The Seventies
 By "Bob Diliman" '75

In the Fraternity’s “UP Beta Sigma at 60… The Journey Continues,” Buddy Garbanzos ’63 article “Of Golden Years of Memories of Long Ago”, did not give a more descriptive portrayal of the fraternity in the Diliman campus in the decade of the seventies. This write-up will supplement and try to give justice to the brods of that era.
The Seventies kicked off with a bang with the First Quarter Storm, dozens of protest rallies in the Metro Manila area and would culminate in the dramatic barricades on the UP campus to be forever known as the 1971 Diliman Commune.
Brods were present at the ramparts and battled the assaulting Metrocom as Rey Bello (UPD 69) was shot behind the Faculty Center in what used to be the Jaycees Restaurant and then he was carried on foot for more than a mile by his fellow militants from the Fourth Pavilion to the Sunken Garden, pass the Main Library, through the side streets, pass the UP Chapel and finally arriving at the UP Infirmary. Willie “Tatang” Vergara and Norman Bituin were the last ones defending the last barricade at the First Pavilion of the Arts and Sciences Building and the former was shot and hid incognito at the Kamia Residence Hall. Like their student colleagues at that time, brods joined nationalist organizations such as Brod Jun Bernal ’69 with Kabataang Makabayan (KM) and Perry Callanta ’69 with the Samahan ng Demokratikong Makabayan (SDK).
These leftist groups became the core of student political parties wherein the brods would win campus elections: Brod Jelly Nacino ’58, Vice Chairman of the UP Student Council; Perry Callanta, University Councilor; Willie Nepomuceno ’69, College Councilor of Architecture and Fine Arts from 1970-71; Claro Santamaria ’68, University Councilor, UPSC; and Abelardo Agulto ’71, Representative of the College of Arts and Science Student Council in 1972.

Bio Acuna, Czar Michelena, Butch Madarang, Lem Michelena


Lem Michelena, Caloy Agulto, Butch Madarang, Robie Feliciano


1971 Collegian Editor Rey Vea wrote about the fraternities then:
“In such a climate of political discussions, traditional campus organizations could not remain static. Fratmen found that there is a deeper sense of unity and fraternity when they share common ideas on politics and are engaged in struggle for the masses of the people.

A typical example is the case of the Beta Sigma Fraternity. When at the end of 1970, many of their members were actively involved in nationalist organizations, ideas discussed among them were in turn discussed in get-togethers among brods. From then on, many meetings of the Fraternity became centered on political discussions among progressives and reactionaries among them. Beta Sigma was later to become one of the most audacious among the defenders of the Diliman Commune.”
The 1972 declaration of Martial Law ended all such political exercise and muzzled the press including the Philippine Collegian. The academe settled down in the era of the “New Society”. The fraternity’s traditional hangout, called the Betan Lobby, situated near the alley that separated the Arts and Sciences building from the old Business Administration building (now Palma Hall Annex or PHAN) had to move to the steps of the old BA building because the Betan Lobby had become a security risk since the entrance gate had been permanently locked. 
Folkways, the Betans’ musical presentation of the ‘60s had its last appearance in the early ’70s as Folkways V but the Harana in the Ladies’ Dormitories would continue with the music of America, James Taylor, Jim Croce, Seals and Croft and even Barry Manilow.
Willie Baldoria of the Silver Grass, a known folk band at that time, brought along his banjo to sing John Denver songs while Kiko Delmendo ’72 made the ladies swoon with his sax. The UP Hayride was gone forever but the UP Lantern Parade would be resurrected in 1977 and the Betan “Black Hood” would reappear in December of 1978.
The seventies also saw the creation of new organizations linked to the Fraternity such as Tumbleweeds (the sports organization of the brods) which competed in the Palakasan (a UP inter-student organization sports tournament) in 1974, 1975 and finally winning the overall championship in 1981. UP Beta Sigma Ladies Corps was formally organized in 1976 with the Escobar twins (Eileen and Lauren), Marius Mercado and, Helen Unson, among others as its founders. Malou Perez and Ces “Baby” Pajaro revived the traditional Fraternity Sweetheart. Betaphil was founded in 1975 and UP Beta Sigma Baguio Chapter in 1977.


