By Gian Carlo de Jesus ‘15
Six destinations, 1345 kms of Brotherhood…
Upsilon Sigma Phi, the oldest fraternity in Asia, celebrated its one hundred years of existence by circumnavigating Mindanao via plane, bus, and boat rides in a memorable event that will surely be remembered in its glorious history.
Last November 4-8, 2018, the fraternity led by its Davao Alumni Association convened for “Bangkaw sa Mindanaw” which is a gathering of its members in Davao City every two years. “Bangkaw sa Mindanaw,” which started in 1996, is a much-awaited gathering for Upsilonians that usually features a golf tournament, site tours, and feasts, that are virtually free of charge for those who attend.
This year’s edition is a special “Bangkaw” as it pays tribute to Upsilon’s centennial by calling it the “Centennial Fellowship of the South” with the theme “Scatter the Light Far and Wide, Rekindling the Spirit of Brotherhood through Generations.” In keeping with its theme, Bangkaw was held in multiple sites namely: Bukidnon (Bukingan sa Bukidnon), Cagayan de Oro (Tagayan sa Cagayan), Gingoog, Butuan (Buto-Buto sa Butuan), Davao (Bangkaw sa Dabaw), and at the Island Garden City ofSamal or “Igacos.” For the first time, the festivities also became an excursion in the South covering a total of about 1345 kmsencircling the abovementioned locations.
Highpoints of the event were the three-legged golf tournament, the Upsilonian convention, and the sumptuous feasts in all venues. The success of the event is attributed to the attendance of no less than 200 Upsilonians from all over the country and as far as Myanmar, Sweden, Germany, and Cleveland, USA with members as old as those belonging to the golden era of the 50s to as young as current students of the university.“
As a matter of fact, Bangkaw didn’t start this November. It actually started last August when we began reaching out to Brods (Upsilonians) in Iloilo, Bacolod, and Palawan, especially to those who won’t be able to celebrate with us physically, either in Mindanao or in Manila for the actual centennial,” said Robert Lester Aranton, the event’s overall chair. “This is why Bangkawhas an alternate theme called “The Sun also rises in the South, because our efforts are concentrated in bringing the Upsilon spirit down in Mindanao,” added Aranton.
Bangkaw sa Mindanaw intends to strengthen the bond of brotherhood in Upsilon through frequent gatherings that highlight hospitality and generosity of Filipinos from the south. Upsilon Sigma Phi, which stands for “University Students Fraternity,” was founded by fourteen students of the University of the Philippines in its original Padre Faura site, on November 19, 1918. Notable members are former and current senators Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Gerry Roxas, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Richard “Dick” Gordon, former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, former Vice President DoyLaurel, past and current UP Presidents Alfredo E Pascual and Atty. Danilo Concepcion, National Scientist OD Corpuz, and National Artist for Cinema Kidlat Tahimik, among others.