HISTORY OF TIPON SILLIMAN AND SUACONA
The dream of Silliman alumni and friends in North America uniting for common cause had been held by many for quite some time long before the first Tipon and the organization of SUACONA. There were many reasons for such a union. Fellowship was of course uppermost but a strong second consideration was financial. With the continuing decline of the mission support that had been a major source of revenue for nearly a hundred years, something was needed to take its place and it appeared that tapping the resources of the overseas alumni, a very large segment of which was based in North America, was part of the answer. In an article for the United Board newsletter entitled “Looking for Mr. Money Man,” the late Dr. Paul Lauby graphically illustrated the positive impact on Silliman's financial health of united Silliman alumni by saying that if each North American Silliman alumnus would give even just $100 to Silliman, the aggregate sum would help improve Silliman's financial picture dramatically. The question, he posed, was how to rally the Silliman overseas alumni to such a cause and by whom.
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Tipon Silliman 2017 – Honolulu, Hawaii
The banner theme that the TIPON Silliman 2017 biennial event carried was “BEYOND THE GATES OF OPPORTUNITY”. The theme was chosen to put focus on “the portals symbolizing our school, and to the fact that our alumni go forth into the world carrying the values of service and faith that we learned within those gates.”
Birth of SUACOH
Duly recognized as the official alumni chapter in the state of Hawaii by SUACONA, SUACOH installed the following alumni as its pioneer officers: Delfa Gomez Dumaran (President); Virgilio Uy (1st Vice President); Aileen Besario (2nd Vice President); Rebecca Ralloma De Jesus (Secretary); Alice Sy Chuang (Treasurer); Esterlita Yucor Macedon (Auditor); Salome Pascubillo Patadlas (PRO); Alan S. Patadlas (Spiritual Advisor); Samuel C. de La Pena (Past President, Director); Luzette Somera de la Pena (Past President, Director); and Marilyn Cenas Heintz (Past President, Director).
Tipon Silliman 2017 Highlights
Silliman University alumni from all over the globe came together for the 9th Tipon Silliman as well as to commemorate the 16th Anniversary founding of the Silliman University Alumni Council of North America (SUACONA) in this beautiful Hawaiian paradise. With great anticipation of meeting old friends, classmates, roommates, ‘brods and sis’, teachers and mentors and renewing our ties to Silliman, it was a joy to see and connect with so many colleagues who knew each other from “before.”
‘E Komo Mai’ Welcome The first event was a Wednesday afternoon Merienda Cena Hospitality Welcome sponsored by the gracious hosts – the members of the SUACOH – who prepared and provided us with all the food you can think and dream of - Hawaiian style. Everything was so good, ‘lami’ – and sumptuous! It was food galore that several alumni brought some leftovers back to their rooms! While everyone was enjoying the food, members of the SUACONA Board of Directors were also around to ‘meet and greet’ the attendees.
Most attendees would start the day (and during the weeklong event), strolling along the famed Waikiki Beach to smell and grasp a breath of that fresh Pacific breeze and then taking a bite of a Filipino-flavored breakfast (how about rice and spam!) at the McDonald’s located just across the hotel. Morning devotions were also held - a Tipon tradition.
During the opening ceremonies, attendees were introduced to a demonstration of various forms of the Hula dance performed by a group of Polynesian dancers. Hula is a dance form accompanied either by a chant or mele (song). For the event, the Hula dancers performed what is known as the Hula Kahiko, or Ancient Hula, which is a sub-style of hula dancing. As we observed, hula dancing is a very complex art form with so many hand motions as well as foot and hip movements.
