It is with elation that I learned about the successful conduct of Academic Festival 2008 (Acad Fest,) pulled through by UP Harong, an organization of state university students from Camarines Sur which mirrors UP Ibalon, the region-wide group of UPians which dreams of unity and friendship among Bicolanos. The founding of the latter association antedates the beginnings of the former.
The University of Northeastern Philippines (UNEP) of Iriga City played out prominently in this year’s 13th Acad Fest for high school students held in Naga City Youth Center on October 23-25, 2008. UP Ibalon Alumni Bicol is just as happy to congratulate the glowing achievement of the school, its victorious brainy students, and the solicitous UP patrons who sponsored the event.
ONE ORIGIN, ONE GOAL
I’m sure many Ibalonians are proud to share UP Harong’s and President Mark Christopher Batac’s wish to hone the youth which they rightfully say is the future of the nation. Speaking of the Acad Fest, he said:
“We aim that this event will serve not only as a venue for healthy competition between schools but also as an effective mechanism to instill the values of excellence, social relevance and appreciation for culture.” Bicol Mail (11/06/08, Neola, J)
The desire of UP Harong to “contribute to the development of Camarines Sur” is also the same germ of good work that Ibalonians have been doing for Bicol since its early years in 1970’s. From the ashes of the fractious Paglaom, Ibalonians can recall and understand.
For us Ibalonians who are mellowed and far removed from the incipient vision we set for ourselves when we were immature students, Acad Fest’s success reminds us of our common purpose. It tells us of the need to come together and unite. Like our nation’s divisiveness which is unrelenting, such need seems tied with insurmountable obstacles. It seems hard, but unity isn’t impossible to achieve.
A GLUT OF ORGS, FRATS & SORORITIES
I’m perturbed to see so many organizations, fraternities, and sororities from UP. It kept me thinking why almost everywhere, I observed many Filipino associations spread and divided for a few trivial reasons. My thoughts hovered to ask what really skewed our collective soul to follow such a path. Disunity didn’t match our sterling reputation for being smart. It disparages our capacity for reason, conciliation, and harmony.
Not only seen among Bicolanos from UP, I witnessed disunity repeated all over by others, sometimes with awkward passion and misplaced pride. In one state of USA for instance, Filipinos could count more than 300 separate organizations, diluting their presence, representation, and strength.
They stage different Philippine Independence day celebrations, sue each other in court over inane disagreements, put up parallel Christmas parties, and sponsor a menagerie of competing activities for the same purpose.
THE PRICE TO PAY
If there is a greater expense to pay for these parochial groupings, it’s the Filipino unity which suffers. Truly, the redundancies of being in sequestered intimate cozy herds which are superficially unique exist with a costly price. Against our tribal inclinations, oneness is something we badly need and must work for.
Maybe, our predisposition to fragment serves as a barometer of some residual devious tayo-tayo instincts. And perhaps, there is that deep-seated insecurity, a failure to mature and grow, deluding us to believe that our differences are insurmountable and are greater than our capacity to heal and make whole.
What then can we do Ibalon? What can we achieve with UP? I guess a good start is to welcome all Bicolano UPians to our fold, be friends with them, and think how best we can serve the country together. (Photo Credits: __; UP Ibalon.org; UP Harong.netfirm; oligarki; AaronMontoya) =0=
NOTE: UP Ibalon sponsors a contest dubbed as Padunungan in Legazpi City while UP Harong has Academic Festival in Naga City. Never to be confused from each other, this “redundancy” seems trivial, but it has a lot to say about us and the way we think. The mix-up in Bicol Mail’s November 6, 2008 coverage of the Acad Fest/Padunungan is probably a result of this “redundancy.” AFM =0=