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IMPULSES | Celebrating grace, growth: Happy birthday, Chelsea!

By Dr. Herman M. Lagon,

Dear Chelsea Mae Lagon,

It is hard to believe that you have achieved everything quickly since your birthday, April 17. Even a late birthday wish feels like a new chance to celebrate your ongoing journey and the vibrant path ahead. It speaks volumes about your passion and grit.

You accomplished much throughout your time as Iloilo Central Elementary School (ICES) valedictorian and salutatorian at the Ateneo de Iloilo (ADI). It is pretty remarkable and commendable that you will be awarded Magna Cum Laude in a quota course BS in Biology with a concentration in biomedical sciences, in addition to graduating from Ateneo de Manila University on June 21. Beyond your academic accomplishments, we are very proud of you for your commitment to helping others, which is evident in your ambition of becoming our clan’s thirteenth medical doctor by 2028.

Your passionate engagement in research and community service parallels your journey through academia. Winning the National Science Quest in 2014 for your pioneering study on Diptera larvae marked just the beginning of your scientific contributions. You continued this trajectory with significant research on Aedes aegypti at the University of the Philippines Manila, adding layers to your profound interest in public health and epidemiology.

Your editor-in-chief stints with ‘The Central Pen’ (ICES) and later ‘The Ripples’ (ADI) were not just roles but platforms through which you influenced and inspired, molding the thoughts and aspirations of your peers. As one of the Ten Outstanding Students of Iloilo and Iwag awardees, your leadership is recognized and cherished by those who know you and follow the paths you have helped illuminate.

Today, as a Community Relations Officer for UNICEF volunteer arm Barefoot Philippines, you harness your myriad skills—public health research, community development, project management, journalism, and research writing—to empower the least fortunate. This role is not merely a job but a continuation of your life’s mission to weave your achievements with broader societal benefits.

In all these endeavors, you carry the legacy of our family and the values that define us. Your journey vividly illustrates the spirituality we cherish, where “Everything is grace.” Every encounter, difficulty, and accomplishment is anchored on this idea; it is not just a description of your academic or professional experience.

On your birthday, Chelsea, I hope you keep celebrating life with the same grace and thankfulness you have always displayed. Remember, each day is a new canvas, an opportunity to deepen your impact and extend your legacy of service. The grace that leads you on your chosen five-year journey to become a doctor has the power to mend broken hearts and change lives.

Even if you are in Manila, your loved ones here in Iloilo and abroad are very proud of you as you enjoy this special day with them and us in spirit. We hope you will realize your goals and encourage others to do the same. Keep being the light that you are, Chelsea. You are an inspiration; the world could use more people like you.

Chelsea, I hope you had a happy birthday. Cheers to another year of maturation, success, serenity, grit, grace, and growth. I wish you boundless happiness and success as you embark on this next phase of your life.

With all my love and more,
Tito H


Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.


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