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ViSCA’s first prexy, Cong. Angara grace VSU’s 88th anniversary convocation

Glimpses of VSU’s 88th anniversary. F-U-N was spelled all over the campus as a series of activities were lined up for the U’s weeklong founding anniversary celebration. Top photo (right) show the award-winning NARC booth and left, during the inauguration of the Flower and Garden Show. Middle left photo shows former Rep. Migz Zubiri of Bukidnon branding a cattle, assisted by Leo Locsin of Ormoc City. Middle shows ViSCA’s first president Dr. Fernando Bernardo and Rep. Sonny Angara on stage with VSU president Jose Bacusmo and Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. CAri and other VIPs. Bottom photos show the Footbelles and the champion football team for men.

Baybay City—With the theme “Changing Lives through Science and Technology”, the Visayas State University (VSU) here celebrated its 88th founding anniversary through a weeklong fun and educational fair. Many activities were laid down from August 2-11, 2012 and were capped by the Anniversary Convocation on the 11th at the University Gymnatorium.
This time, the university invited two prominent guest speakers to deliver the anniversary address for the event – Dr. Fernando A. Bernardo and Hon. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.
Dr. Fernando A. Bernardo was the first president of the Visayas State College of Agriculture or ViSCA, VSU’s precursor.
Acknowledged as the one who transformed the school from a small agricultural college into a leading and internationally recognized state college of agriculture, Bernardo’s speech focused more on how he developed ViSCA as an institution. “We worked very hard, day and night. In three months, we developed a proposal for the development of the school consisting of four volumes,” said Dr. Bernardo, referring to the proposal which was eventually endorsed by the Philippine government for a World Bank loan that financed ViSCA’s massive infrastructure and human resource development.
“The first volume is on the service area, what is the environment, how are the farmers, how is the supply of manpower in agriculture of the institution. Second is how to put a nice and strong College of Agriculture with main partners and also focus on an instructional program. The third volume is on research and extension and the fourth is on the experimental high school,” Dr. Bernardo emphasized.
The first ViSCA president also related how he was able to establish a post office inside ViSCA and the rationale of having ViSCA offices in Cebu and Manila.
Moreover, Dr. Bernardo emphasized that three things are more important in an educational institution than buildings. These are student scholarships, a massive staff development program, and research culture development. Towards the end, Dr. Bernardo emphasized the importance of addressing the future challenges of VSU, including how to overcome these obstacles.
Hon. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Chair of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education and a member of the House of Representatives, was the second guest speaker.
After listening to Dr. Bernardo’s speech, Angara said he had never encountered an institution like VSU with such an industrious history. “I am happy with institutions that put a premium in all research and extension services,” Angara said.
The Chair of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education highlighted in his speech that our country spends much less for students unlike all the other countries in Asia, hence, there is a need to increase this budget.
“Definitely, I am happy to say that the [Philippine] president na mismo ang nagsabi na they will be increasing the budget for state colleges and universities by 43% for 2013,” he said. Angara also stressed that, “In the Philippines, we are in a stage wherein we must wrap up our public support for education dahil sa England and Ireland, about 30-40% are funded by the state. Tayo dito hindi naka 20%, so there is much room for improvement.”
Angara also restated what Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, VSU President, said that there is no regional center recognized by the Philippine Coconut Authority to study the coconut industry here in the country. “If Dr. Bacusmo gives me the supporting materials, I will file a bill in the congress to have VSU declared as the Center of Coconut Industry here in Visayas,” he assured.
Moreover, the House of Representatives member said that, “May isinusulong na panukalang batas sa kongreso for the promotion of Agri-tourism in the country. Farmers and caretakers can open their lands for Agri-tourism activities by extending them tax credits and other meaningful support.”
Just before Angara ended his speech, he congratulated VSU for not only maintaining but in fact increasing or strengthening its reputation as a research university. “VSU deserves the congratulations for maintaining the tradition of publication and research. Sana ipagpatuloy niyo po iyan,” Hon. Angara said.
