During my freshman year in college, I had the great fortune to study literature under the esteemed National Artist, Salvador Bernal.
Having barely dipped our toes into college life, such a quirky professor can almost be too intimidating to bear. Mr Bernal would start every class with a quiz on obscure vocabulary words. As the class discussed the story, everyone would start flipping their textbooks with feigned diligence as he randomly called students to answer his out-of-this-world questions. Reading hundreds of pages proved futile for his unpredictable long exams. Studying literature under Salvador Bernal was often stressful and occasionally even nerve-wracking. It was also everyone's favorite class.
In my four years in Ateneo, I had the privilege to learn from the best educators in the country. Salvador Bernal stood out as the best of the best, and he remained my favorite teacher all the way until my graduation. I still remember how his classes made reflecting on stories as fun and stimulating as a treasure hunt. Every question he asked unraveled layers of meaning until we finally arrived at that elusive gem of insight. By encouraging us to think and to discover, he instilled in us a sense of wonder and a genuine love for learning. The lessons he taught us changed the way I saw the world.
Farewell Mr. Bernal. Thank you for teaching me how to see life through the prism of literature. I owe you my fascination for the written word, and for that I will always be grateful.