Events to remember

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas - The Philippine Star

Not all Upsilonians dare to aspire for the highest honor their fraternity could give them – for as the old saw goes, many are called, but few are chosen – and so their being unexpected recipients of the Upsilon Noble and Outstanding (UNO) award comes as the greatest surprise of their lives.

The latest recipient of the UNO award, Jorge “Nene” Araneta, may not have had the inkling that he would be the chosen one for the 2020 award, but it did come last Feb. 23, amid the jubilant cheers of brods at ceremonies held at the Club Filipino in Greenhills.

Jorge joined the Upsilon Sigma Phi, the oldest Greek-lettered fraternity in the University of the Philippines and the Asian continent, in 1953. The fraternity celebrated its centennial two years ago, with thousands of brods from abroad and many parts of the Philippines in attendance.

Since its inception in 1985, the UNO award has been conferred only to 64 Upsilonians, among them Wenceslao Vinzons, Arturo Tolentino, Tony Quirino, Pepito Laurel, Salvador Lopez, Gerry Roxas, Doy Laurel, Joker Arroyo, Titong Mendoza, Ninoy Aquino, Pitoy Moreno, Tony Mabesa, Behn Cervantes, Gari Tiongco, Chitong Rivera, Dante Canlas, Tong Puno, Noy Dy-Liacco, Fred Pascual, and Dick Gordon, to name a few.

Tong Puno forwarded to me the message he sent to my Upsilonoan husband Saeed Daof, that the awardee’s lifetime achievements are adjudged to meet the ideals of the fraternity’s Five Imperatives of membership, namely: Brotherhood, Integrity, Excellence, Leadership, and Service to the Nation.

Araneta is one of the country’s most prominent businessmen. He chairs the Araneta Group of Companies which is engaged in property development and leasing (Araneta Center), food (Philippine franchisee of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Dairy Queen), and entertainment and leisure (Araneta Coliseum). He is also a director of several corporations like Philippine Seven Corp. ( franchiser of 7 Eleven) and Medical Doctors, Inc. (founders of Makati Medical Center).

Araneta was honored as one of the 12 icons of the Philippine Retailers Association in 2018; was the Most Distinguished La Sallian awardee of the De La Salle Alumni Association in 2017; was a People of the Year awardee of People Asia Magazine in 2016; and was the Most Distinguished Alumnus awardee of the UP College of Business Administration in 2005.

The Upsilon Sigma Phi was founded in November 1918 by 14 students in the University of the Philippines and recently held its centennial celebration two years ago. Since its foundation, a seed group of 4,000 students had joined and progressed to become productive contributors to Filipino society in the fields of national and local governance, foreign service, health care, business and industry, infrastructure development, military service, social work, religion, the academe and key areas in nation-building.

In his acceptance message, Jorge said he was deeply honored to be chosen one of 64 UNO awardees. He said, “I joined the fraternity 67 years ago (Batch ’53).”

He recalled being part of the cavalcade “Aloyan,” an Igorot love story, which was written by the late well-loved Dick Zamora, and Brod Martel. Jorge was part of the cast of a Cavalcade, but he was not an Aloyan. His role was as a “stage prop,” dressed as an airline pilot, and Pilita Corales leaning on his shoulder while she sang.

Jorge suggested that the brods revive the Cavalcade, and that he was going to provide financing for the project, a deafening round of applause could be heard a kilometer away from the clubhouse. What’s more, he said the revived musicale should feature the talents of the brods, like Dondi Ong. To Dondi’s delight, Jorge suggested that he sing at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Dondi will surely accept!

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Every year, the children of Nelia Teodoro Gonzalez organize a bash bursting with guests from high places and her colleagues and former students, in celebration of their mother’s birthday. Last Feb. 23, they held another memorable lunch to celebrate her 96th birthday. Mass was given, and the grandchildren and great grandchildren took turns giving entertainment numbers – and the kids looked at the object of the grand occasion with unbridled enthusiasm. Mirthful singing was offered by Sharon Heady and the popular music educator Dean Acoymo. Lunch served was a sumptuous Chinese laureate. Thank you Tessie, Didi and Bessie for sharing with us precious moments with your mother, one of the most accomplished scientists and entrepreneurs of the country.

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Mark March 14 in your calendar for a fun-filled day for the whole family at Sitio Tanza 2, Barangay San Jose, Antipolo This will be the Pista Sa Flor’s Garden, featuring an arts and plants exhibit and sales, and a celebration of the “Folk Life.” Popular Antipolo food, Filipino outdoor games, objet d’art and creative merchandise, Filipiniana books, poetry reading, arts and crafts for the young and old, walking tours, a photo folio, and a community rondalla. The celebration brings back memories of the good old times, when everybody harked to the call, “Tayo na sa Antipolo!”

The Pista is being curated by Male Cadapan, daughter of the late artist Inday Cadapan.

Entrance fee is P350, and with lunch, P750. For more details and reservations, contact Fely, 0919-5567121; Abbie, 0926-9903616 or Magel, 0917-7929020.

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Email: [email protected]

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