Valedictory Address by Mr. Ernest P. Delmo (BS ChE, summa cum laude)

i Jul 19th by

Ernesto P. Delmo, BS Chemical Engineering, Summa Cum Laude

To the students, professors, parents, and guests, to our very own Dean, Dr. Rizalinda De
Leon and to our honored guest, Dr. Benito Pacheco, good afternoon! To the graduating class
of 2018, congratulations and a job well done to everyone! It has been one hell of a journey,
and we have reached the end of a very long segment of our lives. ‘Tapos na ang mga majors,
mga thesis consultations, mga design projects, mga GE, at mga Engineering Science subjects
natin’. I am sure everyone of us has been reminiscing, relaxing, or even partying during the
past days as a reward for the diligence everyone has exhibited in the past years. You deserve

The past days have been very interesting for me. Days before graduation, just after my
weighted average grade was announced – I was flooded with the following questions from my
friends, family members, acquaintances, and even strangers – ‘di ka na po ba natutulog
kaaaral’, ‘isa kang idolo – how to be you po’, ‘ang galing mo siguro mag-manage ng time
and stress, ang sabi sa akin’. From there, I instantly understood that the image of a perfect,
flawless student was being projected on me. “Sa utak-utak ko, iniisip ko – ganoon ba akong
klaseng mag-aaral? Ngunit kilala ko naman sarili ko at alam kong hindi talaga ako ang
estudyanteng nasa isip nila.’

In Engineering Science, or ES 11, terminology, I was being likened to a fixed support, able to
handle all kinds of loads and external forces – able to handle all the challenges life gives from
all directions. ‘Para akong inihalintulad sa podium na ito, kahit itulak ko man pakaliwa o
pakanan – kahit subukin ko itong baluktutin paikot ay hindi ito gagalaw. Kahit daw ano mang
ibato ng mundo sa akin, ay kaya ko raw – ito ang sabi nila’

But, I beg to differ. Most of the crucial turning points in my college life were actually caused
by shortcomings and almosts – almost failing my 7:00 AM Physics 73 class due to maxing
out the number of allowed absences – on a side note, for those who have been my classmates
here, you all know that waking up early was never my forte. That aside, I almost failed Bio 1
because of a 40/100 exam, I even almost filed a leave of absence during my second year due
to personal problems. ‘Kahit nga pong itong speech na ito ay hirap na hirap akong isulat at
ipractice lalo na’t hindi naman ako magaling magrecite sa klase. Hindi rin po ako uno sa
Comm 3.’. I knew deep down that I was not a full package, not a fixed support like this
podium, I was more of a simple support. ‘Para akong iyang legs ng mga upuan ninyo, kaya
ko man suportahan ang bigat ng isang tao o isang librong nakapatong sa akin, ngunit kapag
itinulak ako sa ibang direksyon, ako’y mapapagalaw, at baka pa’y matumba.’

How then did I handle the load that the past five years have given me – from academic to
personal obstacles? Simple. First – by having faith in myself in spite of my faults, and second
- by seeking support and working with others whenever needed. ‘Itong speech na ito? Nako,
paulit-ulit ko itong ikinonsulta sa mga bestfriend ko na sina Alec Yau, AJ Sadural, at Asis
Roxas. Sa mga bagsak ko, kinailangan ko lamang ng moral support ng mga kaibigan ko
upang makabawi. Sa pagiging late ko naman, simple lang – dahil hindi ako nagigising sa
alarm ko, nagpagising na lamang ako sa kapatid ko para di na ako malate.’.

It was then that I realized that the goal was never for me or for each of us to be the perfect
student, the perfect support, the podium, but about us learning to acknowledge our
imperfections and improving them, seeking help, working with others, and basically going on
in spite of these shortcomings – a difficult action in itself. ‘Kahit isa lamang akong leg ng
upuan ninyo, hindi pa rin ako natutumba sapagkat hindi ako mag-isa – apat kaming legs

nagsusuportahan sa isa’t isa’. I am not saying that cutting classes or being irresponsible is
okay – this is not a glorification of mediocrity or imperfections, but rather an encouragement
of redemption. To end the Physics 73 story, I never exceeded the maximum cuts of the
lecture class. After that faithful moment, the consequences of cutting classes became more
apparent to me. In fact, in my Eng 11 class – my first class last semester, I was never absent,
only sometimes late – all thanks to the second chance given to me.

When receiving support and guidance from our teachers, friends, and even from institutions
such as the university. It is important to note that they do this because they believe in us.
They support us because they know that we will grow as we survive through these obstacles.
The university believes in us when they fund our research, our tuition, and so on. That
organization that we applied to during our freshman years, in my case UP KEM – their
members believed in us despite our naivety back then. With this comes the second point of
my message – as others believe in us, we must believe in others as well.

