Archive for the ‘UP Ibalon Alumni Project’ Category

Update on Operation Blessings: Wheelchair distribution in Bicol

January 15, 2009

Operation Blessings

by Dr. Josephine R. Bundoc

Operation Blessing (OB,) the charitable project which aims to give away wheelchairs to indigent disabled amputees in March has set its guidelines in the selection of recipients from Bicol. Since the available wheelchairs are limited, Ibalonian Dr. Josephine R. Bundoc, consultant of the UP-PGH Rehabilitation Medicine Department has the following guidelines in the conduct of the charitable giving:

Requirements of Operation Blessings for the wheelchair recipients are:

1. Name, age, medical diagnosis and reason(s) for needing a wheelchair: a
physician’s signature is preferred, but not required.
2. DSWD Case Study report on the recipient
3. Barangay certificate that the recipient is a resident of the barangay.

Operation Blessings’ counterparts— the LGUs, NGOs or partner(s) are enjoined to assist in the following:

1. Board and lodging of the O.B. team (normally 6 personnel) for 2-3 days
2. Venue for distribution – preferably gym or something like the Naga Civic Center
3. Transportation expenses of wheelchairs
4. Manpower to assist in wheelchair assembly

Operation Blessings plans to distribute free wheelcharis in Bicol on the 3rd to 4th week of March. For Camarines recipients, Daet, Camarines Norte will be the stop-over before Naga City and Camarines Sur. The distribution team will then proceed to Tabaco, Santo Domingo, Legaspi, Tiwi in Albay province, and subsequently proceeding to Sorsogon City in Sorsogon Province.

Ibalonians within and in between the above-mentioned areas may submit requirements of potential recipients before Feb 15, 2009 so they may be included in the distribution. Expecting to be in Naga City to meet with those involved with the project, Dr. Bundoc and the UP Ibalon Alumni president Butch M. Robredo express their thanks to all those who commit themselves and find in their hearts valuable time and energy in helping this worthy endeavor. The participation of more members and non-member volunteers are welcome and gratefully appreciated.(Photo Credit: Edgar Jediza) =0=

Addendum: On February 6, 2009, there will be amputee screening and measurement of beneficiaries in Naga City. Only 6 wheelchairs will be handed over since documentation by DSWD and verification of eligibility of recipients are not yet completed.—mesiamd (01/16/09)

RELATED BLOG: “UP Ibalon Alumni-Bicol pursues its wheelchair & leg prosthesis project for indigents” Posted by mesiamd at 1/09/2009

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Brother Sun and Sister Moon

June 18, 2008

It’s a re-play of the old tradition which UP Ibalon-Bicol follows. Like big Brother Sun who treats young students as little Sister Moons and small Brother Earths, the organization of former students and alumni of the state university had successfully concluded the UPCAT Review and Orientation.

Youth seemed to bloom in Dan Daz’ pictures and Andy Gimpaya’s video appeared like the wild promise of summer. Those who attended the review had their dreams clearly painted in their gawky faces; their expectations, welded in their diffidence and in their laughter. Notably, for unclear reasons, the girl-participants outnumbered the boys.

Meeting the students at Dr. Eden B. Fernando’s Medical Plaza in Naga City, UP Ibalon members (the memory of their student days still tucked in their minds,) wasted no time to establish bonds and share important information. For the first time, in a path less traveled, the kids got generous helping from their Ibalon friends. In that cheery June day, they were introduced to a way of daring—a calculated strategy to deal with the prospects of scholarship and study in the most competitive school in the country.

Naturally, the students were delighted. Like virtual sponges, the youthful souls were apparently unbridled in their motivation. They had the fast instinct to learn and assess the horizon ahead. They absorbed as much as they could to prepare their guts for the next grueling college entrance test, the UPCAT. Hoping to make it, they had their game-plans set.

They found friendships among themselves. They reached out for the “elders” who wore symbolic UP crimson colors in mentoring them. With vast energy which might well be the next hope of the country, the students were poised to labor and wait.

Truly, youth is an asset, a precious investment that all of us must take care and nurture. In little acts of kindness such as assisting kids to pass a test or plan their future, the nation may move forward.

So well, Brother Sun, why don’t you keep your bright light burning? On your hand, the planted trees, leafless in hibernation, need your warmth—for them to grow and the nation to thrive =0=

UP Ibalon Alumni Successfully Launched UPCAT Review Project

June 15, 2008

Ten public and 9 private high schools around Naga City sent their high school seniors to UP Ibalon Bicol’s UP Orientation-UPCAT Review held at Fernando Hall, Plaza Medica, Naga City, last Saturday, June 14, 2008. UP Ibalon Bicol is an organization with worldwide membership composed of alumni of UP Ibalon, a 34-year old organization of Bicolano students at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus. Last Saturday’s event launched a bigger project by UP Ibalon Bicol that aims to help Bicolano students augment their capabilities to pass the University of the Philippines College Admissions Test (UPCAT).

