UP (University of the Philippines) graduates have a long-standing tradition of introducing one’s self with the assigned student number after enrolment. That’s why at UPAAE meetings, it has become traditional to state the student number and the course or program that one graduated with. However, this does not, and did not apply, to Tito Pompeii, or Panfilo “Pompeii” Quedado.
When he went to UP Los Baños in the late 1950s, there was no assignment of student numbers yet. In those bygone years, an Ikot ride was 10 cents, a bottle of Cosmos Orange (pop) 5 cents, and a bowl of lugaw (congee), 30 cents. There were only two colleges – Agriculture and Forestry on campus. Most notably, the university hymn was still sung in the English version, that is, UP, My Beloved.
Tito Pompeii, a native of the Ilocos region of northern Philippines, is one of the more senior members of UPAAE. He is also one of the first UP alumni to come to Edmonton. Alberta was not his first destination when he planned on moving to Canada. His heart was set on Saskatchewan, arriving in 1968 to join his then girlfriend, a nurse from his hometown. Unfortunately, the relationship did not last, and he had a work-related accident that severed the tips of his fingers. Things were looking dim for him in Regina, and so he packed his bags and bid goodbye.
Wanderlust beckoned him to Edmonton in 1969. Already armed with an undergraduate and graduate degrees in Agriculture from UPLB, he enrolled in the same course at the University of Alberta, which would pave the way for a brilliant career that began with the Design Section of the Parks and Recreation Section of the City of Edmonton. Tito Pompeii Quedado is credited for the design of the first collection of tropical plants at the Muttart Conservatory. The tropical pavilion was his responsibility and prized professional success.
UPAAE sat down and interviewed a smartly-dressed and enthusiastic Tito Pompeii who was accompanied by his elegant and supportive wife, Ms. Amor Bihis. Please enjoy Tito Pompeii’s candidness and warmth as he talks like you’ve known each other forever.
What is your fondest memory of UP? – Taking the bike to get around school. Being a member of Alpha Phi Omega and living in the frat house.
If you didn’t do what you did for a living, what would you be?
– I would be a CEO of a company or a soldier.
What’s the best thing about Edmonton?
– It is laid back.
What do you miss most about the Philippines?
– I have spent most of my adult life in Canada but my heart is in the Philippines.
What is your favourite pastime/TV show?
– Golf and watching Probinsiyano on TFC
What’s the one thing you haven’t done that you’d love to do?
– (An emotional Tito Pompeii, his eyes brimming with tears, chokingly replied to this question.) It would have been to tell my parents how much I loved them, especially after all that they had done for me, especially sending me to school.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
– Being with his wife, Amor.
What is your greatest extravagance?
– Golf and clothes. My clothes should always be coordinated.
What is the quality you most like in a person?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
– My wife, Amor.
When and where were you happiest?
– College graduation at UPLB. I recalled the words my mother said when we were young: “Maiaahon mo ang iyung sarili mula sa putik kapag nakapag-aral ka.”
Which talent would you most like to have?
– To be better at golf
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
– Having two children who are themselves achievers in their respective fields. I never had any problems with them. My son is a lawyer practising in Ontario and my daughter is in finance here in Alberta.
What is your most treasured possession?
– My wife, Amor.
What is your favourite occupation?
– Sales. I worked in Agriculture after graduation but it was not to my liking. I worked for Hoescht Philippines as medical representative for five years serving the Mindanao area and enjoyed it very much. I was supervisor of Northern Mindanao.
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your greatest regret?
– That I did not proceed with my military training.
What is your motto?
– Don’t quit.
What was the best piece of advice you received when you had just arrived in Edmonton?
– Magtiis muna.