UPLB hosted the 5th Guidance Services Specialists Summit


LOS BANOS, LAGUNA— With smiles on their faces, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Guidance Services Specialists packed up after hosting the 5th GSS (Guidance Services Specialist) Summit, which aims to collectively discuss with the staff reagent, Hon. Alexis Mejia, the guidance service specialists’ issues and concerns, last March 7 conducted in the Sol Y Viento Mountain Hot Springs and Resort.
Despite the absence of the UPLB Chancellor Fernando Sanchez, and two constituent units, UP Cebu and UP Iloilo due to prior commitments, the GSS Summit for 2015 was still considered a success by the UPLB guidance service specialists.

Issues and Concerns of the GSS

Staff Reagent, Hon. Alexis Mejia facilitated the open forum regarding the issues and concerns of the Guidance Service Specialists. One of the major issues, identified by some of the guidance service specialists from other constituent units (CU’s), was the
varying salary grade among the units despite the standardized list of qualifications.

Some CU’s have salary grades ranging only up to 18 while others, ranging up to 24. Another issue identified was the lack of the REPS (Research Extension and Professional) development welfare, a fund made readily available in case the guidance service specialists need to attend other seminars and training, in other CU’s.


The lecture on “Celebrate Life: Mental Wellness and Suicidal Prevention” was provided by Director of the Office of Counselling and Guidance from UP Diliman, Dr. Violeta Bautista, discussed the best practices and new programs being implemented in UP regarding suicide prevention. In line with that, another open forum took place where individual CU’s can share their programs and best practices which they think can be potentially adapted by other CU’s.

Adaptable Practices from UPLB

One of the programs which are practiced by the Los Banos unit but are not by other CU’s, is the Faculty Student Relations Officer (FSRO), which aims to equip the faculty with facilitating skills in order for them to respond immediately to the concerns of the students.

Another program is the Student Crisis Management committee which handles events such as suicide acts and rape cases wherein only the vice chancellor of community affairs can serve as the spokesperson to address the issues.

The program popular to the new freshmen of UPLB is the Guidance Instruction program, where students grouped to different blocs meet their guidance service specialists once a week. In line with this psycho-social competitions are also established which serve as the training ground for students in handling extra-curricular activities with their academics, where different blocs compete against each other.

Some of the competitions included in the said competition are the “Bloc-bakan”, a quiz-contest comprised with questions mostly about trivia and facts regarding UP, poster-making, and poem and essay writing contests.

Because of a very fruitful discussion, UP Mindanao became very interested and saw the adaptable potential of the programs being practiced in UPLB, and insisted in inviting the UPLB guidance service specialists to their unit in Mindanao to guide them in executing the programs they wanted to adapt.

Program Suggestions from UPLB Students

Eva Ann Surillo, a BS Statistics student, suggested forums about depression and other mental illnesses while Raya Faye Bahian suggested gender awareness forums. Kevin Martinez specified one regarding the project launched by UP Diliman, he thought that it would be of great help if the Office of Student Affairs will hold a seminar regarding project NOAH, in line with disaster risk reduction and management.


Blow your candles.

Today is my birthday
And somehow, I found myself
Staring at my naked body
Collapsed on the bathroom floor
Only realizing how
Something that looked so
Whole, can feel so hollow;
Wondering if the
Deafening silence would
Echo within me.

Today is my birthday
And on most days,
I wear black
But I have chosen
A dress
That resembled
Much of the facade
I have long built
Around myself.

Today is my birthday
And I reeked of
The meat my bones
Lived in
As the stitches
Which curved and forced
My lips into a smile

Today is my birthday
And I knew,
I should have worn
Black today.


Ikaw na ata ang pinaka nakamamatay ngunit pinaka nakaka adik na bisyong pinasok ko at irog ko, lulong na lulong ako sayo.

Minsan kitang nakasalubong kasama ng  mga mata mong nagmistulang haring araw sa ilalim ng kalangitang bughaw. Tinignan mo ako nang para bang kilala kita at kilala mo ako; nang para bang pinaglalaruan ng tadhana’t minsan na’y pinagtagpo.

Agad-agad kong tinanong ang pangalan mo.

— “Sining.”