Strong and Alive @ 65: A Smashing Success
by Willie "Tatang" Vergara

Most people know about Richmonde Hotel in Ortigas Center, but not this new one. The venue of the 65th Anniversary Fraternity Ball was in this new business complex called Eastwood. I even had to “direct” the taxi driver myself to this new complex that I never knew even existed.


After asking many bystanders, we finally got into the venue. Immediately as I got off the taxi, a dapper handsome yuppie I’ve never personally met before save on Facebook asked: “Are you Tatang?” And I answered, “Yes, and you are Miko. Known to all his friends and contemporaries as Ponce, this youngest alumnus and former GP of UP Baguio was waiting at the hotel entrance for the arrival of the other UP Baguio resident brods, led by GP Anton Hipolito and their LCs (UP Beta Sigma Ladies Corps). I would find out later that the UP Baguio alumni brods would ensure, by way of extending some financial assistance, a 100% attendance of all their residents and LCs as well!

l-r: Rey Juan, Caloy Agulto, ex-UP Pres. Pepe Abueva, Dr. Ted Topacio, Willie Vergara.


Plus more brods: ex-DENR Usec. Rene de Rueda, Del Ganapin, Nugget Aquino.


                                               l-r: Gabby Moraleda, Vic Tupaz, Butch Madarang, Rawlie Dimayuga,

                                                    Cedric Gloria, Willie Vergara, Jayjay Jayme.








The Grand Princeps: UPLB Raymond Juan, UPD Josh Caringal, UPB Anton Hipolito.


UP Los Banos residents, with batchmates Tatang Vergara and Jun Rafael


UP Diliman residents


The commonly practiced “Filipino time” didn’t appear to most of the attendees. Many alumni and residents arrived early at the venue. All the officers of UP Los Banos led by their new Grand Princep Raymond Juan (son of Brod Rey Juan, UPD ’71) occupied a whole table. All of UP Diliman’s inductees, together with their partners, plus several Diliman residents led by GP Josh Caringal, were seated at the middle of the ballroom. In short, attendance of residents was way beyond expectations.

At some point of the celebrations, the Sigma Betans came in full force!



Operation Big Brother Foundation, Inc.(OBBF) Brods: 26 of 29 high-flying Betan yuppies answer the call.





UPBSF-Intl. BOD from Los Banos Jojo Alejar joins the OBBF party boys


UPBSF, Inc. VP Rolly Reyes and Walter Navarro (center) join too



Seated at a far-end corner of the hall, an alumni group that had the most imposing presence was the Operation Big Brother Foundation (OBBF). With 29 of them present, some with their partners, this affair is perhaps the biggest reunion among the OBBF during the past 5 years. Among those that immediately come to mind are OBBF Man of Steel Raffy Hidalgo (SteelAsia executive); Lawyers Pete Danao, Leo Robel, Jason Justo, Rex Gingoyon, and Charlie Mendoza, Allen Miranda of the SM Group, Ron Justo (a congressional chief of staff and head of the employees union), Richmond Hotel GM Jun Justo (he gave us a good deal!), Bino Aguinaldo, Southern Californian Renzi del Rosario, part-UP Northerner Neil Hidalgo of Accenture, Nonoy Tagaro, Melvir Buela, Mon Mamaril, entrepeneurs Lloyd Dizon, Dennis Belmonte, Nugget Aquino, Nonoy Tagaro, and Mel Ladip and many more whom I’ve met for the first time and are very well-placed in their respective chosen professions.


   Dr. Mag Albarracin, ex-DENR Sec. Vic Ramos, Rolly Reyes      Ed Baldoria, Justice Raoul Victorino, Ando Roman, Pepe Abueva



                         ex-Cong. Atty. Mat Defensor                                                                     Senior DENR staff


l-r: Pat Roman, Rico Arranz, Gene Puente, Mike Guioguio, Mag Albarracin.


Ted Topacio, Pepe Abueva, Atty. Ferdie Echiverri, Ambassador Tony Villamor


Dr. Ted Topacio '49, RP National Scientist


                                           Standing: Atty. Ed Abon, Atty. Boyet Fernandez, Mike Guioguio, Ick Angeles, Joe Diaz.

                                           Seated:   Atty. Rico Arranz, Mag Albarracin, Vic Ramos.


