By Noy Dy-Liacco ‘65 – Chairman of the Upsilon Sigma Phi Centennial Commission
18 November 2018 – Tonight, Upsilonians from around the world celebrate the 100th year of Upsilon Sigma Phi at a grand ball called “Fellowship of The Lights,” at the Philippine International Convention Center. Some 1,500 members of the oldest fraternity in the Philippines and possibly, in Asia, will gather for this once-in-a-lifetime milestone, celebrating 100 years of excellence, service and leadership.
Upsilon Sigma Phi is rooted in the University of the Philippines. It was founded in 1918, 10 years after the University was established. Its roster lists less than 4,000 members, reflecting the selective process of accepting new members. Its members include industrialist, educators, professionals, artists, politicians, civic leaders, businessmen, business leaders, etc. who in their own ways, have helped shape Philippine society through their work and advocacies. Some of these members include National Artist Kidlat Tahimik ‘59, Honorary Fellow T.M. Kalaw, Benigno Aquino ’50, Roquito Ablan ‘50, Melito Glor ’67, DoyLaurel ‘47, Ferdinand Marcos ’37, Gerardo M. Roxas ‘46, Abraham Rasul ’41, Angelo Castro ‘66, Pitoy Moreno ’48 and Joker Arroyo ‘48.
The centennial celebration started with a kick-off in 2016 at the book launch of Efren Yambot’s “Wenceslao Q. Vinzons, A Hero The Nation Forgot,” chronicling the life of a patriot who fought for liberation and was martyred during the Second World War. Vinzons joined the Upsilon in 1930.
Last Thursday, November 15, Upsilon Sigma Phi inaugurated its legacy project in U.P. Diliman, the U.P. Promenade. It is a 120-walkway that starts at the foot of the Main Library. Envisioned by former UP President Alfredo E. Pascual as an external learning center, the UP Promenade features a wide walkway, alcoves and benches where students and faculty can spend time amidst the lush environment of the Diliman campus. It is wifienabled. Construction of the U.P. Promenade was funded exclusively by donations from its alumni members and families. The inaugural was hosted by the USP Centennial Commission and Batch 1986.
Other activities included reunions in Bacolod, Iloilo, Cebu, a 4-city celebration called “Bangkaw sa Mindanaw,” a theme party hosted by Batch 1968 Upsilonians and members of its sister sorority Sigma Delta Phi called “Guys & Dolls,” a choral concert featuring the Singing Ambassadors courtesy of Jorge Araneta and Batch 1966, a golf invitational at Wack-Wack, the unveiling of the Kapit-Kapit monument at U.P. Los Baños and a talent show hosted by the US Southwest chapter and Batch 1981. Efren Yambot’s play on the life of Vinzons entitled “Bintao,” will be staged at the U.P. Theater on November 23-24, capping the celebrations.
“It’s been a non-stop birthday party that took 100 years to prepare. Here we are, eager to celebrate the next 100!” said NoyDy-Liacco, Chairman of the USP Centennial Commission.
Banker & Realtor Thad Liamzon, USPAA President, simply puts words into action. He is the action man of the USPAA Board in these celebrations.
According to Liamzon, amidst all the parties to mark the centennial, there should be something more relevant for the community like helping the less fortunate of our countrymen by embarking on projects that answer the call of those in need. USPAA has gone a number of times to Basilan, Pampanga, Albay, Tarlac and Sulu, and other places to help communities not only by distributing relief goods, but also for long term projects like installing communal wells and building classrooms. We also provided medical, dental, veterinary (anti-rabies), teaching financial and livelihood literacy.
We want the celebrations to be real for our younger fellows. They can learn from the seniors how to be socially responsible, not only to the nearby community but for Filipinos as a whole.
It is about harnessing capabilities and resources: and using them as positive educational tools for our members to make a difference!
If all Upsilonians would think and act this way, then truly the Upsilon Sigma Phi has a reason to celebrate even beyond its centennial year.