SAGE and the importance of understanding Economics

SAGE and the importance of understanding Economics

Dec 13, 2023

No matter how important it is to understand the subject of Economics (the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services), it doesn’t seem to get the attention and interest it deserves. The result: majority of Filipinos are unable to make optimal financial decisions. The more staggering effect is felt when our elected leaders who make economic decisions for the entire country are clueless of the basics of economics. You may recall a DOF undersecretary who was removed from office after she posted on her social media a graph of the law of supply and demand.

If you want to learn basic economic principles without nose bleed, you may visit the you tube channel of current Economics Chair of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), Dr. Alvin Ang, called Your Everyday Economist for longer videos, my son’s Tiktok channel called EnriqueFausto.CFA for shorter ones, and also my articles, videos, podcasts, and books.


A few months ago, I was asked by former dean of the Ateneo School of Social Sciences and Economics professor, Dr. Nandy Aldaba, to be a part of the coordinating committee to form an alumni association of Ateneo Economics and Management Economics graduates. Nandy is also my colleague at the Ateneo Center for Research and Development (ACERD) and a member of the Ateneo Board of Trustees. He wrote the foreword of FQ Book 2 Why Financial Education Alone Does Not Work back-to-back with The Psychology of Money.  

It was a pretty short time to put together the first alumni homecoming with batches for the last six decades!

During our initial meetings, we decided to come up with a name that’s easy to say. Using the acronym of Ateneo Economics Alumni Association will be a tongue twister with too many vowels and no consonant! I am proud to say that my batch – 1985 – was able to come up with a name that’s easy to recall and pronounce and with a nice underlying meaning: SAGE – Samahan ng Ateneistang Graduate ng Economics. In the official name, we added “at Management Economics.” Sage, aside from the aromatic herb, also means a mature or venerable person with sound judgment, something all alumni would like to be.

During the preparation, I was so happy to learn that a lot of our graduates have played very important roles in our society. The Economics program of the Ateneo has produced these distinguished graduates:

Two presidents of the republic: Noynoy Aquino (1981); Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (MA 1978)

Two BSP governors: Amando “Say” Tetangco, Jr. (1973), Eli Remolona, Jr. (1972)

One Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: Maria Lourdes Sereno (1980)

Three Associate Justices: Antonio Carpio (1970), Midas Marquez (1987), Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa (1980)

Cabinet secretaries: Sonny Domingo (1965), Roberto De Ocampo (1967), Bertie Lim (1970), Art Yap (1987)

Iconic musicians: Ramon “RJ” Jacinto (1965), Joes Mari Chan (1967), Boboy Garovillo (1973)

President of ADMU: Fr. Bobby Yap (1980)

A good number of CEOs CFOs, and other captains of industries: Manny Pangilinan (1966), Tony Boy Cojuangco (1972), Tony Meloto (1971), Francis Sebastian (1975), Bern Siy (1980), and many many more that won’t fit in a single article!

Using the coordinating group’s efficient methods of maximizing utility while minimizing cost, SAGE was able to have its first alumni homecoming on December 9, 2023 at the Leong Hall of the Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola, Q.C.

It started with a campus tour for alumni who wanted to be updated on the campus. I thank my students, the presidents of the Ateneo Economics Association (AEA) and Management Economics Organization (MECO) for organizing this tour. This was followed by an anticipated mass celebrating the second Sunday of advent by ADMU president and SAGE member, Fr. Bobby Yap, S.J.

The author flanked by the current governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Eli Remolono, Jr. (left), and former BSP Governor Say Tetangco (right)
Left: Author with former Associate Justice Antonio Carpio , Right: Author with current president of the Ateneo de Manila University, Fr. Bobby Yap, S.J.

The homecoming was a success and we look forward to having various programs that will include among others, bringing economic discourse in various institutions and maybe even in the regular Juan’s lingo. This is quite a challenge because even among the Economics alumni, it wasn’t that easy to keep the attention when SAGE’s founding president Goody Hernandez (batch 1972) gave his welcome message followed by the short keynote speech of current BSP Gov. Eli Remolono, Jr. Well, it could be because of the excitement to catch up with batchmates and even those in the other batches – that was from batch 1965 to the incoming batch 2024!

Gov. Eli talked about inflation, particularly when we hit 8.7% last January, the highest in 14 years primarily due to supply shocks in food, oil, semiconductor, and fertilizer. (Supply shock is an unexpected event that suddenly changes the supply of a product or commodity resulting in unforeseen changes in price.) He also mentioned how the inflation targeting framework adopted by the BSP in 2002 is helpful. Their target range is now 2% to 4%. November inflation rate was at 4.1%, within striking distance from the target. By this time in his speech, I noticed the audience (even if consisting of Economics graduates have started to become restless and I could hear some noise especially coming from the back).

It was in the last lines when the governor caught their full attention again. He uttered it in the vernacular, just like a rhyme.

“Noong Marso, pumutok and SVB at Credit Suisse.

Buti na lang naiwasan natin ang global crisis.

Ang masaklap lang, Si Kathniel, hindi na raw nag-k-kiss!”

BSP Gov. Eli Remolona, Jr. delivering his keynote message at the first alumni homecoming of SAGE (Samahan ng Ateneistang Graduate ng Economics)

It’s the start and we all look forward to what’s in store for SAGE. May we help economic discussions be part of every Juan’s life. If this happens, the regular Juan will understand how businesses, markets, inflation, interest rates, etc. work. He can respond to crises and opportunities that come his way. If the attention and interest in Economics improves to even just a tiny fraction of the enthusiasm given to Kathniel, I think we will all be better equipped to make the right decisions for ourselves, our family, and our country. I wish to end this piece by thanking the coordinating team, our founding president, everyone who attended and supported the homecoming, and of course my batch 1985, which had the highest number of attendees and raised the highest sponsorship amount. May your contributed resources be used to its maximum utility value!


1. To all graduates of Ateneo de Manila University (Economics, Eco H, Management Economics, MA, etc.), please get in touch with us so we can make you part of SAGE. You may message us on our Facebook Page or message me on my website.

2. If you’re still looking for value-adding gifts for yourself and your loved ones this season, come visit our bookstore for that gift of high FQ! Click here.

3. Don’t let 2023 end without taking the FQ Test. Click here.

This article is also published in Philstar.