It took more than 20 years for Liana Romulo—granddaughter of late Filipino diplomat Carlos P. Romulo—to collect memorabilia of her grandfather. After three more years spent planning and collaborating with DLSU, she and the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation inaugurated the Romulo Room in the Learning Commons on the 10th Floor of the Henry Sy Sr. Hall last January 18.
Designated as a student lounge, the room is decorated with the former diplomat’s keepsakes, including his possessions, writings, and awards. Guests including Sen. Cynthia Villar and a handful of C. Romulo’s relatives and descendants paid tribute to the Filipino statesman and honorary DLSU alumnus in the launching ceremony.
University President Br. Raymundo Suplido FSC described the room and its collection as a reminder of the value of “effective communication” and “critical thinking”, expressing his hope that Romulo’s accomplishments inspire visitors to set aside personal development and self advocacies for the interests of the nation.
“It is our hope that the excellent examples here [in the exhibit] of the written and printed works of [Romulo] will inspire and challenge our students exposed to them,” Suplido added.
Considered to have had a “long and illustrious career” as a Filipino statesman, C. Romulo served as an envoy and government official under various administrations and as the first Asian President of the United Nations General Assembly. The University of the Philippines alumnus would, after years of service, eventually become a Lasallian after being conferred an honorary doctorate in Educational Administration from DLSU in 1964.
Ricardo Jose Romulo, eldest son of C. Romulo and chairperson of the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation, praised his father’s legacy, describing an “extraordinary pattern” of topping achievements one after another.
R. Romulo recollected, “The soldier became a general; the top reporter became a Pulitzer [Prize-winning] journalist; and the diplomat became an ambassador.”
Former Thailand Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, who sits as Chairman of the International Board of Advisers of the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation, also delivered a message through a pre-recorded video. Panyarachun conveyed his gratitude toward the Filipino polymath, comparing him to the likes of global icons Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.
“He has done so many good things, but above all, he’s a good person,” he expressed.
Suplido shared similar sentiments with the former Thai prime minister, remarking how C. Romulo exemplified the Expected Lasallian Graduate Attributes—knowledge and skills Lasallian graduates are expected to acquire and demonstrate in their course of life.
He mentioned, “The vast number of issues and themes that [C. Romulo] reflected on and inaugurated in his writings make him an example to be followed and a mentor to learn from.”
Finding a home
With an array of works and achievements spanning “a full 70 years”, L. Romulo found her grandfather’s achievements and memorabilia “quite staggering”. His works, which were under the care of the Ayala Museum in Makati for the last 40 years, were returned to the Romulo family due to “space limitations”, L. Romulo revealed.
“This idea that we finally found a home is downright thrilling for me because now I have some of my house back,” she joked.
While collaborating with DLSU to construct an appropriate home for the collection, the concept of having a space for the youth to be “infected with [C. Romulo’s] energy and enthusiasm” spurred the idea of the Romulo Room, as revealed by L. Romulo.
Expressing his appreciation to the Romulo family for entrusting their relative’s legacy to DLSU, University Chancellor Br. Bernard Oca FSC hopes that the works displayed will inspire students to become “agents of societal change”.
DLSU Director of Libraries Christine Abrigo added that the learning space is not just intended for students to learn about C. Romulo and his achievements but also for visitors to gain a “deeper understanding” of culture, literature, and politics “as a nation”.
“This [room] is intended as a place of discovery, information, and conversation for every Lasallian—something that our library truly values,” Abrigo expressed.