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With the theme “We Serve as One”, the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) celebrated its 103rd Founding Anniversary last February 1, 2020 at the Philippine International Church (PIC).

This year’s foundation celebration theme got its inspiration from the recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian Games (2019 SEA Games), “We Win as One”. Throughout the years, AUP has dedicated in serving the students, and neighboring communities. Adhering to its philosophy in providing holistic education, never did AUP know that it would as well uphold this year’s founding anniversary theme, which is serving as one.

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Last January 12, 2020, Taal Volcano erupted which blanketed Batangas City and the neighboring towns including AUP campus with thick sulfuric-ashes. Within days of continued eruption, the once ever-green campus of AUP looked like a monochrome photo from the early 90’s.  Immediately, the faculty and staff worked as one in cleaning the campus. For the next few days, with a united effort, AUP was back to its operations. This paved the way for the university in practicing its forte—serving others as one.

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Extending AUP’s service in the affected communities, on January 23-25, 2020, the volunteer students, faculty and staff, with the University Advancement Office, Philippine International Church-Adventist Community Services (PIC-ACS), and the Central Student Council were able to gather relief goods such as water containers with clean drinking water (a total of 25 gallons), pails, dippers, soap bars, underwear, toothpaste, shampoo, sanitary napkins, ethyl alcohol, face towels, and blankets. These relief goods were given to nine evacuation centers, namely the Tejero Evacuation Center, Navarro Evacuation Center, both in Gen. Trias, Cavite, Barangay Puting Kahoy, Sitio Muzon, Barangay Lumil, Barangay Pasong Langka, Pooc 1, Barangay Inchican and Barangay Tartaria. The relief goods were given to a total of 344 families. In addition, there were other services and ministry rendered to the victims like the psychological first aid which reached 245 individuals, medical outreach to 134 individuals and free haircut for five children.

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There were also support coming from generous members of Edmonton SDA church (Pathfinder Club) in the USA and Canada. Also, the Korean community donated 20 sets of goods for 20 families, and 5,000 pesos worth of learning materials. There were also assorted stuffs given by some members of PIC. Due to the Taal Volcanic eruption, a few of the scheduled programs for the founding anniversary celebration were canceled, but the natural calamity did not stop AUP family from paying it forward to others.

Towards the weekend, the AUP community continued its founding anniversary celebration through the consecration service on January 31 at the PIC. Alumni came to join the program, three of which gave inspiring testimonies of how God has transformed their lives while staying at AUP. Mr. Prom and Mrs. Norma Amoguis also graced the event. They were recipients of Service award for their dedication in serving AUP especially the working students financially including their foods and school supplies.

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On Saturday, the 1956 Colors Family, composed of AUP alumni, sponsored the Sabbath School worship. Pastor Romeo Mangiliman, the North Philippine Union Conference President gave the Hour of Worship message which focused on the keys of witnessing. The afternoon worship was filled with music and singing of praises as 14 different choir and musical groups rendered songs of thanksgiving during the musical concert. As AUP turns into another year of academic excellence, the institution continues to cultivate in its students a Christ-like character, and together as one, render exemplary services to others. As the CSC president said, Decxel Ragas, “The true essence of serving as one is when people come together with one purpose [in] mind, young and old, and gives in the effort it needs so that [the] goal will be accomplished.”