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All-Embracing Goodwill

That is the literal meaning of Pan Xenia — the name of my fraternity when I was studying at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Its full name is Pan Xenia International Professional Foreign Trade Fraternity. I entered UP in 1966 and decided to take up Business Administration (BA), Major in Accounting. Aside from academics, I was also active in student organizations that included the UP-Junior Executives Circle (UPJEC), the UP-Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (UP JPIA), and the UP Student Catholic Action (UPSCA).


But if I remember correctly, it was in the second semester of my junior year when I joined the Pan Xenia fraternity. At that time students were accepted into Pan Xenia by invitation only. And I must say that my time in the fraternity and with my brods were some of the happiest memories I have of my college days. Even up to now many of us are very close and continue to uphold the Pan Xenian values.


Last week, the Pan Xenia fraternity celebrated its 100th year anniversary. It boggles the mind to think that an organization could last a century. For an individual to live to a hundred is in itself a rare feat. For an organization with a multitude of members to survive — and in fact, thrive — for 100 years is simply astounding.


It was in Sept. 23, 1923 when Dr. Macy Skinner founded the Philippine Alpha Chapter in the UP Diliman with the “Grand Old Man” Professor Fermin Tecson Francisco as its first local adviser. While the feat is indeed extraordinary, the fact that our fraternity lasted 100 years should not be a surprise.


This is because Pan Xenia was established, nurtured, and strengthened by great men — brothers — whose vigor and spirit were unmatched as they pursued the lofty goals and ideals of our fraternity. The International President of Pan Xenia in 1960, in fact, recognized the Philippine chapter in a letter in which he cited that “no chapter of Pan Xenia can exceed the Philippine Alpha in the loyalty to the cause of the fraternity.”


In a span of 100 years, the Pan Xenia fraternity in the Philippines have made significant contributions to the country, government, business and to the University of the Philippines. From our ranks of distinguished alumni a president of the Republic, a prime minister, senate presidents, a speaker of the house and congressional leaders, a chief justice of the Supreme Court, Central Bank governors, local government officials and, military leaders.


From our distinguished ranks also came industry titans and business leaders — in manufacturing, retail, real estate, banking and finance, media, and many more. It might take another 100 years just to enumerate here the Pan Xenians and their contributions to nation building.


When I welcomed my brods during our dinner celebration of our centenary held at Brittany Hotel in BGC, I told them that I thought the achievement also bears some responsibilities on our part. Our responsibility is to make sure that we last another hundred years. Our job is to make sure that our fraternity will survive and thrive even as the world around us changes very rapidly. Our task is to fight irrelevancy and make sure that the ideals and goals set out in 1923, which is still relevant today in 2023, will be as relevant as ever in 2123. It is a difficult task but I know that my brods will rise up to the occasion as they have in the past.


I also thought that aside from the people who built the fraternity over the course of our 100-year history, it was also the lofty ideals of Pan Xenia that allowed it to last. In the end, people come and go but the ideas and the ideals remain.


Our fraternity was founded in order to “encourage the highest forms of business relationships and goodwill among its members.” Our fraternity was also founded on four cardinal virtues: Honesty and business ethics, knowledge, caution and courage, and appreciation of human relationships. Values that have been inculcated in all of us and which we continue to uphold in our own lives — professional and personal.


Happy 100 years to all my brods! Most of us will not be present in our 150th anniversary or in our 200th year anniversary, but we know, as those who came before us knew, that these ideals will be stronger than ever for hundreds of years to come!




Manila Bulletin/Views/MannyVillar