Japan-based UB alum graces commencement rites; talks about ‘being your own inspiration,’ being an OFW, and helping people

by RONALYN BANAKEN

 

 

Prof. Joseph Romero, who finished AB English in UB, delivers his address at the commencement exercises.

 

 

At the University of Baguio (UB) commencement rites last May 27, over 900 graduates were conferred degrees. On that occasion, UB alumnus Prof. Joseph Romero spoke before the graduates.

 

Prof. Romero first talked about “working your way up,” saying, “You have to start from the very bottom.”

 

He talked about how one should do things with compassion, “using not only your brain, but your heart to get others to walk with you to reach a collective achievement.”

 

“Have the willingness to push [for] what is right and what is true… If it is right, fight for it. If it is wrong, shut up, own up [and] change,” he firmly said.

 

‘The Filipino has honor and dignity’

Narrating how he had a taste of racial slur in Japan, Prof. Romero recounted when he was just starting.

 

“[At first,] I was not recognized as an English teacher. They thought I was a seaman, or someone who sang in a band. My university recognized my American and Canadian colleagues because they’re white.  I was always the third choice,” he said. 

 

But he worked his way up. He now heads the Nagasaki Wesleyan University International Programs.

 

“Show them that the Filipino has honor and dignity. More importantly, have sincerity in what you do. It’s what really makes people want to work with you,” he said.

 

‘Be your own inspiration’

Prof. Romero remembered how he had a vision on what to embark on fresh off college, telling the graduates, “Have a design in life. Be sure you have a goal, [and] you have to be serious about it. [More importantly,] you have to take the responsibilities that go with whatever plan you have,” he said, emphasizing the significant role that sense of responsibility and dedication play in completing a goal.

 

“Look on the bright side of things. Your peace of mind must never be ruined by the unexpected turn of events,” he added.

 

“Be your own inspiration. Say, ‘This is me and this is what I can do,’” he said. “Above all else, take new challenges and horizons.”

 

‘It’s not dreams you sleep with, it’s tears’

Prof. Romero spent most of his career in Japan. In his address, he shared how it feels like to be an overseas Filipino worker, reminding particularly those whose parents are abroad.

 

“It’s lonely being an OFW. It’s hard. Your heart is heavy. Whenever you sleep, it’s not dreams that you sleep with, it’s tears,” he said. “Be grateful to your parents. Be grateful to the ones who sent you to school. Without them, you wouldn’t be where you are right now,” he said.

 

‘Help people’

Prof. Romero has put up a foundation called Lapis at Papel. In his talk, he admonished the graduates to “be kind to people and help them.”

 

Emphasizing the value of humility, he concluded, “If you can find something that could help other people, do it.”

 

 

 

Scroll down for photos from the event

Photos by Rene Pascua/UB Media Affairs and Publications Office

 

 

 

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 UB president Prof. Dhanna Kerina B. Rodas at the ceremony 

 

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Parents pin the hood on the graduates.

 

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  The graduates take their oath of loyalty at the concluding part of the rites. 

 

 

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