by Winona Claire Sebastian

The phoenix, according to the Greek mythology, is a mystical, golden-red feathered bird which emits rays of sunlight and that lives as much as a thousand years. Its life ends in a show of flames and combustion until its remains are all but ashes. Upon its death, the phoenix is reborn once more to live another thousand years. Adopting the phoenix as its sigil for its coat-of-arms, the Pinag-isang Lakas ng mga Progresibong Atenista (PIGLASAPAT), has recently concluded the “Salubong sa Ikatatlumpong Taon”, an overnight celebration last February 24 to 25, 2016 at the Oncada Private Resort.

FLAME WATCHER. A PIGLASAPAT member finds herself staring at the bonfire as her other members gather and circle themselves around it.

The first event was the ceremonial bonfire along the seashore.  PIGLASAPAT’s members circled around a bonfire as incoming PIGLASAPAT Chairperson, Khryzza Mae Pinzon compared the fire lit by those who participated during the EDSA Revolution, literally and figuratively, and the fire found in the passion of the club’s members.

THE OLD GUARD. Cyril Villarosa, PIGLASAPAT alumni and a former faculty of the Sociel Sciences cluster, shares his experiences and insights on what it means to be part of PIGLASAPAT to both the club’s graduates and undergraduates.

“Every year in PIGLASALAPAT is history,” quotes Cyril Villarosa, a former Social Sciences Cluster faculty of Ateneo de Davao University and PIGLASAPAT alumnus, as he shared his personal story with the club as part of “Kwentong PIGLASAPAT”. Pointing at the flame coiling back and forth against the wind, Villarosa relates it to the fact that the club still “carries the flame” on its third decade of existence. After Villarosa, PIGLASASAPAT’s graduating members then shared their insights of where they see the club in another thirty years.

RECALLING. Raphil Saguan, an incoming officer of PIGLASAPAT, recalls his first time in the club and how it affected him.

Moreover, the graduating members showed their desire to “pass the torch” to PIGLASAPAT’s undergraduates. They also thanked the club’s members for being active and participative, election season or not.  On the other hand, the club’s undergraduates willingly accepted the challenge of continuing the legacy left by the graduating members. To them, they also expressed their gratitude and thanks for making three decades worth of PIGLASAPAT.

BURNING 29th. One of PIGLASAPAT’s cardboard banners is burned, symbolizing the end of PIGLASAPAT’s 29th year and the start of its 30th.

One of the highlights of the night was the burning of the PIGLASAPAT’s 29th coat-of-arms. According to the Jeos Earl Casilac, PIGLASAPAT’s incumbent chairperson, the burning of the 29th coat-of-arms symbolizes the death of the PIGLASAPAT’s 29th year and the birth of its 30th. He also relates it to PIGLASAPAT’s renewed determination to act on its principle of “Para sa Ateneo, Para sa Lipunan”.

COVERED. Pamela Venezuela is blindfolded as she participates in one of the team building activities of the club.

Team building activities broke the ice between the undergraduates, the graduating, and the alumni. To Pinzon, this meant to create an atmosphere where the club’s members learned of trust and camaraderie among each other. Dedicated to PIGLASAPAT’s graduating members was the “Pamamaalam”. The graduating members received roses and personal messages from the undergraduates. “Never stop being a PIGLASAPAT member,” as said by one of the club’s graduating members with the undergraduates circled around them, marking the night’s end and PIGLASAPAT’s start of its three decades.