A celebration fit for a captain

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

FAMILY, friends, and former colleagues of Dr. Agripino Segovia, former president of Mountain View College, celebrated his 90th birthday at the Grand Royale Hotel at Goldenfield in Bacolod City last week.

His family chose a maritime motif, with the celebrator wearing a captain's suit to symbolize his continued "navigation of the oceans of life."

The celebration started with a processional by the cadets of the VMA Global College with the Segovia family, followed by the opening remarks of his wife, Elvira Segovia.


Pastor Roger Caderma, president of Southern Mindanao Mission, gave an inspirational message, followed with a saxophone rendition "His Eye is on the Sparrow" by Nicolo Rafael Moralde.

Dr. Nellie Cabaluna, Engr. Henry Demalanta, Kace Josef Villanueva, and Nicolo Rafael Moralde gave their respective expressions of affection for the celebrator.

Special music was rendered by Isabelle Moralde, Judhel Cabaluna, and Kace Villanueva.

The program was concluded with the launching of his book titled "SOAR: From Glan to Maryland." The sales of the book will benefit Dr. and Mrs. Agripino Segovia's scholars in Central Philippine Adventist College.

Armed with academic brilliance and congenial personality, and shielded by his faith in God, Dr. Agripino was able to hurdle the life of extreme poverty, from being a farmer in Mindanao, to holding the distinction of being the first Filipino president of Mountain View College starting in 1968; graduated Doctor of Philosophy at IOWA University in 1978; the first Filipino to hold the position of executive secretary in Far Eastern Division in Singapore in 1980; and the first Filipino elected as associate education director during the General Conference of the Seventh Day Adventists in Maryland, USA, a post he served from 1982 to 1995.

Born on June 23, 1924 to Felimon Segovia and Rufina Cana of Cebu, he lived a nomadic life during his childhood.

During his seventh grade, he finished on top of his class in Margosatubig in 1937 and had his first public speech. He was invited to study in Cotabato, but when World War II started, the family was stocked in Libungan where he became a Seventh Day Adventist. At 14, he learned to plow the field.

At 19, he worked as "kapatas" (foreman) for a road construction by the Americans when they were helping the liberation of the Philippines from Japan. At some point, the American soldiers hired him as a laundryman. Every Friday, he travelled 41 kilometers going home just so he won't miss the Sabbath, and to turn over all his earnings to his mother.

When the war between Muslims and Christians were active, and Americans were advancing to Davao, the family moved from Libungan to Pagadian City where he started high school at 21 years old.

When the war is over, he went back to Libungan. Since there was no high school near them, he had to walk 16 kilomters everyday to attend third year at Maguindanao Institute in Midsayap. His only "baon" was corn and "ginamus," and he memorized notes while walking.

His financial struggle led him to be a self-supporting student. He did janitorial job to support his school expenses. Despite all that challenges, he graduated high school as president of their senior class.

When the Philippine Union College (PUC) offered a two-year Bible Instructor's Course at Mindanao Mission Academy, he then enrolled and eventually graduated from the course.

He continued a four-year degree in PUC, Manila. He graduated AB History in 1953. On May 22, 1953, after he graduated, he got married to Ana Brillantes Chan whom he had four children (Dr. Nellie Larane married to Dr. Herbert Cabaluna; Dr. Mary Ann - married to Dr. Leonil Lao; April Joy, a nurse, married to Engr. Henry Demalanta; and Melanie Gay, a hospital receptionist).

He then became SDA district pastor of Zamboanga del Norte; principal of East Visayan Academy in 1955, and West Visayan Academy in 1962. He pursued master's degree in Education Administration then became education director of Central Philippine Union Mission in 1966 and at the same time a member of the board of Mountain View College.

Amidst the grief that he was going through with the loss of his wife to ovarian cancer, he finished his dissertation for Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Iowa in 1973. He was reinstated as president of Mountain View College in the same year.

Love gave him a second chance when he saw Elvira, who was the executive secretary of the North Philippine Union Mission. They were married on April 7, 1974.

Having worked in the Adventist denomination for 48 uninterrupted years, he gained various awards for administration and commitment for the ministry. He donated the Ellen G. White Library in MVC, a bedroom and the boardroom in Bacolod Adventist Medical Center, and a duplex in Mindanao Mission Academy, among others.

And yet for Dr. Segovia, “Life's success is not measured by the accomplishments achieved, but is appraised by the obstacles conquered."

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 01, 2014.


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