UP Visayas holds first-ever Virtual Alumni Homecoming

The University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) held the “2020 UPV Alumni Zoomcoming” virtual homecoming last August 28, 2020.

The day was formally opened by the “Alumni Mass,” followed by the “Opening Program.” These were streamed live from the UPV Little Theater. The alumni got to attend the thanksgiving mass and opening program right from their very homes.

Presidents of the various Alumni Association (AA) chapters gave their messages in the opening program. Among them were Mr. Artemio P. Pama, Jr of iAmUPHi Alumni Association; Mr. Allan Angelo L. Quimpo of UPAA Aklan Chapter; Mr. Nicolasito S. Calawag, UPAA Antique Chapter; Ms. Harriette Ong-Banzon, representing Mr. Victor A. Tanco, Sr. of UPAA Capiz Chapter; Dr. Gil Joseph F. Octaviano II, representing UPAA Negros Chapter; Judge Ateneones S. Bacale of UPV Tacloban College Alumni Association; and, Atty. Dennis J. Guevara of the UPAA Iloilo Chapter. The officers commended the hard work of volunteer alumni during the pandemic. They also called for continued unity among the alumni and to further service to the community.

UPV officials also greeted the alumni. Prof. Martin G. Genodepa, Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development, Dr. Ramer P. Bautista, Dean of the School of Technology, Prof. Arthur P. Barrido, Jr. Dean of the College of Management, and Prof. Severa Fe S. Katalbas, Dean of the College of Science and Technology gave their messages along with a video “look-back” of the UPV campuses and colleges.

The highlight event, “UPV Alumni Zoomcoming Virtual Reunion and Online Socials”, was held in the evening. Alumni from around the world got to see each other via virtual meetings. Other alumni watched via live streaming. The virtual reunion gave way for the alumni in attendance to have fun, albeit short, “kamustahan.” Even those viewing the live stream sent in greetings to their classmates and batchmates through chat comments.

Alumni from various UPV performing groups brightened the event. Among them were the UPV Choristers Alumni; UP Khoryu Alumni; Ms. Abigail Leguera, a UPV Performa alumni; Mr. Malik Mariano, UPV Rhapsody alumni; and, Ms. Kate Fesalboni, UP Teatro Amakan alumni. The celebrating jubilarian UPHSI Batch 80 also gave a presentation.

UP Officials were also there to send their greetings. Among them were UPV Chancellor, Dr. Ricardo P. Babaran, Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs, and System Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) Director, Prof. Maria Angelica D. Abad, and UP President Hon. Danilo L. Concepcion. The officials expressed delight in being part of this “first-ever,” “landmark,” and “milestone” event.

Justice Francis H. Jardeleza, retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, gave the keynote speech. Jardeleza gave tribute to the alumni, from the early pioneers to today’s “movers and shakers,” – who are instrumental in the improvements in UPV – and the “regular” and anonymous donors who give support to scholars or respond to university fund drives.

He also announced on behalf of his class, UPV High School Class of 1965, their gift to UPV in the amount of P300,000 for the establishment of the Historical Preservation Initiative, which will help in the preservation of the Old High School Building and the Woman’s Club Building.

The event also saw the UPAA Iloilo Chapter’s recognition and appreciation of the COVID-19 Initiatives done by the various alumni and alumni groups around the Visayas region. These are individuals and organizations that have made a big impact on the response efforts done during the pandemic.

Among those in attendance were alumni jubilarians from the class of 1965, 1980, 1990, 2000, and other alumni including Senator Franklin Drilon. Officers of various UPAA Visayas chapters, UPV officials and personnel, also joined.

UPV OAR Director Prof. Benmar B. Panaguiton delivered his closing remarks at the end. Panaguiton said this year’s virtual homecoming was a response to the question of how to keep the university connected with the alumni despite the pandemic. While major alumni associations – UPAA (national) and UPAA Iloilo Chapter – canceled their homecoming activities, UPV OAR decided to continue with the homecoming by moving it online. “The initial idea was just to have a zoom meeting where everybody can meet. Eventually, it grew as ideas came in,” he added.

In collaboration with alumni groups and associations, university colleges, and offices, related activities were added to compose a week-long lineup. This includes online selling and auction, webinars, games, online reunions, and health protocol-compliant versions of the usual food events. Sponsoring organizations include UPV Scintilla Jvris Fraternity and Stella Juris Sorority, Validus Amicitia Brotherhood, Silak Brotherhood, and Silab Sisterhood, UPV Bulig, Barter, Baligya, Kag Iban Pa, SoTech Alumni Association, and UPAA Iloilo Chapter.

In closing, Panaguiton thanked everyone who participated in the activities and the various alumni and alumni groups who are at the forefront of community service during today’s quarantine.

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