Filipino IHS alumni reunites, 29 November 2012


Filipinos sharing the same roots at IHS successfully reunited last  November 29, 2012 at La Breza Hotel, Quezon City Philippines. Fifty four (54) alumni graced the alumni meeting who were also joined by guests coming from the University of the Philippines School of Urban and Regional Planning (UP-SURP), Netherlands Fellows Foundation of the Philippines (NFFPI), and former IHS Director Emiel Wegelin.

The event officially started with welcome messages from IHS staff's Alonso Ayala and Veronica Olivotto. Alonso expressed his warmest gratitude to all alumni who were present and to UP-SURP for a successful partnership in conducting the International Refresher Course. Veronica further reiterated varied activities experienced by the participants in the last two weeks such as field visits in Pampanga and Marikina city to learn about how settlements cope with the effects of climate change and learn different strategies to become more resilient to disasters.

In her opening remarks, the president of NFFPI Mary Ann Sayoc gave an assurance to the IHS alumni participants that NFFPI is very much willing to help out in the formation of the local alumni association. She hoped that the partnership between IHS and NFFPI will continue to flourish with more projects and activities in the future.

Former IHS Director Emiel Wegelin  juxtaposed the role of IHS and its Alumni to his current work as program manager of the Cities Development Initiative in Asia.  He said that these institutions continue to exist to respond to the urban challenges through capacity development and knowledge sharing as cities across the globe continue to grow and patterns of in-city migration puts tremendous pressure for cities to efficiently support human life systems. In addition, he gave several reasons why alumni associations are important and further encouraged the alumni participants present to establish the IHS alumni philippines chapter. As an anecdote, he asked the IHS alumni present to guess as to which country did the oldest alumni enrolled in IHS came from (only to hear some participants shouting 'Philippines!') by which Emiel confirmed as correct. The name of the alumni is Dennis Murphy who is 75 years old when he got accepted in IHS.

Sheila dela Torre related the android game 'free flow' with the need for each IHS alumni to come together and connect the dots- unconventionally like the game, where the board only allows you to connect similar coloured dots. The challenge in establishing a network will be to connect even if each of the IHS alumni are differently coloured/or working in different urban management themes/and located across the Philippine archipelago. More so, as urban problems become more complex, there is always room to find innovative solutions to understand why the word 'security' not only now refer to community safety but on building climate resilient communities; and that ICT (Information communication technology) may be used to increase awareness in water and sanitation and hygiene. 

The board and trustees of NFFPI took the participants to a journey of different cultural/folk dances in the Philippines. The performers where in complete costumes and with props. The crowd was indeed mesmerized by the outstanding performance NFFPI has prepared.

Philippines Local Alumni Association Formation

A question was thrown on the floor by Charmae if there is a suggestion on how to move forward in forming the local alumni association. There was a suggestion by Madeliene Gilda Abellera to nominate members of an adhoc committee. The committee will initiate and handheld the process of creating the IHS Philippines network. Hence, it was agreed to nominate members who are willing to be part of the committee and who are committed to establish the LAA.

The members of the ADHOC Committee:

Sheila dela Torre - Main LAA Representative

Marissa Maniquis 

Anna Maria Gonzales

Chloe Manlosa-Osano

Jamela Haley 

Idiosa Ursolino 

Delia Damasco 

Other recommendations were to involve NFFPI in the process since as an organised civic organisation, NFFPI can contribute in the process of formalising the IHS Phil alumni. Also, Ana Maria Gonzales shared that this is actually the 3rd  attempt to form the Philippine chapter. Thus, it would be good to learn about the issues, concerns and lessons from the 2 attempts of establishing the IHS Philippine Alumni.