Hilaga Chapter
Hilaga Chapter Org News

July 14, 2011

UAP Diliman Celebrates 32nd Anniversary

Contributed by Tamase, Rex

The United Architects of the Philippines Diliman Chapter marked its 32nd year with an Anniversary Ball and Induction of Officers held on July 14, 2011 at the Events Hall of the Home Depot Makati.

With the theme “R.E.A.L. Service – Reaching out and Elevating Architects as Leaders”, the board of Chapter President Albert Rosel urged everyone to “participate in the activities the chapter has planned for the fiscal year, as well as the activities in the district, area and national levels” and to “take advantage of our IAPOA membership to give back to the community.”

Chapter Vice President for Operations Mike Yago said that the officers are “clear about our goal. We intend to continue to build on the legacy of UAP Diliman Chapter efforts. We want to be more of who we are now – a chapter that reaches out to other chapters; a chapter who voluntarily contributes to the goals of the UAP. We are a chapter who makes a difference in society. That, for us, is REAL service.”

Keynote speaker Arch. Noel Litonjua, fuap, talked about Walter P. Chrysler – an American industrialist whose name appears in cars around the world – who started out as a janitor in the 1890's. He took a salary cut to apprentice as a machinist where he studied mechanical equipment that were not yet used that time. In 1897, he started his first railroad job with Santa Fe Railroads after he moved away from his hometown in Kansas. He didn't stay there for long as he constantly moved from one city to another.

At age 27, he started an electrical engineering correspondence course, which was instrumental in elevating his rank to supervisor. As he took more correspondence courses and changed jobs, his job description would advance until he became superintendent of locomotive power in charge of thousands of men.

“It was around this time when he bought his first automobile after taking out a huge loan. He bought this vehicle not to drive it around town but to take it apart so he could study all the components – he reversed-engineer this expensive and luxurious piece of equipment.”

“A couple of years later, after another car was bought and dismantled, and after more correspondence courses in engineering, he started his automotive career at Buick.”

“And he also built that dearly beloved iconic Art Deco skyscraper in New York City, the Chrysler Building, out of his own pocket and not from corporate funds.”

“But this story was not really about Chrysler's cars, nor his corporation, nor his building. This story is about how a man driven with desire to build sought knowledge in any form to advance his career and innovate.”

Arch. Litonjua continued “for us architects, we too should constantly strive for knowledge and education not just for the points; neither for the degrees or titles but for the upliftment of our profession and the betterment of our built environment.”

In his valedictory address, now immediate past chapter President Mark Luna said that he “aimed to bring the Diliman Chapter members closer to each other. Having the theme 'Bound As One' in mind, I concentrated on getting the Dilimaners together for I believe that once everyone is familiar and comfortable with each other, more tasks could be done, more goals would be achieved. In the chapter's case, learning and working were subliminal, but there was definitely a conscious effort to be of service to the community and the organization.”

Arch. Luna narrated that when the criteria for the UAP Area and National Awards were released and they were contemplating whether or not they should submit bid books, his predecessor, Arch. Minnie Rosel chanced upon a quote attributed to Vincent Van Gogh: “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” So he dug up the series of Activity & Accomplishment Reports which were required as part of the chapter's documentation. He said it was a “goldmine of activities which I never thought were that many. We've been doing things that were expected of a chapter; moreover, we were unaware that we've actually exceeded expectations. From then on, there was no turning back, and the rest is history.”
“But to be the first and only Chapter so far to have won the Best Chapter Award six times is truly a validation that the UAP Diliman Chapter is doing things right . . . with sincerity and dedication; without being reward-oriented. But of course,we appreciate the recognition.”

“Going back to Vincent Van Gogh's words, every small thing or deed counts, as proven by what our Chapter has achieved. Each member is an important part of our organization. Every personal accomplishment elevates the chapter. All these enable the Diliman Chapter to be an efficient arm of the United Architects of the Philippines in uplifting the professional, the architectural profession, and the Filipino community. Indeed, the tiniest effort leads to gigantic results.”

Arch. Albert Rosel, in his inaugural address, admitted that he went through the (initial) fear of failure. “At the back of my mind, I am being nagged that failing as a president might become a reality, but failing as a chapter is not an option. Such pressure comes from the general perception of the influence the Diliman Chapter has.”

“After a period of deep contemplation, I realized that I must have been viewing the Diliman presidency from the wrong perspective. I was concentrating on how to measure up with the accomplishments of the previous terms, even wishing to exceed the bronze with a silver. Then, it dawned on me that the Diliman presidency is not about competition – it is about organization; and then the meaning of leadership suddenly became clear. It is not about the incumbent board and me; it is about harnessing and managing the Diliman resources, making the Diliman influence stronger and keeping the Diliman spirit aflame.”

“I strive to be the president that Diliman Chapter deserves to have. (In the recent years,) we have coined the term”Diliman Virus”, referring to our incurable and contagious disease of aiming for perfection – uncompromising integrity and passion for excellence in every aspect of the practice, in any task be it menial or colossal.”

In his closing remarks, Chapter Vice President for Programs and Development Carlo Bustos told a story about his conversation with a prospective client – a contractor from the province - who wanted him to slash his professional fee to half, claiming that his architect (in the province) will do this project at the fraction of the fee Arch. Bustos is charging. He also told about his discussions with his accountant and a seminar he attended to be educated regarding new rules, fees and methods implemented by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and lawyer-friends regarding continuing professional education. And he wonders “if accountants (can) educate their clients in an effective fashion, why can’t we; lawyers don’t mind having continuing professional education, why do we.”

He added that “all these are obviously related and dawned upon me that all these principles we create, fight
over, discuss, celebrate, etc. here in the UAP may be quite in vain if we can’t be the architects
we want and have to be.”

“We are so lucky: we who are present here tonight, we who are dubbed as active members of
the UAP, especially many of us who contribute vigorously. Being part of this PRC-recognized and
acclaimed best organization in the Philippines gives us worth and a certain swagger over those
that are not. But more important than this merit is the opportunity that the UAP gives us in
voicing out our ideas, in educating us constantly and in making changes and improvements
contributing to the chapter’s greatness. In giving back to the nation, we too have that
opportunity by making small civic projects hatch into big ones, which could open doors in
making good, sensible, aesthetically pleasing, effective architecture as a standard.”

“So it is apt that we always keep it real, as our theme suggests that we reach out to more of
our kind. It is a challenge that we continue to educate and impose on ourselves and unto
others, to do architecture that is correct, in design and in practice. One UP fraternity’s maxim,
'gather light to scatter' is very inspiring and relevant to the direction that the UAP should also
go by.”

UAP National President Ramon S. Mendoza, fuap, presented the accomplishments of the National Board of Directors for the Fiscal Year 2010-2011 and the projects lined up for FY 2011-2011. He also thanked the Diliman Chapter for taking an active role in the Bid Book for PRC’s Most Outstanding Accredited Professional Organization, which the UAP won for the fourth time.

Also gracing the event were UAP Secretary General Rey Gabitan, Vice President for Area A Menchi Manalo, National Treasurer Dondon De Guzman, National Auditor Lito Soriano, District A4 Director Noel Nicolas, immediate past NEVP Mike Ang, immediate past Area VPs Richard Garcia (Area A) and Sonny Soriano (Area B), Executive Director of the Commission on Governmental and External Affairs Benjie Uttoh, and Chairman of Legislation & Codes Boyet Pascual.