by Steven Patrick C. Fernandez
When Chancellor Marcelo P. Salazar took the microphone to address the MSU-IIT’s Christmas party last December 16, the hundreds who attended knew that Pasko sa IIT 2010 would be a moment to cherish.
Auspiciously, the official start of the Filipino Xmas season marked Salazar’s last celebration for a Christmas event as leader of arguably the leading educational institution in these parts. His second term as head of the Institute ends in 2011.
Salazar congratulating all employees and students of the MSU-IIT exhorted that “there is more that MSU-IIT can do with the ingenuity, innovativeness, and talents that we have,” adding that “the celebration is an opportunity for us to share, which only reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas.”
Salazar’s administration, strewn with countless challenges, has steered the Institute into the distinguished reputation it now banners as a leading Philippine academic institution.
As if to rib the Chancellor amidst the fun of the occasion, judges assigned to referee various party contests selected him and wife Prof. Fermina Salazar as Lakandula at Lakambini 2010 prodding the couple to march around the gym complete with crown and scepter.
The mix of contemporary and traditional motifs for the party was, what seemed to many, a novel concept.
A lantern parade and an opening program with the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off the weeklong string of events from December 13 to 17 with the theme “Barrio Fiesta.”
The festivities were capped by the lighting of the Christmas park in front of the Institute Library building, and this was followed by the display of fireworks.
Complementing events enlivened the celebrations: the “Tabo sa IIT” bazaar at the IDS multipurpose hall, exhibits at the Mini-Theater, the Night Café beside the park, the students’ party with music by the Echoes Band, and the Bulilit Christmas Party.
Other programs tapped the opportunity offered by the season, like the Wellness Promotion Program across the clinic and a “Shout Out Wall” (“Pahungaw sa Gibati”), a large space hung near the entrance gate where anyone could write their comments about anything.
“Kanta-Awit” contests during the opening ceremonies and the year-end socials provided the venues where the constituents matched performances in friendly competition.
Hosted by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Extension led by Dr. Olga M. Nuneza, Chairperson of the Steering Committee, the celebrations were an occasion that forged a spirit of camaraderie — in character with the spirit of the season — as evidenced by the team-like efforts of the Institute constituents.
It is the opinion of many that the 2010 Pasko sa IIT was the most participated, most innovative, and most vibrant of all Christmas celebrations that the Institute has organized. With significance, too, because the celebrations mark the culmination of the Salazar era that may be well recalled as being IIT’s Golden.