Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Truth be told that people come into our lives as God’s instruments for us to grow, appreciate life and learn lessons from. The person’s existence however is limited, such that no matter how much we would love to have people stay in our lives, natural forces dictate that one has to bid farewell ahead of others. Hence, death is a phenomenon that poses a challenge to everyone concerned.

Photo taken on June 2006 during our practicum at the old CBAA Canteen. 
I was a fourth year student then. 
My journey in this beautiful world entails series of encounter with people who have made significant impact in my life. One of them is a dear fellow in the name of Dr. Perla Manzano-Calunod. My first encounter with her was during my college years where she served as my Academic Adviser. I felt privileged and cared because I always had full academic load every semester which made me finish the academic requirements of BSBA Entrepreneurial Marketing in less than 4 years; not to mention that I didn’t take summer classes and that I was a consistent academic scholar then. While I was under her advisory in various subjects such as Mktg 104 (Advertising), Mktg 198 (Marketing Research), and Entrep 109 (Entrepreneurial Competency Development) among others, I could not recall any moment when she reprimanded me. Perhaps because I managed to submit all the requirements on time and followed all her comments and suggestions on my research and paper works. 

I was 4th year by then, when she encouraged me to join the department as a faculty. With my goal to immediately land a good job, I grabbed the opportunity. It was a momentous decision for me to explore the world of teaching because it was not my chosen degree. With Ma’am Pearl’s task of assigning me basic and/or foundation courses in Marketing such as Mktg 101 and Mktg 51, I was able to cope up with the demands of teaching the students even if meant an ordeal to me. It was also during my early years of teaching that I acted as her personal secretary, encoding communication letters and modules for her online instruction. Her penmanship must not be so good but I became adept at understanding what she meant through context clues and her unique strokes of alphabet writing :D Through this, I learned how to easily prepare correspondence and I am so thankful for the learning.
This was during the first department meeting on May 8, 2014 under my 
administration as Chairperson.
There came a point in our work relationships when we had a conflict due to the establishment of Entrep 110Pahayahay Resto – a business laboratory for the BSBA Entrepreneurial Marketing students at the commercial center. I thought all the while that it was due to the large difference between the schools of thought we advocate, i.e. the traditional and innovative ways of teaching. But it was about coordination, of letting them know my plans and advocacies and having them involved in the decision making. This conflict lasted for 4 long years, yes four long years… to the extent that he wouldn’t enter the office because I was around. There were a lot of instances that we crossed paths where I consistently greet her hello and good day but she remained snob. But God is gracious that He set things in order. At the time when we had elections for the Department Chairmanship, she expressed out all her grudges, heartaches and disappointments towards me. I never reacted but listened to all what she said until I had the chance to reply. Thank God we were reconciled. It was such a relief. From then on, we went well along. 

Then came our Department Team Building and Strategic Planning on May 2014. All the faculty members of the Department were around which added to the merriments of the activities. We explored the beautiful islands of Socorro, Surigao del Norte and ventured into sea adventures like swimming, snorkelling and diving; plus caving and scenic views watching. It was really a wondrous experience where everyone of us enjoyed each other’s company and each of us appreciating the awesome beauty of nature. 

Coincidentally, our getaway fell on Mothers’ Day Celebration. After our sumptuous dinner together, I surprised her and Ma’am Codas necklaces made from shells. Both of them got teary eyed being moms to their kids. Ma’am Pearl happily said that she won’t remove the necklace while we sleep. “Dili nako ni tanggalon, hatag baya ni sa Chairman,” she expressed. True enough, she had the necklace on while we travel back from Socorro to Iligan City.

God also gave us another chance to work as a team during the Ideaspace Technopreneurship Bootcamp held at MSU-IIT. I was amazed when Ma’am Pearl responded positively to my invitational text that we are joining the bootcamp, even if the notice was sent 3 hours before the event. The seminar-workshop included a business pitch competition where innovative ideas are showcased to a panel of judges.
Q & A portion during Business Pitch Competition
I asked the organizers if faculty members can join the contest and they readily said yes because it was open for all interested participants. I immediately formed a team of 3 with Ma’am Pearl and Sir Nash. We got so excited learning from the mentors who happened to be grand winners of the Ideaspace last year. They are simply inspiring because they were able to turn their ideas into reality with the help of Ideaspace. Then the time for the business pitch competition started where we needed to present our business ideas in 3 minutes so the audience and the judges could determine the best idea
Pictorial with the top 3 winning teams, Ideaspace personnel and judges
Our team was the 4th presenter among 8 contenders. After my presentation, Ma’am Pearl and Sir Nash joined me in facing the judges’ queries. After thorough deliberation, the winners were announced with a canned drum roll… Starting off with third place, second place and the first place – ERadical Ventures… Ma’am Pearl jumped off her feet for joy which I seconded after I set aside the things on my lap. Thank you so much Lord for such success. I give credit to Ma’am Pearl for naming our business idea as ELearning because it used to be ERadical Ventures (now the company name). We received Php 5,000 worth of cash prize with Ideaspace shirt, notebook and other items. The judges and our mentors warmly congratulated us for our win. Ma’am Pearl kept on smiling, we hugged each other and cherished the moment. So glad that we had this chance together. After the event, I gave her Php 1,000 because she didn’t join the delegates for dinner. Thank you so much Ma’am Pearl for joining even if it was too close to the schedule.
Sharing happy moments of receiving the rewards... :)
Another moment we shared was during the Grand Opening of the New CBAA Canteen. I found it unusual to have Ma’am Pearl join the entire program because she doesn’t want to be recognized by the emcees. As the Adviser of Entrep 197 (Practicum in Entrepreneurial Marketing), I delivered the welcome message during the program. After my speech, Ma’am Pearl congratulated me. But instead of a handshake, she put her palm on top of mine. I just disregarded it but by the time I learned that she already passed away, I interpreted it as a gesture of goodbye, like there was a message through it that goes, “Take care of the Department Richard.” It has always been Ma’am Pearl’s concern on what will be the future of the CBAA Canteen. Huhuhu. I honestly feel pressured this time because a big responsibility is at stake. With what happened to my brother, I think of resignation from my job anytime soon. But with Ma’am Pearl’s last signs, I am having second thoughts. I lift unto God this confusions and plans and may He direct me in everything that I do.

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the New CBAA Canteen
These are parcels of our lives that we both share, moments that are really unforgettable and memories that will be forever cherished. Thank you Ma’am Pearl for the following lessons:

1.       Be open and be prepared to opportunities. I must have been very prepared to become a teacher because the moment you showed me possibilities, I readily grabbed it. I dedicate these successes I have in my career to you Ma'am Pearl. Thank you so much for the encouragement so I could join the faculty workforce of the Marketing Department.

2.       Be open for reconciliation and be willing to forgive. Our reconciliation was one of the biggest blessings I have in my career of dealing with people with different personalities. That 4 long years was enough for me to bear and it was truly a relief when finally we got reconciled. I wouldn’t be at peace now had we not solved our conflict.

3.       Be generous in showing gestures of love, concern and care to the people around you. We never know when will be the last time that we get to interact with the people we love. Don’t hesitate to give a flower, a card, a present or anything because we never know how significant it is for them. Appreciate, love and show some care. Nothing will be lost from you.

 I must have made this post quite long. I just want to express how thankful I am to God for having Ma’am Pearl as an instrument of faith, hope and love.

In pace requiescat Ma’am Pearl.