By Atty. Myrish Cadapan-Antonio
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — What is the Silliman Spirit?
Although often touted by those who have walked the halls of Silliman, this term remains hard to particularly define. Many have described it as an unusual affinity or connection amongst those who share the love, and have lived the experience in this institution.
The spirit moves you to do extraordinarily positive things for others: Service above self; Unconditional commitment to the common good; Dedication to the welfare of the community.
Whatever one’s explanation becomes, this spirit is best exemplified and demonstrated rather than just talked about.
Each year, diverse and multi-sectoral committees all the way to the Board of Trustees spend almost six months determining a group of alumni who are exemplary manifestations of Silliman’s motto and spirit in their personal and professional lives. Their recognition is the highlight of our annual festivities. Each select group comprise between three to seven individuals, every year for a little over 50 years now. (This year, five are especially bestowed this honor). The accomplishments of this select group are, without a doubt, extraordinary.
However, they represent only a fraction of those who, day by day, live exemplary lives of service.
This Founder’s Week, it seems an opportune time to recognize some of our unsung heroes who have epitomized the Silliman Spirit, many of whom have become household names, in celebration and gratitude.
First recognition. Moejo. Kuya Moe. Kuya Mong.
Sillimanians around the world recognize this name. It does not take one long to know that he has the natural ability to make everyone feel special, and that they belonged, the listening ear to one’s good and bad days, the innate gift of unconditional friendship.
He astounds you with his deep knowledge not only of Silliman’s rich heritage and history but also of its horror stories, best love triangles, and well known controversies. There is never a dull moment with Mong.
When walking in campus with Mong, you can hardly expect to reach your destination on time. Why? Prepare to say hi, hello, kumusta to almost each and every person who crosses his path, or to stop quickly for a public tête-à-tête.
A story teller by heart, Mong has this innate ability to draw belief in his tales, as if they were gospel truth.
The best thing about Mong is his dedicated service to Silliman through its students and alumni community. Mong is this instant lovable emcee in programs, when the one assigned did not show up in time, or no one was really assigned. He is often requested to do last-minute official tours of Silliman for high level dignitaries, planned or unplanned. He travels around the country and the world to promote Silliman. He volunteers on anything and everything where he feels his help is needed.
In our years at Silliman, we have seen Mong assume multiple roles with a smile, without contempt or complaint, and always and without fail, with some public declaration of what a remarkable institution Silliman truly is.
Commitment to service
Mong’s more than 20 years of commitment to service in Silliman is extraordinary, and his incredible ability to take on work to move Silliman forward deserves recognition, gratitude, and praise.
Alumni from all walks of life – from the oldest to the youngest, from the most actively involved in alumni activities to the least, from those as close by as Dumaguete to others in the most remote points of the planet – have heard of, interacted with, and can perhaps share an anecdote or two about our beloved Mong.
His special ability to build relationships and leave lasting impressions in the lives of so many have made him – perhaps – the only Sillimanian who knows every love story, every leadership journey, every personal struggle, and every achievement of even those who lived in the past. People are drawn to his warmth, his generosity, his authenticity, and the genuineness of his character.
It is only fitting that he be recognized for his loyal service by his fellow alumni. Thank YOU, Moses Joshua Atega. You are a true exemplification of the Silliman Spirit.
Dumaguete MetroPost first published this article. Mindanao Sun re-posted it with permission.