In 1998, President Agustin A. Pulido allowed me to initiate and organize a botanical exhibit fronting the Luce Auditorium. In its first exhibition, we showcased the works of local landscaping aficionados and a guest from Bacolod, Rene Dofitas, whose work has since become nationally recognized. Dr. Pulido was very encouraging of the botanical exhibit and directed the Founders’ Day committee to include it as a regular feature of the celebrations.
So it has evolved, through the years, from a fora for local gardeners to introduce new plant varieties and landscaping innovations, a field trip destination for children, a hangout for young people, and even the introduction of a hibiscus variety called the Silliman Spirit during the Silliman centennial.
BotEx, as the exhibit came to be known by Founders’ Day annual visitors near and far, has adorned and complemented the Luce Auditorium for the last 13 years, each Founders’ Day, as a symbol of art, culture, and beauty on campus. This is the final edition of Botex.
On behalf of our parents, Manuel Jr. & Lorseli Utzurrum, we, their children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren, have the honor to turnover this garden landscape with a water feature, Tuburan, to Silliman University. Under the leadership of Dr. Ben Mayang III, himself a campus kid of the ‘60s, the University has disclosed plans to expand our modest initiative into a small park on the Luce grounds. The symbol of water from a spring or tubod or tuburan reflects the freshness, exuberant joy and unbridled energy of childhood and youth. We present this gift as a tribute to the Campus Kids of all generations, from the missionary kids, to the faculty and staff kids, to the campus brats, or Batang Gate 3, all collectively known as Campus Kids.
In all ways, they were adorable and charming, but they were also quite a distraction, walking in and out of classroom whether in mischief or innocence, or maybe even curiosity.
We honor the Campus Kids for even as the face of the campus has changed through the years, its nature as a special place of one’s childhood and youth; as the free and common playground where friendships were formed and life was celebrated, remains the same. We honor the Campus Kids, because they are an integral part of what Silliman is… a big loving family. We honor them, because, while the history books may overlook them or family life on campus in general, they have, and will continue to help shape and mold the history of this 110-year-old institution.
When you talk about Silliman, its character, its values, the Silliman Spirit… you must necessarily look at the Campus Kid, some already gone, most all grown up, many still growing up in this campus of acacia trees.
John James Audubon once wrote, “A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” May we always keep a part of that child in all of us. (Marietta Utzurrum-Montebon)
Dr. Ben S. Malayang III
I think our best times on campus as among its residents in the 1960s were when classes were out, and we and our campus neighbors were the only ones left. There were nights when we get together under an acacia tree, and just loll and while the time away.
The more lihukan and agile like Bruce Beran and Paul Palmore would climb the acacia and place candles on its branches. Sometimes, Mrs. Beran or Mrs. Elwood or Mrs. Palmore would come bring cookies. Sugsuganay lang and ribbing, but I felt those were magical moments. I cherish them because when school opened again we each had our different barkada na pod. Beautiful moments.
Frederick Silliman Dael
One of my best friends, David Palmore, played tennis very well so the back of Henry Mack’s house was a place we frequently visited to keep him company while he used the back board. The house was also later used by the Hunt family, and they had two daughters — so it was a frequently-visited house. I most fondly remember walking through the tall grass to visit Margaret Mack to talk about stamps (she had a fantastic collection), and next door, walking the path with the Dimaya brother through the tall grass from the Boye Bell house to the house of Pastor Gordon Mahy to read comics, one of the things that Pastor Gordon and Mrs. Mahy kept for all the kids of the church.
The all-weather court is gone. The back board and the tall grass have made way for the Luce Auditorium but it is good we remember some of those things that made Silliman what it is.
I am happy that we are keeping mementos of the Silliman campus of my childhood and that of my wife Cynthia. But then, even these trees were not around during the childhood of my mother- in-law, the very first of the Silliman kids. She extends her warmest greetings.
