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Posted on Sunday the 10th of September 2017

By Marelle Banez and Veronica Talucod

A breath of unity wafts in the air as the ASEAN Ambassadors stand hand in hand on the 15th of August at the PSD Gymnasium for the annual celebration of ASEAN's 50th Anniversary.
On the morning before the official event, the honorable ASEAN Ambassadors, Charge d'Affaires a.i., guests and spouses were welcomed in the school's accounting office with the presence of the PSD Rondalla Ensemble, Unit heads and Principal. There, they were introduced to their respective guides and led to the conference room where a 15-minute Press Conference was held by The Link, an organization of student journalists. Moments later, the entourage moved to the gymnasium to partake in the program proper.
It was an undeniably remarkable, and almost miraculous moment, witnessing as H.E. Mr. Soonthorn Chaiyindeepum (Ambassador of Thailand and Chairman of ACD), H.E. Mr. Haji Nordin bin Haji Ahmad (Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam and Vice-Chairman of ACD), H.E. Mr. Nguyen Hoang (Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam), H.E. Air Marshal (Ret.) Muhammad Basri Sidehabi (Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia), H.E. Mr. Jai Sohan (Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore), H.E. Mr. Alan L. Timbayan (Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines), and Mr. Mohammad Shahir Sabarudin (Charge d'Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Malaysia) performed the ASEAN handshake in front of a mass of PSDians in celebration of half a century of solidarity, collaboration, and prosperity. Following the proceeding of the heads of the ACD to their designated seats was an ecumenical prayer led by Xandre Immanuel Acosta, a grade 11 student, as well as an opening message by the school principal, Dr. Alexander Acosta which expressed how great of an honour it was to have been given the chance to commemorate ASEAN's 50th anniversary with the embassies of seven of its member states' more than capable leaders. A stimulating video presentation prepared by Dr. Don John Vallesteros then succeeded the opening message - the video demonstrated the many great developments ASEAN has achieved as a sharing community with a united vision. "Mabuhay ang ASEAN!", proclaimed H.E. Alan L. Timbayan at the end of his inspirational speech, which came after the video presentation.
A very exciting segment of the program soon took place as the current emcees, Yzer Gutay (grade 12 student) and Veronica Talucod (grade 10 student), gave the floor to another batch of hosts, Thea Astley, Hannah Leanda, Jasmine Paquibot, Xandre Acosta, Jovandrei Del Rosario, and Zendrick Magboo (grade 11 and 12 students), for the presentation of ASEAN's humble beginnings. PSDians once again showcased the many God-given talents and skills they possess by several music and dance performances. The PSD Chorale amazed the audience with their own beautiful renditions of the songs "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong and "One Love" by Bob Marley; the Preschool Young Performer's Club (PYPC) presented a lovely dance to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"; the PSD Hiyaw Divas offered a stunning performance of Whitney Houston's "When You Believe" ft. Mariah Carey; the Primary Dance Club and Glee Club (?); Emmanuel Angelo Balita wowed the crowd with an exceptional series of magic acts; the PSD Hiyaw demonstrated a contemporary dance to the song "Colors of the Wind"; the Intermediate Department energized the people with an upbeat dance of "I See You In Me", a song for global peace and unity; and Grade 10-Einstein blew the crowd away with their own composition. A curtain call took place thereafter to recognize all performers.
In honor of ASEAN @ 50, the school held four different competitions prior to the day of celebration, namely Logo Making, On the Spot Essay Writing, Poster Making, and Photo Essay. After the curtain call, the winners of the said competitions were presented. Then, in order to officially close the program, H.E. Soonthorn Chaiyindeepum was called onstage to deliver the Vote of Thanks. Lastly, the PSD Chorale's presence was requested to lead everyone in the singing of the anthem that represents the common identity ASEAN's member states have forged: "The ASEAN Way".
The event was a true testimony to ASEAN's advocacy, which is to unite every nation despite certain differences. The celebration in itself, exemplified this advocacy in all forms, through singing, dancing, and joviality.
For several years, PSD has worked hard in growing from the soil it was once planted on so that it could sprout into what it is today. While the ASEAN nations, for 50 years in the making, have also grown together as a community as they embody the essence of unity and solidarity even in the midst of quandaries. As the aftermath of the joyous celebration of ASEAN's 50th Anniversary pervades throughout the campus, it only goes to show that time is no rival with the strength of harmony within a wholesome community.