On 9 November 2019, members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity and the Sigma Delta Phi sorority of the University of the Philippines will celebrate their Batch 1969’s golden anniversary at a grand ball at the Okada Hotel near the Manila Bay area.
Established in 1918, the Upsilon is the oldest fraternity in the University of the Philippines (UP). Its membership includes President Ferdinand Marcos, Vice Presidents Salvador Laurel and Arturo Tolentino, Senators Gil J. Puyat, Gerardo Roxas and Richard Gordon, and Chief Justices Querube Makalintal, Enrique Fernando and Jose Abad Santos.
Danilo Concepcion, the incumbent UP president, is also an Upsilonian.
The main event will consist of a sit-down dinner and a program highlighting the projects of Batch ‘69.
Sigma Delta Phi was founded in 1931, but was officially recognized by UP authorities in 1933. Its members include Senators Maria Kalaw Katigbak, Supreme Court Justices Flerida Ruth Pineda-Romero and Ameurfina Herrera, television personality Ces Oreña-Drilon, and Quezon City Vice Mayor Rosario “Charito” Planas.
Newspaper columnist Winnie Collas-Monsod and Daily Tribune Lifestyle editor Dinah Ventura are likewise Sigma Deltans.
The 50th anniversary celebration is led by Daily Tribune president Wilfredo Fernandez, who describes the Upsilon as “a source of support, a fount of leadership lessons, and a brotherhood that keeps me in constant touch with other brothers with whom I share true and lasting ties.”
Sharing Fernandez’ sentiments is his batchmate Catalino Rivera who describes the fellowship of the Upsilon as “unbounded oneness.”
Other members of the Upsilon’s “Fighting 69” batch are former Philippine Bar Association president Federico Agcaoili, diplomat Wencelito Andanar, agribusiness leader Fernando Malveda, banker Felix Enrico Alfiler, UP scientist Artemio Pascual, physicians Rufino Bartolabac and Rodolfo Nitollama, Manuel “Lito” Beriña, the retired operations chief of the Public Estates Authority, and Romeo Escudero, a former executive of the Development Bank of the Philippines.
The sons of three members of Batch ‘69 are Upsilonians — Rommel Escudero ‘91, Edgardo Andanar ‘92 and Juan Gabriel Agcaoili ‘95.
Golden jubilarians from the Sigma Delta are led by Evelyn Pangilinan Aliling, a former teacher whose family is in the construction business, and Sesenia “Baby” Salmingo Olivar, a former TV and print ad model and the only sorority girl to visit North Korea to witness the celebration of the 55th anniversary of the communist government in Pyongyang.
Partylist Rep. Michaelina “Girlie” Meneses Antonio, another jubilarian, says one of her fondest memories in UP was the Sigma Delta Phi, “where I made lifelong brothers and sisters.”
Other celebrants are Maria Luisa “Marilou” Matti Macatangay, who was the Miss Caltex (a prestigious pageant of the 1960s) of her time. Marilou says, “Sisterhood gave me the strength to cope with anything, and yet remain humble. In a way sisterhood carved my life.”
Another jubilarian, Catalina “Lina” Pangilinan Santillan, declared, “If I have to say one thing I learned from being a Sigma Deltan, it is to do my very best always. It gives me a sense of pride to uphold the best that we are, and what we can be.”
Still another celebrant is Eloisa “Eloi” Dimasuay Velasquez, whose pineapple industry in Mindanao has been very successful. She married Felipe “Philip” Velasquez, an Upsilonian from Batch ‘68. Their son Gibby joined the Upsilon in 2000.
Other Upsilonians expected at the affair are Rep. Martin Romualdez and Labor Undersecretary Jacinto Paras.
Departed batchmates who will be sadly missed during the occasion are Ramon Benipayo, lawyers Jaime de Año and Caesar Guerzon, UP Math professor Jose Benavides, the endearing photographer from Vietnam, David Nguyen, and dear sister Lily Cayabyab, among others.
UP students and graduates covered by the USP-SDP Batch 1969 scholarship grant are also invited to the celebration. The list includes Renz Pabustan, Vincent Villones, Jaica Paras, John Burdeos and Noel Rufino. Paras is still a student; the rest are all UP graduates. Villones now works for the Department of National Defense.
The success and good fortune of Batch ‘69 are best summed up by another batchmate, Junie de Veyra, who happily proclaims, “We in Batch 1969 of the Upsilon Sigma Phi and the Sigma Delta Phi are blessed, and the blessings were destined.”