|From the Upsilon-List March 6, 2002 - an email written by
Benny Fulgencio '65 to the Fellows on the internet.
ISANG HAPUNAN AT PASASALAMAT - The UP CAL Project
February 23, 2002. It was the night of the appreciation dinner tendered by the College of Arts and Letters for all the donors to the UP College of Arts & Letters classroom project.
More than twenty Upsilonians had gathered at the Hardin ng mga Diwata in the UP Faculty Center as part of the honored guests. Teto Inocencio '52, Mike Montemayor '55 with wife Alice, Tony Hidalgo '60 with wife Jingjing, Jake Marques '65 with wife Rovi, Tong Puno '65, Benny Fulgencio '65, Ed Castaneda '65, Oro Eco '67, Louie Pangilinan '68, Hely Nibungco '68, Rico Alfiler '69, Alex Cortez '67, Johnny Villanueva '73, John Gutierrez '75, Monching Firme '75, Chito Avecilla '79, JJ Portugal '80, Scooby Dimagiba '89, Don Liamzon '89, Eugene Crudo '2000 and some other resident Brods.
The bigwigs of UP were present. President Dodong Nemenzo who made sure to thank the donors before going off to welcome GMA in another function at the School of Economics. Chancellor Emerlinda Roman. College of Art and Letters Dean Rosario Torres Yu. Associate Dean Wendell Capili who looked so young he could not be more than 35 years old. He had made it all possible. Using Email and the Internet, he reached out to UP alumni in all the four corners of the world. Jake Marques '65 of the Upsilon Sigma Phi Cebu Chapter was one of those alumni he was lucky to reach.
We came early for the program. Jake, Rovi, Tong and I were signing the guest book just as UP President Dodong Nemenzo walked in. As I scanned the program, I noticed that Jake will deliver a response in behalf of the donors.
Setting foot on UP after more than 30 years opens a floodgate of memories. Some of the old familiar places may have disappeared, but still, seeing the old buildings, the AS, the library, the dorms, even that main street along Arts and Sciences coaxes sounds and images unchanged by the passage of time. Mellow images. Timeless images. An enduring never-changing stream of images of callow youth and campus belles and musicals. Of unexpressed loves, and unrequited loves, and lost loves. Of the basement and the sad yearning gaze of Diana Recto. The pirouettes of Nestor Tumang and the half-crazed antics of Danny Purple. Of mommy and her coffee, and deep drags on unfiltered cigarettes. Of the Yabes backyard and the smell of paint and thinner and cheap gin. Of long lazy afternoons and the concerto of carillon bells. And yes of course. Of frat skirmishes. Of rumbles. Of the AS as gladiators arena. Of that dirge of a march in front of the AS that fateful night of September 19,1969. They all came streaming back like a magic-realist dream.
The opening remarks were quickly followed by an entertainment number, an excerpt from a zarzuela directed by Alex Cortez '67 who is a member of the CAL faculty. The world acclaimed UP Singing Ambassadors followed with a medley of love songs and capped their performance with a dazzling rendition of excerpts from the Lion King.
Somehow there might be truth to the joke that our love for UP is directly proportional to the length of our stay there. I might add also, the intensity and joy of our stay there. When Jake presented the plight of the CAL to the batch 65 Egroup, nobody hesitated in the decision to help. At virtually a moment's notice, we were able to cover two classrooms. Jake and Rovi had previously pledged for one room. So with the Upsilon Cebu Chapter. Jake then brought it to the attention of Brods in the Upsilon List. Eli Ilano '57 signed up for one more classroom. Upsilon Sigma Phi South East Chapter led by Nitoy '65 and prodded by Yari '88 signed up for another. And then followed; Ricky Guevara '75 for one, Batch '75 for two, Batch '76 led by Henry Lua '76 for two rooms, Batch '68, Upsilon North East Chapter, and the Upsilon Florida Chapter for one classroom. In such a short time, the Upsilon Wing of the UP College of Arts and Letters became less a nebulous sentimental dream and more a grand reality.
Jake's speech was part valedictory address, part freshmen orientation, part Upsilon Sigma Phi indoctrination, and all drawn deep from the heart. In the 37 years that Tong and I have been Upsilonians, we had never heard anybody talk about the Upsilon Credo in a gathering of UP academicians and scholars. In the restrained solemn manner of an ancient historical account, trying so hard to contain an outpouring of pride, Jake intoned the opening of the Credo as if praying to the gods.
