Excelsior: Dayagbil and Her ‘Ever Upward’ Direction

Under the leading lights of the outgoing university president, Cebu Normal University (CNU) had achieved a good number of recognitions and awards which catapulted the university’s name to top excellence. Crimson and gold glimmered during Dr. Filomena T. Dayagbil’s four-year term as a product of purposeful collaboration between the administration and stakeholders.


To formalize the conclusion of her term, an event held at the CNU grounds kicked off last April 29, 2021 and was physically attended by the CNU administrative council officials and members. Distant Normalites, on the other hand, had their eyes on screen as the event was broadcasted simultaneously on the university’s Facebook page.


Dr. Laurence Garcia, Chairman of the End-of-Report Portfolio, noted in his welcome remarks that this was “a day to be grateful to the administration that nurtured us even amid the trying times”.


While the event purposed to highlight Dayagbil’s report on her stay as the State University and College (SUC) President III of CNU, she desired to honor and recognize first those who have contributed to the achievement of the university’s strategic directions; thus, awarding plaques of appreciation to partner organizations, agencies, and individuals who helped in shaping the glory of CNU.


On her portfolio report and message, Dayagbil shared that she was reminded of the ending part of her investiture speech four years ago. “


As your president, it is my pleasure to partner with you and work with you on something that is bigger than any of us, an ongoing vision to chart the course for CNU to excel in innovative teaching and learning, cutting edge research, and relevant partnerships,” she repeated.


Dayagbil continued, “Fast forward today, as my presidency ends, I could proudly say that with your partnerships, we successfully accomplished what we have promised, achieving one milestone after another, in leaps and bounds.”


Representing her end-of-term report as “excelsior”, a Latin word and a catchphrase used by famous comic book writer Stan Lee, this described the entire CNU community’s collective efforts through the years, attaining noteworthy achievements to its five strategic directions: (1) sustaining quality and relevance; (2) enhancing research, development, and innovation; (3) expanding community engagement and linkages; (4) digitization and automation of operations; and (5) maximizing resource generation and utilization.


As she ended her speech, the outgoing president remarked, “Excelsior! Onward, Cebu Normal University!”


Words by Mark Aleson Sanico

Screenshots by Retlyn Ereca Ceballos

CNU flexible learning to get boost, thanks to CHED grants

Cebu Normal University is set to receive P7 million worth of grants from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that would enable the university to implement three projects.

Two of these projects focus on improving flexible learning — the Flexible Learning Modality Training for Teacher Educators (FLMTTEd) with an allocation of over P2.5 million and the Flexible Instructional Materials Development for Teacher Educators (FIMDTEd) which has been earmarked P1.8 million.

The third project, Developing Global Filipino Teachers (DGFT), has been allocated a budget of P2.6 million. It aims to equip teachers with the needed pedagogical and socio-cultural competencies as global educators.

Flexible learning

Amid the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNU has been actively pursuing projects meant to help convert threats and challenges to opportunities.

In a survey conducted by the university, educators expressed the need to reshape their lessons to include provisions for flexible learning modalities to meet the changing educational landscape brought about by COVID-19.

Thus, FLMTTEd aims to train faculty members of teacher education institutions on effective implementation of flexible learning modalities in the teaching learning processes in the new normal. 

To achieve this, CNU has forged partnerships with Cebu Technological University-Tuburan Campus and Leyte Normal University.

On the other hand, FIMDTEd aims to develop research-based flexible instructional materials such as modules for the professional education courses in teacher education.

These will be utilized by educators, specifically those who are teaching in local colleges within Central Visayas.

The flexible instructional package for a professional education course includes lectures, readings, worktext, problem-based activities, and other resources that can be used in both face-to-face and online classrooms.

Going global

Meanwhile, the DGFT program of the CNU College of Teacher Education seeks to help Filipino educators in Cambodia increase their cultural awareness to address global change. This, as schools have increasingly become more culturally diverse.

It also aims to help the educators develop their teaching skills to create a learning setting wherein students respect each other, value diversity, and collaborate effectively.

The program is set to conduct intensive review classes, hands-on trainings on varied learning modalities and practice exercises to be done in Cambodia and in the Philippines.

With this program, teachers are expected to acquire the needed competencies as global educators, and pass the licensure examination at the same time. –/Chiel Martina Y. Condor/JMD

CNU Medellin opens a foreign language classroom

Cebu Normal University (CNU) Medellin Campus opens a new Foreign Language Classroom for a conducive learning space for its students.  

