A look into Yap’s student life
“You know, when I was in high school, I was that tall, slim, [and] lanky student with a clean haircut and with thick eyeglasses. So by the basic persona of how a nerd or a geeky person would look like, I would probably be that one. But it was partly correct kasi at the time, I was joining the general information contest representing the school. I competed in declamation contests, so yes, I was very active in extracurricular activities.”
“I was never a jock. I was never the athletic type of person. I remember that in third year, I was playing [volleyball for my physical education class.] Every time I have to serve volleyball, the ball either goes upwards or goes to my back and that my classmates would be laughing at me. So I was never athletic, but that was probably compensated for after I graduated, because now I’m very much into fitness,” Yap shares.
“In no way would I have ever thought that I’d become part of the academe. As I’ve said, I was active in scouting. I love joining Scouting activities so much that even after I graduated high school, I stayed on as a volunteer with the school, as a scout leader, eventually going up the ranks to become a scout master.”
“Even when I was in college reviewing for my CPA examination, I was still active in scouting. Then one day in 1990, our President and Vice President invited me to the office and asked me if I wanted to become a faculty member or a teacher.”
“At the time I was already a certified public accountant. I was working with an auditing firm in Makati, so I made that decision. Sabi ko: why not? It’s for my alma mater. I wanted to give back and it’s going to be part time anyway.”
“So with the blessings of my parents, I decided to join the school’s faculty. Little did I know that it was the start of my long journey with Chiang Kai Shek College. After 2 to 3 years, I was again offered to work in the office as an Assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs. And then from there, I went up the ladder to eventually become the dean.”
“We’ve always said that teaching is a noble profession, and I’d be a testament to that. You know, if you go into teaching or you become an educator, the salary might not be that high, regardless of whether you’re in a public or private school. But honestly, the greatest fulfillment of a teacher, whether as a teaching or a non-teaching personnel, is to see your students grow up, to see them become successful, and that years after, you’d see them coming back, not only as your former student, but as a peer and to become even more successful than you. And to know that in some way, you were able to contribute to what they became, and that they are now productive and contributing citizens to our society and our country,” Yap points out.
Yap describes himself as idealistic, and among his plans include securing accreditation for Chiang Kai Shek College’s International Baccalaureate. “I hope that during my term, we’d get full IB authorization from preschool all the way to grade 12. So the whole K-12 program. We call it the primary years programme, middle years programme, and diploma programme. Hopefully by then, CKSC will become one of the very, very few schools in the Philippines which have done so. And we want to have our affiliation as a fully certified member of the Montessori Institute of America continued.”
“We’re currently PAASCU level three accredited. That’s the highest level of accreditation for basic education, so hopefully in my term, we’d be able to continue that not only for our basic education, but also for our tertiary education programs, our masteral and graduate studies program.”
“By next year, hopefully we’ll also be the first Chinese-Filipino educational institution to offer doctoral programs both in business administration and in education. On a more detailed spec we’re looking at further improving Our English and Chinese curricula. We don’t want it to be a choice between English or Chinese curriculum, but our program offering both quality education in English and Chinese. And beyond that, we want to provide our students with the most holistic education program that is available in the community.”
“Chiang Kai Shek is the forerunner of Chinese Filipino schools in the Philippines. You’ll hear a lot of the Taipans or the big businessmen among the ranks of CKSians. Dr. Lucio Tan. The late Henry Sy, the late George Ty, Tony Tan Caktiong, Carlos Chan of Oishi, among many others, are all alumni of Chiang Kai Shek College. So I believe [our] track record over the last eight decades is already a testament of the quality of education that we provide. And it is also a solid proof of why parents would always choose Chiang Kai Shek College.”
Yap also spotlights the improvement of their Chinese curriculum. “We used to memorize everything, so sometimes, we might not understand what we were studying, but we get everything done through memorization just to pass. But this time, we changed the curriculum to become more practical to the needs of the community, the society. For example, in our Chinese curriculum, students learn to speak, to listen and comprehend, to write. and if we bring them to Beijing, to Shanghai or to Taipei, and just leave them in the night market or do their own tours, they’d be able to survive the language barrier, do their haggling while shopping and go back home without the teacher’s help or anything,” Yap says proudly.
On providing quality education amidst the pandemic
“It was a very trying time for many schools–our school included. When we had our lockdown last March 2020, the school was one of the first that adapted to online learning, and we were able to finish that school year smoothly. The teachers really gave their best so that education is provided without sacrificing anything.”
“We’ve incurred a lot of losses during those times, not because we’ve earned less, but because we invested on a lot of equipment, and we had to adjust in many, many ways on how to deliver our educational system. We trained our teachers on online learning modalities, so it was somehow difficult for the school. But at the same time, difficulty or losses are not hindrances because first and foremost, our goal and objective is always to educate our learners. And we didn’t mind that because we know that someday our students will be back to school, and in whatever form, we will always be there to support them.”
On the qualities of a Modern Chinoy
“I would like to emphasize three important sets of values that I earlier mentioned. The first one is determination and hard work. Nothing beats hard work. You reap what you sow. The fruits of labor are always there for you. As long as you put your best effort into whatever you do. Yes, you might fail, but you try again. You do your best, and in the future, you will get to that dream, your goal. Personally, I have a motto, that is, ‘If a task is once begun, never leave it till its done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all. ‘If you do something, you have to do it well. If you’re not going to do it well, then don’t waste your time. So I believe hard work, determination, [and] effort is important.”
“Number two, your family is your backbone. You can always rely on them. Always respect your elders. Always love your family. Figuratively, Chiang Kai Shek College is one big family. You know, we probably have several hundred thousands or nearly millions of graduates all over the globe. Every time someone hears that you’re from Chiang Kai Shek College, and they are also a CKSian, you can easily relate to one another. There’s a big network for everyone.”
“And third, every student of the school remembers four important Confucian virtues: propriety, righteousness, incorruptibility, and honor. Our lives are always guided by those values and virtues. We only have one life, so make the most of it. Your life is not only for yourself, but also for your family [and] also for other people, so if you have blessings, share your blessings with others,” Yap advises.
Of course, there is no such thing as an easy job, especially when it comes to handling the future of the younger generation, so when asked about what it’s like to be the President of Chiang Kai Shek College, this is what Yap had to say.
“How is it?, challenging. There’s a lot of things to be done. I’m very thankful that my predecessors really did a lot for the school, but I think we’ll still be doing a lot of things. Education is a constant process for improvement. Education has to always go forward, so we’re looking forward to providing much more for our students, our stakeholders.”