By Manny V. Ilagan, APO Member, PDoT-LA
MANILA – Members of Alpha Phi Omega (APO) are in high spirits as they switch to high gear for the association’s 27th National Biennial Convention from May 23 to 26 in Legazpi City, Albay.
With the theme “Together as One, Rooted and Grounded in Service,” this year’s convention has attracted hundreds of APO residents and alumni members from all parts of the Philippines and overseas. At least 100 members from APO chapters in the United States are participating in the event.
Committed to making this year’s convention an ever bigger success than the previous events, the organization have kept the participants busy and exhilarated with numerous activities.
On May 16 to 18 APO members, medical professionals and volunteers conducted a medical mission in Darigayos, La Union where they performed and provided humanitarian, dental, medical, and optical services. More than 200 families congregated at the Luna Sports Complex to avail of free eye examination, free eyeglasses, tooth extractions, circumcision, and blood and diabetic screenings.
Similar services were provided to poor families and residents of Legazpi City on May 22. In addition, there were also clothes distribution and food feeding services. Also part of the pre-convention activities were Rover Training and a leadership training for collegiate held at Legazpi Science High School.
The medical mission is a project of APO Alumni Association headed by ACNA President Lito Tarculas, ACNA Vice President Myrna Almazan, and ACNA Treasurer Alex Garcia. Doctors and residents from Araneta University, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center (UERMMC), and dental students from the Centro Escolar University were part of the medical team. Local officials from both La Union and Legazpi City coordinated with the members of the medical mission and ensured the project’s success. The Philippine Department of Tourism-Los Angeles, represented by this writer, extended its support to this project.
Showcasing Bicol Region
Riding on the heels of the global recognitions the Philippines received from mainstream travel and tourist magazines and agencies, the APO Convention also aims to showcase and promote the Bicol Region as a prime tourist. Albay, which is becoming a fastest destination, was the top tourist hub in the region last year with over a half million tourists visiting the province, according to the Department of Tourism.
Pre-convention activities include scuba diving, golf and horse backriding, church visits, Mt. Mayon and Mt. Bulusan climbs; various cultural festivals and sightseeing tours available in and around Legazpi City such as visits to Lignon Hill, Misibis Resort, Caramoan Island, Hoyop Hoyopan Cave, Cagsawa Ruins and Albay Zoo.
APO members and delegates not only served their countrymen; they also hiked trails, climbed mountains, swam with the whales, planted trees, joined derbies and contests, explored caves and islands, played, bonded among friends and have “MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES” than they ever did before.