UPCMu Alumni association

UPCMuAA 2016 General Alumni Homecoming

Dr. Ramon P. Santos and Atty. Ramon Maronilla
05 March 2016
Abelardo Hall University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City

Dr. Ramon P. Santos

National Artist in Music
Emeritus Professor of the UP College of Music

"Atty. Ramon Maronilla, Dean Jose Buenconsejo, fellow alumni,

While still a student at the UP Conservatory of Music, my only motivation was to learn as much as I could, pursuing diligently my passion for composition and conducting, studying my solfegge, harmony, dictation, as well as other subjects like languages - Spanish, German, French, even winning First Prize at the Spanish Declamation Contest sponsored by the Department of European Languages. Even before I graduated, I was already conducting different choirs, and directing operettas like the “Mikado and Trial” by Jury Gilbert and Sullivan, “Mapulang Bituin” by Rosendo Santos and “Amahl and the Night Visitors” by Gian Carlo Menotti. I was still a student when I won the prestigious Bonifacio Centennial Composition Contest Symphonic Ode category in 1962 (with a whopping prize of Ps. I,000) at the awarding ceremonies held at the Luneta Grandstand. During my entire student life, I never thought about earning a living or making money out of music. I was just bent on pursuing knowledge and excellence in my chosen field of endeavour as well as related areas of learning. And up to now, I still aspire to discover new horizons in the field of music and the arts, whether it is in creation, performance, scholarship, education, or administration.

Therefore, my message to you this morning is to be the best you are and never sit on your laurels, because there is no limit to learning no matter what age you have reached.

Another view of things is that you are graduates of the University of the Philippines Conservatory or College of Music, the cradle of excellence for Filipino music, the home of such names as Nicanor Abelardo, Francisco Santiago, Francisco Buencamino, Felipe Padilla de Leon, Antonino Buenaventura, Lucio San Pedro, Ernesto Vallejo, Sergio Esmilla, Jovita Fuentes, Evelyn Mandac, Ramon Tapales, Rosendo Santos, Regalado Jose, Eliseo Pajaro, Jose Maceda, Corazon Dioquino, and many others whose lives, talents and vision have contributed so much to the leadership of this school in the field of the musical arts. You must continue to engage in this agenda of perfection and excellence in your chosen fields and try to even transcend the limits of these fields to discover further avenues and spaces in the sphere of human expression. I am also glad to note that this school, although we profess an area of specialization, we are also encouraged to engage in other related work, like a pianist singing in choruses and teaching music theory, avoiding compartmentalized knowledge that makes us less of a total human being. As musicians, we deal with the spiritual and the metaphysical world, where feelings and emotions are comingled with the conceptual realms and philosophical thought. We therefore have the sublime mission to amalgamate these domains in our human potentiality.

At this point in time, we now have the capability to enrich our environment with the different musical expressions that we have come to know. We are now beginning a new era in musical understanding where we begin to realize the vast musical world that we live in, and while we continue to pursue excellence in the field of western music, we are also able to execute and study the musics of other cultures, like Indonesia, China, Korea, Japan, West Africa, and our very own musical traditions in the Philippines including Kalinga, Maguindanao, and the Filipino rondalla. This is the only school in the whole of Southeast Asia and perhaps East Asia that has this kind of program exists in Asian music and we should be proud of this distinction.

And so we are entering a phase in the illustrious history of this school, where we are also now turning our attention on the rediscovery of the more recent yet forgotten literature of our westernized Filipino heritage and perhaps achieve greater understanding and appreciation of the distinctive difference of the Filipino expression from its western origins.

There is still so much to be done, as you can see, but I am hopeful that the spirit of discovery will continue to yield valuable fruits towards the enrichment of a globally humane, expressive and creative society. Maraming salamat and good morning to all."


Attorney Ramon Maronilla

President, UP Alumni Association


"A pleasant good morning to all. Thank you Dean Jose Buenconsejo for inviting me as guest of honor and speaker in today's Alumni General Homecoming of the UP College of Music.

Before I start my talk, I must admit that the law profession is miles apart from the world of music. Although many lawyers, male and female alike, were gifted with the talent for music. The gift of musical talent whether voice or string gave a significant advantage in their profession. Some became instant celebrities in their organization because of their melodious voice or strings expert in guitar or whatever instrument. This gift of music became the basis of promotion or even winning the love of their sweethearts. But I am fortunate, though I am not a gifted singer, to have a daughter who is a graduate of the UP College of Music. Her name is Virginia. She was a UPCM representative in the student council. She finished DCPMA diploma in voice and graduated Bachelor of music in music education. She went to New York and taught at St. Ignatius of LoyolaGrammar School and finished Kodaly training in NY University. I I am proud to say that my daughter has given scholarship to two (2) students after she graduated from the College of Music, [one of whom is] Andrea Mae Tamano who graduated cum laude and valedictorian of her class in 2008. As a Junior faculty, she helped train piano minor students. She was part of UP Rondalla and Musika Sophia. She taught piano for 15 years and was the first Filipino who passed the audition for the master's program of the Kodaly institute in Budapest.

