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2017 UPNAAI Educational Conference & Convention 

Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” (Matthew 13: 13 – 15)


The above Biblical passage was lifted from The Parable of the Sower. The farmer went out with  a  bagful  of  seeds  headed  to the  fields to plant them. Along the way, some seeds fell on the paved ground (obviously the seeds instantly died because the ground was hot and had no soil; or the seeds were quickly eaten up by hungry birds); some seeds fell on rocks and pebbles with some soil mixed in (these seeds readily sprouted, but died soon after they sprang out because the rocks and pebbles were too hot and had very little soil to nourish the seeds); other seeds dropped on some dry soil that did not have enough sunlight (and these, too, did not have a chance to survive); still others fell in an area of soil that had thorns and weeds (that when it grew, the plants were choked and killed by the weeds and thorns; and finally, most of the seeds ended up being planted by the farmer in a prepped farm, well-cultivated, with the soil filled with  nutrients  and exposed to just about the right amount of sun. This last group of seeds produced crops in ten, twenty, fifty and hundredfold.

The above teachings went beyond this. The main message being that we all are different and react in various ways. We all have ears to hear, eyes to see. Yet many have eyes but do not see, or see things differently; many have ears, but do not hear or hear what they wish to. Some eventually see and hear the truth. But many, just by their faith, hear and see the truth without any difficulties. This scenario is essentially the parable of the sower, much the same way as anyone in the world. As members of UPNAAI, we mimic the different seeds or the individuals with eyes and ears but hear and see various realities. The fact is that we are all different from each other and react variably to the challenges, situations, and moments of accomplishments.

All of us in UPNAAI are bound by one commonality – we are all products of the tradition of excellence in education from the prime educational institution in the Philippines, the University of the Philippines. As alumni, we have all branched out to our own directions and fate. Some are faced with difficulties, illnesses, and not so favorable conditions, yet are able to paddle through life’s countercurrents with resilience and grace; others reap their laurels and continue to, as they traverse their trajectory in life.

We are members of UPNAAI for many reasons. Most of these reasons are well-meaning and noble. However, as the parable taught us, we demonstrate the value of UPNAAI through our thoughts, intentions, actions, and the value we put into it. We should ask the question, what is our role in UPNAAI? What value do we bring to UPNAAI? Are we for the common good, or merely for our own glorification? Like the seeds, some members might think of their participation as relevant, noble, selfless, and sincere. But their behavior shows otherwise. There are those who are excited and proud about being an officer, board member, adviser, or committee member or chair. But when it comes to collaborating on a project, UPNAAI is not their priority. Many have dedicated most of their professional life to UPNAAI in their efforts to make our international nursing organization the best one among many, just like the reputation of our University of the Philippines. If such is the case, why would some people deliberately create chaos, divisiveness, and sabotage within the organization? Why is it that some people who are clearly intelligent and have the know-how of the makings and governance of non-profit organizations deliberately deny the relevance of change to align the organization to regulatory, professional, and legal requirements expected of our organization?

The other side of the spectrum are those who are in UPNAAI for their honest and sincere desire to improve the welfare of its members and drive the organization to a higher level of professionalism. There are many members, officers, directors and advisers who are willing to rise to the occasion when there is a need for someone to pitch in. It does not matter what your position is, when the incumbent is unable to perform the duties of that office, there is always someone who will take on the responsibility. Some do not even have to be asked. They are there to “get up, roll up their sleeves, and do the job,” regardless of the degree of difficulty or challenge. These are the kinds of Board Members that I had been privileged to work with in my tenure as the 19th President of this premier international nursing alumni association. There had been many challenges during our tenure, including but not limited to, changes in the UPNAAI’s Constitution and By-Laws that led to structural changes and the mass resignation of advisers who cannot accept that the changes were imminent and necessary, discovery of prior administrations’ records that are cryptic, strong resistance from Board Members whose loyalty remained with the opposition party who resigned, questionable actions and decisions by those who claim to have volunteered their lives to UPNAAI, etc. I am blessed to have served UPNAAI and achieved many accomplishments despite all these adversities. I can only thank the Board for standing by me as one solid force. We have used our P.R.O.’s mantra that we would weather each challenge we faced kapit-bisig (holding close to each other in an arm-to arm manner). And we did! Our Board functioned as one, solid force. We argued our differences but at the end of the day, whatever we voted to pursue, we all stood by it as one.

Change is necessary as appropriate. And as the saying goes, “change is the only permanent thing in this world.” And again, we react to changes in many ways and at different paces. I strongly believe that all of us in UPNAAI, including those who have left and established their own organization, have one, same intention for UPNAAI. We either see it with our eye or hear it with our ear clearly; some might take some time to see and hear it; or others see or hear it differently, but eventually will see and hear the truth.

It is important to ask ourselves the question, what is our role in the sphere of UPNAAI? Continue to reflect on this question and hope that you will be gifted to receive the light to be able to ascertain your real role and what you can contribute to sustain its mission and vision. And if you are one of those who do not see or hear, or those who see or hear it differently, we hope that someday you will be able to open yourself up and see the truth.

Who are you in UPNAAI and what is your purpose for being in UPNAAI? I challenge you to keep finding yourself, if you still remain uncertain. It will come . . . in due time. Thank you very much for the opportunity to serve as your President. Mabuhay ang UPNAAI! Mabuhay ang UP!


Edmund J. Y. Pajarillo, PhD, RN BC, CPHQ, NEA BC 

19th President, UPNAAI,

2016 - 2017

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