The Upsilon Promenade in Diliman

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A new landmark was recently inaugurated in the quaint and picturesque Diliman, Quezon City campus of the University of the Philippines (UP).

Last Thursday, alumni and resident members of the oldest surviving student organization of UP formally opened a park-like, shaded and scenic promenade and plaza designed to provide UP students with an environment conducive for reading, studying and socializing.

Built right across the entrance of the university’s main library, the UP Promenade is accessible to those who wish to study in the quiet outdoors of the Diliman campus — the only area in Quezon City known for its clean air, sprawling trees and expansive greenery. Its location at the center of the campus makes the promenade accessible to just about everyone else in the university.

The institution behind the promenade is the Upsilon Sigma Phi, the oldest Greek-letter student fraternity in the Philippines and in Asia. Established in the old Padre Faura, Manila campus of UP in 1918, the Upsilon is celebrating its centennial this year. The promenade is one of the many projects the fraternity has undertaken and will undertake to celebrate its centennial.

Understandably, the new landmark is also called “The Upsilon Promenade.”
Truth to tell, the promenade’s designers are Upsilonians who appreciate the value of symbolism. The promenade has several lamp posts each shaped like the Greek letter Upsilon. There are 14 of them, actually, each representing one of the 14 founders of the fraternity.

The inauguration of the promenade, which began at 5 in the afternoon, was well attended by many UP students, as well as alumni and resident Upsilonians. Leading the ceremonies were UP President Danilo Concepcion, former UP President Alfredo Pascual, UP Executive Vice President Teodoro Herbosa and UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan.

Concepcion, Pascual and Herbosa are members of the Upsilon.

Upsilon alumni president Romeo Liamzon Jr., Upsilon centennial chairman Pedro Dy-Liaco Jr. and Upsilon Illustrious Fellow Gerard Sirios also officiated in the ceremonies. A resident Upsilonian and a Diliman campus celebrity, Leandro Anton Castro, also graced the affair.
Former UP Regent Gari Tiongco was there as well.

A brief film clip about the Upsilon and its cultural traditions was exhibited right after the ceremonies. It was directed by the award-winning Mike Sandejas, an Upsilonian.

After the film exhibition, Upsilonians and the guests were treated to an outdoor catered banquet that lasted until about 11 at night. The bar chow consisted of spring rolls, chicken lollipops, sandwiches, lasagna and sweet tidbits, among others.

Entertainment was provided by a band and a host of excited and excitable singers who performed on a stage erected specially for the occasion. The fraternity’s logo was all over the place.

Professional events managers, Upsilonians Louie Kierulf and Danger Sanchez, took charge of the entertainment.

About 300 alumni and resident members of the fraternity attended the event. It quickly became a reunion among generations of Upsilonians. With about a hundred overseas Upsilonians present, fraternity souvenirs were sold out in no time.

Among the more senior Upsilonians present were retired Engineer Ernie Rivera, ex-television director Maning Rivera, international socialite Eli Ilano and Leovillo Agustin, arguably the most famous lawyer in Quezon City.

The other prominent Upsilonians who were there include Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta, retired Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang, ex-Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo, retired Court of Appeals Justice Melchor Sadang, Mindanao peacemaker Amroussi Rasul, lawyers Domingo “Toy” Palarca, Juor Buted, Romero Yu, Javier Flores and Marc Marasigan, visual artist Nonoy Gamboa, ex-Development Bank of the Philippines board chairman Mon Abad, Laguna political figures Andrew Nocon and Neil Nocon, insurance industry honcho Gary Tengsico, ex-Labor Relations Commissioner Romeo Go, mall executive Jose “Pong” Ejercito, playwright Efren Yambot, businessmen Enrico Merioles and Paolo Gomez, dentist Alex Urriquia and the social register of the fraternity, Allan Mosqueda.

Upsilonian Jon-Jon Gancayco and his new bride were present.

Some of the younger Upsilonians who attended the event were UP College of Medicine student Marius Marquez and Mass Communication majors Joshua Jimenez and Donrey Totanes.

Tonight, the Upsilon will hold its Fellowship of the Lights, the grand centennial ball, at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. At least 1,500 Upsilonians and their guests will be attending.

If their respective spouses will allow them, businessman Gerry Santos and lawyers Norman Hocson and Thaddeus Alvizo will attend.

On 23 and 24 November, the Upsilon will be staging Bintao, a play about the life of Upsilonian Wenceslao Q. Vinzons who was martyred by the Japanese during World War II. The venue is the University Theater in UP Diliman. It is written by Efren Yambot and directed by theater greats Tony Mabesa and Alex Cortez.

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