Naga City Science National High School sent the largest delegation with 51 high school seniors. Other participating schools were: Ateneo de Naga and Universidad de Sta. Isabel that sent 18 each; St. Bridget School Buhi,17;Sta Monica Academy Baao,12; Sta Clara College Tigaon,10; Pili National High School and Naga College Foundation, 5 each; Tinago High School, 4; St Joseph School, Calabanga National High School, Leon Mercado High School Pacol, Carolina National High School, Cararayan High School and Concepcion Pequeña High School. 2 each; Arbor Vitae Plains Montessori Naga City, Hope Christian School and St Michael Academy Oas Albay, 1 each.

According to Alaine Alberto-Fornoles, Invitations Committee chairperson, UP Ibalon Bicol hopes to expand the project to include high school students outside Camarines Sur. She apologizes to late responders who had to be turned down because of limited resources and venue, adding that the organizers were surprised by the huge turnout and that this was just a launching event and more of similar activities are to come.

The first set of speakers for the morning session introduced UP to the participants and included


UP Ibalon Bicol’s President Jose (Butch) Robredo who gave the welcome remarks;



Project Chairperson Annaliza A. Mariano who introduced the participants and did the leveling of expectations;





Jake Rupert T. Tabora who shared his experiences at the state university and gave the future UP students a glimpse of what to find there;







Dr. Ronaldo S.P. Elicay who delivered a Powerpoint-backed lecture on Choosing Your Career that engaged the participants;





Michael V. Padua who, in his Testimony of a UP Graduate, related how he developed his expertise in weather forecasting and gave the participants idea on how to get into UP by way of transfer from another school, bypassing the UPCAT ;


and Edna C.Balaquiao who lectured on Scholarships and Financial Assistance. Ms. Balaquiao, talking out of first-hand experiences, expounded on the tricky Socialized Tuition Fee and Assistance Program (STFAP), more popularly known as Iskolar ng Bayan Program, designed to make studies at UP more affordable.






Sieg Borromeo-Bulaong was the master of ceremonies.




In the afternoon session, Clarine Tobias, a UP Ibalon alumna and owner of Memorecall, talked on test taking strategies and the UP Predicted Grades (UPG), a contentious aspect of UP admissions requirements. Memorecall also conducted special diagnostic tests on Language & Reading Comprehension and Mathematics & Science, giving the participating high school seniors a taste of UPCAT-like exams.

Sarah Jaye Coros Oliva, of St. Joseph School, Naga City, topped the English and Reading Comprehension Diagnostic Test. Others who made it to the top ten in this test, in descending rank, were De la Cruz, Mara Erika G.(Naga City Science High School); Felix, Trixia Mae G.(Naga City Science High School); Ayo, Fidel Nestor N.(Ateneo De Naga University); Monasterio, Jose Llandro G.(Ateneo De Naga University); Maraño, Rebbekan Grace G.(Naga City Science High School); Semeniano, Claudine Joyce D.(Naga City Science High School); Garcia, Klarika Angela C.(Ateneo De Naga University); Tapel, Anna Dominica A.(Universidad de Sta. Isabel); Gutierrez, Alfred D.(Naga City Science High School).

Two high school seniors from Pili National High School topped the Mathematics and Science Diagnostic Test: Jarid Ross Contante Clasio (1) and Cezar John Aman Estrada (2). Others in the top ten, in descending rank, were Oliva, Sarah Jaye Coros (St. Joseph School, Naga City); Esguerra, Bennyvic Joyce J.(Camarines Sur National High School); Avestruz, Darren Ramon C.(Naga City Science High School); Nacario, Redmund Godoy (Naga City Science High School); Romero, Maria Rosa M.(Naga City Science High School); Servino, Edel Acayen(Pili National High School); Medalla, Irenele T.(Naga College Foundation); Gutierrez, Alfred D.(Naga City Science High School).

Dra. Eden Borja-Fernando, a UP Ibalon pioneer and owner of Plaza Medica, gave UP Ibalon Bicol free whole-day use of the Fernando Hall for the project launching.

Participants Sidelights

Dan Daz sent these freely downloadable pictures. Help us complete the captions in these photos. For comments and feedback, click here to e-mail us.


