PAGTITIBAY: Chancellor Michael Lim Tan, University of the Philippines, October 17, 2014
PAGPAPAKILALA sa Ika-10 Tsanselor ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Diliman
Mary A. Racelis1
MA Sociology 1960
University of the Philippines
This Pagtitibay, or investiture, of an anthropologist to the elevated status of Chancellor of the University of the Philippines marks a special day for us all. Allow me to start off by being true to our academic calling. In the best scholarly tradition of historical investigation I believe this important rite of passage (rites of passage being a favorite topic of anthropologists) requires an examination of our Chancellor’s evolutionary path to leadership. The research question today is: How did the exotic field of anthropology, which to the public only studies stones, bones, Neolithic adzes and the strange customs of people living outside of the Diliman ethnic commune, yield a distinguished Tribal Elder like Michael Lim Tan?
Datu Tan (an appropriate honorific title especially favored by anthropologists doing research in Mindanao) belongs to the tribe called Indigenous Manilenyos, having been born and raised in San Juan, Rizal. What is less known is that his ethnic socialization, influenced by his Filipino-Chinese heritage, was supervised by the elders of another esoteric tribe known as “Jesuits.” His enculturation into their traditional lore took place at Xavier School and later – a little-known secret – at that Other University at the sosyal end of Katipunan/C-5, where he majored in biology. Soon realizing the folly of his ways, he transferred to the University of San Francisco in California. There, under the tutelage of American Jesuits related through kinship and a patriarchal descent system to his former tribal elders at Loyola Heights, he completed his undergraduate studies as a biology major.