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Daughter of Alumna Grants Christmas Wishes of Students

Date: January 9, 2019Posted by: Marionette Martinez

As the readers may have noticed, from time to time, we feature children of alumnae who have made a name for themselves in their chosen careers.

In this issue, we feature Candice Gan-Gotianuy, daughter of Elizabeth Gan, High School 1966.

Candice made headlines recently because she did something entirely new in the field of education.

The news story speaks for itself.

University of Cebu exec grants hundreds of students' Christmas wishes
Ryan Macasero ( - December 26, 2018 - 3:35pm
MANILA, Philippines (Updated 8:07 p.m.)

University of Cebu Chancellor Candice Gotianuy gave away hundreds of Christmas gifts that students asked for before they went off for the holiday break.

The chancellor opened up the call for wishes on her Facebook page on December 9. She called it #UCMakeAWish.

"I wanted to do something special for the UC community especially as it was Christmas," Gotianuy told in a text message. "A lot of our students are from the lower socio-economic segment and I knew it would mean something to them, the faculty and staff. It was also an enjoyable way of getting to know the needs and concerns of our community," Gotianuy added.

By December 11, she had received 1,500 wishes.

Gotianuy posted videos of some of the recipients on her Facebook page since she opened up the call for students’ wishes.

"It was spontaneous," Gotianuy told She said that she was hesitant at first because of the logistical and time constraints but knew she could put a team together. "So that's when I decided to do it," she said.

Wishes granted: Motorcycle, medical expenses

David Obcial, a Criminology student, received a motorcycle for his father, a habal-habal driver, who could no longer afford to rent a motorcycle to ply his routes.

Melvin Monton, whose wish was chosen by Gotianuy, wished that his dad could come from home from Singapore.

“Since Grade 2, he hasn't been here for Christmas. So, I took the opportunity to wish that he could come home and visit my grandmother who is sick and already weak,” Monton said in the video.

UC, which was founded by Gotianuy’s father Augusto Go, is known for giving away cars and cash prizes to Architecture, Law, Education, and Engineering exam top-notchers.

One student got free dialysis treatment for a parent, and another was provided myoma surgery for her mother.

“Ms. Candice this (free dialysis for Papa Roland) might cost much compared to the other wishes posted here on your 'wish-wall' but this would mean a lifetime worth of gratitude, happiness and show of perpetual love to this one man who bravely fought for us, our dreams to finish school and survive every day," student Reylin Mae Quiñahan said in her Facebook post after receiving word her wish for dialysis treatment was granted.

The University of Cebu Medical Center opened in Mandaue City in 2015.

The university also fed 200 street children as part of the UC Make-A-Wish program.

"We were also able to send students back to their families in the provinces so they wouldn't be alone during the holidays," Gotianuy said. Other requests were simple, but meaningful, the school chancellor added: "We had a lot of requests for medical assistance, which we fulfilled. One that stood out for me was a girl who asked—very politely—or a backpack because the zipper was broken and chicken joy for noche buena. That really got me."

The Cebu-native Harvard graduate said that she was the one who was "humbled" by the gift giving program, and in the end, she learned that "the things we take for granted are what some people valued the most."

She said, "it was the best feeling on Christmas morning when I woke up and realized how many families were so happy because we gave them a noche buena."

The chancellor had a team of five sort through the 1,500 wishes, which were all completed before the Christmas holiday.

The University of Cebu is the biggest school system in Metro Cebu, with 56,000 students across four campuses.