The students of Sta. Clara Academy


The students of St. Bridget School


The students of Sta. Monica Academy


The students of Naga College Foundation


The students of the Camarines Sur National High School


The students of the Naga City Science National High School


The students of the Universidad de Sta. Isabel


The students of the Ateneo de Naga University
























UP Ibalon Bicol Sidelights























Video: UP Ibalon Bicol Meetings

April 29, 2008

Take a sneak peek at the deliberations of the UP Ibalon Bicol steering committee. The committee met twice in the past couple of weeks. Both meetings were held at Grilling Point, Balatas Road, Naga City on April 20 and 27 2008.

All the brainstormings now lean toward an ambitious College Entrance Exam assistance project. Now in queue are at least one live review session in June and a web-based review resource center. The live lecture component, which is a test undertaking, shall be held in Naga City and aims to augment the capability of the target high school students in passing the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT). The web-based component, now in data gathering and site development-promotion stage, shall be ad-supported and shall be the orgamozation’s fund source in the long haul. The Web site shall be accessible to all.

Long term prospects are bright although in its initial salvo, UP Ibalon Bicol simply hopes to demystify college entrance examinations, which in itself could inspire every scared young high school student, who we all were long time ago.

UP Ibalon Reunion in Long Island

April 13, 2008


by Totie Mesia

The bare trees lining the road have their buds ready. They’re about to display new leaves and flowers as the soft wind blows and the weather turns mild. The daffodils, dandelions, cherry blossoms, peonies, and tulips have returned aplenty to mark the season’s harvest of joy. It’s springtime!

On our way to Long Island on April 5, 2008, I was twinkle-eyed thinking I would see Bingbing and Annelee Badiola again. I felt our dinner in Flushing, Queens wasn’t enough and I lamented not having much time. We had to part with a plan of meeting again.

At #4 Monette Street, Plainview, Long Island, off exit 44S, the plan turned real. Bingbing Bretan welcomed us to their beautiful home, a comfy enclave where Brandon, their little boy, had trees dancing in the breeze, a wide lawn to run around, and a sky to watch as birds flew by.

Suffused with warmth and hospitality, the place had the pleasant smell of home-cooking. Bingbing prepared delectable sotanghon which was damn good for the palate. David had his hands busy on the red-hot barbecue grill for those juicy steaks. Dixie came up with a rendition of crispy fried chicken, far better than KFC.

Alfred and Suzanne Bretan regaled us with amazing stories and so did Rommel, Alec, Jojo, Andre, Abel and other family members whose names escaped my recall. The company was good. The troop proved to be very impressive hosts.

Narratives floated like awesome comet dusts in the air. Franz Badiola, the mom of the troop, was visibly glad about anything which crossed our minds. We weren’t finicky about leaving for Monet Septimo was there!

The ebullient Monet drove all the way from Toronto, Canada with Abel, her husband and two adorable children, Bruce and Bea. It was timely that she and my sister, her godmother, found each other after 43 years.

“Ay ninang!” she screamed and they hugged with unabashed affection!

The youngest among the pretty Septimos, Monet had the sparkling eyes of her mom and the bubbly laughter of Josephine, her eldest sister. I missed her parents Ramon and Sally Septimo who were our friends and next-door neighbors many years before.

I asked for pharmacist-sister Susan (Tootsie) Septimo who’s many miles away in beautiful sun-drenched Fort Lauderdale, Florida where the winter birds escaped the December freeze.

“Will you and Tootsie sign-up for the UP Ibalon alumni website? Everybody is looking for you,” I said.

“Yes, we will.” Monet gladly promised.

“We used to run around in that old wooden bridge in Naga… and we played school like it was the real thing. If not for your sister Marjorie, arithmetic would have been a pain!”

“How’s Butchoy? Pidong, Coco, Bong, Pipay…What’s up with our neighbors-friends?

Time flew fast to ever know the last apt words about the wonderful memories we shared. The moments were so precious to waste for the evening passed so swiftly. Friendships were reignited like newly refurbished gas burners which banished the cold. Bonds were glued strong; the memories we couldn’t paste in our hands, we kept in our hearts! ==0==

New UP Ibalon Alumni Project Upcoming

February 27, 2008

The UP Ibalon Alumni Steering Committee met tonight at Kopi Roti, Magsaysay Ave., Naga City and gets closer to endorsing a new project. Watch and hear Interim President Butch Robredo give a summary in the video clip below. We apologize for the underexposure. Masyado dimly-lit sa Kopi Roti. Pang lovers an ambiance. Anyway, the audio is clear enough for you to make out what Butch is telling us. Ann Mariano will post the transcript of the meeting anytime shortly. Totie, the committee recognizes with deep appreciation your cash donation. Nasa banko na. Thank you.