UNIVERSITY of the Philippines Cebu (UP Cebu) granted degrees and titles to 309 graduates, with 43 cum laude honors, in the commencement exercises at the university’s Open Field yesterday.

University of the Philippines (UP) President Alfredo E. Pascual was the commencement speaker.

In his address, Pascual emphasized the need for UP graduates to understand that the sablay is not a prize for them to wear, but a symbol of the nation’s hope in them as leaders of the country.

“As UP graduates, you were taught to think differently, to challenge long-held beliefs and to provide answers rather than merely pointing problems out. Hence, you bear the responsibility of taking leadership in the development of our country. The sablay that you wear on your shoulders symbolizes that burden,” he said.

Pascual also shared his thoughts with the graduates on how to become successful leaders and weavers of meaningful change in the country.

He told the graduates to remember that “leadership is not a title, it is a task. You are expected to enable others to succeed and that requires humility.”

He added that to become effective leaders, UP graduates need to learn to work with others.

He, however, said that leadership needs preparation and that UP graduates are not expected to immediately serve national needs or become pillars of social justice as soon as they get their diploma.

“Nation-building is not an internship. You can serve the people even better if you have built on what you have already acquired in UP, just as a weaver cannot make beautiful patterns on creativity and genius alone. It will take time and an enormous amount of experience to create your masterpiece,” he said.

He encouraged UP graduates to build their capabilities through gaining more experience by pursuing further studies or working overseas. But he said they have, in the end, to come back and serve the Filipinos when they are ready.

“In due time, when you are ready, you have to return to this country and aspire for a life of service for the Filipino people. Service to the nation is a commitment of a lifetime, there is no need to rush, the nation will understand that you have to build yourself up before you can broaden your reach to serve the Filipino community,” Pascual said.


In her message as representative of the UP Cebu Class of 2016, Juli Ann Rosette Sibi, BA Mass Communication, cum laude, emphasized the need for UP graduates to serve the Filipino people.

“The sablays we wear today will stand as the bastion of our role as UP graduates. Our role that brings to the forefront not only excellence in duty, but honor for our country,” she said.

“We were tasked with the role of serving our fellow Filipinos the minute we enrolled in this prestigious university. Even if we are finally leaving UP Cebu, we must never turn a blind eye to the struggle of the Filipino people. We must always be Iskolars ng Bayan, para sa bayan, everywhere we go, towards the very end,” Sibi ended.


A total of 250 graduates earned their bachelor’s degree and other titles in BA Political Science, BA Psychology, BA Mass Communication, BS Computer Science, BS Biology, BS Mathematics, Bachelor in Management, Bachelor in Fine Arts (BFA) Product Design, BFA Studio Arts.

Included are those with a Certificate in Fine Arts (CFA) Industrial Design, CFA Product Design and CFA Studio Arts.

At least 59 graduates earned their Master of Education degree in Biology, English as a Second Language, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies, Environmental Science and Business Administration.


Among the graduates was Von Karlo Bayutas, a BA Psychology graduate and a proud transgender, who was allowed by the university to wear a dress in the graduation rites.

Bayutas had written a letter to formally ask for permission from the administration to cross-dress.

“I think of it as a matter of formality rather than some kind of a questioning. Hopefully in the future, we won’t need letters anymore just so we can be comfortable with ourselves,” she said.

Bayutas said she wore a dress to the graduation because she wanted to wear something that represented her and her individuality.

UP Cebu College Secretary, Purita Baltazar said Bayutas’s request was granted because the school recognizes the rights of the LGBT community.

Baltazar also said that the university had already allowed another student in the past to do this.

In 2013, Kenneth Vince Vilosola, now known as Vienne, was the first transgender student to graduate in the university wearing a dress.

“This person inspired me to do the same. Nakita bitaw nako siya na pwede ra diay, accepted ra ka as a person bisan ingon ana ka so mao to, I did the same. And happy ko sa akong decision (This person inspired me to do the same. I saw from her that it’s ok, that I am accepted as a person even if I am like this. So, I did the same and I am happy with my decision),” Bayutas said. Ianne Clarisse A. Ortiz, UP Cebu Intern