I personally remember how some of our students will joke about skipping the month of February because they are either single or broken hearted. For them, there is no point in celebrating Valentine’s day.

For others who are in love, however, Valentine’s day is one of those celebrations they look up to because it is the time of the year that we emphasize the importance of love in our lives.

There is no doubt that February is a synonym of love. This is how we have valued this month. That is why, I have personally organized an austere but meaningful Valentine’s eve celebration in VSU. The last time we held such an occasion was really a long time ago. I can’t even remember when that was.

Why are we reviving such an event? Simple. Whether you’re in a relationship right now or not, we can never undervalue the essence of love in our lives. Some may find what I said as either a cliché or being too ‘extra cheesy’ but for me, love is what drives us to continue our purpose in life.

When I took on my first job in ViSCA as a researcher at PhilRootcrops, it was my undying love to serve this institution that kept me going. Because of my love and dedication to my work, I have slowly reaped local and international recognitions that somehow contributed to making our dear VSU great. Whenever I am presenting a paper for competition here and overseas, I always remind myself how I am bringing the banner of my beloved alma mater. As I made a humble name for myself in terms of scientific research, irresistible and tempting offers for me to transfer in other institutions came in like mushrooms. But every time I feel enticed to take their offer, my overwhelming love for VSU becomes my ultimate reason to stay and resist a greener pasture abroad.

I am personally aware that my story of love for VSU is not an exclusive thing for me because I have also known that some of our accomplished faculty members and researchers were also offered with bigger opportunities, five-fold the salary or greater, for them to jump-ship to larger boats. But their enduring love for VSU made them stay here and serve our dear university.

Knowing this by heart humbles me everyday. That our outstanding faculty researchers and scientists have stayed here despite of a meager pay and other numerous challenges we have as an institution.

When I took over as chief steward of VSU, I always remind myself of my unconditional love for VSU in every major action and decision I make because I know that not everyone gets the rare opportunity of steering the wheel of VSU towards a better future. I am here serving as the captain of our ship blessed with an outstanding crew who at most times are tirelessly working in the background not for their own glory but for the overall glory of VSU.

This kind of selfless love is what we should all remember when we commemorate Valentine’s day. This is also the kind of enduring love that I hope we are passing to our junior faculty and staff who are still making a name of their own. I hope that by telling this story, I am inspiring our young colleagues to nurture their love for VSU because more than anything else, it is our collective love for VSU is what makes this institution great and noble.

May we all continue to love VSU so that every time we are confronted with difficult challenges, we can easily go back to that love when it is too hard to move forward. Our love for VSU will surely transcend to making our dear institution better, stronger and more resilient.

Happy love month to all of you, my dear Viscans!