Photo Cover By Hallvard Cano
Photo Cover By Hallvard Cano.

Benilde Manila and Antipolo confer degrees upon 1,051 graduates, grant Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo the Benildean Medallion

“Ang kabataan ang mitsa ng pagbabago sa anumang lipunan. (The youth are the catalysts for change in any society.),” former senator Atty. Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan urged the 1,051 graduates to embrace their historical role as agents of change in shaping the future.

By Jonas Roque | Monday, 24 July 2023

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, both Manila and Antipolo campuses, held its second face-to-face commencement exercise for A.Y. 2022-2023, bidding farewell to the 1,051 graduates at the Philippine International Convention Center on July 22. The ceremony was graced by an esteemed guest of honor, former Senator Atty. Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan. In the same ceremony, Olympic medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo was awarded the Benildean Medallion for her exemplary performance.


To kick off the momentous day, Vice President for Lasallian Mission and Student Life Ms. Ma. Veronica “Nicky” Templo-Perez served as the Master of Ceremonies.


Former four-term senator of the Philippines and Lasallian alumnus Atty. Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan spoke for the opening remarks as he recognized the challenges the graduates faced during the pandemic, redefining the world as we knew it. He stated, "Not since World War II has the country and the entire world faced such a calamity of epic proportions, and yet your generation of youth looked the calamity in the eye, suffered its fateful consequences, and so to speak, lived to tell your story." He congratulated the graduates for overcoming adversity, emphasizing that the lessons they learned during these challenging times would be their greatest assets as they confront future challenges head-on.


The seasoned legislator highlighted how information and its dissemination "on steroids" can profoundly shape our daily lives at an unprecedented speed, scope, and scale. He challenged the graduates to use education and critical thinking skills to navigate the complexities of social media, to seek diverse viewpoints to foster a more informed society, and to be compassionate towards the fallen victims of the "infodemic" rather than judging and condemning them. "’Wag maging ‘marites,’" he added, "At huwag maging mapiwanala sa mga marites.’”


The graduating batch received their degrees in a conferment ceremony led by President Br. Edmundo Fernandez FSC. The deans from Benilde Manila and Antipolo presented the graduates' accomplishments and conducted the hooding ceremony for the finishers of the Graduate Programs. The commencement exercise honored six students with summa cum laude distinction, 65 with magna cum laude, and 155 with cum laude. Special awards were given to three outstanding individuals. Mary Athena Gundan received the Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC Leadership Award, Aira Fatima Yutuc received the Br. Cecilio Hojilla FSC Community Service Award, and Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist, was awarded the Benilde Medallion.


Louisa Ray Cagaligan, a Summa Cum Laude graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Production Design (AB-PROD), delivered words of appreciation on behalf of the graduating students. She recounted how she let go of her dreams of following traditional Asian household paths to pursue a niche course that is only offered at Benilde. She explained how the concept of production design is intertwined with our purpose in life and why it is important to tell a story.


"Benilde reminds me of vast, expansive theaters that can be configured into cities, rooms, forests, and anywhere my mind can wander," she expressed gratefully, as the College has provided the space to actualize her dreams. She challenged her batch to find their own spaces to design beyond Benilde as they go forth into the future. 


"I hope we can change canon events and break generational curses,” she emphasized.