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In the Philippines, philosophers seem to be taken as outrageous, nasty, and annoying. Being a Filipino himself, Dr. Jose Rizal joined the majority of the Filipinos to consider philosophers as non-sense, dumb, and stupid - in fact, sometimes crazy. This is evident in his use of Pilosopong Tasyo in his notable writings. Of course, Rizal did not seriously study philosophy - this is not to discount Rizal as a political philosopher.

At any rate, what Rizal missed is the beauty, the mystic, the adorable, and the wonderful life of a philosopher being likened to a worm whose job is to dig deeper into the bedrock of reality. On the contrary, a pilosopo is crudely likened to an eagle which by nature loves to soar up to the limit of the sky.

Well, whatever Filipinos think of Philosophers, we, the avid members of the Philosophical Association of the Visayas and Mindanao (PHAVISMINDA) regularly convene for an annual conference. Last May 28, 29 and 30, 2007 it was Silliman University in Dumaguete City that hosted the 30th Conference.

This time, the administration of Holy Name University was generous enough to send three participants, namely Mr. Joselito Galendo, Mr. Jonathan Neri, and Dr. Ed Babor. Actually, two more from HNU joined the group. They were Francis Ybañez and Salve Salinas. They joined at their own expense.

The theme of the conference was "Doing Philosophy in the Philippine Context." The Vice President for Academic Affairs of Silliman University, Dr. Betsy Joy Tan, welcomed the participants. It was the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Prof. Carlos Magtolis, Jr.who gave the opening remarks.Then, the incumbent President of PHAVISMINDA, Dr. Eddie R. Babor, delivered his President's Report and Agenda for the next conference which was temporarily scheduled at De La Salle University in Bacolod City. The Keynote Address was delivered by the President of Silliman University himself in the person of Dr. Ben S. Malayang, III.

The following were the speakers with their corresponding papers: Dr. Charito Pizarco (University of San Carlos, Cebu City) on "Postmodernism: The Filipino Philosopher's Edge;" Dr. Jane Gallamaso (Xavier University, Cagayan de oro City) on "Philosophical Approaches to Environmental Presentation: Memoirs from Agutayon Island;" Dr. Florentino Hornedo (University of Santo Tomas, Manila) on "The Historic Roots of Our Traditional Values;" Dr. Reynaldo Rivera (Silliman University, Dumaguete City) on "What Is Called Doing Philosophy in the Philippines?" Dr. Eddie R. Babor (Holy Name University, Tagbilaran City) on "Heidegger's Philosophy of Authentic Existence and the Filipinos;" Prof. Christopher Ryan B. Maboloc (Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City) on "Perspective, Ideology, and Social Reality in the Aesthetic Theory of Georg Lukacs; "Dr. Rolando Gripaldo (De La Salle University, Taft Avenue) on "The Making of a Filipino Philosopher; " and Fr. Michael Moga, S.J. (Ateneo de Zamboanga University) on "The Obligation to One's Self."

Doing a run-down, of course, of the vista, scope, depth, and magnitude of the aforecited titles of the papers presented during the affair may truly make a pilosopo deal with non-sense, dumb, and stupid concerns. But no, the attendees do not belong to the camp of the pilosopos but to the philosophers.

Indeed, there is so much joy in our part in digging deeper into the bedrock of our being Filipinos, the way we think, the way we feel, the way we ravage mother nature, and the way we live as Filipinos. Hail to Filipino Philosophers like the active PHAVISMINDA members.

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