Pioneering Spirit Profile:
Dr. Paz Buenaventura Naylor
By Eduardo Navarra
Keyboard Blues Bloomfield Hills, MI
To mark the 112th anniversary of Philippine Independence from Spain we are featuring Dr. Paz Buenaventura Naylor who is related to the first President of the Philippine Republic, General Emilio Aguinaldo.
Pat, as her close friends call her, is not without provenance. On her maternal side, she is the grandniece of Aguedo Velardo who fought in the revolution against Spain and subse- quently became the Minister of Education in Aguinaldo’s cabinet. He was also a member of the three man Consejo de Guerra (Council of War) against the takeover of the American forces in the country. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was the first president when the Republic declared its independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite.
When Pat was seven years old her father, Escolastico Buenaventura took her to visit one of his relatives. She remembers visiting Lolo Miyong (Emilio Aguinaldo) at his Presidential Campaign Headquarters in Manila (when he was a candidate for Presi- dent of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935). And to this day she never forgot the visit and remem- bered that when she “made mano” to the Supremo he gave her a 50 centavo piece (her allowance at that time was only 3 centavos).
Pat is married to Dr. Bernard Naylor, Professor Emeritus of Pathol- ogy at the University of Michigan Medical School. For the past 30 years, they have hosted the Philippine Michigan Club and their gatherings as well as visiting Philippine dignitaries in their home, leading Pat to remark: “His embrace of my country and my countrymen has led him to say: ‘Sometimes I feel the waters of the Pacific are flowing right through my living room.’ ” They have five sons – Teodorico, Patrick, Joseph, Bernard Paul and Timothy – all successful in their chosen fields.
She obtained her undergraduate degree in English from the University of the Philippines, cum laude. Subse- quently, she was awarded a “Levi Barbour Scholarship for Oriental Women” to come and study at the University of Michigan where she was a Barbour Scholar for four years and where she obtained her Ph. D. in Linguistics.
She is an Emeritus Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Culture, a Faculty Associate for the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, and Program Associate in Linguistics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was at one time a Research Assistant and a Language Laboratory Instructor at the U-M’s English Language Institute during her Graduate Student days. As a Teaching Fellow and subsequently a Lecturer in the Department of Ro- mance Languages, she taught Spanish at U-M for 6 years. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics, she set up the Tagalog Program at the University of Michi- gan in 1977. (It was the only program of its kind in the U.S. Mainland for over 11 years.) She was a Summer Intern at the United Nations, a freelance translator (Spanish, French, English, Tagalog), a Visiting Professor at the University of London, England, and a Visiting Scholar at the Univer- sity of California in Berkeley.
She is fluent in Tagalog/ Filipino, Spanish, English, Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Chavacano. She has good read- ing, writing and structure knowledge of French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Latin, Russian, Greek, Indonesian, and fair knowl- edge of structure of Japanese, Chinese, and Turkish.
Pat retired from active teaching in 1994 but has been busy lecturing and writing. Currently she is finishing a book on Tagalog as part of London University’s Oriental and African Language Library. She was President of the Philippine Michigan Club, co- founder and secretary of the Narciso- Perez Legal Defense Committee, Academic Relations Officer of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Michigan, Faculty Adviser of the Filipino American Students Association of the University of Michigan. Pat received the “Outstanding Filipino Woman of the Year (Scholastic Advancement) award from both the Filipino Ameri- can Association and the International Women’s Forum in 1985.
This month Pat will be celebrating her 82nd birthday! What an exciting and accomplished life she had and still productive at what she does best! Let’s salute her pioneering spirit and gravitas ! To Tita Pat, Scholar, Actress. Musician, Author, Linguist, Educator, Wife and Mother: Saludos !!!