2006 Commencement Exercise Speech

Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan



Out of the thousands of graduates of Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan, Batch 2006, I was honored to have been selected as the graduation speaker. Here was my speech,which was also published in the local daily.







Ask any English or communication teacher here and I’m sure that most of the required compositions are brimming with this most used pronoun “I”.


Having studied media in this institution I am convinced that the world today revolves on this little word “I”. As globalization whittles down the world into a smaller place, popular media serves everything imaginable to each “I” in its fancy outlets.


Ironically in this great era of mass media, sophisticated networks and communication high ways, we are left all alone in our couches with the company of the tube. Where our Friendster Inboxes are jam-packed with friends we barely even know and we get suffocated by the events of tomorrow which are the news of yesterday. In our thesis on media perception, especially in rural areas, the world of entertainment media recreates a powerful antidote, a temporary escape from the burdens of the everyday “I”. Clearly, mass media, and even businesses and politicians have done well enough to capture the vanities of each “I”.


But then again, amidst this entire hullabaloo about “I”, why do you think it is so short and so brief a word? So stark and naked in its singleness and so feeble in its monosyllabic structure?


Inspite of all its whims and wiles, an “I” can easily sink into despair nowadays. Especially here with our political turmoil that never ceases and economic boosts that make it to the headlines but not to the people. And yet, even in a crowd, “I” is also not strong enough unless it can stand alone, distinct but not apart.


Think about the crowd in the Wowowee tragedy, sadly it can only be indicative of us as a people, stumbling blindly forward for the things that we think can make things better.


As a group of “I’s” sharing the same heritage and the same fate, doesn’t the stampede only remind us of how we push on blindly, sacrificing integrity, hard work and the little things that count like family dinners and bedtime stories to give way to the endless monitor on bank accounts?


Doesn’t the stampede only run parallel to the youth of today who rush to college but graduate without really acquiring anything save a diploma, just to enter white-collared jobs? The youth of today to whom the youth of yesterday generally have misgivings on because of our indifference that we fail to live up to their Edsa.


As a people, we have been defined by the things that the world reads or hears about us: the commotion in our streets and our recent presidents who we always love to hate.


But amidst all these, who is “I’ in a people?


In all its stark nakedness, “I” is not a brief and feeble word. In fact, it is the only pronoun that is always capitalized, an indication of how important “I” can be.


So… expand your horizons, soar free, dare to dream big.


When we make “I” bigger, we make the world smaller and more manageable.


So why don’t you extend your “I” to the next fellow, to a friend in need, to parents who badly need a date, then go further - to the stranger you pass by, to the streetkid you meet in the corner. Go even further, to the victims of the Leyte landslide, to the cause for our environment, to silent war waging in our streets everyday.


“I” doesn’t have to be wealthy, or affluent to be a great big “I”, just little acts of kindness, just the courage to die everyday to be free.


In closing, let me leave you a thought. Do yourself a favor and make “I” bigger. The horizon is only the limit of what our eyes can see. Maybe, if we close our eyes, we will see more.


We, as a people, can only better if there is an “I” who took it upon themselves to be better in their individual tasks and roles in the society.

I think I have said enough of “I’s” already, but the world still need bigger versions of it. Make your ”I” matter.




As published in our local daily (pictured here):


grad speech




grad photo w medals

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