The Foreign Language Classroom is located in the 2nd floor of the CNU Medellin Campus main building. It used to be Room 7 which was renovated through the help of Dr. Kong Hwan Kim. 

Kim is a Professor Emeritus at Ajou University, South Korea who stayed at the CNU Main and Medellin Campuses from January to February 2020 as a volunteer professor to teach Korean Language and to conduct a lecture on Emerging Trends in Food Processing. 

Read related article: [Passion for teaching ignites volunteer Professor]

According to CNU Medellin Campus Director Dr. Grace Malaga, the Foreign Language Classroom used to be an ordinary classroom that underwent a total make-over. She said that the classroom used to have broken jalousie blades, no tiles, and got flooded when it rained hard due to a damaged ceiling.
Now, the floors are tiled and the classroom is installed with an air-conditioning unit, whiteboard, and projector screen. The windows and ceiling are also repaired and the whole room is repainted.
A sound-proof mini office was also constructed at the back of the room with office chairs, table, cabinet, air conditioning unit, and a lounging sofa. 

Malaga said that Kim was the one who financed the total renovation of the Foreign Language Classroom including all the pieces of furniture and fixtures therein. She said that the renovation was Kim’s way of helping the students to have a better learning experience.

She said that the renovation was conceptualized after Kim’s one-week visit to the CNU Medellin Campus where he got the chance to teach Korean language to the graduating Bachelor of Tourism Management (BTM) students.

CNU Medellin Campus Faculty and Extension Chair Maricel Rivera said that the Foreign Language Classroom was prepared to be used during the start of classes last August but the pandemic lasted way past it. 

Rivera shared that it was also the goal of Kim to push through with the renovation project to provide the campus a model classroom. 

She admitted that the classrooms in Medellin Campus have existing problems such as the ceiling. She shared that before the pandemic, she used to conduct her Korean classes in a makeshift classroom outside the campus without electricity just to accommodate the growing number of students.

There are six classrooms in the CNU Medellin Campus main building and six additional makeshift classrooms. The Foreign Language Classroom is one of the six classrooms in the main building.

Rivera said that Kim also helped in improving the service drop wire and internet cable wiring of the campus. Further, Kim has donated Korean language books in the library to aid with the teaching of Korean language which is part of the curriculum of BTM students. 

She said that she considers Kim as an epitome of a passionate educator and said that CNU Medellin is grateful for the support he has given to the campus. She said that the enhancement of the facilities will provide better instruction for the students.  

A solemn mass and blessing of the Foreign Language Classroom and the newly-constructed covered court bleachers were held during the CNU Medellin 9th Commencement Exercises on August 27, 2020, wherein Kim was invited as the Commencement Speaker.  

Read related article: [CNU Medellin virtual commencement rites: A new beginning amid difficult times]

Malaga said that the construction of the new bleachers in the covered court is made through the efforts of Congresswoman Janice Salimbangon to complete the project which her husband former Congressman Benhur Salimbangon started.

Read related article: [CNU Medellin Inaugurates its New Covered Court]

The Foreign Language Classroom shall be used in the conduct of Korean, Spanish, and English language classes. The classroom may also be used for faculty meetings and other purposes upon prior reservation. (JDF)

CNU rep tops regional CSC online photography contest

Cebu Normal University (CNU) representative wins 1st Place in Civil Service Commission (CSC’s) Regional Online Photography Contest with his photo depicting the realities of education in the ‘new normal’.

CNU Medellin Campus Registrar Elizar Alburo was chosen to join the Online Photography Contest of CSC as part of the month-long celebration of the 120th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary (PCSA) in September.

His photo entry entitled, “Shine in the Darkness of the New Normal” bested 20 other entries in Central Visayas making him the regional 1st Prize winner.

Alburo’s masterpiece depicted the two different modalities of learning in the new normal – online and offline distance learning. By simultaneously depicting the two scenarios side by side, the photo effectively captures the stark realities of education in the new normal. 

The winning photo entry of Elizar Alburo that landed him 1st Place on the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Regional Office VII Online Photography Contest.

The left side of the photo depicts the online mode wherein the student uses a laptop and touchscreen phone as electronic gadgets to aid him with distance learning. Meanwhile, the right side represents the situation of those in offline mode with books as reading materials without an internet connection. 

Alburo said he wants to encourage students to have the willingness to learn and to continue studying even with the challenges caused by the pandemic. He said that offline mode can be an option for students without a stable internet connection rather than to stop schooling. This is the core message of his photo – for students to shine in the darkness of the new normal. 

“Against the light, but it’s worth the fight. Keep the light of your dreams come [sic] alive,” the caption of his photo entry indicates. 

Alburo also acknowledged that the feat was a product of a collaborative effort. He said the entry was conceptualized with the help of his colleagues and the support of Medellin Campus Director Dr. Grace Malaga to adhere to the online photography contest theme, Journey to the New Normal. 

The photoshoot was also conducted in the Library of CNU Medellin Campus. The models of his entry were children of his colleague. Personnel from the General Services Office (GSO) also helped with the set-up of the photoshoot.

Alburo said he was shocked when he knew he won regionally. He said that although he works as a freelance photographer as his sideline, it was his first time to join a photography contest. 

It is also the first time that CSC has conducted the Online Photography Contest participated by government workers in the country. 

Alburo shared that he was surprised when asked to be the representative of the University but took it as a challenge also and an opportunity to represent CNU. He said he is grateful for the opportunity and help given by the CNU Human Resource Management Officer, Mrs. Mary Margaret Cornejo.  

Alburo will receive a cash prize of P5,000 and attendance to any Learning and Development Courses offered by CSC Regional Office VII of his choice for free as his rewards.

Three best entries were selected from each of the 16 regions in the country and out of the 48 entries, three were then picked again as winners for the National competition.  

The participants were judged according to content and adherence to the theme, visual impact (including color and lighting), creativity and originality, and photography quality.   

“The activity was visualized to provide a venue for public servants to create, appreciate, and spread positive images that would convey the beauty and importance of living despite the challenges and uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 situation,” CSC Human Resource Relations Office (HRRO) OIC Director III, Atty. Krunimar Antonio Escudero III said. 

Escudero said that the photos sent as entries to the contest are a testament to the artistry and creativity of Filipino government workers.

The contest was organized by the CSC HRRO and PCSA Steering Committee.

The 1st CSC National Online Photography Contest Awarding Ceremony was held on September 15, 2020, and can be viewed in the Philippine Civil Service Commission Facebook page. (JDF) 

CNU Medellin virtual commencement rites: A new beginning amid difficult times

“Graduation is more than walking across the stage to collect a diploma. It marks the beginning of the next phase of your life which is something worth celebrating even in this difficult time.”

This is what Dr. Kong Hwan Kim, Professor Emeritus of Ajou University, South Korea said as the Commencement Speaker of the 9th Commencement Rites of Cebu Normal University (CNU) Medellin Campus. 

He visited CNU Main and CNU Medellin campuses last January to February this year as a volunteer professor teaching Korean language. He has also conducted a Lecture on Emerging Trends in Food Processing before the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak started in the Philippines.

Read related article: [Passion for teaching ignites volunteer Professor

The 9th Commencement Rites of CNU Medellin Campus was live-streamed last Thursday, August 27 at the CNU Facebook page with the theme, Thriving, Leading, and Serving in the New Normal. 

147 graduates comprised Batch 2020 of CNU Medellin Campus wherein two finished Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSEd) Major in English, 58 finished Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEEd) with an area of concentration in General Education, and 87 finished Bachelor of Tourism Management (BTM).  

Six of the graduates earned Latin honors. Three BEEd graduates and another three from BTM were awarded as Cum Laude.

Kim said that the graduation of Batch 2020 is unique as it comes as the world faces suffering and economic devastation resulting from the pandemic. He said that graduation is a big achievement in any circumstance and all graduates should be proud of themselves. 

He imparted that the graduation ceremony does not just celebrate a moment in time, but a culmination of years of learning about oneself and many other things. 

“The friends and family who supported you every step of the way aren’t celebrating the piece of paper. They are celebrating you – how you’ve grown; the challenges you have overcome,” he said. 

“Graduation marks your final passage into adulthood, the time when you are expected to fully take charge of your life’s direction. It is when you get to decide what’s important to you – the career you want to pursue; the values you want to live by that can be intimidating even under normal circumstances – and given the current situation, it can be downright scary,” Kim said. 

