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When The Dream and The Dreamer Become One

Written by: Mr. Philip Donald P. Herrera, LPT, MAAL

Last May of this year, I received a stunning news that my then working thesis was accepted for oral presentation in the 15th Philippine Linguistics Congress, one of the largest gathering of Filipino linguists devoted to the study and preservation of the Philippine languages. It was in itself a feat.

Last week, I travelled to Manila to present this thesis, after having finished my Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics. At the onset, I was nervous as this was my first travel alone and my first presentation in UP. However, the days went by so fast that I did not realize that I already made friendships and established academic linkages not only within the University of the Philippines but also universities in other regions.  It was in itself a feat.

My parallel session was scheduled on the first day of the conference. I did not quite know what to expect. Will my fellow linguists attend my parallel session? Will they bombard me with a lot of questions? I just knew in myself that I needed to be truthful in my presentation. To my surprise, my parallel session got the most attendees including foreign linguists visiting the university. In fact, Dr. Merlies Salazar, a renowned linguist and expert of the European languages, dropped by during my presentation. It was a humbling experience to me. That, when one presents his paper, it is not a test of intellect but rather a venue for possible exchange of ideas—a marriage of true minds, as Shakespeare would say.

Then the parallel session started. The focus of my paper was on the empty root kuan a staple linguistic entity in Cebuano-Bisaya conversations. In my study, I looked at its functions respective of the discourses from a radio platform as well as its placement in specific utterances. In other words, I tried to make sense of the ‘meaning’ of kuan in our language.

When I was a child, I only dreamt of becoming a classroom teacher, but God has given me more. I am privileged to be living in my childhood dream—when the dreamer and the dream become one. Hopefully, this professional endeavor will inspire not only my fellow teachers to pursue research in their respective fields but also, most importantly, my students as they take on their professional journey. As I am currently teaching Practical Research 1, I hope that they realize that research is not an intimidating field but an exciting one at that.

I am immensely grateful to the University of the Philippines – Department of Linguistics for the opportunity. To my students, I brought you all with me in spirit as this is our work. Likewise, I give honor to my thesis adviser Dr. Mary Ann P. Malimas of the University of San Carlos for the inspiration and love. Finally, I could have not made it there without the support of the Faculty and Staff Development Office under the leadership of Dr. Charlie O. Codizar. A magis thank you to my ever-dearest Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu.

Mr. Philip Donald P. Herrera, LPT, MAAL is a teacher and a budding linguist. He works at Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu. He has served in various capacities such as, most notably, being a two-term member of the Institutional Research Council (representing the Junior High School and Senior High School Departments respectively) tasked to help consolidate efforts geared towards research and promote the research culture of the school. He obtained his Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics in 2023 and his Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in English (Magna Cum Laude) in 2018 from the University of San Carlos.

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