As Lasallians, we are united in our mission and goals set by our alma mater. Those before us that have succeeded in this mission and accomplished these goals have shown us that there is not only one way to do so. They have shown to us that even in our common mission, we can still become uniquely good and in effect, uniquely important.
That is what we learned when we set out not only to find out what makes a Lasallian important, but also to know the stories of the singular people that are deemed so. While beliefs, intellect, and capabilities all play major roles in determining importance, we realized that to be an important Lasallian, one has to be important to Lasallians. With this in mind, we interviewed integral members of the Lasallian community on who they believe to be important Lasallians.
While we defined importance as lives touched or altered, the definition was ultimately decided by the answers of the people that we have interviewed.
Talking to Professor Fred Cabuang—who is more known by his moniker, Tito Fred—showed to us that even sixty-plus years ago, basketball was the talk of the town. Before Teng, Casio, or Ritualo, we had Campos. We learned about the heights that La Salle once reached in the athletic world and that those are not just memories, but goals set to us by our predecessors.
Tito Fred on Ramoncito Campos
“If there is one Lasallian that I will consider as being good at who he is, it should be Ramoncito Campos. He was a three time Olympian, a Lasallian, and he was a part of the team that made La Salle win in the NCAA in the 50’s. He was recognized worldwide, and I think La Salle should be even more recognizable.”
Ramoncito Campos is a former La Salle basketball player who represented the Philippines in three straight Olympic Games from 1948 to 1956.
Santugon President Gregg Tolentino once played the role of Danny Zuko in his high school’s drama club production of Grease. That is why it comes as no surprise that he identifies with another man of the arts and acting, Director Fritz Ynfante. Tolentino not only talks about how Ynfante’s work ethic in productions exemplifies an important Lasallian but also describes him through the values made important to us by our school.
Gregg Tolentino on Director Fritz Ynfante
“Perhaps most of the people who had the chance to work with him in several productions before find him as plainly the strict and terror old man directing everything. However, I believe that for those who had the chance to converse with him outside work, to friends and those he mentored, Tito Fritz’s being Lasallian can truly be felt.
Faith. As a devout member of the Church, he never tires to share faith-centered advice while considering other perspectives in crucial circumstances.
Service. He knows when to share his time, talent and treasure in the service of those who need it, putting God’s love in front of his works.
Communion. Unconsciously perhaps, he binds the community together through his workshops and directions.
Indeed, his ways deserve to be shared to inspire and show possibilities to the younger generation of Lasallians.”
Fritz Ynfante is an actor and director who starred in movies as early as the 1970s.
Simply typing the last name of Dr. Tereso Tullao Jr. into the Google search engine will give you an idea of how grand his legend is. More times than not, the predictive text of Google will suggest “Tullao economics.” It is as simple as that. His take on important Lasallians shows his great understanding of the responsibilities of the media and importance of the people who handle it.
Dr. Tereso Tullao Jr. on Ronaldo Manzano and Larisa Salaysay
“They shape the opinions of the students and they are instrumental in the overall education of every Lasallian. The fact that as Editor in Chief, they manage the leading newspapers of the community, and therefore they can direct or choose what topics that you should pursue – that can influence the mindset of the students.”
Ronaldo Manzano and Larisa Salaysay serve as the Editor-in-Chief of their respective publications, The LaSallian and Ang Pahayagang Plaridel.
The description given seems fit for one of our De La Salle Brothers. Instead, it is used to describe Dr. Brian C. Gozun, a name that popped up more than once during the many interviews. Accountancy Professor Placido Menaje has nothing but high praises for him, even nicknaming him after his relaxed demeanor in pressure situations.
Placido Menaje on Dr. Brian C. Gozun
“He embodies commitment, integrity, and openness. He is ‘Mr. Cool’ and always responds positively even in difficult situations. Very approachable and always willing to help, he has a big heart for everyone – his peers, students, guards, staff, and other members of the community. I am so privileged to have him as my professor in my various doctoral courses.”
Dr. Brian Gozun is a professor at De La Salle University under the Decision Sciences and Innovation Department.
Once DLSU President and Chancellor and now serving as a General Councilor for the De La Salle Brothers in Rome, Br. Ricky Laguda FSC is arguably one of the most popular Lasallian figures in recent years. A smile that has been seen not only around campus but also in the numerous selfies that he accommodates, he is nothing short of important and essential in our community as the Punong Patnugot of Ang Pahayagang Plaridel, Larisa Salaysay explains beautifully.