He said that the graduates should start deciding for themselves.

“Your life has been station to station. There’s always some next test to take, or paper to write, or homework to submit. After today, there are no more stations. Nobody is assigning anything to you. You have to start assigning yourself,” he said. 

“It is true that you are entering this new phase of your life at a daunting time. No matter how much you have done or how successful you have been, there is always more to do, always more to learn, and always more to achieve,” he added.

“I trust you can develop and grow as long as you are motivated to learn. The important thing to remember about career paths is that they don’t have to last forever,” Kim said.

He said that interests and skills evolve as people get older. He then advised the graduates to be open to change and not be afraid of trying something new. 

He said that one can engage in daily lifelong learning either through socialization, trial and error, or self-initiating study.

He also reminded the graduates to practice the attitude of gratitude since it is probably the most important trait one can have as a source of both happiness and goodness.

“I know starting your careers in troubled time is a challenge, but it is also a privilege because moments like this force us to try harder and to dig deeper and discover gifts we never knew we had and find the greatness that lies within each of us,” Kim added.

“Finally, I like to remind you there is no doubt that you have a role to play in these difficult times whether that’s now or in the future for the nation that you all love,” he said before ending his message to the graduates. 

The pronouncement of graduation was made by the University and Board Secretary Dr. Michelle Mae Olvido. CNU Medellin Campus Director Dr. Grace Malaga presented the candidates for graduation and their degrees were conferred by CNU President Dr. Filomena Dayagbil.   

Congratulatory messages then followed from Dr. Dayagbil, CNU Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Daisy Palompon, CNU Vice President for Research, Extension, and Publication Dr. Angeline Pogoy, and Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr.

The Alumni oath was led by the Federation of Cebu Normal University Alumni Association, Inc. (FCNUAAI) President Dr. Ramir Uytico after the University pledge. 

A photo compilation of the graduates was then shown and the first virtual graduation ceremony of CNU Medellin Campus ended with the singing of the CNU hymn and the recessional. 

A full copy of the 9th Commencement Rites of CNU Medellin Campus can also be viewed at the official YouTube channel of the University. (JDF)

CNU alumni share insights on navigating the new normal

Insights on how to address uncharted challenges brought by the new normal were discussed by three Cebu Normal University (CNU) alumni in North America through a webinar on three distinct topics of their expertise. 

The session was called Navigating the New Normal (3Ns): A Virtual Colloquium which was live-streamed in the CNU Facebook page last Saturday, August 15.  

These CNU alumni are Dr. Rhigel Jay Tan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of iCarePsychiatry; Atty. Alberto Montefalcon Jr., Immigration Attorney of Montefalcon Law Offices in the USA and the Philippines; and Dr. Nerissa Linell Joie Calub, Founder and CEO of Pathways Education Consultancy. 

Tan talked about Emotional Resilience and Mental Wellness in a Global Pandemic, Montefalcon discussed on Real or Really Fake News: Navigating through the Social Media Pandemic, while Calub shared insights on The 21st Century Professionals in Extraordinary Disruptions. 

The webinar was brought by the Federation of Cebu Normal University Alumni Associations, Inc. (FCNUAAI) in collaboration with CNU and the CNU Alumni in North America.

FCNUAAI President Dr. Ramir Uytico said that CNU has produced brilliant individuals who are doing great in their respective fields of endeavor and the virtual colloquium emphasizes how the alumni care for the Normalite community as one big family. 

CNU President Dr. Filomena Dayagbil said that the University is faced with a great challenge on work-from-home and learning continuity, but what is so motivating in these not so ordinary times is the extraordinary responses in the academic community. 

“With the work combined forces, we are able to bring normalcy in all our operations,” she said.

Dayagbil said that although the alumni have gone their separate ways to pursue their dreams, their roots in this institution are deeply seated and entangled that is why they still connect, help, and serve the alma mater in any way they can.

Tan who shared about mental health stressed that depression is a real illness and it is not about lack of strength, lack of faith, or perhaps just a weak personality.

He said that people who undergo crisis have to undergo the different stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression or sadness, and acceptance to facilitate optimism.

He added that it is common during crises that a person’s emotion, behavior, way of thinking, and activities of daily living change. 

“These are normal reactions that normal people will experience in an abnormal event such as the pandemic,” Tan said. 

