By Kristia Niña Daymiel | September 1, 2023
“Loyal will we be to Silliman,” a line aging like fine wine. From Aug. 19 to 29, the campus by the sea took a trip down memory lane, remembering the humble and relentless beginnings of its prestigious institution.
For years, Silliman University has been a trademark of high quality and holistic education, with five pillars (5Cs) that strengthen the values of its entire Christian academe—classroom, church, cultural center, court, and community. This year, red spirits once more ventured into the university’s Founders Day celebration, bannering the theme “Embracing the future as God’s gift.”
Regardless of the long years that have passed by, the university remembers the early efforts made by its founders and reminisces the milestone of its feat.
Silliman University was founded in 1901 by Dr. David Slutherland Hibbard, a protestant missionary under the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. Its institute started out as an all-boys elementary school and eventually grew its efforts into becoming a college in 1910. Silliman Institute then attained its university status in 1938 and became Silliman University. Ever since, the university has continued to voyage the horizons of commendable remarks, making its way as one of the top universities of the Philippines.
Silliman University has traversed a lot since then, and to commemorate the dawn of its fortress, Silliman celebrated its 122nd Founders Day this year. This month-long celebration was fused with different events, but the one that stood out from the rest was the “Hibalag Booth Festival”—the cream of the crop.
Hibalag is an 11-day booth festival that speckles every Founders Day celebration with a touch of beat and some dancing feet—making it everyone’s favorite. Derived from the Visayan term “hibalag,” which means to come together or meet up, this annual and longed-for celebration is a rim of limelight that radiates camaraderie and a sense of community amongst students and staff.
Beyond that, the Hibalag festival also welcomes new students as booths from different colleges while committees unveil different gimmicks that correlate with their fortes. The entire Founders Day celebration is an opportunity for students to acquaint themselves and build a bond with fellow Sillimanians in different shades of red. This proved that, aside from the academic excellence of Silliman University, the institution never fails to bring the aspects of its students’ university experience to greater heights—adding vibrancy to their life alongside their academic hustles.
For us Sillimanians, Founders Day and the rest of the campus festivities set afoot under the August sky are hallmarks of our boldly engraved spirit for competence, character, and faith—values that keep us genuinely yoked with our highest potentials: Competence in becoming meaningful alumni; character in being a true Sillimanian who doesn’t only adhere to a heart for the school, but also for the church; and faith to make all these elements ignite in you the best person you can be.
The exceptional tag of Silliman University being a campus with well-rounded education is a means for us to quench the thirst of the world. This privilege we have as products of Silliman University’s expertise is an honor that is perhaps done for a great cause. It is for us to cherish and remember what “red” truly is for us Sillimanians—that more than our branding, red is a symbol of our dedication and will to make a change. Founders Day is more than just an eagle that we all wait for to land, nor a mere celebration we all look forward to, but a reminder of our purpose to keep and live the legacy of our “dear old Silliman.”