What a great tribute to the “golden years” of the campus. Another contributor would be Buddy Ravello, as he was a campus guy, along with Bobbie Vista. Of course, that was my and Fred’s [Dael] generation. I’m sure you have great stories to tell with your “generation”, too. I have Brian Elwood on Facebook, there is another story there. Will Paul Pfeiffer be around? Another campus kid, different “generation”.
I got pretty choked up about this, as I feel the time we had at Silliman as kids was truly very special, and I’m at a loss for words. I was trying for the metaphor that as a kid in the good old days at Silliman, it must be like what heaven is… where we can run free and be happy, and be loved by all, and taken care of by all, because all of Silliman/Dumaguete was our family. Maybe that’s all that needs to be said. Thanks for the memorial.
Thank you so much for this memorial of our playground! We all have fond memories of growing up on the campus.
Dr. Rey Rivera
I am deeply touched by your gesture of donating your botanical landscape dedicated to the campus kids. This donation carried me away to the point of missing the gist of what I wanted to say. I understand that the phrase “campus kids,” for which this botanical garden is dedicated, extends to all the kids who enter the portals of Silliman University to get their unique brand of our education. I see these campus and non-campus kids as the generation that will comprise what may be called the line of stewardship succession.
This beautiful donation fittingly described as Tuburan is associated with a number of symbolisms. Firstly, Tuburan has a profound philosophical meaning that runs deep into the abyss of human life. It means the origin. It is from where the source of genuine life comes. It also signifies the locus of deep thinking back for idea formation. As a source, Tuburan is one’s foundation – of one’s growth, progress, and transcending reflection beyond appearances of things. Hence, whoever is rooted in the origin shall not fail to sprout into the ether of progress and development.
This donation is a perfect reminder of our metaphysical root which has been forgotten, concealed and deeply buried into oblivion by the highly complex technological and scientific world. For instance, our education today has been separated from the origin of idea-formation. Science and technology which allow students and professors to see only the tangible and one side of the phenomenon dominate in today’s academic world and in the media intelligentsia. It is now recognized as the beginning of scientific knowledge and technological breakthroughs. Science and technology, therefore, have concealed and separated the kids and their professors from the Tuburan of idea generation and genuine knowledge production. We fail to recognize that “sciences come out of philosophy, because they have to part with her.” And this departure has uprooted us from the rich Tuburan of new knowledge. With this symbolism, your botanical garden donation has restored the hoped for “truth-seeking” on the campus. The beauty which this reveals to us is, according to Heidegger, “a fateful gift of the essence of truth and here truth means the disclosure of what keeps itself concealed.”
Connecting the kids and the professors to the Tuburan means to revive on campus the habit of inquiring or thinking which is capable of seeking that which is buried and concealed in the grave of the digital in the grave of the digital world. When sustained and well taken care of, Tuburan will remain the symbol and the act of restoring the “… gathering of recollection, the thinking back,” to the origin of Silliman education which we know is rooted in scripture.
Secondly, Tuburan means the home. In the homeground, we find a web of lives, harmoniously relating with one another; there is an experience of a family circle where one finds his abode of affection, peace and abundance.
Tuburan captures the essence of the truth of Silliman University life. At Silliman, we see the kids, faculty, the staff, and the administrators co-existing as one big family circle. The kids enjoy this abode of affection, peace and the care for everyone. The classrooms, the Galilean Fellowships, the athletics and cultural activities provide the venue of articulating the Tuburan culture. These venues of fellowship extend to the realization of the mystery of the biblical feeding of the multitude. The Tuburan culture then embraces the Silliman community life where everyone complements each other in the direction Hen Panta (All is One).
Finally, Tuburan represents a well-spring that, in turn, portrays a never-ending flow of water. It also means a continued free-flow of stewardship of succession from generation to generation. Tuburanmetaphor captures that web of Sillimaninans communing among themselves and with nature within and beyond generations. It speaks of the entrustment of the key of stewardship for Silliman University. This botanical garden becomes the emblem problem of the origin, the homeground, and thespring of Silliman life.