Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur

My teachers, my heroes within

In August, we celebrated National Heroes Day to honor the founding fathers of our nation and in September, we celebrate Teachers’ Month in honor of our mentors. Our national heroes gave their lives to our nation; our heroic teachers devoted their lives to fulfill the dreams of our national heroes.  And “We are the heroes that we need,” according to Lasallian Scholarum awardee Rachel Barawid.  This heroism within us comes from our DNA, nature’s gift from our parents and our education, nurture and care of our teachers. Today, I honor my teachers at home and in school for they have become an intimate fabric of my life.  They are my heroes within me.

Family teachers The home as a classroom was primarily ruled by Lola Tesang Clavel vda de Torrecarion. She taught me life skills: going home before the 6 p.m. oracion, personal care and rosary before dinner, backyard industry by raising pet chicken and pigs; planting root crops in our garden, and learning to cook embotido, morcon, and estofado.  My religious formation under her included daily rosary with a litany of the saints, Saturday confession, and Sunday mass.In the 50s, when pupil-centered learning was unheard of, Tita Odes Torrecarion Aspiras, my Grade I public school teacher at Bacolod East Elementary School, allowed me to write with my left hand.  Tito Eyong Torrecarion and Tito Junior Torrecarion taught me to use the speedball pen and India ink to do lettering in Old English.  Tita Jo Torrecarion Bautista, University of Santo Tomas ballet instructress, introduced me to the art of dancing, and at the age 14, I was doing the boogie-woogie with my elder sister Day Vick as my partner.

My profession as a teacher was greatly influenced by my mother, Luz Torrecarion Hudtohan. On school days, she left home before 6 a.m. and she came home after 6 p.m. As a public school teacher, she began her career as a classroom teacher and retired with a rank of principal 4. After World War II, she earned her elementary teacher’s corticated (ETC) at La Consolacion College Bacolod. During summer, she was persistent in her studies at the Teachers’ Camp in Baguio City until she earned her MA in teaching elementary agriculture.  When she died at the age 96, she was directress of her own pre-school, Haven Learning Center—a teacher to her last breath!

I owe my Lasallian education to her and the Brothers. It started with the scholarship program of Br. Francis Cody, FSC for the public school teachers opened a new horizon for my career as a Lasallian professor.  Br. Francis as champion of the poor also convinced the sugar planters of Negros to build schools for the children of their workers [sacadas] and he taught me to give up my merienda money for the education of the poor in Villamonte and elsewhere.  In 1967, upon high school graduation, he convinced me, Br. Roly Dizon FSC, Br. Ceci Hojilla FSC, Br. Crisanto Moreno FSC, Br. Manny Hilado FSC, Ricky Pijuan, and Philip Belzunce to join the Brothers.  If I may, Br. Francis was a golden jubilee Lasallian vocation recruiter who got 12 young men to enter the De La Salle novitiate and he is the father of hacienda schools that gave birth to the Lasallian supervised schools.

Lasallian mentors Speaking in English did not come easy for an Ilonggo like me. But my exposure to American speakers since 1957 at La Salle Bacolod helped me mimic their diction and pronunciation.  Gradually, my ears became attuned to the sound of English through the voice of Br. Felix Masson, FSC; Br. Francis Cody, FSC; Br. Dominic Fournier, FSC; Br. Vernon Poore, FSC; Br. Leander Fidelis, FSC; Br. Alexis, FSC; and Br. Bonaventure Richard, FSC.   However, it was Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC, a Kapangpangan, who helped me distinguish the pronunciation variants of the vowels (a, e, i, o, u), the difference between ‘t’ and ‘d’, ‘sh’ and ‘ch’, ‘t’ and ‘th’.  O, those  days of tongue-twisting exercises!

In 1961, Dr. Marcelino Foronda, college history teacher, taught me the importance of footnotes, using Turabian citation.  I did not realize then that plagiarism would be such an issue in the 21st century.  For example, his essay on oral history, Playing It By Ear, was littered numbers (footnotes); such was his respect for the ideas of other people.  There was Robert Lane, an American, who taught me English grammar which has served me well in my writings.  Cecilia Jalandoni, an Ilongga who studied in America; she further refined my written and oral English. Dr. Aurelio Calderon, a Southeast Asian professor and a journalist, inspired me to write for the Lasallian newspaper and much later in a national broadsheet.  I cannot forget Dr. Ariston Estrada who trained me in logic and demanded precision penmanship; a missing dot for letter “I” or an uncrossed  letter “t”  meant forfeiture of a test paper.

Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC, my La Salle Bacolod English teacher and professor in college, taught me to love literature.  He got me to read cover to cover The Brothers Karamazov and the other Russian classics. As my doctoral adviser, he taught me to be a practical researcher.  In 2004, when my dissertation proposal on quantum healing was rejected, he told me, “Propose a doable topic; when you are done you can write anything.” Later, I also followed his advice for all university academicians to “publish or perish.”  For this, I consider him the father of Lasallian academic research.

21st Century visionaries His close friend James Ebner, who was my theology professor at the Christian Brothers Center, New Mexico, USA, told me, “Writing as fun; get published.”  I remember these words every time I get stuck in doing a newspaper article or writing an academic paper. I somehow get a nudge from him and Br. Andrew.  Most importantly, the creative vision and modern hermeneutics of these two Brothers [Bender’s God as Mystery Present, and Gonzalez’s Towards an Adult Faith] inspire me to transcend my Baltimore catechism in the 50s to a 21st century worldview.

To my Lasallian and family mentors from 1957 to 2005, I thank you all for teaching me; your respective legacies live on because you are my heroes within me

Congratulations to George SK Ty, founder of Metrobank, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Metrobank and to Aniceto Sobrepeña, president of Metrobank Foundation, for the foundation’s continued advocacy for teachers’ excellence and support for the celebration of Teacher’s Month.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply