“When we leave the halls of Silliman, roam the world o’er near and far. Still the faith and truth she gave us, will remain our guiding star.”
Truly, the very words of our Silliman Song guided and inspired these notable Sillimanians to be who they are now. These renowned individuals give pride and glory to our alma mater. They are Sillimanians by heart and soul who deserve more recognition for showing excellence in their own fields of expertise. Out of the many notable Sillimanians, here are some of them:
Angel Alcala. He has been giving pride to the Silliman community for his significant contributions in the country’s marine and ecology development. Just this month, he was named National Scientist by President Benigno Aquino III. Furthermore, Alcala is a recipient of Magsaysay Award for Public Service and Field Museum Founders’ Council Award of Merit. Currently, he handles respected positions in the sciences department. Through his research efforts, he was able to discover 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and authored over 200 scientific papers including books.
Stacy Danika S. Alcantara. This year, Alcantara brought honor to Silliman after topping the Foreign Service Examination of the Department of Foreign Affairs. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Mass Communication and was once crowned as Miss Silliman. Alcantara also worked as Key Accounts Executive of Mondelez International, editor-in-chief of Pearl Magazine Philippines, Lifestyle Correspondent of Philippine Star, Foreign Service Officer IV of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Trade and Major Accounts Manager in Unilever Philippines.
Juanita Amatong. A graduate of Business Administration, Amatong became part of the Monetary Board of the Philippines of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. She completed her graduate studies, under a scholarship at the Syracuse University in New York. For the record, Amatong was the first woman executive director of the World Bank Group from Philippines, and the first woman appointed as the Secretary of the Department of Finance, under the Arroyo administration.
Cesar Ruiz Aquino. He is a recipient of multiple Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for his poetry/poems and fiction, and an awardee of Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas for Lifetime Achievement from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat ng Pilipinas in 1997. In his younger year, he was mentored by some of the greatest creative writers in the country, such as Edith Tiempo and Edilberto Tiempo.
Ian Rosales Casocot. An award winning writer known for his award winning stories, “Old Movie”, “The Hero of the Snore Tango”, “Rosario and the Stories”, and “A Strange Map of Time”, Casocot has been a recipient of Don Carlos Palanca, N.V.M. Gonzales, and National Book Award. He is a graduate of Bachelor of Mass Communication and is currently teaching Literature classes. He is active in writing shorts stories, essays, columns, and news stories in the Philippine Free Press, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sunday Inquirer Magazine,etc.
Mel Claire Sy Delfin. Delfin is a notable Filipino broadcast journalist, who obtained her Bachelor in Mass Communication degree in Silliman in 1999. She is currently a reporter for GMA network’s news and current affairs program, 24 Oras. Delfin is also a recipient of prestigious awards, such as the Global Media Award for Excellence in Population Reporting from the Population Institute in Washington DC, SEAMEO-Australia Press Awards, etc.
Leoncio P. Deriada. He received his PhD in English and Literature with a specialization in creative writing in Silliman University. Deriada was a recipient of thirteen Palanca Awards, in which five won the first prize, including the “The Day of the Locusts”, “Mutya ng Saging”, “The Man who Hated Birds”, “Medea of Siquijor”, and “Maragtas: How Kapingan Tricked Sumakwel Twice”. He also garnered awards such as, Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, Gawad CCP, Metrobank’s Outstanding Teachers, etc.
Jesus M. Elbinias. He was once a Presiding Justice of the Philippine Court of Appeals and the first Chancellor of the Department of Justice Academy. During the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino, he was appointed as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals. Furthermore, he composed the Hymns for the Supreme Court, Judiciary, Ombudsman and Court of appeals. He also wrote the famous trial technique book called the Trial Complex: Multidisciplinary Approach to Courtroom Advocacy.
Maria Christiana Roble Esperat. She obtained her degree of Bachelor of Science and Nursing in Silliman and completed her Master in Parent-Child Nursing at the University of Texas. Esperat is a recipient of 22 awards, including the Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Research Award from Texas Tech and the Woman of Excellence Award for Medicine from YWCA of Lubbock. Furthermore, she is the Associate Dean for Clinical Services at Texas Tech University.
