ISUFST transforms center into majestic venue for alumni coronation ceremony

Published

Herman Lagon, Ph.D.

The 14th International Grand Alumni Homecoming peaked with a grand coronation extravaganza at the Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST) Main Campus Tiwi Site Multipurpose Cultural Center last Saturday, April 27, which transformed the area into a colorful, regal court for the Alumni Queen 2024 Rose Marie E. Cabangal and Alumni King 2024 Hernando Sajo. The gymnasium was lavishly decorated with white flowers on the ground and a mix of white, orange, red, and violet flowers that appeared to float above a cloud-like ceiling woven with white, blue, and violet fabric.

The transformation of the ISUFST Cultural Center into a vibrant stage for the coronation night was a spectacle that left many alumni in awe, all courtesy of Alumni Queen 2024 Cabangal and her stage decoration team with the assistance from the school’s General Services Office led by homegrown alumnus Dr. Bernie Bayogos. The meticulous decorations and floral arrangements created an enchanting and regal ambiance. 

Hundreds of alumni and retired faculty from various batches shared glowing remarks on-site and on social media about the creativity and effort put into the setting. “Seeing the cultural center turned into such a beautiful and majestic setting brought back so many fond memories and made the evening even more special,” commented alumna Dr. Amalia Delfin Dohina.

The alumni were impressed by the visual transformation and the seamless integration of modern elements with traditional decor, reflecting the university’s commitment to heritage and progress. “The mix of colors and the way the flowers seemed to float above us was magical. It’s incredible to see how our university continues to embrace innovation while respecting tradition,” noted Alumni Affairs Director Prof. Lorelie Robles. Feedback on the event’s organization was overwhelmingly positive, with many alumni praising the attention to detail and the overall coordination. They say the event was well organized and hosted.

As the night unfolded, the attendees’ energy elevated, culminating in a dance party that many described as the highlight of their trip. “The transformation of the mood matched the transformation of the venue. Everyone felt uplifted, and the joy was palpable,” explained Alumi Queen 2024 Cabangal. The event’s success was a testament to the organizing committee’s hard work and the alumni’s active participation, ensuring that the homecoming was not just a reunion but a renewal of their lifelong connection to ISUFST.

Dr. Nordy Siason, Jr., President of ISUFST, salutes the event with heartfelt remarks: “We are thrilled to welcome back our esteemed alumni to this grand celebration, themed ‘Ang Aton Pagkilit-anay… Paghanduraw sa mga Nagligad!’ This homecoming is both a gathering and a vibrant testament to the enduring spirit and accomplishments of ISUFST graduates. It is a moment to reconnect, reminisce, and inspire each other to continue to excel in various fields and communities.”

Dr. Carlito Delfin, ISUFST Federated Alumni President, added, “It’s an honor to welcome our alumni back to where their professional journeys began. This homecoming is a celebration of our history and a reaffirmation of our commitment to integrity, social justice, discipline, and academic excellence. Together, we’re not just revisiting our past; we’re also forging a future filled with even greater achievements.”

For his part, inspirational speaker James Herrada (Magna Cum Laude, Batch 1984), Program Director of the Diagnostic Referral Center in Texas, encouraged all participants in the coronation night: “Always remember to trust the process, embrace the journey, and remember that success is about growth and character. Keep on keeping on, with resilience as our key, for success favors the prepared.” He further urged participants to “unite within our alumni association to pursue our university’s vision and goals together, standing strong and supporting each other towards a brighter future.” 

Mrs. Leonisa Singletary (Valedictorian, Batch 1976), First Princess and Distinguished Overseas Filipino Alumna awardee, emphasized in her speech during the morning program the significance of ‘remembering,’ especially recalling her formative days at the school. Reflecting on her journey from poverty to prominence, she shared how her years at IRSOF (old name of ISUFST) were foundational, stating, “School memories are truly the best. I was overwhelmed with joy and surprise during my recent visit to the campus of my alma mater. These memories inspire us to sail on and work towards the betterment of the University.”

The three-day event featured a series of activities designed to foster camaraderie and reconnect the alumni with their alma mater. Highlights included a motorcade attended by more than 100 vehicles, a Holy Mass, Zumba sessions, a videoke contest, and campus tours. The event culminated in the coronation night, which featured lively performances by a live band, creating an atmosphere of joyful nostalgia.

The festivities also included a business meeting to discuss future initiatives and a Bingo Bonanza, which added a festive layer to the gathering along with the raffle draw. While affirming the voluntary services of the officers and volunteers of the Federated Alumni, Dr. Siason further noted, “Your [alumni] efforts and presence enrich our homecoming and contributes to the enduring legacy of ISUFST. As we celebrate, let us pledge to uphold our inherited values and pass them on, enriched, to the next generation of ISUFST students.”

As the celebration wrapped up, many alumni expressed appreciation for the opportunity to revisit their roots and reconnect with old friends and mentors. The successful staging of the event not only celebrated the past but also set a positive tone for future engagements and contributions from the ISUFST alumni community.

With the echoes of the grand celebration still resounding, ISUFST stands poised to continue its tradition of excellence. It is supported by a strong and active alumni network dedicated to upholding the university’s values and contributing to its legacy of success. 

ISUFST traces its roots back to 1957. Over the decades, it has expanded significantly, transitioning through several milestones, including introducing various collegiate and postgraduate programs. It has also expanded into five campuses and sites in Barotac Nuevo, Dingle, Dumangas, and San Enrique, fostering expertise in fisheries, agriculture, education, management, technology, and other fields. This evolution—Central Iloilo National School of Fisheries (CINSOF), Iloilo Regional School of Fisheries (IRSOF), Iloilo State College of Fisheries (ISCOF)—culminated in its conversion to university status in 2023, following the approval of Republic Act No. 10604, making it the 10th university in Iloilo. Today, ISUFST, the only fisheries university in the country, continues to adhere to its commitment to academic excellence and social responsibility, serving as a pivotal educational institution in the region. (Text by Herman Lagon; Photos by Edmer Bernardo, Sanny Fernandez, and Amalia Dohina/PAMCO)

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