It goes without saying that this affair was graced with the presence of legendary alumni brods of Diliman and Los Banos who were seated in different areas of the ball room. On the tables nearest the stage were Founder Rico Arranz, UP President Jose Abueva, DENR Secretary Mon Paje, Dean and National Scientist Ted Topacio, the most eminent Dean Magdaleno Albarracin of Phinma, former DENR Secretary Victor O. Ramos, UN Executive and former Usec Delfin Ganapin, Justice Raoul Victorino, Ambassador Tony Villamor, Congressman Mat Defensor, former Usecs and now the lead of our Mother Chapter Rene de Rueda and Rolly Reyes, former UP FG Pat Roman, UPLB Stalwarts Douglas Mondonedo, Jojo Alejar, Ando Roman, Greg Palis, Vic Tupaz, and Ambo Lapiz. In fact, Mon Paje’s senior staff at DENR were present, namely: three (3) Regional Executive Directors, Regional Technical Director Arnold Hernandez (a recent visitor in California) and Jonas Lleones, Mon’s Executive Assistant.

                                         l-r: Ben Medina, Gabby Moraleda, Eddie Jose, Ross Fernando, Boy Morales,

                                              Ed Abon, Buddy Garbanzos, Cedric Goria, Mike Guioguio.


                                                 l-r: Buddy Garbanzos, Ed Baldoria, Commisioner Atty. Lucenito Tagle, Riza Baldoria,

                                                      Chris Michelena, Mayor and Mrs. Lito Tadena, Ferdie Echieverri.


 l-r: Boy Morales, Jimmy Yambao, Joe Rebano, Jun Rafael.


 l-r: Caloy Agulto, Rolly Reyes, Jun Justo, Raffy Hidalgo, Rico Arranz, Ollie Jumao-as.



                        Mayor Lito and Mrs. Tadena                                 Ross Fernando, Rolly Reyes, Pat Roman, Atamic Francisco



                           Joey Zulueta and Sandy Daza                                                     Mon Paje, Torch Manalang, Jet Arriola


UPLB Betans all


l-r: Caloy Agulto, Oca Mamangon, Ed Baldoria, Tony Villamor, Lucenito Tagle, Willie Vergara, Lito Tadena.

Seated in the middle portion of the hall were former DAR Secretary Boy Morales, Ambassador Jimmy Yambao, foremost corporate executive and top entrepreneur Mayor Amado “Lito” Tadena (who will be a topic in a Feature article of our website), COMELEC Commissioner Lucenito “Nitoy” Tagle, Congressman Mat Defensor, Buddy Garbanzos, Pharma firm owner Eding Hizon, former Asst. Commissioner for Immigration Ferdie Echiverri, famous restaurateur Sandy Daza and his “page” Oca Mamangon, Labor Judge Lerio Ancheta, Big C conqueror Jimmy Santos, DENR Asst. Secretary Manny Balangue, still dashing Bajour Curameng, Atamic Francisco, Rey Juan (dad of UPLB GP Raymond), and Martial Arts Guru/Technocrat/Webmaster Ollie Jumao-as.

l-r: Ben Medina, Boyet Fernandez (hidden), Gene Puente, Eddie Jose, Joey Zulueta, Lakan Fonacier,

                               Rolly Reyes, Ross Fernando, Ed Abon, Roy Antonio, Rawlie Dimayuga, Atamic Francisco.


Makati Chapter

We also had Makati Chapter brods Tariff Commission Chairman Ed Abon, mainstays Ross Fernando and Gene Puente, sterling Lawyers Boyet Fernandez and Joey Zulueta, Mike Giogiuo, Big Business Eddie Jose, Kim Cabatit, Jet Arriola, Rawlingson Dimayuga, Lakan Fonacier, and Customs man Torch Manalang.



                                                   l-r: Jun Bernal, Joey Zulueta, Dante Fagar, Ferdie Echiverri,

                                                        Rawlie Dimayuga, Manny Balangue, Lito Tetangco, Ed Abon.


l-r: Oca Mamangon, Dante Fagar, Gabby Moraleda, Manny Balangue, Lito Tetangco, Ed Abon.


Jun Bernal and daughter, married to a Betan alumnus



 Shan Buyco and UP Visayas brods with Dante Agulto and Willie Vergara

What a pleasant sight to see: UP Visayas Beta Sigma President Shan Buyco and four other UPV brods,namely: November Romena, Jose Razon III, Lawrence Tibon and Sammy Malvas;. UP Los Banos Beta Sigma Alumni Association President Lito Tetangco (who I just learned is my neighbor in Paranaque), former UP Council Vice Chairman Jelly Nacino, my kaGROUP Jun Rafael, Black Saints’ Prez Pol Moral, Political Strategist Chax Baldoria, Journalist Joel Paredes, some of the great Agulto clan like Dante, Caloy and son, Revivalist of the 80s Walter Navarro, Jun Bernal (whose daughter, married to a young alumnus, was also present), DENR’s Arvee Caancan, Dante Fagar, Butch Madarang, Brewmaster Elmer Reyes, Chessmasters Ben Medina and Cedric Gloria, Botit Reyes (who brought in his lovely 13-year old daughter), Architect par excellence Nap Cruz, Ezra Castillo, Joe Diaz and Mars Robosa.

