National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 88 host Colegio de San Juan de Letran wowed the Smart-Araneta Coliseum crowd on June 23 with its opening production.
The main theme of the opening rites was "Deus (God), Patria (country) and Sports Education." By showcasing the history of Catholicism and of the Philippines, Letran was able to go out of the usual dance number productions.
Moreover, because of the virtual effects on the floor, "everybody went wild, everybody was so happy," said production team head, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean Dr. Rowena Capulong-Reyes. She wanted to incorporate modern technology with our traditional heritage since she does not "want it to be boring."
"This year, with the strict order by my father, Fr. Ponce, that it [production] be all-Letran student performers," said Reyes, adding: "there were [also] athletes… you got athletes dancing and they are not dancers; in the last [day of] practice… we can't help but cry because they really know it [their participation in the performance] by heart."
The opening production team includes Asst. Prof. Louie Benedict Ignacio, Asst. Prof. Randy Lero, Margarita Silva-Netto, and Verna Layag. The production was directed by Floy Quintos. The vision and concept was put to words by Institute of Communication faculty Rizalino Pinlac, Jr.
Reyes expressed her gratitude during an appreciation dinner dedicated to all who took part of the production and for all who showed their support to Letran, saying: "the opening production was not only a spectacular success, but it will be forever remembered by all Letranites, young and old, as one that they own. Everybody who has seen the opening has one feeling after watching—pride."
NCAA Policy Board President and Letran rector and president Fr. Tamerlane R. Lana, O.P. said that he was still groping for words to express how proud he is after witnessing the NCAA opening. He even said that it was beyond his expectations.
Notable figures also expressed their amazement to Letran's efforts during the opening ceremony through their twitter accounts.
Red Cross chairman and CEO Richard Gordon, who was present in the Coliseum to watch the NCAA opening, tweeted his congratulations to the Colegio: "The Letran show was splendid and lofty! Congratulations to the entire Letran Community! The opening ceremony made me proud to be an alumnus."
"This must be 1 of d [the] best NCAA opening rites I've seen in yrs. Congrats Letran & @AKTVonIBC13," Chot Reyes, head coach of PBA team Talk 'n Text Tropang texters tweeted.
The Arriba spirit was evidenced by many paraphernalia provided by different organizations of the school. Letran Alumni Association donated 3,000 pairs of clappers; Letran Student Council (LSC) gave 500 pairs of clappers and 200 tarpaulins which read "Get that Ball," "Arriba Letran," and "Never Give Up, Never Give In;" the basic education distributed red and blue flaglets with the word "Arriba" and “Letran” in them.
"All of the Letran community had their fair share kung ano man 'yung na-conquer natin na glory during the opening ceremony," LSC president William Barry Codera said.