Ateneo Physics Alumnus John Burtkenley Ong’s Acceptance Speech: Exemplary Alumni Awardee of Xavier School for 2007

John Burtkenley T. Ong, an alumnus of Xavier School batch  ’86, gave an acceptance speech at the Angelo King Multi-purpose Hall, on the Occasion of the Awarding Ceremonies for the Xavier School Golden Jubilee Awards for Exemplary Alumni.  John Ong finished his B.S. Physics in Ateneo de Manila University batch ’91.  Here is a copy of his speech:

Last December, I lead a small technical team in search of potable water in some of the small islands off the coast of Mindanao.  We brought an expensive piece of equipment for detecting groundwater which Owen Tiam of batch ’87, who was in Beijing, helped us purchase through the funds provided by our batchmate, Jacinto Ng, Jr.  The entire expedition was commissioned by Ambassador Howard Dee.  Instrumentation physicists from the Manila observatory helped me designed and construct the other equipment we needed.  Dozens of volunteers helped us prepare for the water mission.  I remember the day we set out to visit one of the islands which had a long history of nasty politics and armed conflict that deprived their people access to potable water.  I felt like a soldier at the battle front and this mission could not have been accomplished without the support of so many people.  It was a clear day when our small boat left the pier.  I looked up the sky and felt, “Today, good will overcome evil.”  We will definitely encounter problems but if we persist, then good will overcome evil, and in the end, we hope that the people will have not only water, but peace.

Today, I am able to be here after braving a winter storm and flying half-way across the globe, because my batch mates sponsored my trip back to the Philippines.  In the same way, they’ve also helped me and other groups set up a tribal school in Davao, conduct a groundwater study in Pampanga, and develop telemetric rain gauges as an early warning system.  I/we am here today because my parents/our parents and teachers instilled in me/us the values that became the basis for the choices we make in life.  Spiritual direction from Fr. Papilla, guidance classes with Fr. Mena, academic rigor from our teachers such as Cha-Cha Yu, Baldous Lee, Ms. Losaria, Bb. Arias, Ate Irms, Mr. Curato, and more have developed our mind and molded our hearts.  We are able to be here today because fifty years ago, a group of Jesuit missionaries founded our school.  And they in turn were inspired by a Spanish Basque named Inigo who was hit by a cannon ball, converted, and resolved himself to serve the King… whom we call in the Days with The Lord, “The Boss.”  As I stand here to be recognized, I recognize the efforts, sacrifice, and love of our parents, teachers, friends, the Jesuits, and the good Lord, and I say, “Thank you.”

I remember lines from a poem we read in grade school by Fr. Horacio dela Costa, SJ. He wrote:  “Life is a war fare, a war fare between two standards:  The standard of Christ and the standard of Satan.”  Indeed, the world is a battle between good and evil.  I come here not because I am good but because I long for the good.  Hopefully, this event may help inspire others, especially the younger Xavierians so that each day we may say, “Today, good will overcome evil.”

(Source: Xavier School)

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About ateneophysicsnews
Physics News and Features from Ateneo de Manila University

One Response to Ateneo Physics Alumnus John Burtkenley Ong’s Acceptance Speech: Exemplary Alumni Awardee of Xavier School for 2007

  1. Pingback: Ateneo Physics Department to hold its 50th Anniversary on Oct 10, 2015: An interview with Event Coordinator Johanna Indias | ATENEO PHYSICS NEWS

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