The One Real Weapon We Have


Last Wednesday, I was asked by our supervisor, in the person of Ms. Shiela Covarrubias (Public Information Officer of Zamboanga City), to write Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar’s message for the graduates of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University.

I was gobsmacked with what I have heard. Several things went through my mind – why me? I don’t think I will not be able to pull a material like this. I am ashamed of my own thoughts and words. Will the mayor like it?

Nonetheless, the challenge was accepted. Below is the message I wrote in behalf of the Mayor of Zamboanga City.

To the Graduates of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University,

Albert Einstein once quoted, “once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” This line speaks much about how much you’ve grown as a person during your stay in this highly regarded institution – the same institution where you faced several challenges head-on, learned some of life’s valuable lessons  and that gave you the weapon you now hold to make it in life; education.

Before I became the mother of this city, I was a mother of students like you. Moreover, there was nothing more important than sharing my knowledge to the young who would become the next leaders and builders of our great nation. Of course, that vision is still important to me now.

Graduates, it is vital to understand that education doesn’t stop the moment you passed your final exams and after you got your diploma. All those things are just for formalities, albeit they will measure how much you’ve learned in school, they will only give us a fraction of how much you’ve really learned. What you have to understand is education is life and it will present itself in a vague and complicated form; it is a labyrinth–a tricky one–that you have to get pass to survive.

Education is when your teachers pressured you to study to pass your exams; it’s when you defended your thesis in front of a feisty panel and you were close to fainting because of nervousness, and it’s when some of you volunteered to help in the relief activities during the crisis of September 2013 and saw how our city was ravaged.

These challenges drew a clear line that limited me, you and every able body involved. However, I can’t stress enough how positive I am that you will get pass this labyrinthine maze called life. Like what I have said in the opening of this message, you are now equipped with a weapon and a very powerful one at that. No one can take that away from you. Life may limit your possibilities to become who you wanted to be, but continue to fight and be positive.

Life is education and, in the same respect, education is life. Two different words that define each other. Two different rides coming from one terminal. Two different roller coaster rides that demand you to close your eyes, enjoy, and learn from the rush.

Congratulations y Via Con Dios a todos!


Hon. Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar


City of Zamboanga


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