The Animo Lives On: DLSU’s Centennial Celebration
One hundred years, and the Animo still lives on.
It began in small house which was turned into a school for boys by the Christian Brothers. Now, a century later, it has spread all over the country, with 17 schools and hundreds of thousands of students.
It was on June 16, 1911 that the La Salle brand of education was first instilled into the minds of about a hundred boys. So it is only fitting that June 16, 2011 would also serve as the day to jump-start the year-long festivities for the Centennial Celebration of De La Salle University.
Thousands of green-clad students, faculty and alumni flocked to the campus, and though the scorching heat of the sun was able to dampen shirts, it wasn’t able to dampen the festive mood and spirits of these people as they participated in dozens of activities which were lined up for the day.
Here is a timeline of what went down during DLSU’s Centennial Celebration:
The historic day began with the Centennial High Mass and the Enshrinement of the Relic of St. John Baptist De La Salle, which was held at the Most Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Present at the mass was none other than President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, who emphasized the role of DLSU in nation-building and praised their unwavering commitment to ensure quality education.
While President Aquino was still giving his speech, the Amphitheater was already packed with students who watched the events at the Chapel from huge electronic billboards. And then those billboards flashed the time remaining before noon, which would mark the end of the Centennial Countdown and would officially begin the string of activities which are to follow. The end of the countdown was met with rousing cheers as the University officially turned a hundred years old.
Members of the Faculty, Alumni and students partook of a hearty lunch that was given for free at various places such as the Marian Quadrangle, Yuchengco Lobby, and the Central Plaza.
Lasallians were taken back through time courtesy of an activity presided by DLSU’s Harlequin Theater Guild and College of Saint Benilde’s Dulaang Filipino entitled ”The Green Story: The Lasallian Historical Walk-Through.” It was a dramatization of the different eras the institution had gone through, from its inception, its days in the NCAA, up until the time it achieved University status and its subsequent expansion to a total of 17 schools. These representations occurred simultaneously at various points inside the school such as the Central Plaza, the St. Joseph Hall, and the Miguel Walk.
Also at three o’ clock in the afternoon, one lane of Taft Avenue was closed from the Andrew Gonzalez Building until the South Gate to accommodate the students from all of the colleges who paraded and formed a mile-long sea of green who held up balloons, banners and, in a scene reminiscent of a UAAP basketball game, were accompanied by deafening drum beats from the Animo Squad.
Together, they chanted time-honored La Salle cheers while passing motorists served as an unlikely audience. It was also at this time when the students formed a Flash Mob to perform the Centennial Dance right along Taft Avenue.
The day also marked the culmination of DLSU’s lofty environmental project, The One Million Trees and Beyond Project. The school has endeavored to be able to plant a million trees in the preceding years before its centennial years. The one millionth tree was symbolically planted right inside the campus, at the Marian Quadrangle.
A prelude to the concert at the Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium was held at the Amphitheater and was performed in by various organizations from the University’s own Cultural Arts Office (CAO). Among them were the De La Salle-Inner Soul, the La Salle Dance Company-Street, and the DLSU Animo Squad. Bands such as Peryodiko, Kjwan and Sandwich also rendered energetic performances.
The main concert, which was entitled “Isang Daan, Sangandaan” was headlined by some of the biggest names in show business who are also notable La Salle alumni, such as Gary Valenciano, Edu Manzano, Mike Enriquez, Ryan Agoncillo, Enchong Dee, and Randy Santiago, among others.
Those who wanted to escape from the mad rush of people who had swelled to great numbers at that time were able to find solace in the University Library Walk, as they were serenaded by members of the Lasallian Youth Orchestra while enjoying the poetry which was being read by members of the Malate Literary Folio in an event named “Strings and Stanzas: Acoustic Concerts and Poetry Reading.”
While the people in The Library Walk basked in Classical Music and Poetry, it was a starkly contrasting scene at the Agno Walk where a Street Party ensued. A small portion of the Agno Street was likewise closed to accommodate the students, with bands like The Bloomfields, Taken by Cars, Wednesday After, and La Salle’s very own AJKA giving performances.
Everyone was waiting for the culmination of the day’s festivities which was a fireworks show and music that was provided by no less than one of the most prominent rock bands in the Philippines, The Dawn, which is fronted by Jett Pangan who is himself an alumnus of the University.
The band’s performance drew loud cheers from the students, whose numbers have seemingly not diminished even though it was well into the night. They sang some of their most popular songs such as “Love Will Set Us Free,” “Enveloped Ideas,” and “Salamat.” The rock outfit even exceeded their set and paid homage to the Pepe Smith-fronted Juan Dela Cruz band by singing their anthemic song “Beep Beep”
While the band was still performing, paper lanterns were already being released one by one from the Bro. Connon Hall, also known as the SPS Building. This gesture, however, would pale in comparison to the visual assault that was about to ensue courtesy of the fireworks display.
No sooner had The Dawn finished their six-song performance than the first few fireworks burst into the air to color the otherwise drab night. Lasallians and even non-Lasallians then cheered as Gary Valenciano led an emotional singing of the alma mater hymn as confetti rained down on everyone.
“Sa next one hundred years ulit!” exclaimed an alumnus standing beside the massive tent at the Marian Quadrangle, and a few others roared in agreement. Truly, this celebration is a testament to how long the institution has come from their humble beginnings a century ago.
And, hopefully, we can personally judge if the next centennial celebration can top this one.