Raul Terso, Billy Sevilla, Alex Montero, Danny Viado, Uriel de los Reyes,

 Cesar Ramirez, Ben Ferriols, Caloy Agulto, Edlin de Laza


Dante Fagar, Sammy Lazo, Mel de Santos, Ollie Jumao-as


                                                                                 UP Manila Boys

                    Anthony Subijano, Babes Ignacio, Reginald de la Cruz, Butch Madarang, Ven Atienza, Leo Pascua,

                    Meng Canlas, Rene de Grano, Leony Tan, Manny Francisco, Jun Valenzuela, Bong Beredo, Joel Paredes,

                    Roland Jamir, Lem Michelena, Joey Zulueta.


The Marcos regime did not stop the resurgence of student activism nor the brods from aspiring for campus leadership positions. Ollie Jumao-as ’73 managed the Consultative Committee on Student Affairs (CONCOMSA) as Chairman in ‘73 and ‘74. Iking Tenazas ’75 was elected to the 1975 Student Conference; Sonny Pagador ’76 was Chairman of the 1977 UP Manila Student Council; Raffy Tomeldan ’75 Vice Chairman, 1978 AS Student Council and later University Councilor in the restored 1980-81 UP Student Council; Ruben Pascual ’75, 1978 Chairman, School of Economics Student Council. Edwin Acuna ’76, 1978 Editor of Tagamasid (UP Manila Student paper), Dante Agulto ’73, Fisheries Guild President and there were more brods who were also leaders in student organizations. There was noticeable need by the resident brods to match the accomplishments of their predecessors.
There were chess wizard such as Gil Marzo ’69, Ben Medina ’71, Kit Marzo’75 and the late Cedric Gloria ’69, alias Nwan Blue Sparrow Soma Zaccheus. Yes, aliases abound too among the membership, many of them downright weird or even hilarious, to name a few: “Herr Otsen Von Togi, SS Berlin”, “Tulindoy”, “Funky”, “Atam”,”Dirty Dave”, “Waway”, “Ulam”, “Howdee”, “Uwang”, “Tepelone”, “Saypek” and the list goes on.
The theatre became a new field of interest too for the brods as thespians Cris Michelena ’73, the late Sammy Lazo ’71 and Bong Medina ’76, Yay Topacio ’77 (who was nominated Best Supporting Actor in the Urian Awards), Og Quesada ’77 and the omnipresent Nonoy Tagaro UPLB ’75 led the way participating in memorable and iconic plays such as “Pagsambang Bayan”, “Sigaw ng Bayan”, and the Fraternity’s own production, “Dahil Sa Kapirasong Lupa”.

The fraternity had a superiority complex because it boasted of a core of UP High, UP Prep and Philippine Science High School graduates, who comprised almost 50 percent of the membership at that time. Despite such an impressive list, if the ‘90s Betans waggishly describe themselves “at best mediocre”, several ‘70s brods were slackers failing to live up to the expectations of their backgrounds. The brods would often rather hang out at the “Betan Steps” or sojourn to taverns like Evergreen, Tong Long or the “Drug Store” found at Old Balara. Frequently these intoxicating sessions would explode into a fracas with Ateneans or other UP fratmen like Irish bar room brawls.
Martial arts and movie legend Bruce Lee’s untimely death in 1973 did not stop the Fraternity’s school of martial arts from producing more black and brown belters among the brods and such skill came handy as frat rumbles erupted now and then in the campus as well as in UP Manila.
The Oscar Awards 1972 best film, “The Godfather” now part of American pop culture left also a legacy in the mindset of the brods. From adopting monikers like “Santino” to engaging a simultaneous war with several rival frats thus borrowing a page from the script of the said movie, the brods portrayed themselves as the “siga” of the campus. This was followed by another film, also popular among the brods in the latter part of the decade – “The Warriors” which they immediately identified with. A fair percentage of the female population dated these bad boys or as Noel Rivera”72 would like to describe themselves as “ruggedly handsome.” However, it was the nice guys the gals took home to meet their parents.
The denim jacket and pants, the Ray-Ban Air Force sunglasses, the long wild hair and the noisy Kawasaki and Suzuki bikes parked at the bottom of the BA steps became the lasting impression left behind by the Fraternity then.
As US President John F. Kennedy once put it, “Every generation will remember its youth”. It was their time, it was their destiny – it was the Seventies.

Brods of the Seventies




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