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As I See It (Elpidio Estioko): UCNHS grand reunion 2023: Kudos to distinguished alumni awardees

Every year, the Urdaneta City National High School (UCNHS) holds its grand alumni homecoming at its campus in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, Philippines with a motorcade around the city and a culminating activity at the Urdaneta Convention Center for the Gala Night and the awarding of distinguished alumni awardees.

This year, the 5-day celebration was held on November 22 – 26 with Batch ’73 as the Golden Jubilarians under the able leadership of MGen. Jesus A. Fajardo (Ret.) and TGU President Yvonne San Juan-Sera, both distinguished alumni awardees.

The celebration was a very successful Grand alumni home coming. Thank you for the able stewardship of UCNHS Alumni President Councilor Aurelio L. Agsalud, Sr.; High School Principal Romel F. Millones; all the members of the various committees; advisers; jubilarians; and to all batch officers and members for making the event a great success! I would like to commend all the alumni residing abroad (mostly in the US) who attended the week-long festivities. They went out of their way to attend and reminisce their escapades in the memory lane.

Other activities of the grand alumni homecoming were Fun Run 2023; alumni thanksgiving mass at the social hall; blessing and opening of the booths (Batch memorabilia/achievers and Achievements; etc.); Search for alumni king and queen 2023; Philippine Red Cross Emergency First Aid Training/Bloodletting; Bureau of Fire Protection fire drill; Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Anti-drug Update; Philippine National Police Crime Prevention Campaign/Safety & Security workshop/police career orientation; Tree planting activity; career guidance seminar; financial literacy seminar, alumni motorcade, wreath-laying at Dr. Pedro T. Orata Park; alumni general assembly; and  the alumni night and coronation rites at the Convention Center.

Among the batches that actively joined the parade, fun run, the Gala night and other activities were Batches ’78, ’79, ’91, ’89, ’76, ’65, ’60, ’73, ’76, ’81, ’77, ’74,’70, ’78, ’67, ’92, ’75, ’88, ’83, and ’60. Thank you, alumni, for your active participation!

The Outstanding Alumni Awardees were: Franco Sabado, Batch ’92- Community Service; Celso Manangan, Batch ’75; Edgar F. Olua, Batch ’88 – Education; MGen. George Blanco, Batch ’83 -Public Service – Philippine Airforce; Violeta J. Buenaventura, Batch ’83 – Public Service – DOLE; Cristi G. Crescencia, Batch ’83 – Community Service; Dr. Fe Sumera-Ranada, Batch ’73 – Medical Allied; Col. Jessie Cardona, Batch ’73 – Public Service – PNP; Alma Tabayoyong – Utulo – Batch ‘73 – Public Service; Rosalinda Fontanilla – Paguio, Batch ’73 – Community Service; Dra. Clarita Gandia Adalem, Batch ’60 – Education; Myrna Ortiz Del Rosario, Batch ’60 – Medical Allied; Lailani Fontanila De Vera, Batch ’63 – Real Estate, Owner and Broker; and Elpidio Reasonda Estioko, Batch ’65 – Journalism.

The awardees received their ribbons and personalized trophies during the gala night at the Urdaneta Convention Center. In the case of Elpidio R. Estioko, distinguished awardee in the field of journalism who was not able to attend the awarding ceremonies due to a pressing commitment in California, his award was received by his niece Retired Teacher from the Urdaneta Central School Gertrudes Estioko duly assisted by another niece Eden Estioko Barbudo-Valdez, a member of the alumni board.

Among the Batch ’65 attendees who cheered for their classmate awardee Elpidio R. Estioko were founding president of the alumni association Atty. Mario Bravo; Batch ’65 president Minda Ventanila Tomines; past Batch ’65 president Arsenio Dulay; Joy Cabading Delos Reyes; Danny Calacsan, Vicky Calacsan, Eufrosina Tigno, Greg Calacsan, Naty Calvero, Nardito Calvero, Mely Parayno, Gilda Doot Nickel, Judy Cadiente, Herminia Adviento Rontale, Rosa Andrada Manuel, Marcos Ignacio, Eliodoro Calacsan, Fely Sarga, Mila Gatchalian, Bien Zabala Cordingley, Tita Umipig, Aling Garcia, and Henry Zabala, among others.

Batch ’76 led by Retired Central School Teacher Gertrudes Estioko likewise cheered as she was receiving the award for Elpidio Estioko, who failed to attend the awarding due to pressing commitments in California.

Estioko joined two other distinguished alumni from Batch ’65 Atty. Mario Bravo and Joey Sumait.

California Teacher of the Year 2024 FilAm Engineering Teacher and Robotics Instructor Joseph Alvarico from Antioch, California upon knowing of the award said: “Congratulations, Elpi! Well-deserved!”

The Global Urdanetanians (TGU) founding president based in Southern California and president of the Rotary Club in LA Lino Caringal, Jr. also extended his “Congratulations!” yesterday. He is also an alumnus of Urdaneta City Community High School (UCNHS) Batch ’66.

Golden Jubilarians Batch ’73 were the grand slam winners during the reunion: King Diosdado Ignacio and Queen Juliana Tembreza Baltazar 2023, Best Attendance, Best Float, Best Costume, and having four distinguished alumni awardees. Batch ’73 was also the only group of alumni who published their Coffee Table Book titled “Class ’73 @ 50 Golden Jubilee Celebration,” living up to its name as The Trailblazers!

Kudos to the Trailblazers!