#PaskoSaVSU 2023

Good evening everyone, especially to our friends and partners from the local government including our hardworking officials of the Visayas State University.

Allow me first to recognize our former University President, Dr. Edgardo E. Tulin, whom we all thank for the many milestones that we currently experience because of the successful leadership that he rendered to our beloved VSU. Sir, daghan kaayong salamat!

I also acknowledge our alumni who are watching us via the livestream. Thank you for joining us in this annual celebration of thanksgiving and merrymaking.

Of course, how can I forget our dear students, the very people who fill our sprawling campus with your unmatched energy, dedication, and enthusiasm so that you can build a strong future for yourselves. Hello, our dearest students! 

I know that this week is quite full and frantic for you because we’re now heading to your dreaded final examination week. Hopefully, this short celebration will give you some time to pause and breathe for a moment so that you can prepare to fulfill your last remaining academic requirements as we end this semester.


My prepared Christmas message for you as the Caretaker of our dearest university is quite short. My take is simple. Celebration like this is an opportune time to reflect on what’s happening around us, not just in our immediate surroundings but also in our country and in the whole world.

We all know the essence of Christmas. And this is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the message that he brought to humanity. This story of Jesus contemplates the pillars of Christmas, which is why the celebration is framed in love and gratitude. 

They say that Christmas is the very beginning of the greatest love story ever told because it starts with the birth of an innocent child who later on would make the greatest sacrifice of offering his own life to bring salvation to all of humanity. 

Christmas, therefore, is more about hope, which is a gift from above to give us all the chance to experience the boundless mercy and love of our Creator.

As we commemorate the immaculate conception of a child who will later become the Messiah and challenge traditions while also providing us valuable teachings that we still live by today, let us all remember and pray for the safety and security of our dear brothers and sisters who are in war-stricken areas right now.

I believe that all of you are aware of the civilians, especially the women and children, who are sandwiched in a war happening in Palestine, Ukraine, and in other areas including here in the Philippines.


Yesterday, we were all shocked by the deadly bombing at a church service at Mindanao State University in Marawi City. Just a few hours ago, an Islamic State group claimed responsibility for this horrendous attack that killed four people and injured 50 individuals. 

It was disheartening to see the videos that were circulating online. The same is true when we get to be exposed to the plight of the indefensible children of Palestine and Ukraine who continue to suffer so much because of war between nations. Let’s offer them a prayer and dedicate this celebration so that the story of hope that Christmas brings in this season will also transcend to them even in these trying times.

Just like VSU, MSU Marawi is a sprawling beautiful campus filled with students and faculty members like you who have dedicated their lives to provide quality tertiary education for everyone, especially to the children of poor farmers and fisherfolk who would like to improve their living conditions.


Shocking news of violence like this that is perpetuated inside universities, which is supposed to be a safe space for all, is never acceptable. We call on everyone, Muslims and Christians, to unite and ensure peace and order so that we can protect everyone’s future.

While I was watching some devastating news clips about the bombing in MSU Marawi, I noticed one sign of hope that we can all reflect on so that we can gather together and talk about genuine peace. That hospital video clip that I saw wherein the injured Christians were being assisted by Muslim medical staff who were wearing hijabs. 

That for me was a message for all of us. That peace will never really prosper if we focus on the few things that divide us rather than on many things that make us common and the same. 

We’re all Filipinos despite our religion, ethnicity, and indigenous race. We’re all peace-loving and we all long for what is best for our country. We all want to improve the lives of our children so that we can build a better future not just for us but for our family members and for our country in general. We all want to experience sustainable prosperity that will give us a secure future for the next generations.

We #ProudViscans can help in pushing for initiatives that can promote long-lasting peace and prosperity through the scientific endeavors that we do here inside our university.


Pray for our war-torn brethren and let’s all aspire for a better future not just for us but for the whole world. This is what Christmas is about and I hope that all of us will live by the example of Jesus Christ who endured everything to save all of humanity.

Daghan kaayong salamat, maayong Pasko ug bulahang pagsulod sa bag-ong tuig para kanatong tanan!

[This message was delivered by OIC President Dr. Daniel Leslie S. Tan on December 4, 2023, during the annual Christmas Lighting Ceremony to open the yuletide season in the community. Photos included in this article are from Warren Cane Sopa of Kin Sopa Studio.]

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