Dr. Aurora “Auring” G. Soriano-Cudal and Winlove “Win” A. Cudal




2001-2002 President, UPAA-SD



’53 Bachelor of Arts


The Challenge

I was a gangling 14-year-old, innocent in the ways of the world, fresh from my hometown of San Carlos, Pangasinan, when I entered the portals of the University of the Philippines in Padre Faura, Manila. I stood for a moment in front of a gigantic statue of a man with outstretch arms and with only a leaf to cover his private part. I was shocked. It was the first time I saw a naked man glorified in stone. I was intrigued. I didn’t know anything about symbolisms. I was too ignorant to even reflect on what the naked man stands for. I went around it and read the inscription. It was “The Oblation” a symbol of man’s yearning for knowledge. I remember a line to this day, “delve into the wisdom of the ages”, for that was what I did in the next four years.

I studied hard, conscious of the misgivings hurled at me by a relative. When I left home, she said, “You can’t make it. You are too young. Wolves will eat you. You can’t finish your studies and you will end up an ordinary housewife. It will be a waste of money to send you to school in Manila at saka U.P., pa!” I was sizzling inside. I said to myself, “I will prove to her and to the world, I have what it takes to study in the University of the Philippines”. I was at the top ten percentile of my class. I was not an honor student but deep in my heart I know I can do it.

“Kaya ko ang U.P.” ( I can tackle U.P.)

I enrolled at the College of Arts and Sciences, imbued with ambition to learn more about “history”. I had good grades in Philippine History and World History during my high school days. I also started to take courses in library science. I thought it was a formidable combination. I will be a learned person.

However, after the first semester, U.P. was transferred to Diliman, Quezon City. I was part of the caravan of giggling girls on a yellow Halili Bus singing “U.P. Beloved”. We were all excited to see the new campus but sad to leave behind the war-scarred buildings in Padre Faura. I can remember my sentiments then. I believed that a person can learn wherever she is, for learning is in the heart and in the mind of those who aspire for it. I became a more serious student in Diliman. I was growing up into a young woman motivated to excel and to prove to my doubting relative that I really have what it takes to study in U.P. I remember telling myself, “kaya ko ang U.P.”

I remember most my classes in Euthenics taught by Prof. Uichangco whom students called “Kolynos girl” because she was always smiling even if she chastises us when we arrive late in her class, “Girls, it is not courteous to be late”. But we answer back with a line we also learned from her, “M’am but it is not charming to hurry”.

As I joined my Physical Education class I was attracted by the folk dancing and the prancing of physical education majors. I thought it was a fun course. Dancing, Calisthenics, Games, Sports, Recreation, Anatomy and Physiology, etc. I like the idea of being a Physical Education teacher. I shifted to the College of Education and took up two majors as required: physical education and health education.

What is in a name?

My destiny was cut out for me in the noisy gymnasium where handsome U.P. athletes abound. It was here where I met the man who will be my lifetime partner. I was not looking for a man but someone came along in unusual circumstances. This is my story: I was in my gym suit as I sauntered to the mini-library of the Physical Education Department. I saw a notice on the bulletin board, “Calling all Track and Field Athletes, Report for practice. I read the list and check out those whom I knew. Then I saw a unique and beautiful name “Winlove”. I swooned, Winlove, Winlove, how beautiful is your name. I would like to meet you. Is your face as beautiful as your name?”

A man with a curly hair and a well-groomed mustache emerged from the shadows and with twinkling eyes and a broad smile as he said, “I am Winlove Cudal, how do you do.” I was very embarrassed. He was the man I had a crush on. He was the man who paid my bus fare on my way home a week earlier! I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me. I turned around and ran to the nearest exit.

From then on, I avoided meeting him for the rest of the semester, until one of my classmates started asking me personal questions. This classmate borrowed my book on “Games” with the promise that he will return it to me in a day or two. I was so naïve. I gave him my address and said, “Come Saturday at 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. I’ll be home.” And who comes knocking at my door? Winlove Cudal. Thus began a long term courtship and an idyllic campus romance.

I continued to study hard, now inspired by Winlove who was a campus figure in his own right – a varsity track athlete and a college football player; a Vanguard fraternity man and Beta Sigman; an ROTC battalion commander; and a regular worshipper at the Church of the Risen Lord. He was enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences and was pursuing a BA degree in Sociology and Psychology. I found out five years later that he had failing grades before he met me. A close scrutiny of his school records will show that his grades in all his subjects zoomed up after he met me. Was this inspiration, or not? You can go ask Win!

Graduation from U.P. at age 18

I did not attend summer courses to offset some of my deficiencies; hence, I ended up with full academic load during my senior year. I devoted my time in completing all the requirements for graduation, including a 25-laps swimming test for physical education majors. Finally I was able to obtain my B.S. E. major in health and physical education in 1952, at the age of 18, ready to face any challenge that will come my way. I was very confident that my U.P. education will open doors for me without the help of others. I felt the world is my oyster. After four years, the U.P. brand of excellence was deeply etched in my mind. .