Aside from the convocation, the highlights of the week-long anniversary celebration included the Flower and Garden Show, invitational games (i.e., Kulas Cup, Goodwill games, Pagalingan sa Tennis), National Rodeo Competition (with former senator Miguel Zubiri as guest), the first ever Cosplay Festival, Booth Competition, Farmers and Fisherfolks’ day, Jackfruit Fiesta, Coconut Festival and the different presentations from the VSU faculty, staff and students.
The much-anticipated Flower and Garden Show
33 exhibitors from this City, Ormoc and other areas joined this year’s Flower and Garden Show. The show was formally opened at 3 o’clock in the afternoon of August 2, with a ribbon cutting led by the guest speaker, Dir. Michael M. de la Cruz, director of the Civil Service Commission from Biliran-Western Leyte Satellite Office.
With him were Hon. Carmen L. Cari, mayor of Baybay City, Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, VSU president, Dr. Paciencia Milan, the former VSU president and Dr. Othello Capuno, vice president for research and extension of VSU.
An added attraction to the show was the plant contest initiated by the Department of Horticulture (DOH) headed by Dr. Antonio L. Acedo, Jr., and participated in by the exhibitors from Baybay.
The Best Bonsai was won by Mr. Romeo Belarmino from Brgy. Pangasugan, Baybay, Leyte; Best Bromeliad by Ms. Sarah Goltiano from VSU;  Best Vanda and Best Dendrobium by Mr. Nilo U. Algodon of MEBOD’s Garden from Brgy. Gabas, this city; Best Aroid “A” by Ms. Leila Joanna A. Lañada from VSU, Best Aroid “C” by Mr. Mario Baliad of Mario’s Highway Garden, and the Best Dish Garden by Mr. Edito Atacador from VSU. The winners received cash awards.
The exhibitors registered as early as one month before the anniversary celebration. Some said they joined the show even if they had to rent the space for their display area because the Flower and Garden Show gives them the opportunity to earn more. Some of the exhibitors were participants of the trainings conducted by VSU earlier.
Zubiri’s National Rodeo Cup
Likewise, the Department of Animal Science (DAS) of VSU, in cooperation with the Association of Rodeo Enthusiasts in the Visayas (AREV), organized a national rodeo competition on August 10, 2012.
Universities from different parts of the Philippines participated in the event. Among them were the Bohol Island State University (BISU), Mindanao State University (MSU), Negros Oriental State University (NORSU), Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT) in Masbate, and the Visayas State University.
The competition was divided into seven events: the  carambola, bull riding, bull whipping, casting down cattle, lassoing on foot, load carrying and tug-of-war.
The team from DEBESMSCAT placed first with a total of 50 points.  It was followed by the  VSU Rodeo Team with 36 points and BISU with 35 points.
Former congressman Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, who also attended the Farmers’ and Fisherfolks’ Day, led the ceremonial branding and was the rodeo’s biggest sponsor.
Another highlight was a free concert from Manny Pacquiao ‘s protégé,  Kirby Asunto.
Booth competition
On the other hand, the booth of the Philippine Rootcrops Research and Training Center (PhilRootcrops) was adjudged the best among the more than 30 competing booths during the annual Booth Competition.
The booth competition was anchored on the VSU anniversary’s theme, “Changing Lives through Science and Technology.”
Booth entries were divided into four categories: Research Centers, Colleges, Students Organizations, and Local Government Units and Line Agencies.  Selection of the winning booths were based on the following criteria: relevance of booth’s form or message to the theme – 35%; visual impact, symmetry and attractiveness – 35% and environment friendliness and cleanliness – 30%.
The winners of the competition were announced during the Convocation program. PhilRootCrops earned the highest average score from the five judges and received a certificate and a cash prize of P4,000.00.
For the Local Government Units and other Agencies category, the first prize went to the Baybay City Agriculture Office while the second prize went to  Energy Development Corporation (EDC) of  Ormoc City.
For the Students Organizations category, the VSU Agricultural Extension Students Society won the best booth award while the VSU Laboratory High School was first runner up.
For the Colleges, the booth of the College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS) won the first prize, followed by the College of Engineering.
For the Research Centers category, the National Abaca Research Center won the Best Booth award while the National  Research Center-Visayas was adjudged as the first runner-up.
Each of the first prize winners in the four categories received a cash prize of P2,500.00 while the second prize winners received P1,500. Aside from these cash prizes, the winners also received certificates of recognition during the convocation program.
With Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo at the helm, VSU is geared towards being the premier science university in the Visayas, if not in the country. With reports from Ma. Victoria Stephane Asio, Faye Bada, Jessica Cordero, Clarissa Jean Ybañez, and John David Agpalo/VSU Development Communications students

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