Theme: Balik Marbel Kita with Grateful Hearts to Notre Dame, Our Mother and Alma Mater

Deep friendship and school pride manifested as approximately 180 alumni from the Notre Dame of Marbel reunited during the 6th Biennial Grand Reunion on January 25 to 26, 2019.

The first of the reunion’s kind, the event took place in different venues around Koronadal City. The previous gatherings were in the United States of America, like Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, California, and in Texas.

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Part 1: Meet and Greet (Familiar faces, familiar songs)

The afternoon event in January 25 took the alumni to their rich and meaningful Notre Dame days, with the photo exhibit of the yearbook photographs of the former students displayed on the NDMU lobby.


Notre Dame alumni looking at past yearbooks

After the registration and photo ops, the alumni proceeded to the NDMU ground and witnessed a ceremonial tree planting activity, facilitated by the NDMU Campus Ministry with NDMIAA president Dr. Mario Dideles, and past presidents Mary Antoinette Morales-Reinoso and Mariam Morales-Estella. A single, young tree was planted to symbolize a strong, united Notre Dame community, and reminisce the legacy of the alumni.

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Ribbon-cutting and ceremonial tree planting for the NDMIAA

The Meet and Greet was held in Cinco Niñ­as. Food and drinks were overflowing, as the alumni jived to the beat of the 70s and 80s hits, including several tracks from The Beatles. It was the time of their lives, as they were in full energy interacting with schoolmates they had not met for a very long time.

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Dancing time with long-time friends

Part 2: Picnic and election of new set of officers

The High School Batch ’76 led the zumba routine at the university campus as a starter for the second and final day of the reunion. After an exhilarating exercise for 35 minutes, the Tambuli Singers and Kariktan Dance Troupe impressed the audience with their showcase of different song and dance presentations as a tribute to the alumni.

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Parlor games and picnic elated the alumni

There were a number of parlor games to entertain and hype up the alumni. The highlight of the meeting is to elect a new set of officers who will serve from 2019 to 2021. The 7th reunion in 2021 will be held in Melbourne, Australia, under the leadership of Araceli Garrido-Andries of high school batch 1974.

Part 3: Gala night

The alumni proceeded to The Farm at Carpenter Hill to cherish the rest of the events. Emeritus Archbishop of Cotabato, Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, who is a high school batch ’54 alumnus, presided the Eucharistic celebration, with NDM alumni priests as co-presiders: Frs. Tony Chua, Ronald Plomillo, Alex Salas, and Romeo Subaldo.

As a veteran educator and a cornerstone of the Notre Dame schools, Cardinal Quevedo also recollected his links to several personalities who are graduates of the university system.

His homily centered upon reflecting the responsibilities of a Notre Dame alumnus. According to him, the most essential duty is a difficult undertaking, and that is to preach the gospel to the poor. By saying poor, he referred to people who have not known Christ.

In the end of his homily, he reminded that faith should be lived, celebrated, and shared.

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Eucharistic celebration presider Orlando Cardinal Quevedo (left picture), and co-presiders Frs. Tony Chua, Ronald Chua, Alex Salas, and Romeo Subaldo (right picture)

In the same venue, Expo Taghap hosted the gala night. The alumni members got to know more the new set of NDMIAA officers who took their oath of responsibility with Atty. Ferdinand Hernandez, the representative of the 2nd District of South Cotabato.

Position Name
President Araceli Garrido-Andries
Vice-President Ping Pantua-Roman
Secretary Susana Duremdes-Bubongan
Assistant Secretary Lilia Arceño-Boell
Treasurers Mariam Morales-Estella and Eileen Español
Auditor Expo Taghap
Public Relations Officers Rafael Pantua and Pantua family
Sergeants-at-arms Edwin Evangelista and Oscar Bugante
Liaison Officers
Central USA Anne Morales-Reinoso, Ninfa Rabino-Hogarth,  Lydia Han-Español, Nelson and Anita Francisco
East Coast Remedios Pana-Sarmiento
North Willie Acosta
West Martha Pantua-Villarete
South Ronnie and Mary Jane Bene-Hervias
Australia Marilou Garcia-Gorga
Europe Sonia Bendol-Vogl
Middle East Myrna Velasco-Dawood
Philippines Lucrecia Sira Aguirre, Nilda Infante-Lozada, Dr. Chito Alba and all current batch presidents to represent their respective batch
NDMU Contact Person Dalia Mesias


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Atty. Ferdinand Hernandez (left picture) and new set of NDMIAA officials (right picture)

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NDMIAA former presidents (left picture) and current president Araceli Garrido-Andries

Virtue of gratitude

The guest speaker for the gala night is Mr. Orlando Batallones of high school batch ’79. He is the general manager of the Bio-life Sciences Solutions Co.

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Guest speaker Orlando Batallones

A successful alumnus, he admitted in his endearing speech that he had several critical turns in his life. He strived hard as a scholar in Ateneo de Davao University, took up agricultural engineering, and eventually shifted to chemical engineering. Fortunately, Batallones obtained Top 7 on the licensure examination in chemical engineering, and ventured into research, product development, and consultancy.

“Hard work taught me to have values, taught me to be disciplined. It taught me to be resilient, and at the same time, it gave me the results that I wanted to have,” Batallones said.

He also proved through his life story that grit supersedes talent and knowledge in achieving success. Importantly, he shared about the virtue of gratitude, and that one is truly thankful by extending the blessings to those in need.


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Alumni with NDMU administrators

NDMIAA’s mission is “bringing together the alumni to celebrate friendship, camaraderie, build bridges, and make a difference in the lives of other people through the NDMIAA scholarship fund.” On what had transpired during the two-day reunion, the alumni were committed to put their mission statement into action, and they will definitely have many gatherings to attend.

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Reunion’s working committee

This successful event would not have been possible without the people behind the programs, documentation, food, and venue. It was a great job for the working committee of the NDMIAA Reunion 2019.

The alumni were greatly pleased with the whole event as they sent affirmations to thank the organizers of the reunion.

“Thank you, Marbel chapter, for hosting NDMIAA 6th biennial reunion,” Mariam Morales Estella said. “Great job everyone! Your hospitality is one tough act to follow. Balik namon sa Marbel was a tremendous success.”

“I never get tired looking at all the posted pics on NDMIAA event! That was really great… Congratulations to everyone! That was a success!” Angelita Mabilangan added.

And that was how coming back, for the alumni, was something they look forward to, especially that it was for Notre Dame, our Mother and Alma Mater.

See you down under!

– NDMU Research and Publication Center