He said that people have the power and ability to be mentally resilient. People just have to practice and acknowledge it.

“We just don’t allow our crisis to cover us up and then forget what we can do.” he said. 

Montefalcon who discussed fake news distinguished it from opinion. He said that fake news can easily fall into the Revised Penal Code definition of a crime.

He shared that the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 expanded how libel may be committed by defining cyber libel as one done by way of a computer system.

Montefalcon said that checking faulty spelling, grammar, and punctuation; identifying the news organization; looking for visual clues; identifying and knowing the reputation of the author are some ways to detect fake news. 

“Fake news encourages hatred, hatred breeds division,” he said.

Montefalcon advises verifying sources by searching other articles containing the subject matter. 

He also shared a bonus video afterward on virtual meeting etiquette. 

Calub, the last of the three presenters compiled uplifting words and videos stating that the 21st-century professionals are not on their own in dealing with the extraordinary disruptions.

“There is no way to escape the shift in perspective that the life-changing disruptions have brought in our midst. Let’s take advantage of what the crossroads can offer to us,” she said. 

“Do not doubt yourself. It is only you who can put premium in the value of your life in spite of the uncertainties,” she added.  

She encourages all to put meaning in what we do for ourselves, our families, friends, colleagues, communities, and the world.

She ended her presentation honoring all frontliners for their courage and will to serve their respective communities. 

“CNU leads and cultivates significance in the community that we serve and CNU remains steadfast in our commitment to quality, excellence, and relevance. Indeed, we have countless reasons to be proud of the University,” Dayagbil said.

“Human and community interaction is essential to one’s quality of life even if it is in the middle of the global pandemic. For this reason, I believe we’re all extremely blessed and grateful to have this virtual colloquium,” CNU Presidential Assistant for Alumni Affairs Dr. Glen Pesole said.

Dayagbil calls all CNU alumni to continue helping the mandate of the institution through their expertise and good work. She also asks for their support by helping the University connect with stakeholders, protecting the integrity of their alma mater, and by maintaining an attitude of gratitude. 

“In these volatile and uncertain times, we become stronger because we know that you are there to support our alma mater,” Dayagbil said to all CNU alumni. (JDF)

CNU’s instructional delivery mode is evidence-informed

The decision of Cebu Normal University (CNU) to adopt the Flexible Teaching and Learning Delivery as its instructional delivery mode this upcoming opening of classes is evidence-informed.  

This is what Vice-President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) Dr. Daisy Palompon said.

Read related article: [CNU adopts flexible teaching and learning delivery]

She said that the decision came out from the surveys and series of consultations with student leaders, faculty, parents, alumni, and partner agencies which the University conducted last April to May 2020 as part of the scenario analysis that led to the reframing of the University’s teaching and learning.   

Palompon also said that the decision was not solely decided upon by the Administrative Council but also by the Academic Council of the University and approved by the CNU Board of Regents. 

The undergraduates are given online and offline distance learning options, while the Integrated Laboratory School (ILS) and Graduate School (GS) will be using online distance learning for the upcoming school year.

“However, the ILS is not purely online as there are more sessions on asynchronous learning,” Palompon said referring to the textbooks that are available also as reference for learning. 

She said that for ILS, a consultation with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) through Mr. Renan Elcullada, ILS Supervisor was conducted. A proposal on the mode of learning the parents wish to have for their children was then submitted to the University through the Administrative Council. 

She said that as for GS, the online mode was already implemented starting March 2020 when classes were suspended due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). 

“Most of the GS students are part-time students since their mainline is their respective work and most of the students are also outside Cebu City,” she said. 

“The online learning will address their needs to continue advanced education while on their current location and travel would not be needed,” Palompon added.

Palompon also confirmed that the GS is also open to students across the country since the classes will be conducted online.

“The online mode of learning is implemented while the circumstances will not allow us to have face-to-face classes especially in the ILS. For the GS, our long-term plan is to really offer purely online programs so that students will still have options whether they will go for synchronous or asynchronous learning platforms,” she said.

“There is what we call as finding the silver lining despite all the chaos we are in. It has been our plan in the University to institutionalize the blended and pure online learning platform to cater to the current learning needs and styles of our new generation of learners. We have started doing it, but we were cautious in fully implementing it,” Palompon said.

She said that the crisis we are in provides the urgency to put these plans in place for actual implementation. (JDF)