Ladies (and a man) who lunch

June 13, 2014

Ladies (and a man) who lunch
The Women of Ateneo’s get-together with Fr. Jett and Dr. Tonette
Last May 24, the Women of Ateneo (TWA) feted Ateneo President Fr. Jett Villarin, S.J., and head of the Vice-President for Professional Schools Dr. Antonette “Tonette” Palma-Angeles, PhD, who is chair of the Ateneo Coed@40 Scholarhip Fund initiative with a special lunch at Romulo Café in Makati. About 25 members of the TWA Network from batches from 1977 to 1999 and members of TWA Core Group attended.
The event began with welcome remarks by Aggie Angeles (Batch ’77) who thanked Fr. Jett and Dr. Tonette for meeting with TWA.
Irma de Guzman-San Miguel (Batch ’77) led the invocation and the prayer before meals.
After lunch, Ms. Angeles spoke about the history of the TWA, which began in the 1991 when Fr. Joseph Galdon, S.J., gathered the first batch of the university’s female graduates (alumnae) and co-founded “The Women of the Ateneo” (TWA), a name he called the female graduates for the main purpose of setting up The Women of the Ateneo Scholarship Fund.  In 2002, during the Silver Jubilee of College Batch ’77 and in Ateneo’s commemoration of coeducation in the university, the coeds ’77 called on the coed representatives from other batches to participate in the celebration. The Coeds Core Group was formed.  It was also in 2002 when the coeds ’77 representatives and coed representatives from different batches adopted the name “The Women of Ateneo (TWA)”.  To date, TWA has helped six college female scholars and currently has one scholar in medical school.
Ms. Angeles’ opening remarks was followed by acknowledgement by Gay Ace Doming (Batch’93) who enumerated those who were present. Those from TWA 1991 core group who were at the lunch included Irma Cecilio, Aggie Angeles, Bess Claudio-Umali, Jane Barros-Montilla and Pilar de Guzman-Palabrica. With them were co-members of the present TWA Core Group such as Ditas Borromeo (Batch’77), Dinggay Espiritu (Batch’77), Irma de Guzman-San Miguel (Batch’77), Jennie Ty (Batch’77), Maan Tolentino (Batch’78), Shankee Sanciangco-Miranda and Chie Bautista-Mejia (both from Batch’80), Tang Antonio-Singson (Batch’81), Len Bautista-Horn (Batch’90), Gay Ace Domingo (Batch’93) and Eirene Aguila (Batch’99).  Other TWA’77 core members who were also there were Ces Hernandez-Untalan, Marissa Reyes and Marily Tangco-De Vera;  Winnie Jimenez (Batch’78) was also present; and the newcomers-attendees from Batch’80:  Lorna Datiles-Fabian and Blen Fernando, and from Batch’81:  Irene Tan, Ann Tuason and Amvic Yap-Taruc.
One of the day’s highlights was when Irma Cecilio (Batch ’77 President and TWA Core Head) presented to Fr. Jett and Dr. Tonette—on behalf of the TWA Core Group—the project that TWA will undertake to support Coed@40 Scholarship:  TWA Telethon, and another project: The Women of Ateneo Coed@40 Networking Events.
For the telethon, volunteer scholars will phone alumnae to invite them to support and donate to the Coed@40 Scholarship Fund.  TWA will support and fund the telethon operations. The plan was discussed briefly.  The execution of this project will be in close coordination with the university. 
Meanwhile, the networking events will be a series of get-togethers, stage I of which covers the period from May 24, 2014 to May 15, 2015 and involves alumnae in different parts of the Philippines. To show where these gatherings will be held, on behalf of the TWA Coed@40 Networking Events Committee, Ms. Cecilio presented Fr. Jett with a road map that marked the target route which includes Metro Manila and the following provinces: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Batangas, Camarines Sur, Albay, Iloilo, Negros, Cebu and Zamboanga.
Ms. Cecilio also acknowledged the presence of the coordinators who will organize the events in their respective provinces, namely Ditas Borromeo (Batch ’77) for Negros, Atty. Eirene Aguila (Batch ’99) for Batangas, Chie Bautista-Mejia (Batch ’80) for Bulacan and herself (together with Marivic Chan, Batch’80)  for Nueva Ecija. Names of other coordinators were also mentioned, such as Marissa Fernan (Batch’77), Gina Garcia-Atienza (Batch’76), Chona Castro-Floro (Batch’77) and Rosalyn Baytion-Chiongbian (Batch’77) for Cebu; Monie Hechanova (Batch’77) and Cynch Concepcion-Baga (Batch’76) for Iloilo; and Mayor Evelyn Tang-Uy (Batch’77) for Zamboanga.
Ms. Cecilio emphasized that the gatherings are meant to reach out, give updates about our alma mater, get to know one another, foster friendships, strengthen ties among Ateneo alumnae, and most especially expand the TWA Network as it had done in TWA Networking Nights activities in 2006 when the network reached over 150 in a span of five to six months. 
Before the lunch ended, Ms. Cecilio called on Bess Claudio-Umali (Batch ’77 Treasurer) to be in-charge of the program’s special segment. Ms. Claudio-Umali turned over cheques totaling to P230,000 to Dr. Tonette as the additional donation of Coeds Batch ‘77to the Coed@40 Scholarship Fund drive.  At the Coed@40 launch held September 7, 2013 at the Loyola Heights campus, Coeds Batch ’77 had pledged to support the fund drive and pledged one scholarship for a four-year course, the amount of which is at P500,000. A certain amount was already given prior to the May 24 lunch. The cheques given on May 24 represented majority of what has been collected by their batch. Ms. Cecilio and Ms. Claudio-Umali declared that collection is still ongoing and they hope that the balance will be given to the Coed@40 fund drive by July of this year.
For their part, Fr. Jett and Dr. Tonette expressed thanks to the TWA members.  Dr. Tonette talked about the Ateneo Coed@40 Scholarship Fund and gave updates. 
Fr. Jett, in his message to the TWA, updated the ladies about the developments at the alumni relations office and reiterated the university’s efforts to encourage the school’s college graduates to come home to the Ateneo. He also spoke of his vision and goals for the scholarship.  The program ended with an open forum where the TWA members shared their insights, gave inputs and suggestions.
The lunch was capped with a tête-à-tête and photo sessions between Fr. Jett and the ladies.
* * * * * * * *
Event organization and venue – Irma Cecilio, Aggie Angeles, Monie Hechanova, Trisha Bunye, Bess Claudio-Umali, Marivic Chan and Chie Bautista-Mejia
Write-Up – Gay Ace Domingo
Photos – Maan Tolentino, Aggie Angeles, Dinggay Espiritu and Len Bautista-Horn
Photos and Slide Show – Shankee Sanciangco-Miranda
Special thanks to Dr. Tonette P. Angeles, PhD who made this meeting possible.

 Click here for photo gallery.