In that cool UP evening of February 23rd, twenty something serene proud Upsilonians were all at peace with the world.
Benny Fulgencio '65
Jake's speech follows:---------------------------
President Nemenzo, Chancellor Roman, Dean Rose Torres-Yu, Ms. Sylvia Palanca-Quirino, distinguished UP faculty, fellow UP students, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Dean Capili, thank you again very much for giving me this opportunity to say a few words tonight. I am proud to be among you who come here this evening with the understanding and gratitude that without the University of the Philippines, we would not be where we are today. A large part of what we are -- not just career-wise, but character-and integrity-wise -- we owe to our campus experiences at Diliman. Like many of you, remembrance of my student days in UP always brings joy to me no matter the difficulty or stress of daily living. Somehow, no matter how long ago its been, it seems the umbilical cord to our Alma Mater is still intact. Yes, I am and will always be, a citizen of the Republic of the UP!
Tonight, I come here with many motives, to break bread with new friends, to enjoy fellowship with old ones. But I think we are here foremost to express our thanks to our Alma Mater, to affirm our strong bond with her and to put into action our sense of gratitude and pride for our university, in particular, for our college. We have all heard her call for help and we have responded quite generously. I am encouraged too by the overwhelmingly positive responses of the many alumni that we have contacted about the UPCAL project. Their willingness to participate and their ensuing flood of generosity is a strong testament to UP's success in forging a sense of community among its graduates.
I have come here tonight to represent the Cebu chapter of the Upsilon Sigma Phi Alumni Association. I have also been asked to speak on behalf of several chapters of our fraternity, which are also involved with this project, and together with these chapters, soon UPCAL will have an Upsilon Wing. Lately, in fact over the past few years, fraternities have been given a pretty bad press because of the violence that had erupted out of a false sense of rivalry and machismo. Personally, I am very saddened by this development because the actions of one affect all the others. Like it or not, we are all painted with the same broad brush. I would like to say that the alumni associations of various fraternities continue to promote peace among their resident members, using various venues and joint activities. I am here however to offer a glimpse of the positive side of fraternity life, and that as a result of certain ideals inculcated in us, we too are strongly dedicated in preserving our community of academic pursuit. Out of these ideals, it was almost instinctive that we responded so positively to the UPCAL project.
In the Upsilon Sigma Phi, we have a Credo, a set of principles that we are all to live by and I would like to share this relevant principle with you. In the Credo's opening two paragraphs which says, " I am an Upsilonian and proud of it. I cherish the sincere fellowship of my fraternity brothers because it considers me an upright, self respecting man capable of growth and greater service to my fellowmen. I appreciate its efforts in helping create a climate conducive to learning and progress in the University of the Philippines, to economic stability and political maturity in the Republic of the Philippines..."
As you can see, the goals of the University and the fraternity are one and the same. We all believe that our nation's hope of freedom, economic stability, and political maturity lies in the progressive climate of our university. Our Oblation comes to symbolize the essence that lives in each of us. We all know that the solidity of a building rests on its foundation. Here we are all together in believing that the foundation of our national identity and national survival rests in the continued financial viability of our Alma Mater.
There are a few who really do not understand what academic excellence is all about. Let them come to U.P. There are some who say that academic freedom is a license to teach chaos and disunity. Let them come to U.P. There are even a small number who think the glory of the University, as the highest institution of learning in the Philippines is now history. Let them come to U.P. There are some who doubt the university's ability to teach leadership and servanthood. Let them come to U.P. There are those cynics who think that when the University needs its alumni for support, the message will fall on deaf ears. Let them come to U.P. And let them come here tonight!
Academic excellence has many difficulties and no university system is ever perfect, but this university has never put up a sign that this place is only for the elite, only for the rich. We who have seen first hand the many people, from all walks of economic life, pass through its corridors can attest that this label is all too false. With our small token of appreciation, our donations and our participation here tonight we speak to all, friends and cynics alike, that we are UP's loyal sons, who still have faith in our institution to deliver the best education in the land!
Thank you and good evening.
Note: This speech was written by Alfie Kwong '67 and presented by Jake Marques '65 during an appreciation dinner for the UP CAL Classroom Project.