Larisa Salaysay on Br. Ricky Laguda FSC
“He is well loved by the Lasallian community because of his humility and dedication to his calling. You can see his effort in establishing harmonious relationship among the sectors of the University.”
Br. Ricky Laguda FSC is the former President and Chancellor of DLSU and is currently the Pacific-Asia Regional Conference General Councilor for the De La Salle Brothers in Rome.
The term student-athlete is heavily used in our community. Our obsession of both sports and competition is what credits that. Regardless of who is saying it or where it is coming from, one thing remains the same: student always comes before athlete. Professor Junius Yu recognizes this in the former first baseman of the DLSU Green Batters, Jay Laurel. He explains that Laurel is a great example of this balance and that maybe this model may need a higher pedestal.
Junius Yu on Jay Laurel
“He is an athlete [and], at the same time, a student. Not many athletes are like [him] because some athletes of course they just focus on the athletic side, but on his part, even if he is an athlete, he is the first person to go to class and he’s the last person to leave; that’s work ethic. He exemplifies work ethic.
We wish to have many like that from the athletic program. So it’s a balance. Laurel exemplifies that. You can see, the thirst for learning is there, and that’s very inspirational. I hope it inspires other athletes to do the same.”
Jay Laurel was the first baseman of the DLSU Green Batters in the UAAP from 2009 to 2013 and played for the Alabang Tigers in Baseball Philippines.
While we learn more about ourselves at times of adversity, we also build bonds and connections with the company we keep at the time. It is during our times of trial that we truly see the value of companionship. This is what Dr. Eppie Clark tries to explain and why our University Chaplain, Rev. Fr. Dante Funelas is the perfect example for that.
Dr. Eppie Clark on Rev. Fr. Dante Funelas
“You know, I go to church, to the mass, and the one who preaches, one Dante Funellas, he’s just new, but his exposition now is very amusing. I think he only started during his time and that’s good. When my mother died, he was there. He makes sure that he leaves a warm impact on people. He’s interested in people.”
Dante Funelas is the University Chaplain of DLSU and a member of the Lasallian Pastoral Office.
While not all of us are privileged enough to play in the UAAP, The LaSallian’s Editor in Chief, Ronaldo Manzano, explains that even a team’s supporters can stand out and make a difference. He goes further into pointing out one fan of the DLSU Green Archers that has done more than that.
Ronaldo Manzano on Tony Lebron Atayde
“He’s so influential online. He gives criticism and praise about La Salle’s basketball team plus he discusses other issues in his posts and because of that, he has gained quite a following. He’s a fixture at the games, whether it’s a winning or losing season. He’s always there and you can easily spot him in the crowd. You know you’re a fan of the Green Archers if you know who he is. He’s the ultimate La Salle supporter and he shows us all how to live the Animo.”
Tony Lebron Atayde is a La Salle alumnus and avid supporter of the Green Archers. He gained popularity for his blog, The Green Mind, which he retired in 2013.
While we do have control to a certain extent of what we do and say, we do not get to control of what we will be remembered for. Usually, the memories that people have of us will be that of our grand moments and big gestures, but sometimes, it is the small and seemingly unnoticed things we do that speak most about our character.
Elsie Velasco on Br. Andrew Gonzales
“Even during his time, he acted as Santa Claus with his Christmas parties. No president has done that. No De La Salle President has ever done that. When he puts on that Santa Claus costume, he really fits as a Santa Claus. Everybody knows Santa Claus. He was really a Santa Claus to the academic community, even to the children.”
Br. Andrew Gonzales FSC was the DLSU President from 1979 to 1991 and from 1994 to 1998.
Tapat President Robbie Arcadio speaks of a man that can’t be typecast. Inside or outside school, students or teachers, strangers or family, he continues to help and continues to smile.
Robbie Arcadio on Xavier Lara
“I was at the People’s Initiative rally against pork barrel a couple of weeks back, and Sir X was one of the two admin slash faculty members who I saw there. While watching the program for the afternoon unfold, we had a chat on the different issues of the people with the government, and simple ways we could make a difference. He does things like this, along with his tireless work for the Office of Student LIFE—which he takes very seriously, and also helping mold student leaders, and working for a good environment for students. The way he manages his family life, and his always-cheery disposition, merits recognition as an essential Lasallian. Sir X is nationalistic, hard working, simple, cheerful, and always ready to lend a helping hand. What more would St. La Salle want?”
Xavier Lara is a faculty member of the Office of Student LIFE, which stands for leadership, involvement, formation, and empowerment.