IMPRESSIONS ON THE CLSU International Alumni Association (CLSUIAA) 5th Grand Reunion
(by Firma C. Viray  1/26/2017)

Every two years the CLSUIAA organizes a Grand International Alumni Reunion, The last reunion was on September 23-25, 2016 at Gold Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Since 2012, I have been attending the aforementioned reunions and have observed and noted the different activities organized by the CLSUIAA. It was fascinating to say that from my first attendance to the 2016 reunion, there were many significant changes and improvements.
In 2012, there were less than 10 members from CLSU who attended the said reunion. It was really wonderful to see the former professors, classmates, batch mates and even bought their wife/husband and children with their US citizen relatives and friends. Dr. Fiorello “Leo” Abenes picked me up and Dr. Estefania Kollin at Las Vegas airport and accommodated us in his home. Some also of the US based expats offered help to pick up other members from the airport, brought them to Las Vegas. So sweet to remember that all the members were very accommodating and hospitable in their own ways. My brother-in-law, Engr. Joselito Viray, and his brothers and sisters in-laws (Bonzatos) though they were not graduates of CLSU, were also there and participated, extended help to Engr. Norma Bonzato Viray and co- members in the registration, programs and activities. Mr. Val Pascual and wife Ate Beaulah had offered me and Dr. Estefania Kollin their room at Gold Coast for us to stay, after almost one week we stayed at the house of Dr. and Mrs Fiorello B. Abenes. It is also worth to mention Dr. and Mrs. Edison Cabacungan, Drs. Romeo Padilla and Eliseo Ruiz who sponsored several eat all you can breakfasts and dinners, and the rest of the CIAG members also did the same during that reunion.
The reunion in Manila Hotel on February 2014, was spearheaded by Dr. Fiorello Abenes was significantly well attended by members from the US, Canada and the Philippines. The Cruise to Ensenada, Mexico organized by the CLSUIAA in September 2015 was also attended by more than a dozen members from CLSU. The cruise was an experienced in a life time for us first timers. The food was overflowing, and the CLSUIAA group became closer like a family. During the cruise, I observed and noted how the CLSU graduates retained and remained humble despite the successes they have attained in their career and status in life.
The reunion last September 23-25, 2016 held at Gold Coast, Las Vegas Nevada was very significant and also well participated (almost 200) by CLSU graduates based in the US, from Canada, Dubai, and the Philippines. Many of the CLSUIAAI members were noted to be very hospitable and even volunteered in picking up attendees from the airport. This was graced by the new President of CLSU, Dr. Tereso A. Abella, wife and a daughter, together with Dr. Eliseo Ruiz and Dr. Zenaida Serna. They were picked up from the airport by Mr. Edilberto Quiba and accommodated them in his home at Porterville, CA. where he has vast fruit orchard. Further, I can say I am lucky though I was not with the group of President Abella, I was picked up from the airport by Dr. Leo Sicat at LAX, and his wonderful family let me stay in their home till we went to Las Vegas with his wife Ate Norma, and his son Engr. Christianson “Sonny” Sicat (Civil Engineer, USC) and wife Tess. Sonny was the one who represented and read the message of the reunion’s key note speaker, his classmate Rep. Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Magsaysay (PhD in Political Economy). He was introduced by Dr. Leo Sicat, the famous humanitarian and CLSUAAI Gintong Butil Awardee 2014.

All the activities during the September 23-25, 2016 were considered well planned and organized, to make the affair interesting and memorable. There was a sumptuous dinner and also beautiful music for ballroom dancing, in between raffles for the organization fund raising and many very fruitful and memorable experience to all the participants. Besides renewing and meeting with batch mates, classmates, frat and organization mates, the most important was the cooperation of each member to be there with the group, supporting their projects and programs of fund raising for scholarships to deserving CLSU students, medical and dental missions, and other humanitarian welfare activities. During the last day activity, Mr. and Mrs. Edilberto Quiba even brought various fruits for the luncheon picnic. According to President Abella, they helped in picking up the fruits from his orchard. Many even brought home of the left fruits, as we all enjoyed to eat the sumptuous lunch prepared by the organization. It was really fun, fruitful and an affair to remember. The activities were very relevant, some CLSU luminaries in their own field were given the opportunity to share their successes in their chosen field. The activities and the program are well concieved, from the time of the arrival of the participants up to the last activity. It is hope that this type of activity, the CIAAI reunion will be sustained and more and more participants could attend. As such, we can plan and implement more projects to help not only the students but also the less privilege individuals in our community. The rest of the CLSU delegates either stayed with their friends or relatives in the US.

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