Saturday, July 20, 2024

Of Booths and Reunions

by Federico B. Martinez VII

For many, it is a piece of heaven because of two weeks of no classes, and to some, it is the real deal. Founders Day is characterized by many Sillimanian students, alumni and non-Sillimanians as a festival. But there is more to it than the usual festival that it is.
It is a culture. It is a tradition. It is a time of celebration wherein the Silliman in you rises up from its slumber.
Booths, Hibalag and Reunions. These three are probably the most repetitive events that you will see every year; however, they never get old. These become symbols and icons that indeed make Silliman University truly different from other universities across the nations.
I remember 8 years ago when I first started studying in Silliman. In my first year in Silliman University High School, I was reluctant to visit the Hibalag areas because I used two weeks as an opportunity for me to go back to Mindanao and spend my days without classes there. The point is, I never had firsthand experience on what the celebration’s spirit really is and what the event itself is all about.
Now that I am an alumnus and have started to depart from my Alma Mater, I soon began to understand the concept, spirit and essence of what the festivities are all about in a layer that’s even far deeper than just explaining why booths are there.
For me, Founders Day was a loud siren reverberating unto my ear and a hand beckoning, magnetizing me back into the Portals. The booths that existed there representing the organizations were symbols of how and what studentry in the University is. The diverse booth designs and exhibits I saw made me think back of my student years, being active in academics, Student Government and other significant organizations. The designs, although made in traditional wood and nipa, were all in one place holding hands, uniting different origins, serving one purpose and that is to celebrate its existence.
Reunions had never been more fun. In fact, when I moved to the Hibalag booth area, I was welcomed by my co-orgmates with happiness and hugs. This alone made me realize that this is one of the many forms of the Silliman Spirit.
I was really glad despite the fact that I just recently graduated and have gone for four months. Now, how much more do you think about the silver, pearl or even golden anniversaries that the rest of the old Sillimanians really feel?
It’s nice. Friends, foes, frenemies separated for many many years, seeing each other once again with happiness and tears of joy. All of these are made possible through this celebration and this tradition that what Silliman, you and I, children of the Red and White in Dumaguete, continue over time.
Thus, understand Founders Day through what you see and feel and find the answers in the depths of your mind. Experience the festival yourself and enjoy while it is here and while you are here. This is one heck of a celebration you cannot find anywhere else in the country and the whole world.
For an alumnus like me, it’s a big deal. So, what about you?
Happy Birthday to you, Silliman University!


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