The Rewards of our U.P. Education

There is no doubt that our U.P. education gave us the confidence to perform assigned tasks, to face challenges, to blaze new trails, to make the best out of any situation and to leave a place better than we first found it. Winlove made his mark as Training Officer of Kodak Philippines and as professor of political science and sociology at the Polytechnic University and Arellano University. While I occupied senior positions related to public health education in the Department of Health (for 25 years), Dangerous Drugs Board (for eight years) and ending my career in the academe.

We retired hoping that we will live a tranquil and fulfilling life in Malaybalay, Bukidnon but fate brought us supposedly to retire while taking care of our grandchildren in San Diego, CA. However, Winlove and I got deeply involved in the Filipino American community. We became volunteers in our local church and in the community. After his quadruple coronary bypass in 1994, Winlove became a member of the Mended Hearts Club, with the motto, “It’s a good to be alive and to serve others.” He regained his health and soon Winlove delved into issues affecting seniors. He became a member of the California Senior Legislature (the first Filipino from San Diego) where he helped formulate legislations to improve the quality of life of the older adults. He is also the only Filipino in the Advisory Council of Aging and Independence Services of the County of San Diego. He is the current President of the United Filipino American Seniors Association, Inc.

On the other hand, I seem to be all over the place – inspiring and helping Filipinos with problems. My visibility in the community was enhanced by my election as Chairperson/President of the Council of Philippine American Organizations of San Diego County, Inc. and by being a columnist and associate editor of the Filipino Press. Currently, I serve as Resource Development Specialist at Kalusugan Community Services, a new challenge and a new beginning of my third career in the field of public health. .

Positions, Awards, and Rewards

Through the years, I met the challenges of the following positions I occupied, with flying colors and I left an indelible mark in all the programs I initiated:

· Classroom teacher, Pangasinan School of Arts and Trades

· Public Health Educator, Department of Health

· Regional Health Educator, Regional Health Training Center, RHO I.

· Regional Health Educator, Regional Health Office III

· Health Education Adviser, Bureau of Disease Control, DOH

· Senior Health Education Adviser, Bureau of Disease Control, DOH

· Chief, Prevention Education and Community Information, Dangerous Drugs Board, Philippines

· Health Education Consultant, WHO, UNESCO and the COLOMBO PLAN BUREAU

· Executive Director, Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled

· Chairperson, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, MCU

· College Secretary, College of Medicine, PLM.

· Director, Center for University Extension Service, PLM

· Director, PLM Concern Foundation

I was also elected or appointed to prestigious national and international positions, such as:

· President, Organization of Public Health Educators in the Philippines

· Secretary-Treasurer, Philippine Public Health Association

· Vice President, Health Education Association of the Philippines

· Secretary General, UNESCO Regional Conference On Problems Related to the Use of Drugs

· President, Board of Women’s Work, United Methodist Church

· World Secretary, World Federation of Methodist Women

· President, U.P. Alumni Association of San Diego County

· President, San Diego Scripps Lions Club

·Chairperson/President, Council of Philippine American Organizations of San Diego County, Inc. (1997-98/2003-04)

I reaped so many awards and recognition for excellence and for leadership. But the awards I value most are:

· Outstanding Educator in Public Health from the U.P. Institute of Public Health Alumni Association (1985);

· Woman of the Year by the State of California Legislature (1999)

· Community Service Award by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America. (2003)

· Aurora Cudal Day Proclamation by the mayor of the City of San Diego (2003)

· Community Leadership Award by the Council of Philippine American Organizations of San Diego County, Inc.

· Woman of Distinction by the Scottish Rite Center of Free Masonry

· Community Leadership Award by the Kalusugan Community Services.

· And above all – Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa) Pamantasan Ng Lungsod Ng Maynila, the tenth best university in the Philippines.

· Given all these honors and awards, nothing can compare with the award bestowed by our peers in the Filipino American Cultural Group of North County: Outstanding Parents of the Year 2007.

But our true and lasting rewards are our seven wonderful children – Mary Ann, Aurora Gia, Winlove II, Arwin, BenHur, Carlo and Sharon – all married with families of their own. We are blessed with 21 lovable grandchildren. They gave us an honor we never dreamt of: a grand celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary in 2005. They honored our U.P. legacy by choosing maroon as the color scheme and by a re-enactment of how we met in U.P. fifty five years ago (then).

You might call it love at first sight but to me it was more a lasting first impression I got from Winlove (what a perfect name) when he started his very first love letter to me with this quatrain by the 11th century Persian poet, Omar Khayyam: “The moving finger writes and having writ, Moves on: not all your piety nor wit, Can lure it back to cancel half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.” I felt from the quotation that he meant we were predestined for each other and, indeed, it was the start of our idyllic existence together for 57 years and counting, and I wouldn’t erase or change a minute of it!