General Grand Assembly
The presence of Silliman University VIPs like Mr. Ricardo Balbido (current Chair of the Board of Trustees) and President Ben Malayang III highlighted the morning assembly. Each updated the attendees on the current affairs of the university. Coincidentally for President Ben Malayang, this was his last Tipon Silliman as the president of the University. He has attended most of the Tipon Silliman events since he started his term as president in 2006. The 16th Anniversary of SUACONA was commemorated by an appreciation luncheon. The following alumni co-sponsored the event: Mrs Dely Po Go and Harry Go (gold sponsor); Rev Dr Federico Agnir, Dr Gideon Alegado, Dr Sylvester Almiron Jr, Mrs Zeny Duran Bennett, Samuel de la Pena, Mrs.Faith Manigsaca Duran, Mrs. Ester Timbancaya Elphick, Mrs. Ma Antonia Guatelara Geary, Mrs Beatriz Aya-ay Jackson, Mrs Jocelyn Gerenia Pajares, Mr. Joel V. Pal, Mrs. Cora Pfistner, Dr. Renato Querubin, Mrs. Helen Valencia Silvia, Rev Dr Frank Somera Jr, and Dr Romulo G. Villanueva Jr (silver sponsors).
Fellowship Dinner and Dance
Tipon Silliman 2019 attendees were entertained by local artists from the Taiko Center of the Pacific in Honolulu performing the Taiko Drums to open up the Fellowship Dinner and dance. Rooted in sixth-century Japan, taiko is a style of drumming initially used at temples or shrines. (The word taiko literally means “big drum.”) Historically, it is thought to have been a way to send messages across long distances, to chase away insects in farmlands, to instill courage in warriors during times of battle and to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Today, though, taiko most often refers to the modern art of ensemble-style Japanese drumming, called kumi-daiko. There are several Japanese values gleaned from taiko including sonkei (respect), wa (harmony), kansha (gratitude), ganbaru (perseverance) and gaman (enduring patience).
LU’AU @Paradise Cove
Tipon Hawaii would not have been complete without attending the luau, which was held at the Paradise Cove. To get a taste of Hawaiian hospitality, attending luau is a must for every Hawaiian visitor. Everything at the luau, from the food to the entertainment to the decorations (including the greeter in the photo!), is designed to bring Pacific Island traditions to life and create a sense of togetherness.
Luau is usually celebrated during sunset on the shores of Oahu. Tipon attendees dined on kalua pig cooked in an imu (earth oven), haupia (coconut pudding) and poi (pounded Hawaiian taro). Hawaiian and Polynesian culture through live performances of music and hula filled in the rest of the night. In addition, the Tahitian dance and the thrilling Samoan fire-knife dance were showcased as well.
Board of Directors Meeting
There were several tasks and accomplishments that occurred during the Tipon BOD meeting. First, the Rev Dr Federico Agnir (as Chair of the Constitution and By Laws Committee) announced the new SUACONA constitution has been ratified. Secondly, election of the new set of SUACONA officers were held. The following alumni were elected to serve the 2018-2019 term of office: Mrs Betsy Merto Engle (Alaska) as Chair; Dr. Evangeline Bravo Manjares (New York/New Jersey), vice Chair; Mrs Faith Manigsaca Duran (Southern California), Secretary; Mrs Hannah Velez Cliatt (Central Texas), Treasurer; Dr Rene Querubin (ACACIA), Auditor; and Mr. Joel Pal (New York/New Jersey), PRO.
Lastly, the bidding for the next Tipon Silliman was also held. With no other bidders, the SUAANCR (Silliman University Alumni Association of the National Capital Region) will host the next Tipon in 2019.
Grand Gala Dinner and Ball
For the penultimate Tipon event, attendees were welcomed by Dr. Delfa Gomez Dumaran, SUACOH President. The night program included the induction of the new set of SUACONA officers by Dr Ben Malayang III, President of Silliman University.
Divine Sunday Worship and Mother’s Day Brunch
Sunday Worship Service was held on the last day of Tipon with the Rev Dr Federico Agnir preaching and delivering what would be his farewell sermon to the Silliman alumni. It was followed by a Mother’s Day Brunch at the Pacific Beach Hotel.