top of page
  • Writer's pictureAce Gapuz

When the Archer chants "Go Ateneo" and the Eagle soars to "Animo La Salle"

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

Poster designs c/o our team mate, Jenica Dizon

In real life and in business, there's no such thing as Ateneo-La Salle rivalry. (OK fine, maybe except in college basketball.) Let me tell you how it made sense to me while still in university.

In November 2010 while I was Manager of Personnel Formation in our college org, I got word that there was an endowment fund allotted for projects that would foster growth for the Ateneo-La Salle community. Only ONE project will be selected to win the grant. Graduation for me was in a few months then, and so submitting a proposal would mean additional stressful work (as the project proposal was an extremely comprehensive one) and winning the grant (you gotta be optimistic, girl) would mean another big thing on my (already full) plate. But then my org boss convinced me to still apply, after all, it's the first, there's no baseline or anything to compare it to. Also, I love setting standards and being the standard. *wink wink*

I went through the arduous task of creating and filing a project proposal and submitted on the day of the deadline (like how any average Atenean would, haha).

Long story short, our proposal was selected among the hundreds of submissions and some 7 years ago, we made history happen.

In January of 2011, I and some colleagues from the Council of Organizations of the Ateneo (COA) teamed up with our counterparts from the DLSU Council of Student Organizations (CSO) to stage and produce Ugnayan: The Ateneo-La Salle Leadership Summit. I don't know how we made it possible in just two months of planning and coordinating (alongside all our academic requirements, mind you); I guess when you team up with leaders and passionate people, everything just happens so fast you won't even realize it, and results are always top-notch. :)

In those two months -- actually less than 2 months -- we were able to put together amazing people to speak (and their affiliations back in 2011):

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2Riches

Memey Mendoza of Smart

Joanna Gilladoga of Human Nature

Strengths Performance Coach Brian Quebengco

We had an attendee count of around 150 student leaders from Ateneo and La Salle, around 30 distinguished guests from our respective universities, and a core team of 16 people and sub-core team of around 20 people.

Huddle session!

We had plenty of team members during that time, which we divided into six (6) committees and their heads: Logistics (Mark Jambaro and Ken Valderrama), Promotions (Jenica Dizon and Mads Ngo), Marketing (Goody Chu and Nikos Leon), Finance (Ryan Rojo and Rheza Rubio), Programs (Kenn So and Mon Buela), and Secretariat & Documentations (Nikki Alcantar and Danica Dy).

Honestly, I've forgotten the names of a lot of our sub-core team mates, but what I remember the most is that I would make sure that everyone was committed to the goal and was contributing something that they genuinely enjoyed doing. I would make sure that everyone was aligned with our vision and would consistently check up on them, keeping the group together. After the event, I sent every single person from our core and sub-core team a love letter (via email), thanking them for their efforts, time, and talent.

The team that made history happen. (A lot of people are not in the photo, though!)

We made commitment notes that we all put in a time capsule. (I don't know where we buried that time capsule after the event; did we even bury it? I think it's with the DLSU CSO. Haha!)

Commitment notes...

...placed in a blue and green time capsule.

(Those are our Logistics Heads, Jamby of Ateneo and Ken of La Salle!)

We made history with PHP 35,000. How we made it grow to feed almost 200 people for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, buy stuff needed for the event, and pay off everything we owed -- is beyond me. In hindsight, I don't even know how we made it happen but we did! Teamwork makes the dream work, indeed. (Also, 27-year-old me is so proud of my 20-year-old self. Haha.)

Being the "Ugnayan mommy" (along with my DLSU counterpart, Carla Trinidad) was one of the highest highs of my college life, which made me realize (in hindsight, of course) the following:

1. Working with leaders: highly motivated, passionate people who share the same goals, will always produce mindblowing results. Overflowing passion is contagious.

2. Money should never be an issue when you're committed to making things happen. You will always find a way through when you're 100% committed.

3. The Universe has a special way of bringing you the things (and people!) you need when you need them. You just gotta work your ass off and give it your all -- every single time.

4. Work, no matter how stressful, is always enjoyable when you are doing it with people you love being with.

5. A leader's job is to bring out the best in each and every team mate.

I don't know if the COA and CSO are still continuing the Ugnayan legacy to this day, but last thing I heard was that in 2015 they still held the annual Ugnayan event for the student leaders of Ateneo and La Salle. I hope they're still on it though, because looking back, I am extremely happy to have started a gift that keeps on giving. I have learned so much about myself and about leading a team of leaders.

I have learned that in life and in business, Ateneo and La Salle will always be allies. :)

*All photos are from our official event photographers: Larz Diaz, Nikki Alcantar, Nica Del Rosario, and Suzie Barba.

251 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page