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July 09, 2009

UAP Diliman Celebrates Pearl Anniversary

Contributed by Arch. Rex Tamase, BS Architecture

The United Architects of the Philippines Diliman Chapter celebrated its 30th Anniversary on July 9, 2009 at The Oasis Manila in San Juan, Metro Manila.

The new set of officers was sworn into office, and new members were inducted.

In her valedictory address, Arch. Minnie Rosel recalled that while she was completing her post graduate studies at UP’s School of Urban & Regional Planning (SURP), “I found myself chatting with a schoolmate who happened to be a UAP Diliman member too. Our conversation about UAP sounded like: ‘I don’t get it. What do people get out of being so involved with UAP?’ We both shared the same sentiments about UAP that I can still strongly sense today, especially among our younger members. Don’t we all thirst for answers to our professional practice issues, hoping to get enlightenment from our so-called accredited organization?”

She added “I guess you just have to be involved to find answers to your questions. And you know what I actually found out?...that if you wish for a change – in UAP, specifically - somebody’s got to say it, somebody’s got to do it, and being a Diliman member can empower you to act on it.”

“I have once made a comment in our e-groups discussions that Posture is what defines a Diliman member - neither timid nor snob - ’nasa tamang lugar lang.’ To a new member, Diliman Chapter is a good training ground for management skills that’s very essential for career advancement. To a veteran, the Diliman Chapter provides a channel for giving back to the society, a venue to contribute in nation building. A very close friend jokingly teases, “Wag na tayo dyan sa Diliman, mapi-prinsipyo ang mga tao dyan eh…”, and I just can’t disagree. Why, we take time to discuss and even argue before any chapter resolution is signed as official statement, we diligently document our projects from planning to implementation, we support our peers for righteous endeavors even outside the chapter, and we willingly contribute when the national organization seeks our resources. Diliman is a breeding ground for leaders. This is why our membership has long grown from the limits of the state university, to a range so wide and a profile so diverse that we had to go virtual.”

She concluded with this challenge: “Let’s continue to prevail; let’s continue to be vocal; let’s continue to lead; let’s continue to bag awards; let’s continue to reach out; let’s continue to have passion for excellence. It is not because we just want Diliman to stand out. It is because in these trying times, the profession calls for posture – the kind that’s contagious and innate in every Diliman member, the kind that befits a true professional.”

In his inaugural speech, Arch. Flori Sebastian, UAP Diliman’s new president, drew an analogy between the mission of the Chapter and those of the characters of the TV series “Heroes.”

He said that “we can classify the characters in two ways: First, those who understand and, therefore, can control their powers vs. those who still cannot. And secondly, those who use their abilities only for their own good, for themselves, vs. those who want to use their power to help others. Clearly the two characteristics that a true hero should have are the ability to understand and control one's powers, and the desire to use one's powers for others. These elements give us only a two-dimensional portrait of a hero. There is, however, a third factor: Sacrifice. A true hero uses his abilities for others - even if it entails sacrifice.”

He added that “our work in UAP Diliman has had a great beginning of setting our vision, mission, and goals and meeting those with very high standards. Throughout our 30 years, we have earned the title ‘Best Chapter’ many times over as well as bagging several other recognitions. Two of our esteemed members have become UAP National Presidents. With these and much more, we have special abilities and we have control over these special abilities.”

“A few years back, under the presidency of Malu Gutierrez and continued by Minnie Rosel, we have assisted the AFP in their anti-insurgency program to build classrooms in the towns of Nueva Ecija so that our fellow Filipinos there will take to education and not to arms. We had the technical know-how while they had the manpower. In this, we have used, and will continue to use, our abilities for others.”

“UAP Diliman, a chapter sent on a mission, can be a real hero. But somehow along our 30-year travel, some members, through no fault of their own, fade into obscurity.

Reminding the members that “we can only be as good as our least-experienced or least-dedicated members,” he called on the senior members, the council of elders, past officers - the foundation of the chapter, thus “your time is never up. Your services during your terms have been undeniably invaluable, but your continued guidance, encouragement, and participation will not only sustain our hunger for excellence but also inspire the junior members to live out our mission.”

To the junior and new members: “you are invited to look at you membership not as a mere job or an obligation. If we felt that way, we would be delivering only the minimum requirement, weighing every conceivable cost against every conceivable benefit, before accomplishing a task. In other words, it's asking ‘what's in it for me?’”

“Here in UAP Diliman, being a part of the chapter is never just an obligation; it is a commitment which calls us to the highest standards of excellence and which gives us fulfillment. In other words, it is not just the means of getting by in our profession, but a source of our profession's meaning. We're not here just for the means, but for the meaning.”

“The series ‘Heroes’ teaches us that even the most unlikely person can be a true hero. As we welcome this new fiscal year, let us remember that this is what we are invited to become: true heroes in our own way; heroes who, even without superhuman powers, are called to discover and develop our unique God-given abilities, and to decide to use them not primarily for ourselves, but for the good of others, even though doing so may entail sacrifice. Let us pray for this grace as we begin the next 30 years of UAP Diliman.”

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