Mylene Freires. She is the first Filipino to receive the 2010 Mary Seacole Development Award, the highly coveted national award in United Kingdom, as described by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Freires, who graduated from the College of Nursing in 1992, was an Advanced Nurse Practitioner-Cancer Services and Mcmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist for Lymphoma at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, an Apheresis Lead Nurse of Hematology, a Bone Marrow Transplant Coordinator, and Clinical Nurse Specialist for Venous Access, and Senior Staff Nurse at St. George’s Healthcare NHS Trust.
Carlos P. Garcia. The eighth president of the Philippines initially pursued his college education at Silliman University and later studied at the Philippine Law School. He belonged to the top ten in the bar examination during his time. He was a teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, and a political economist. Before entering his profession as a lawyer, he worked as a teacher in Bohol, and was popularly known as the “Prince of Visayan Poets” and the “Bard from Bohol.”
Rufino Duran Inocian Jr. After receiving his degree in Theatre Arts in Silliman, he went to the University of Michigan where he obtained a degree in acting. Rufino, also known as Junix, starred in various stage productions. Among these is the role he played in “Miss Saigon”, where he took the role of Engineer. Last 2012, Inocian appeared as the ship’s cook in Sky Television’s series, Sinbad.
Mark Javier. He gave honor not just to Silliman, but to the country as well when he first competed in the 2006 Asian Games, garnering the 9th place in the individual category. He was a member of the Silliman University Dumaguete Archery Club (SUDAC) and the National Archery Association of the Philippines (NAAP). His God-given talent in archery brought him to the differentcorners of the world. Javier also competed in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
Evelyn Tan Requiza. A magna cum laude graduate with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Requiza was cited in the fifth edition of the “The Marquis Who’s Who in the World”. She is a recipient of the ASEAN Visiting Research Fellowship at the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the ASEAN Fellowship grant to the European Union in Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. With her excellence in the field of Education, she was awarded as the Outstanding Alumna in Education in the Davao Central College.
Ben Rodriguez. Awarded with Purple Heart because of his involvement during the second world war, Rodriguez studied in Silliman University, but finished his degree at the University of Santo Tomas with a degree of Bachelor of Science and Literature and degree major in journalism. Mang Ben, as he was known, was a cub reporter of the Manila Bulletin, and became the editor-in-chief in 1972. He was a recipient of awards such as Silliman Outstanding Alumnus in Journalism, and an honorary Doctorate in Journalism from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
Edgar Sinco Romero. Named as the National Artist of the Philippines in 2003, Romero produced first class films including: Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?, a 13-part series of Noli Me Tangere, Black Mama, White Mama, and The Twilight People. Romero, a graduate of Silliman High School, is one of the finest in the Philippine cinema of whose works are described by the National Artist Citation as: “…utterly simple style-minimalist, but never empty, always calculated, precise and functional, but never predictable.”
Lakambini Sitoy. She graduated from Silliman University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Sitoy received her MA Degree from Roskilde University, Denmark in the fields of English Studies and Cultural Encounters. Sitoy is a recipient of various awards including the annual Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards. She was once a columnist and section editor for the Manila Times. Her excellence in writing led her to her first novel Sweet Haven that was published in French, translated by Albin Michel as “Les filles de Sweethaven”.
Enrico C. Sobong. Graduated cum laude with a degree of Bachelor of Science, Sobong is the chairman of the Blodgett Oncology Committee, and he is part of the nationwide clinical trials through the Grand Rapid Clinical Oncology Program. These trials made way for the discovery and development of the newest and most effective treatments for cancer. He was once featured by Grand Rapid Race as one of the Best Doctors in West Michigan.
Edith Lopez-Tiempo. She is one of the finest Filipino writers with works that have been remarkable for their substance and style. In 1999, she was given the National Artist Award for her outstanding contributions in the field of literature. Two of her heart-wrenching poems are “Lament for the Littlest Flower” and “Bonsai”. Moreover, Edith, along with her husband Edilberto Tiempo, started the Silliman National Writers Workshop.
Simeon Toribio. From 1941-1953, he served as representative of the Second District of Bohol in the House of Representatives of the Philippines. He was once a delegate of the Philippines for high jump category at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, United States. From 1982, he represented the Philippines for three consecutive years in the Summer Olympics.
Cornelio Villareal. “Kune,” as he is known, took his prelaw in Silliman University and his law degree from the Philippine Law School. His career in politics began in 1934 when he was elected as a delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention. He was the first Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines elected in the fifth Congress.
Compiled by Nurlyn Elli