The UP Alumni Association, founded on April 2, 1913, held the 2013 UP General Alumni-Faculty Homecoming and Reunion, the centerpiece of the year-long UPAA Centennial celebration, last June 22 at Ang Bahay ng Alumni and the UP Theater at the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City.
With the Centennial theme “Bagong Siglo. Bagong Sigla,” the Centennial UPAA Board made history by hosting the Homecoming in two venues to accommodate the expectedly larger-than-usual number of participants, featuring the Jubilarians (Diamond, Class of ’53; Golden, Class of ’63; Ruby Class of ’73; and Silver, Class of ’88), plus the highest number of Distinguished Awardees ever – 71 – made up of 46 individuals (2 of whom were double awardees), 2 UPAA chapters, and 21 Multi-Generational families (with at least 3 generations of UP graduates).
Ang Bahay ng Alumni
The landmark event unfolded at 3:00 PM at the Luciano E. Salazar Hall of Ang Bahay with the registration of the participants, followed by the invocation made by UPAA Director Ligaya Lualhati-Tankeh, welcome remarks by UPAA President and Alumni Regent Ponciano E. Rivera, Jr., and singing of the UPAA Hymn by tenor Dondi Ong, who also played a part in the entertainment numbers rendered by 9 other performers in the persons of UPAA Director Oscar Palabyab, Heber Bartolome, Carlo Florendo, Romy Gonzales, Thad Liamzon, Joseph Olfindo, Ledda Rossenberger, Deng Silorio, and Voltaire Villaranda.
Dinner was served at around 5:00 PM – plated servings for the Jubilarians and Awardees, buffet for the others.
Promenade and Fireworks
With dinner over at around 5:45 PM, the Promenade from Ang Bahay to the UP Theater began, with the celebrants either negotiating the short distance on foot under a tent-lined walkway or being ferried by electric shuttle vehicles from Araneta Center (two 12-seaters) and Filoil Gas Corp. (three 5-seaters), and a tranvia (streetcar) from Intramuros Administration.
A fireworks display from the UP Amphitheater fronting the UP Theater brightened the sky during the Promenade, compliments of UPAA Auditor Roberto I. Mercado, who hails from the pyrotechnics-making town of Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
At the UP Theater, the Processional saw the formal entrance of the UP Board of Regents, UP Administration Officials, UPAA Board of Directors, UP Jubilarians, and UPAA Awardees. The UPROTC Rayadillo Honor Guard made the entrance of colors. The Centennial celebrants thereafter sang the National Anthem, led by the Philippine Opera Company. Popular impressionist Willy Nepomuceno and actress Boots Anson-Roa acted as masters of ceremonies.
UPAA President and Alumni Regent Ponciano E. Rivera, Jr., gave an audio-visual presentation for his President’s Report, outlining UPAA corporate matters, Centennial celebration collaterals and events; legacy; traditional; and outreach projects.
Dr. Alfredo E. Pascual then delivered his UP President’s Message.
This was followed by the Roll Call of Alumni by UPAA Asst. Secretary Remedios L. Fernandez and presentations by the Jubilarians. The Ruby Jubilarians (Class ’73) performed a musical number (“Katotohanan”); the Golden Jubilarians (Class ’63), a dance number (“Medley of Ballroom Numbers”); the Diamond Jubilarians (Class ’53), another dance number (“Puede Pa”). The Golden and Diamond Jubilarians both received UPAA alumni medallions at the end of their presentations.
UP President Pascual, UPAA President Rivera, and UPAA First Vice-President Renato B. Valdecantos then recognized and awarded plaques to Multi-Generation UP Families (3 generations of UP graduates or more).
They next handed out awards for: UPAA Presidential Award for Past UPAA Presidents; UPAA Presidential Awardees; UPAA Distinguished Service Award for Alumni Chapters; UPAA Distinguished Service Award for an Alumnus/Alumna.
The Philippine Opera Company presented a number called “Contemporary Filipino.”
The UPAA Distinguished Alumni Awardees were then recognized in the following categories: Community Empowerment, Community Service, Culture and the Arts, Educational Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Employment Creation, Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development, Environmental Protection and Climate Change Adaptation, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, Global Public Health, Good Governance, Judiciary, Peace and Social Cohesion, Public Health Promotion, Public Service, Science and Technology.
Honoring the UPAA Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Awardees, which followed, served as a fitting climax to the proceedings. Atty. Estelito P. Mendoza, one of the eleven so-named awardees, made the response in behalf of all the Centennial awardees.
A raffle for Homecoming ticket-holders was then conducted with such prizes as two (2) round-trip plane tickets to Hong Kong, six 3 days-2 nights stays at Boracay Garden Resort (3) and Baguio Country Club (3), 16 paintings by UP Alumni Artists, and 16 orchids from UP Los Baños.
As a penultimate number, the three-peat UAAP cheer-dance champion UP Pep Squad performed a much appreciated floor exercise to the tune of the UPAA Centennial Song, “Bagong Siglo, Bagong Sigla,” composed by College of Music graduate Leo Quinitio.
At the last note, everyone joined in the community singing of UP Naming Mahal, led by the Ruby and Silver Jubilarians, amidst a stirring shower of maroon and green confetti. Thereafter, the UP Rayadillo Honor Guard carried out the exit of colors, followed last by the Recessional.
It was a Centennial evening to remember for at least another 100 evenings, if not for another 100 years.