A few weeks back, I caught up with an old friend who is now based in Cagayan de Oro. Over some slices of cake and cups of coffee, we shared what we have been up to since our last meeting at Cebu. There was no specific agenda that afternoon. We just talked about the things that matter and even that those do not, in our small happy lives.
I was also delighted to learn that my friend has also done some traveling of her own. Her most recent one I gather, was in Iligan City which is just 1.5 hours away from Cagayan de Oro. She was then able to visit my alma mater, the Mindanao State University – Iligan Insitute of Technology (MSU-IIT), because they performed a few tests in one of our laboratories there.
“Kuya Bren, your school is kinda spooky,” she said. There was no hint of sarcasm or mercy or even humor on her face when she dropped that bomb. She also added that that our restrooms could be convincing sets for a Japanese horror movie and that Sadako could come right out of the cubicles anytime.
I somehow managed to gather my composure after how she described our campus and the college where I came from. I sipped my coffee and then just broke into a smile. At the back of my mind, she was probably right too. I also don’t know how MSU-IIT looks now, because it’s been awhile since I last visited my beloved campus.
The MSU-IIT that I remember does not have tall acacia trees or post-world war buildings. It was chartered only in 1968 and has been an autonomous external campus of the MSU System ever since. Its total area is also just approximately 9 hectares. So if you compare it with other universities in the Philippines, it is relatively young and small as well.
And just like all the other state colleges and universities in the country, our school has also experienced several budget cuts through the years. Even with these setbacks, we were still able to consistently produce top-caliber graduates, embark on various academic researches and forge meaningful dialogues especially with the diverse communities in Mindanao. All these were partly possible because of our fruitful collaboration with local government agencies, private organizations and international universities.
So even if the tuition fee is very affordable (when I graduated, one unit costs only Php 12.00), our professors see to it that the students, especially those coming from Mindanao, would still enjoy the same quality of education no matter what. We learned as a result, how to make the most out of this opportunity and out of everything else that comes our way.
We do not have stories about headless priests or mysterious dorm joggers or floating corpses. The only campus legends that I know of are the exceptional students, not only those with latin honors but also those who are undeniably brilliant in their own chosen fields – in various businesses, the arts, the academe, research and development and pretty much everything else in between. What I particularly liked about them is that they just work diligently in the background and that they never yearned for the limelight even if their successes deserve some form of media attention.
Well, it is understandable that you can be so married to your own alma mater. We always see this in various college competitions and debate rivalries and even up to our present working environments. But I think that remaining humble with what you have achieved before and after your graduated in college – this virtue is one of the better ways you can honor the ideals of your alma mater. We have our own share of airheads mind you, but the alumnis I referred to, have in that regard, honored MSU-IIT in more ways than one.
I have too many fond memories of my school, but this is the MSU-IIT that I knew or that which I tried to squeeze in just a few paragraphs. Yes, some of our buildings may look spooky but it is the students, the teachers and the staff that breathe life to all its seemingly empty corridors and to every dimly-lit corner in the campus. Despite being hard-pressed in recent times, it is one of the best academic institutions in this part of the world.
MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology
Andres Bonifacio Avenue, Tibanga, 9200 Iligan City, Philippines
Telephone: +63 63 221-4056 | +63 63 492-1173
Facsimile: +63 63 351-6173