Since the year starter—Silliman Portal Experience (SPEx)—the experience of what it is like to be in Silliman University has already electrified every Sillimanian. With the bar of excitement and expectation set high, the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) and the Committee on Student Organizations (ComSO) have been confronted with difficulties preparing for the most awaited event of the year, not only in Silliman but in Dumaguete City as a whole—the Hibalag Founders Celebration.
As the main highlight of the Founders celebration of Silliman, it has always been pictured with gatherings and merry-makings of Sillimanians and alumni around the globe, of course, through the line-up of activities made possible by the efforts of the people behind ComSO.
According to Kristy Zaren Pineda, events chair committee of ComSO, the success of SPex set the pressure on fire, so they need to outweigh its stupendousness for this year’s Hibalag to meet the expectations of Sillimanians. “The students will not know the hard work behind so we need to put up a good show for them,” added Kateleen Ogabang, co-chair of events committee.
On the 114th anniversary of the university, the Hibalag celebration is of great make over. Inspired by the theme Wonderland, the arrangement of booths for the Hibalag Booth Festival (HBF) is already arranged in sectors, and each sector will have its own theme in relation to Wonderland. The regional sector goes for Festivals, the fraternity/sorority for Greek (but not all) and the academic sector is given the chance to choose the theme that would be relative to the organization’s course or field of expertise. Cecile “Niña” Sung, ComSO chair said that reinventing Hibalag that way would encourage each organization to work together with other organizations in each sector.
Aside from addressing the organizations into sectors for the HBF, the annual tradition that opens HBF, which is known as Torch Parade is changed to Parade of Lights. Other than safety purposes, it is in the Parade of Lights where organizations incorporate the colors of their lights to the colors that represent them.
Out of the concern in bringing back the meaning of Hibalag raised by President Ben S. Malayang III in a meeting with the student leaders, an inspirational idea sprung. From a 10-day event, the SUSG and ComSO decided to have the 11 days of sharing from Aug.19-29 to make the experience more meaningful.
As said by Cecile, Hibalag is always there to welcome all Sillimanians who want to “revel on the experience” of being a true red Sillimanian. The Co-chair of ComSO, Schenitte Tingas also shared that Hibalag is not only for Sillimanians but also open to outsiders who wanted to be part in the activities, which revolve around the 5 Cs of Silliman—community, church, classroom, court, and cultural center.
Every year, the fun in Silliman during Hibalag gets bigger and bolder. This year, it’s already at its peak of awesomeness. Because of the enthusiasm of the people behind the SG Marketing, three national bands (Hale, Callalily and 6cyclemind) will be performing on different nights at the Hibalag stage area with free admission.
The opening night of the HBF will be unstoppable with the presence of the special celebrity guest VJs from Myx including VJ Chino in a talk show and Hale rocking the stage all night long.
Cuernos Fun Wall Climbing Competition is also back on track for this year’s Hibalag celebration. It’s a competition spearheaded by Cuernos de Negros Mountaineers Club wherein rock and wall climbers in the province are gathered to compete under the rules of the International Federation of Sport Climbing on Aug 20.
On the same day, the first-ever Regional Organizations Showdown organized by the regional sectors head and SG Advocacy Committee will showcase various festival dances from different regions in the Philippines, which show the diversity we have in Silliman.
The Hibalag celebration has always been promising which makes every year a surprise of events. There might be added and improved events to come up with a superb celebration but there are also these traditional trademark competitions in Silliman considered as essentials towards a successful and memorable Founders celebration—Ms. Silliman, Mr. Hibalag, Silliman Idol, and Cheerdance Competition.
Miss Silliman, which is established as a prestigious and the longest beauty pageant in the world is already on its 69th anniversary. With the theme, “The Silliman Woman as the Zeitgeist”, 12 ladies will be vying for the crown and the title for this year’s Miss Silliman.
“Embodying Peaceful Co-existence Through Silliman Diversity” is Mr. Hibalag’s theme for this year. Ten willed men in promoting peace through the power of diversity will be vying for Silliman’s one and only male-driven advocacy pageant.
From 100 who auditioned, 32 are accepted in the Live Auditions. Fifteen finalists are chosen from 32 who competed in the 1st Elimination Round. Out of 15, five were eliminated and the top 10 competed in the Second Elimination, of which the top five is revealed. The Silliman Idol top five finalists will sing with a theme of Popular Music. Who will be this year’s Silliman Idol? Let’s find out this coming Aug. 28 as they prove how talented Sillimanians are.
The time of the year has come when Sillimanians get the chance to meet as one or pakighibalagay sa usa’g-usa to share memorable experiences. “Hibalag is not only an event; it is an experience,” Cecile said.
The Hibalag experience this year is in Wonderland so Sillimanians, “let us wander” until we find the true meaning of it in our hearts.