When I say believe, I do not just mean having a passive role in the growth of others. I mean
sharing your passion to others in the hope that they will turn it into something of good use. I
mean making an effort to help the less fortunate and believe that they will put your service
into something fruitful one day. Give other people the chance to grow, to prove themselves,
in the same way others have believed in us and given us that opportunity.

To quote Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother – ‘When you believe in people, they
come through.’

One concept I would like to highlight here is the importance of exhibiting empathy and
understanding towards our fellow citizens. Believing in someone does not mean judging a
person’s character and reputation just because they do not adhere to the perfect standards of
society. Believing in someone must also include understanding a person’s situation, and
never giving up on them in spite of their shortcomings. This includes trying to understand
your groupmate or orgmate who has not been replying to your messages – maybe he’s going
through a grave, personal problem. This includes making an effort to understand the
circumstances of that person who had a different political view than yours – maybe his
privileges were not the same as yours.

Exercising empathy is now more relevant than ever as the number of diagnosed mental health
ilnesses has been increasing not only in the College, but in the whole of UP as well according
to Dean De Leon. We must help each other improve via support, not bring each other down
with judgement. I really like how Chancellor Tan worded it in his speech last May – Honor
and Excellence should always come alongside compassion. Let us be compassionate not
because we are expecting something in return, but because we have already received a lot of
support from this country.

The rippling effects of compassion and belief can be compared to the dynamics of rigid
bodies and fluids. Motion inspires motion in the same way that momentum transfers in fluid
flow. Compassion from you will breed compassion from others in the same way that an
action always has a reaction based on Newton’s 3rd Law. Passion from you will accelerate
the growth of other people, similar to the acceleration of objects upon the application of a net

What then, is the end goal of my message? What is the end goal of having faith and
exhibiting empathy in yourself and other people, of learning how to seek and give help and
support? ‘Ano ngayon kung nagsusuportahan tayo? Ano ngayon kung may pagmalasakit tayo
para sa kapwa natin?’

Let us go back to the perfect student or should I say, the perfect support – the bottom of this
podium. Yes, it can counteract my pushes, my twists, and any external forces. It’s statically
determinate, it’s stable based on the concepts of the statics of rigid bodies – a perfect support
indeed! It turns out, however, that even the best support can fail once the concepts of
deformation, or trese, is applied. Apply a large force, and this podium will bend despite the
support holding its bottom. In the context of ES 13, no matter how strong the support, the
object will still crumble upon its own internal stresses in the presence of very large external
forces. ‘Samakatuwid, kahit ang isang perpektong estudyante, hindi pa rin niya kakayaning
hawakan at lutasin ang mga malalaking isyung panlipunan.’.

The national issue at hand could be climate change or the energy crisis. It could be the war on
drugs, the violation of human rights, or even the neverending inequalities in today’s society.
A single, perfect student could never solve it. I could never comprehend solving these issues
by myself.

Solving these problems then becomes simpler – we just have to act together. Only multiple
imperfect students would be able to handle the world’s complexity. This is the main message
I would like to convey today – for everyone to exhibit more understanding for ourselves and
for others, not because we are unable to stand alone, but because together, greater feats may
be achieved, feats unachievable by individuals alone. In the same way that multiple supports

are required in big structures such as bridges and buildings, multiple people are required to
team up in tackling these issues.

I am sure we have all witnessed the impact of solid teamwork and camaraderie in the
organizations we have in UP. ‘Grabe, sa Engineering Week palang, ang taas na ng kalidad
ng sining na ipinapamahagi natin. Sa mga event ng mga iba’t ibang organisasyon sa Engg at
sa UP, ang dami nating natutulungang mga bata, mga matatanda, mga estudyante, at mga
taong nangangailangan.’. Imagine applying those not as students anymore, but as capable,
working citizens, each with his or her own profession. Envision the changes we could pave
the way for by not anymore serving the college through student organizations, but by serving
the country through our own career paths.

The problems of society cannot be solved by a perfect student or person. Instead, they can
and will be solved by imperfect people sympathizing with each other, working together
towards a shared dream to serve others and the nation. In other words, the world does not
need one perfect summa cum laude, ‘ang kailangan lamang ay summa-summa tayong
nagsisikap tungo sa pag-unlad ng ating bansa.’

Thank you, and before we tread through our own separate paths, I want each of us to thank all
the people who have played a part in our growth for the past years. To UP KEM, UP CAPES,
UP INHENYERO, to my best friends Alec, Asis, Rans, Lyssa, and AJ, to the College of
Engineering, and to my family, especially my late father. I dedicate my graduation to you.

As we sing UP Naming Mahal this evening, I want each and everyone of us to remember the
critical thinking our GEs have taught us, the engineering sense our majors have given us, and

the passion to serve our college has bestowed upon us. Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan!
Thank you and I look forward to working with you in the future.