UP Manila Asst. Dean Jo Delmendo, who has supported the fraternity's improvement projects, with the brods.



In the company of Founding President’s son Jayjay Jayme, it was an honor to have UP Manila Assistant Dean Jo del Mundo, one of our staunch advocates towards the revival of our Padre Faura resident body, as one of the attendees.

Roy and Dinah Antonio, from Southern California, with Chris Michelena.


l-r: Caloy Agulto, Jun Bernal, Gabby Moraleda, Dante Agulto, Tatang Vergara.

The few of us from California who were able to make it were given such great recognition – Roy Antonio (with wife Dina), Gabby Moraleda and me. It is also worth mentioning that many US-based brods have, by way of their donation geared toward the residents' attendance, were recognized several times during the fratball and in other informal fora.

Ambassador Jimmy Yambao leads the national anthem


UPBSF, Inc. Pres. Rene de Rueda


Diliman GP Josh Caringal announces the inductee brods









Induction and pinning ceremonies of the new resident brods



                     Nugget Aquino's "Brothers Four"                                                Don't show those kissing shots to Mommy!



Slide presentations

The night offered lots of interesting activities: Soprano Amb. Jimmy Yambao led the singing of the Betan hymn; then there was a slide presentation covering activities of our different resident Chapters in Diliman, UPLB, UP Visayas, UP Baguio, and UP Mindanao; another slide presentation of the Frat’s highlights dating back to the late 40s; a beautiful song by Brod Nugget Aquino’s “Brothers Four”; the traditional kissing, ahhhh, pinning ceremonies among brod-inductees; photo ops that seemed to have no end; and an inspiring speech by guest speaker Secretary Ramon Paje.


DENR Secretary Ramon Paje

Mon said in his speech that Beta Sigmans currently lead the most vital sectors of the Philippines in point of national security, namely: Secretary Voltaire Gazmin in national defense, Procy Alcala in food security in his capacity as Secretary for Agriculture, and himself in environmental security. In his inspiring speech, he mentioned that the country will be much more secure in all these areas and its impact will be felt after 5 years or less, given all the effective and creative programs currently being implemented by the three of them.



Dr. Mag Albarracin receives Lifetime Achievement award

Together with former NBN Prez Rolly Reyes (who was the prime mover of this affair), I was given the honor of handing over a Lifetime Achievement Award to Billionaire Brod/Dean Magdaleno Albarracin, on behalf of the Mother Chapter and the UPBSF-International, Inc. This award is a promise fulfilled, as the International Board unanimously approved to grant Brod Mags such accolade way back in Year 2008. Such award has metamorphosed into a more significant one considering that both the Mother Chapter and the UPBSF-International are now the signatories.

The most active Founding Brod






"The Order of the Supreme Grand Princep"

The second of only two awards was handed over by President Rene de Rueda, Secretary Mon Paje and Secretary Ramos – The Order of the Supreme Grand Princep – to the most active of the three living founders, Melecio “Rico” Arranz. Surprised by this award, he delivered an extemporaneous speech that apparently was foremost in his heart – the setting up of a permanent office. After a standing ovation, Brod Secretary Mon Paje called for donors and challenged brods to put up an amount of PhP7 million for an office condominium. I was called in to promise half of that amount from international sources, but I graciously begged off being an outgoing president. The atmosphere was so euphoric that many brods have put up pledges to respond to Founder Arranz’ appeal.


                     Event chairman Nugget Aquino                                            Emcees Riza Baldoria and Chris Michelena





Congrats to Event Chair Nugget Aquino, Mother Chapter VP Rolly Reyes (Acting Prez during the preparations with Prez Rene out of the country), Trustee Chris Michelena and co-emcee Riza Baldoria, Trustees Joel Paredes, Jojo Alejar, Rupert Ambil, Ron Justo and the rest of the newly elected Board of Trustees. Same goes to the other individuals and groups of Brods who have made the event a smashing success, with special mention of the different resident chapters and their ladies.

I’ve heard it so often and from different quarters that “Strong and Alive at 65” is by far the best in point of event programming and content, time management, and diversity of attendees. Among those who congratulated the event organizers was no other than UP President Joe Abueva himself.

The bar has been raised, a new milestone now becomes part of a great historical event. We are now witnessing the alignment of the stars and the planets. All these only herald that greater things are still to come.

We’re all set for a new and bigger challenge: 2010-2020 as the Golden Decade of UP Beta Sigma Fraternity – among our alumni and residents as well.



Mabuhay ang U.P. Beta Sigma!!



(Back ---> UP NorCal Updates)


(Back ---> Features)