We have been taught to sit still—hands folded neatly on our laps, and eyes trained on the board – while words bounce over and around inside one of Yuchengco Building’s clammy rooms. We have felt the wind sting our skin and the sun drench us in dewy sweat, as we sprinted across the grounds of Henry Sy, Sr. Hall (or the football field, for all ye oldies) – intent on racing against the ticking of the clock. We have trailed our hands along the dusty benches near William Hall, scuffed our boots on the gravelly pebbles along Agno Street, seen the sun sink behind the amphitheater’s horizon and breathe in the morning scent of freshly cut grass in front of St. La Salle Hall. We swell with pride and nostalgia at the memory of these little snippets – glassy, bite-size trademarks of being a Lasallian.
It is then easy to forget that we share these memories with notable figures – Lasallians themselves who have once endured the long and dreary ascent up St. Joseph and La Salle Hall’s stairways and have lost themselves in the heat of a normal and mundane day at school. They, who have soared higher than eagles (no pun intended) and have borne the name of the University towards far and yonder, are living proof that our University continues to contribute to the pursuit of excellence.
Blood that runs green
Gary Valenciano, Gab Valenciano and Paolo Valenciano
Like father, like son, indeed. Widely popular among the Lasallian community for gracing University events and festivities with his energetic presence, the magnetic Gary V is known to have studied primary and secondary school in La Salle Green Hills, and was also a part of Kundirana, an LSGH music ministry. His sons, Gab and Paolo, are proud Lasallians as well – the former is an alumnus of De La Salle – College of St. Benilde, and the latter was a member of the Manila campus’ Green Media Group.
Stars that shine with animo
Carla Abellana, Randy Santiago and Mylene Dizon
Three of television’s most anticipated performers, their acting chops have rendered them legendary on the silver screen as well. Miss Abellana graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Psychology, while Miss Dizon was a former member of the Harlequin Theater Guild. The humorous TV host and singer Mr. Santiago, on the other hand, used to belt out more formal notes as a Chorale member.
Through the hymn and beyond
Lakan Hila, Barbie Almalbis and Princess Velasco
They are among the bright stars who shine in the music industry and are graduates from DLSU, all a part of the Lasallian Youth Orchestra. One such star is Lakan Hila of The Bloomfields, whose band started as “Green Archers” during their high school days at La Salle Green Hills. Barbie Almalbis of Barbie’s Cradle and Hungry Young Poets originally formed a college band called the “Green Tea”. She finished her undergraduate studies with a degree in Business Management. Acoustic singer Princess Velasco, on the other hand, graduated with a degree in Communication Arts and Advertising Management.
Hosting with zeal
Ryan Agoncillo, Tonipet Gaba, Iya Villania and Drew Arellano
A few of the county’s finest TV hosts are graduates of DLSU. Before becoming the host of many talent shows and a leading man in many films, Ryan Agoncillo finished his AB Organizational Communication from DLSU and was a member of the Green Media Group. Famous TV personality and Advertising Art Director Tonipet Gaba is another alumnus who was a former member of Harlequin Theatre Guild. Other equally notable TV hosts in major Filipino channels are current couple Iya Villania and Drew Arellano. Villania graduated with a degree in AB Psychology and Arellano, a degree in BS Marketing Management.
Arbiters of broadcasting
Mike Enriquez, Pinky Webb and Catherine Yap-Yang
Classic newscaster Mike Enriquez, who is famous for his catchy phrases and glib talk, recounts in a 2012 interview with PhilStar.com that he was, in fact, quite the ordinary student in college and confirms that he has taught broadcast management in DLSU. Pinky Webb who graduated from DLSU with a degree in Management, the brother of equally famous Lasallian PBA basketball star Jason Webb, is also a skilled newscaster and journalist, whereas Catherine Yap-Yang (proudly a Features staffer of The LaSallian) is based in Japan as a broadcaster for Bloomberg Television.
Archers of art
Vicente Garcia Groyon III, Jose Javier Reyes, Dr. Ronald Baytan, and Dr. Gerardo Torres
Fictionist, National Book Award and Palanca winner Vicente Garcia Groyon III received his master’s degree in Creative Writing and undergraduate degrees in Communication Arts and Marketing Management in DLSU. Award-winning film director and writer Jose Javier Reyes was part of the Harlequin Theatre Guild, the 1976 Editor in Chief of the DLSU yearbook publication, Green and White and is currently a part time professor in the Communication Arts Department. Renowned poet Ronald Baytan received his master’s degree in Language and Literature, Major in English and undergraduate degree, AB Literature, in DLSU. He is also currently a professor in Literature along with Dr. Gerardo Torres, award-winning fictionist, who is also an alumni of DLSU with a degree in AB Literature.
Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr., George T. Yang and Cheryl Fuerte
Ranked as the 17th richest Filipino by Forbes in 2008 and a successor to his father’s achievements in business, Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr. graduated as Magna cum laude in DLSU with degrees in Accounting and Social Sciences. George T. Yang graduated with a degree in Business Administration in DLSU and is the founder of Golden Arches Development Corporation (GADC), more popularly known as McDonald’s Philippines. Lasallians also carry success not just in business but also in networking: Cheryl Fuerte is a renowned Filipino web designer of multi-awarded websites such as DonnaCruz.com and her personal website, Indayworks.com. Fuerte currently works at Asian Entertainment e-commerce website in Hong Kong. She graduated with a degree in Computer Science at DLSU in 1996.
For God and country
Jesse Robredo, Leila de Lima and Kim Henares
Before being known as the country’s Man of Integrity for serving as the Secretary of Interior and Local Government and having maintained a remarkable six terms as mayor of Naga City, the late Sec. Jesse Robredo received his degrees in Industrial Management Engineering and Mechanical Engineering in DLSU. Another notable figure in politics and statesmanship is Secretary of Justice, Leila de Lima, who graduated with an AB Political Science and History degree. Kim Henares, currently the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue claims that she wasn’t that fond of studying and that she realized her fondness for law and numbers in her college years, as she graduated with a degree of BSC-Accounting in DLSU.
The list of successful Lasallians continues to grow. For the many years that De La Salle University has been in existence, there have also been many alumni who have graced the University halls with their respective talents and excellence in the careers even after they have graduated. Surely the years have come to pass and their time as students is recognized. However, the unchanging aura of a Lasallian Achiever for God and Country will continue to flourish in any area of expertise.
While we may overlook and take for granted the minute facets that make our stay in the University an influential and memorable one, these folks remind us that nothing can be more fulfilling at the end of the day than knowing, deep down, that our blood runs green.