Jul 192014

Myrna Aquitana_LighthouseThe University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles (UPAAGLA), led by its current President, Vicky Achacoso-Gancayco hosted a warm reception for the university’s 20th President Alfredo “Fred” Pascual at the Silverlake Medical Center Conference Hall on a Labor Day holiday weekend, last Saturday.

The reception started with welcome remarks by emcee Maning Rivera, invocation by Bobby Canseco, followed by former Madrigal singer Annie Nepomuceno leading the crowd by singing the Star Spangled Banner and Lupang Hinirang.

In her welcome remarks, UPAAGLA President Vicky Gancayco thanked everyone who came inspite of the long weekend, not only to give a warm welcome to UP’s 20th President Fred Pascual, but to network with co-UP alumni in providing a platform to enable the organization maintain its current mission of scholarship programs, where they most recently have awarded four (4) scholarships to students displaced by typhoon Yolanda in UP Visayas.

Consul General Leo Herrera Lim, a UP alumnus himself, attended along with his wife Fides.  Ambassador Ed Espiritu, also a UP alumnus attended the event with his wife.

In his brief speech, ConGen Lim stressed the importance of us (the UP alumni group) to remain “connected” with our alma mater, the University of the Philippines, where we all “came from.” In his usual jovial spirit and a sense of humor, ConGen Lim pointed out that he was thankful for the presence of former Ambassador Ed Espiritu, who was his mentor when he was assigned in London and likewise, he thanked the presence of his lovely wife with the following quip :”behind every successful man is a woman named Fides.”

On a similar note, former Ambassador Ed Espiritu spoke on the importance of the UP alumni group as we should “jointly help the university in putting our resources together, not just as alumni or friends of UP,  but as parents to our children in order to enable the next generation to pursue the university’s goals and ideals of academic excellence.”

The entertainment portion was provided by Annie Nepomuceno and her group of singers showing us a sampling of their upcoming concert called “Serenata Filipina,” which will be showing at the Ford Amphitheatre on August 17, 2014.

As the producer/director and singer of “Serenata Filipina,” Annie performed some of the OPM songs she will be singing, such as: “Sharing Dreams With Each Other,”“All I Need Is You” and “Never Say Goodbye.”

Another performer, the pretty Lara Avengoza, who played “Jasmine” in Disney’s “Mulan” sang her rendition of “You Can Paint With All The Colors Of The Rain” and the delightful Tagalog song of “Ewan Ko Ba Kung Bakit Type Kita, Hindi Ka Naman Guapo.”

The Broadway rendition of “Climb Every Mountain, Follow Your Dreams,” was sang by Louise Marie Cornilez, while Mon David belted out his jazz songs such as Bette Midler’s  “You ‘Got to Give A Little” and Louis Armstrong’s “I See Trees, I see them Grow…”

Highlight of the evening was UP President Fred E. Pascual’s vision statement in Visayan called “Padayon UP!” which means “Onward UP! Path to Greatness in the 20th Century!

 Firing squad

University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles (UPAAGLA)

In a comprehensive video presentation, Fred Pascual showed us that UP has exponentially grown to eight (8) Institutes of Learning:  UP Diliman, Los Baños, Manila,  Baguio, Cebu, Visayas, Mindanao and the Open University; 17 campus locations scattered throughout the country; 190 undergraduate programs; 50,000 students (80% undergraduate and 20% graduate); 4,000 full-time faculty (72% with graduate degrees); over 1,000 part-time faculty; over 1,000 research and extension staff over 8,000 administrative personnel and over 260,000 alumni worldwide.

According to President Fred Pascual, UP’s “Path to Greatness” can only be achieved through a collective recognition that we are ONE UP – “One University, One UP!”  His vision for UP includes a “leadership role in the development of a globally competitive Philippines driven by academic excellence.” One UP is “guided by One Chapter, upholding the same tradition of honor and excellence. Moving UP toward greatness is possible through the unified effort of its students, faculty, researchers, administrative staff and alumni.”

In an effort to meet UP’s globalization recognition under Fred Pascual’s leadership, he new UP now have various campuses with specific institutes of learning specializations such as: UP Manila – learning specializations focus on: Health Sciences: Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, etc.; UP Los Baños – specializes in: Agriculture, Forestry, Veterinary Medicine, etc.; UP Visayas – specializes in Fisheries, Oceanography, Marine Biology, etc.; UP Mindanao – focus on: Architecture and Indigenous Cultural Studies; UP Pampanga – focus on: Sports and Kinetics programs and the Open University, which offers an online program for students unable to find accessible transportation..

University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles (UPAAGLA)

University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles (UPAAGLA)

What’s also most impressive in President Pascual’s presentation is the accessibility of the UPCAT Review to every student regardless of financial status and the new implementation of UP’s socialized tuition system (STS) which will benefit incoming students for the August, 2014 school year. “The STS was established in December, 2013 to speed up the processing of tuition bracket applications adjust income brackets of student applicants, and increase the stipend of poor students in the university.”

President Pascual also showed the ongoing construction being built to expand innovative learning such as the NIH Building project, geared toward buiding an Institute of Aging educational program; other buildings are currently being refurbished such as the Abelardo Hall and the UP Theatre, in order to enable the student population to maximize its use.

Other new programs being developed include: the Green UP Program – which emphasizes the construction of green building and the development of cacao plantation through the Obu-Manuku Tribe, as a project of the UP Mindanao’s Forestry Program.

Finally, President Pascual ‘s presentation ended with “extending the reach of UP” through “Modernizing Pedagogy” which identifies “blended learning by developing massive online courses (MOOCS) – these are online programs which will be available to all.”

To Fred Pascual, who is a younger fraternity brod, we thank you for leading our university to a new path and for your impressive achievement as the 20th President of our university! We are ONE UP – ONE UNIVERSITY! Push on UP!

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