The other scholar is Gabriela Francisco. She graduated summa cum laude Bachelor in Music, [Voice]. She founded the NGO book Club called ex Libris Philippines and taught history, drama, and music in Regina Maria Montessori. This school is the most competitive private school in Paranaque. She beat all other schools as her graduates easily make it to UP, Ateneo, and La Salle for college.

I am proud to narrate this trivia because I am happy for my daughter whose heart is an integral part of UPCM as an alumna; she is ready to serve her alma mater. I am therefore a link to UPMC. I will call upon her to continue providing scholarship with the advent of this newly invigorated Alumni Association.

Today is historical. I see the emergence of a new breed of college of music scholars and alumni association dedicated to solidify and strengthen the organization. To my mind, the purpose of our revival is to engage in projects and programs that will harness the unlimited resources of our alumni to achieve peace, harmony, development, and prosperity to our country. I say "our" because the UPAA is your partner in your noble objective. I venture to say that the UPCM is full of treasure more valuable than a pot of gold.

What is the role of music in our troubled and chaotic world? I have seen the ugly side of music, but I also saw the beautiful side. I ask this question because music molds our frame of mind. It shapes our character and infects our sentiments and emotion.

I saw the kind of musical show that greatly influenced our global society. About 40 years ago, one movie was entitled, "THE SOUND OF MUSIC". If I remember it right, it was shown for almost two years in theaters and was the greatest musical blockbuster I ever saw. I hope your students saw this movie with their families. The movie shows the value of family unity, discipline, hope, idealism, faith, and love for country during the outbreak of the German empire. They don't make movies like that anymore.

In our home ground, during my time, 40 years ago, we also have great musical Tagalog movies and entertainment TV shows that foster respect for the elders, love of country, cultural values, and love songs that focus true undying romantic love. The country was generally peaceful. I remember love in Armida Siguion Reyna's musical "Aawitan Kita" which ran for decades showing the Filipino's cultural values and even prior thereto were Sylvia La Torre's immortal love songs. But as the song goes, "[…] that was long ago". Gone were the days of Joselito Pascual whose TV shows playing piano music was always sought after by music lovers or, of more recent vintage, the show of musical icon Ryan Cayabyab whose TV show brought about the rise to celebrated stature of musical talents in the UP College of music such as the Madrigal singers and UP Concert Chorus which brought international awards, giving honor and prestige to our country after beating the European and western counterparts all over the globe.

The challenge now before the newly revived UPCM Alumni Association is this:

How UPCMAA can make a difference in shaping a better and progressive Philippine society?

Perhaps, by creating, writing, producing songs and musical plays:
1. That bolster unity and love of country;
2. That promote our cultural heritage;
3. That focus on the good, the beautiful, the admirable, the praiseworthy in our society;
4. That institute a continuing program for musical scholars to upgrade their skills and talent to world class stature by way of providing a more extensive scholarships to gifted and truly deserving students.

I say this because music and musical songs have magical power to change the course of Philippine history.

I remember the song "Magkaisa" that sustained the spirit of the EDSA people power revolution sang by Liza Loberiza. The song “Bayan Ko” […] ignited the people power and inflamed the nationalistic spirit of the Filipino people that helped topple Marcos dictatorial regime. These two songs changed the course of Philippine history.

The revival of the UPCM Alumni Addition is the beginning of a new era in our college of music. The revival of the Alumni Association of the college beckons us all to accept the challenge of today to shape and mold our country towards the good and beautiful side of music thereby promoting peace, order, and harmony for our people and our nation.

In parting, may I say that I owe my everything to music and musical songs. Most specially to the singers Everly Brothers who, forty years ago, sang the song entitled "Dream". That song gave me the opportunity to approach a beautiful coed from UP, saying may I have this dance? The coed with extreme hesitancy extended her arms, yes, and because of the soft music I was able to embrace her and everything fell into place. She became my only sweetheart and my wife. I would not have succeeded were it not for the song "dream" and the singer Everly brothers. Can you imagine if there was no music and no singer during that historic moment in my life?

I will not wonder how this world would be without music. The world will be gloomy and monotony will be the order of the day. No UP Naming Mahal. No national anthem. There will be no college of music and I will not stand before you today. There will be nothing to revive. Let us therefore thank the Lord for the wonderful gift of music as we confront the challenges ahead of us with songs and instrumental music for a much better and progressive world of peace harmony and serenity.

Good day and God bless."