A Perspective on Letran's Unsung Heroes

By: Juan Manalo
August 28, 2023

Artwork by Eah Dino of The LANCE.

They say that heroes are not born, they are made. Mostly, they are around to serve and be of an aid. 

As Colegio de San Juan de Letran commemorates the celebration of this year’s National Heroes Day, the spotlight shines on the respected staff of the Colegio; from those who are stationed in the fortified gates to those who are seen mostly in the halls of the illustrious institution.

A Watcher on the Edifice

Mr. Noel Villegas has been serving as a security guard in the Colegio for almost 28 years. Before taking the assignment in 1995, he was reluctant to accept the directive from his agency because of bigger responsibilities waiting for him, which include monitoring of students, implementation of the school’s policy, and ensuring peace.

The 49-year-old security guard acknowledged the weighty requirement of their everyday obligation. According to him, one of the most challenging parts of their job is when there are instances of physical quarrels among groups of students. As the first respondent, security guards like him happen to be the recipients of unsolicited hits and punches. 

Despite the heavy workload, Mr. Villegas managed to find gratification when he knew he had accomplished his task of the day without any failure and disaster befalling the Letran community. Because of his family, especially his four children, they give him much needed strength to carry on with the challenges of the responsibilities.

As a security guard, Mr. Villegas handles a huge amount of duty but for him, and also for his colleagues, there is always a reason for such heaviness to be lightened.

“Sakin, bilang isang security guard sa Letran, yung pinaka-best ko rito, yung napasaya namin yung mga estudyante, na-greet namin ng maayos, na kapag kami po yung nag-gree-greet sa kanila, yung mga estudyante nagreresponse sa amin ng maganda, maganda yung mga reaksyon nila, oo, masaya na kami roon,” said Mr. Villegas.

An Aficionado of Purpose

In the area of basic education, Ms. Gina Chavez found a reason to be thankful and happy as she always makes sure the walls and floors are clean and safe for the children and teachers to stay and pass by. 

Upon the assignment of her agency to appoint her in the basic education sphere of Letran, she took it with joy even though the job was expected to be challenging. In her 17 years of service in the Colegio, the 57-year-old janitress never saw it as testy or difficult because of her love and passion for what she is called for. 

“Handa akong gamapanan ang aking tungkulin para po matulungan lahat ng mga estudyante lalo na po yung mga maliliit na mga kabataan. Magaan po lahat kasi po mahal ko po ang aking mga ginagawa na trabaho dito sa Letran,” Ms. Chavez said.

As a janitress, it is Ms. Chavez’s responsibility to maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of her station, to be of assistance and help to the pupils and to be of aid as well to the educators. This everyday routine of hers is what gives her a sense of fulfillment.

She added, “Paggising ko palang po sa umaga dito kaagad ang iniisip ko, ang Letran kaagad ang iniisip ko na sana Panginoon, magagampanan ko lahat sa buong maghapon ang aking ginagawa yun po ang masaya palagi.”

When asked about the special aspect of her duty, it is the fact that she also gains more knowledge from the pupils and faculty as she converses with them frequently. 

“Nadadagdagan ang kaalaman ko ‘yun po ang pinaka espesyal sa akin at nagpapasalamat po ako sa Panginoon kasi kahit matanda na ako marami pa rin ako natututunan sa mga katulad niyong mga bata pa lang po, naituturo ko sa mga anak ko,” the janitress shared emotionally.

Being a cradle of heroes, Colegio de San Juan de Letran continues to uphold its mission to produce learners who are ready to take a relevant role in the world with the guidance and compass of its dedicated educators. But this aim would not be possible without the hands that ensure the safety and orderliness of everyone inside the campus, indeed, the modern heroes.