Alumni Associations of colleges and universities in the Philippines gathered together one more time for the Philippine Alumni Extravaganza Grand Soirée last 21 October at West HQ Rooty Hill to bond with schoolmates and to reminisce their glorious school days. The University of Santo Tomas Alumni Australia were hosts of this year’s event.
To Filipinos, education is paramount. It translates to a better future. So more importantly than just the merriment of the evening, the event served the altruistic purpose of raising funds for the scholarship programs of the various alumni associations for their respective schools.
In her speech, guest of honour, H.E. Philippine Ambassador Hellen B. de La Vega stated that during the recent meeting of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the Philippines, they spoke of the positive contributions of Filipinos to Australia and both leaders vowed to strengthen the relationship between both countries in all aspects. The Ambassador outlined eight (8) points for the betterment of the community: (1) for the associations to harness the potential skills, and experience from the associations to draw out future leaders; (2) give back more to the community be it time, skills, effort or financial assistance; (3) embrace social responsibility; (4) inspire and develop future leaders, “the younger the better”; (6) mentorship; (7) advocate for sustainable community development; and (8) celebrate success stories. The ambassador further stressed the “need for collective support and collaboration.” “Let us uplift each other and drive positive action,” she added. She also congratulated the eight participating schools, i.e. Adamson University, Ateneo University, Don Bosco Technical College, Mapua University, St. Louis University, University of the East, University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas.
Entertainers for the night included the suave and debonair Dean of entertainment, David Michael White, along with his charming co-host Edinel Magtibay Rearden, the classy Ms. Cleo Diana, the talented Miss Charlie Rose Wilkinson and the dynamic students of Westside Performing Arts School.
The much-awaited Alumni Got Talent competition saw the various schools perform. The winner of the competition was the UP Alumni Association of Australia, with an all-star cast performing “Pagpupugay sa mga Magsasaka” (A Tribute to Farmers), thus taking home the trophy and a $300 cash prize for their coffers courtesy of Western Union. Runner-up was St. Louis University with their “Kalinga–Banga” performance.
Gerald Santiago of Ateneo handed out the prizes for this year’s Golf and Bowling Challenges. Don Bosco were the golf champions and De La Salle University the bowling champs.
Winners of the Alumni mega raffle included: the 3 PAL returns tickets to the Philippines with overnight accommodation courtesy of Megaworld won by Amado Caingat, Teresa Cardona and Primitive West; Dorothy del Villar won the Suncoast Air BnB holiday; and Marissa Bala won the Zignal travel voucher. Other prizes were handed out courtesy of the Philippine Tourism and Philippine Department of Trade and Industry and Novotel. Gifts from Mr. Ginoo and Michaela Ramas went to the Best Dressed winners, Imelda Argel and Jimmy Lopez.
As Ms. Benjie de Ubago, USTAA president, said: “Keep the fires of your alma mater forever burning. And a reminder that – ‘we’re better together!.’
Mapua University have raised their hands to host the 2024 Philippine Alumni Extravaganza with their President, Anthony Belista, taking the lead.
USTAA gratefully acknowledges this year’s major sponsors: Philippine Airlines, Western Union and Megaworld International and all those who supported the event.