Iskolar Ng Bayan

Chit Juan

Chit Juan

There seems to be a common pill they give us at the State University. It’s called Nationalism. Although other schools have similar loyalty songs, basketball games, reunions and grand reunions, with UP it seems very simple. Maybe because we do not excel in basketball and Maroon is not a color you really want to wear as a jacket. Blue and green do make nice varsity jackets. So, with University of the Philippines, loyalty shows through your chest, your heart. Not with a jacket.

I recently met a Pharmacist who has been working for a government agency and we got to talk about the UP spirit. I asked her if she remembers being taught “the UP spirit” in a subject in school. “No,” she answered. “You just know it,” she continues. Maybe it’s because we went through the same experience of having to ride the “ikot” jeep. Maybe it’s because we went through the same experience of lining up in the cafeteria way before fast food places were in fashion. Maybe it’s because we all went through broken chairs, hot and humid classrooms and books you had to borrow from the Reserved section (meaning you could only have the book overnight).

Another friend and business partner recalls her UP days. I asked her the same question. She said “you really don’t pay attention to the scholarship until you are already out of school and working,” she says. She realized her fortune of having finished at the State University when she started to work and had to interview applicants from the UP and other schools. She then saw a different breed among the UP graduates. Were they more grateful they got almost a free education, subsidized by taxes paid by the Filipinos? Were they from humble roots who happened to excel in academics and thus got a “scholarship” from the University? Do they try harder because they were poor or had life-changing experiences such as losing a parent early in life, etc?

So when is the nationalism pill given by the school or taken by students? It is a slow-release , slow burn dose that hits you way after graduation. When you realize how lucky you are to have finished college on a pittance, then human nature tells you to give back. To perform for country. To do what you have to do to make a difference.

Other schools are run on a certain religious orders’ beliefs and values, still other schools run on standards of excellence in business and management, while the State University, I believe, is run by its graduates who have imbibed leadership and management skills , and most of all, love for country. I recently met UP President Fred Pascual and you can feel his passion to make the University more responsive to the times.

Though there are the usual protests, rallies and speeches which speaks of Freedom of Speech and the Right to Expression, UP is still a melting pot of high standards and academic excellence plus leadership. And if I may add, nationalistic pride.

I remember my Business School professor saying we are being trained to be managers and not employees or rank and file. We never needed Typing classes. We had to think of what had to be typed or we corrected what was being typed. (For the benefit of millenials, typing is a skill you had to master to get jobs in the old world. The speed and correctness of typing exams was a basis for getting accepted. The number of wpm or words per minute can mean getting a job or not being considered).

So what is aIskolarngBayan and when is he or she born? I hope that our UP students take this to heart. It did not have to be you. Over 11,000 hopefuls take the UPCAT every year and only 3000 or so seats are available. If you make it, please so not waste it. Do something for your school and eventually for your country. It is the cheapest price to pay for great education. It is the best bargain but only you can put the value on it.

Welcome UPCAT passers! And bravo to all those in the State University right now. Those who decided to serve the University like my colleagues who are now professors , I salute them. I could never accept even just a full time lecturer position.

Iskolar Ng Bayan. It is a right and a responsibility.

Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium and Centris QC malls. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates, youth and NGOs on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at


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