Hybrid ‘Salubong’ premieres for Atenean scholars
By Evea Marie Alviso and Nathaneil Lyle Del Fierro

Salubong, an annual event of Ateneo Gabay for welcoming new scholars to the university, featured this year’s theme Biyaheng Iskolar last August 16-18 in a mix of online and on-site activities. This Academics Committee initiative aimed to equip students with adequate knowledge of what the scholar community has in store for them and also introduced the Ateneo culture in fostering solidarity, service, and compassion.

The first day was a virtual event commenced with the welcoming remarks of Dr. Maria Luz Vilches and Dr. Jo-Ed Tirol. Then, there was a succinct introduction to the Office of Admission and Aid (OAA) and services for and of the scholars, care of OAA-Scholarship Officer Jav Valdez. Afterwards, President Gab Galvez came next to talk about Ateneo Gabay and its advocacies for its sectors. On the same day, the yearlong Scholar Support Group (SSG) was also launched—more of SSG in the upcoming news.

During the second day of Salubong, still online, Arjun Plomantes detailed various essentials that every scholar must have. Subsequently, Resource Speaker Daniel Benito shared his life experiences as an Atenean scholar and how to pay it forward in numerous endeavors, not only in one’s student life but also as a current professional. For both online events, about 200 participants joined Zoom and Facebook live.

Meanwhile, the on-site occasion held at Leong Hall on the last day of Salubong 2022: Biyaheng Iskolar was the highlight of the three-day event, filled with memories to be cherished for both the core team and the participants. The program started with a prayer for the unfortunate victims of the shooting incident last July 24, then followed by the welcoming remarks of Dr. Tricia Robredo. The Salubong 2022: Biyaheng Iskolar was capped with the Gabay song.

According to Project Heads Kathrina Catiis and Stephanie Isidro, “[t]here were multiple aspects to be put in place (i.e., health protocols, number of participants, venue capacity, etc.) to make Salubong 2022 possible since this is the first hybrid event of the organization amid the pandemic.” “Alongside, there were tedious processes behind every proposal that required approval from the Loyola Schools offices to ensure the welfare and well-being of the attendees,” they added.

But beyond these circumstances, the project heads were grateful that the event came to fruition. They even gave a piece of advice to their fellow scholars who will embark on university parkour in the succeeding years. “Huwag kayong matakot lumipad. Maglagalag at maglakbay. Laging tandaan na nandito kami na handang umakbay at gumabay,” Isidro surmised.

Moreover, the flow of the program was decently followed for the duration of the Salubong’s Day 3 on-site. About 23 students—16 of them originally part of the team, while seven volunteered on-the-spot right after their classes—made sure that the freshie scholars were comfortable, well-guided, and followed the health and safety protocols of the university. A total of 81 freshmen scholars attended the on-site event.

Furthermore, the freshmen scholars actively participated in the games prepared for them. In the “Guess the lyrics” segment, the audience showed their glee through cheering for the volunteers and singing along with them as select students voluntarily sang on-stage. During the second game called “Minikaniko ang Jeepney ko,” freshies had to compress to enjoy the event; but of course, the hosts, ushers, and volunteers continuously reminded the strict need to follow health protocols.

The writers had the opportunity to interview two participants. According to Yeshua Celebrado, “It (Salubong) was super fun! I got to interact with my fellow scholars, I got to meet them, I got new friends […] Honestly, [this event] shows how Gabay’s a fun organization, parang pwede mo syang maging family.” Similarly, Lauren Kelsey Sta. Marie said, “It was fun! Lahat kami pagod kasi first week ng college, pero fun kasi nakipaginteract kami with other people na scholars din sa labas ng course namin [...] mga nakasama ko sa pagkain and sa mga nakasama ko sa games.”

Meanwhile, the scholars were taking videos to express their gratitude to Dr. Tricia’s opening remarks and the OAA’s generosity for sponsoring the event’s dinner. The dinner provided by Ebai’s, care of OAA, was a rice meal with Adobo and Mixed Vegetables as viands, chocolate brownies as dessert, and different flavors of C2 as beverages.

To cap the on-site event, the Gabay Song was played and all participants sang the song while having their right hand crossed over their left arm.

Ultimately, Salubong 2022’s success would have not been possible for Project Heads Catiis and Isidro if it weren’t for the combined efforts of the core team. They are Overseer Willy Santos; Programs Erin Mae Sajonas, Ardy Emmanuel Tagle, Jade Le-An Galan, Aubrey Love Labarda, and Kim Angelo Umayam; Technicals Joshua Miguel Tirana, Ma. Antonette Francisco, and Macwen Argallon; Secretariats Francine Alexis Ribuca, Denelle Anne Gutierrez, Lorraine Joy Bales, and Angelo Miguel Encarnacion; Finance Liaisons Frances Nicole Manuel and Angel Jherizelle Mararac; SA Correspondents Karen Joy Perez; Riona Bianca Basco, and Rinoa Raine Cinco; Hosts Missy Albangco, Darlene Ranoco, Lara Fe Cristi, and Carlo Cantoria; Finance Officer Neil Beltran; and, their many volunteers.