yet another bunch of admirable teachers---Piedad Guinto Rosales, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Jose Miranda, Teresita Quintos, Lydia Castillo, and Roger Buhay, who all helped prepare their students for the demands of professional life.
I was absorbed by the advertising industry after college and worked there for three decades. In 1983, I was hired as an advertising and PR lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Letters.
The following year, I became the coordinator and chairman of the communication arts program, a position I held for 17 years, earning the trust, support and admiration of administration officials, colleagues, and students in no time at all. I was given the leeway to run the CA program the way I wanted it with excellent results.
I entered UST in 1970 as an A-niner and practically never left it. Despite the demands of my past and present day jobs, I continue to share my time with the university of my deep affection. For 27 straight years running, I have taught, led, and nurtured aspiring minds and tender hearts. And I believe, my years of teaching and mentoring in UST will go on and on and on as long as I can imagine.
I am proud of having been an A-niner. I am proud of being a campus leader and writer. I am proud of being a CA graduate. I am proud of UST then, and I am proud of UST now. And without a doubt, I will continue to be proud of UST for the rest of my life.
The following year, I became the coordinator and chairman of the communication arts program, a position I held for 17 years, earning the trust, support and admiration of administration officials, colleagues and students in no time at all. I was given the leeway to run the CA program the way I wanted it with excellent results.
I entered UST in 1970 as an A-niner and practically never left it. Despite the demands of my past and present day jobs, I continue to share my time with the university of my deep affection. For 27 straight years running, I taught, led and nurture aspiring minds and tender hearts. And I believe, my years of teaching and mentoring in UST will go on and on and on as long as I can imagine. V
*Ramon “Bong” Osorio was a former Varsitarian Filipino Editor. He graduated with a degree in Communication Arts during 1974. He is the ABS-CBN’s Corporate Communications head.