by Dr. Alan Gerard D. Austriaco ‘86
Fellowship of Light.
These words took on new meaning last November 15 when beams of light illuminated the Diliman sky as the Upsilon Sigma Phi inaugurated the UP Promenade.
As part of its Centennial celebration, the Upsilon, the oldest Greek-letter fraternity in Asia, constructed an outdoor learning center envisioned, in the words of USPAA Chairman and former UP President Alfredo Pascual, to “symbolize an ideal that the University of the Philippines has long hoped to promote–that learning and meaningful connections can be had outside the confines of our classroom.” Christened the ‘UP Promenade’, it is a 120-meter walkway extending from the Gonzalez Hall (UP Main Library) to an endpoint along the Beta Way, equipped with internet and wifi capable facilities, available for the use of every student and faculty member of the University.
On November 15, Upsilonians from all over the globe gatheredin their familiar stomping grounds in front of the UP Palma Hall to inaugurate this ‘centerpiece’ of the fraternity’s 100-year celebration. Dubbed “100 Novembers” and presented by the Upsilon Centennial Commission and Upsilon Batch ’86, guests were treated to a night of glitz and nostalgia, and a light and sound show centered on the fraternity’s fabled history.
Kicking off the festivities were 2 prominent Upsilonians: Upsilon Centennial Commission Chairman Noy Dy-Liacco ’65, Upsilon Sigma Phi Alumni Association Chairman Fred Pascual’67, who gave rousing speeches in their capacity as officers of the Fraternity. Representing the University was UP DilimanChancellor Michael Tan, who delivered a message of thanks in behalf of the UP Community. Also present at the event were other UP officials led by UP President Danilo Concepcion ’89 and UP Executive Vice President Teddy Herbosa ’78. Dy-Liaccoalso gave due recognition to the major sponsors of the yearlong Centennial celebration, citing distinguished Upsilonian families, batches and global chapters. The speeches were followed by the unveiling of the Dedication Wall, a poignant reminder of the Fraternity’s 10-decade-long relationship with its beloved Alma Mater.
The highlight of the night was the premiere of the “100Novembers” video, which was complemented by a dazzling light and sound show that left the audience astounded. Directed by DGPI President Mike Sandejas ’91 and based on the vision of Batch ’86, the video struck a chord in the heart of every Upsilonian in the crowd, as it paid tribute to the 14 purposeful young men, who 100 years ago, established what is now the oldest and most distinguished Fraternity in the country. A particularly moving moment was the silence that pervaded over the crowd as the Upsilonians raised their hands in Fellowship recognition, remembering the Founders and the Fellows who have passed on.
As in any Upsilonian gathering, the program concluded with a spirited rendition of the Upsilon March Song, with Fellows joined with their arms over each other’s shoulder, singing and stomping to their hearts’ content. After the formal event, the audience was treated to a throwback of 80s entertainment, courtesy of popular rock band ‘the Dawn’ and “Prettier than Pink”.
It was indeed a celebration befitting a momentous occasion! The Promenade is the Upsilon Sigma Phi’s legacy to the University of the Philippines, which nurtured its members as students and embraced the Fraternity as partners for 100 years. This is the Upsilon –each member a tried and true son of U.P. — giving back in humble gratitude to its Alma Mater.