When Dr. Romeo S. Cabanilla took his bow as a government servant after 37 long years of dedicated and loyal service, his wife thought that he would now have much time to relax from the pressure of reporting to office, which he used to do the past years.
The truth is, Dr. Cabanilla still reports to office not as president of ASCOT which he held prior to his retirement, but as president and chairman of the Board of Directors (BOD) of the Central Luzon State University Alumni Association, Incorporated. He is usually seen reporting to his office at the Alumni Center at least twice a week. He is busy coordinating activities with the BOD and other officers and is very much involved in soliciting funds for the Alumni Guestel. He does not mind much the distance he travels while driving his car from Talavera, Nueva Ecija to CLSU. He simply finds joy in serving his alma mater once again through the Alumni Association.
Also, as alumni president, he makes representation of the alumni sector to the CLSU Board of Regents, the policymaking body of the university.
By nature, Dr. Cabanilla is very active, persistent and hardworking – the virtues he had developed when he was still a young boy.
Born on November 29, 1943, he is the 3rd of seven children of a farming family. He graduated in the elementary as valedictorian, but have to stop schooling because his parents cannot afford to send him to high school. He did odd jobs in a vulcanizing shop in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija, was a banana vendor in Rizal, Nueva Ecija and also worked in onion farms. Fortunately, an uncle helped him raise the needed tuition fee for him to enroll at Central Luzon Agricultural College. He graduated as class valedictorian in 1963.
He pursued his college education in the same institution and he took up Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education where he enjoyed scholarship grants because of his good scholastic standing. He graduated with third highest average in 1967.
He started his career as a classroom teacher at Urdaneta Community High School in Pangasinan then transferred to CLSU as assistant instructor in 1970. He obtained his masteral degree in seed technology under a USAID Scholarship Program at Mississippi State University, USA in 1982 and his doctoral degree, specializing in Agronomy at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños in 1991.
Dr. Cabanilla rose from the ranks from assistant instructor to full-fledged professor in 1994. His participations in significant international, national and local trainings, workshops, seminars, conferences and symposia, further honed his professional capabilities as an educator, researcher and administrator.
His contributions and accomplishments have been recognized by various organizations and institutions, notable among these are: Most Distinguished Alumnus of CLSU Most Outstanding Alumnus of CLSU and Most Outstanding Agribusiness Director Award and was semi-finalist in the Civil Service Commission Lingkod Bayan Award.
He served as University Agribusiness Program director and vice president of University Business Affairs Program from 1992 to 2002. On March 4, 2002, Dr. Cabanilla was installed as second president of Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT) in Baler, Aurora until his retirement on January 8, 2007.
Romy, as he is fondly called is happily married to Prof. Teresita Arenas-Cabanilla, former assistant principal of the University Science High School. They are blessed with three children, namely; Romeo, Jr., Robert and Rose Marie. His two sons are both registered nurses, while the youngest is a medical doctor.