USTP Alumni Federation names Bantugan Awards 2023 recipients

By Jomerl I. Gomez, USTP System Strategic Communication Office

The USTP Alumni Federation has recently unveiled the recipients of the prestigious Bantugan Awards for the year 2023. These awards celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of USTP graduates who have excelled in various fields, ranging from science and technology to arts and culture. The awards not only recognize professional achievements but also acknowledge contributions to the USTP community.

USTP Bantugan Awards 2023 Awardees

The Bantugan Awards, as shared by Bantugan Chairman Ms. Nadine Elaine A. Enerio during the ceremony, aims to recognize the university’s graduates who have made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments, affiliations, and careers have honored the legacy of excellence of the University. The search is called “Bantugan” as a description of the kind of alumni they become. Bantugan, in Cebuano, means “great” and, in Maranao culture, is the name of a great prince in one of their famous folklore stories.

General Qualifications

To be eligible for consideration, nominees must have completed their tertiary education or graduated from USTP. The criteria for selection are comprehensive, ensuring a holistic evaluation of the candidates. Beyond academic success, the nominees are assessed based on their achievements in professional, academic, research, or community endeavors in the years following graduation. Notably, achievements before completing their education at USTP are also taken into account, highlighting the long-term impact of their contributions.

USTP System President Dr Ambrosio B Cultura II

The diversity of the awards is emphasized by the requirement that nominees are not bound to work within the discipline they graduated from. This inclusivity reflects the evolving nature of careers and the interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving in today’s world.

Additionally, candidates must exhibit a significant commitment to the USTP community, underlining the importance of alumni involvement in the growth and development of the university. To maintain the integrity of the awards, nominees must not have any convictions on civil, administrative, or criminal cases.

Award Categories

The Bantugan Awards are divided into several categories, reflecting the varied talents and accomplishments of USTP alumni. The categories include:

  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Science and Technology
  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Engineering
  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Education
  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Business and Entrepreneurship
  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Public Service and Governance
  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture
  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Athletics and Sports
  • USTP Bantugan Young Alumni Excellence Award (under 35 yrs. old)
  • USTP Bantugan Lifetime Achievement Award (alumni with significant and sustained accomplishments)


These categories showcase the vast spectrum of achievements possible for USTP graduates, from groundbreaking scientific advancements to impactful contributions in the realms of arts, culture, and public service.

Timeline of Recognition

The nomination period for the Bantugan Awards 2023 spanned from September 23, 2023, to October 18, 2023, providing ample time for the USTP community to put forth deserving candidates. Following this, the processing phase occurred from October 19, 2023, to November 18, 2023, during which the selection committee meticulously evaluated the nominees based on the established criteria.

The culmination of this process was the awarding ceremony held last December 16, 2023, at the Dr. Ricardo E. Rotoras (DRER) Memorial Hall in USTP Cagayan de Oro, where the USTP Alumni Federation honored the recipients for their exceptional contributions and accomplishments. This event proved to be a momentous occasion, bringing together the USTP community to celebrate the achievements of its outstanding alumni.

Board of Judges

The following served as the Bantugan Awards 2023 Board of Judges:

USTP Bantugan Awards 2023 Awardees with Board of Judges

Mr. Rafael Silagan

Mr. Rafael Silagan is a dedicated professional with dual licensure as a Nurse and a Teacher, showcasing his commitment to both healthcare and education. His professional journey includes a stint at Gambe Realty, where he gained valuable experience. Currently, he serves as a teacher at Tablon National High School, contributing to the development of young minds. In addition to his teaching role, Mr. Silagan takes on the responsibility of School CSE-ARH Coordinator at Tablon NHS, highlighting his involvement in Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Adolescent Reproductive Health programs.

Ms. Razel Elaine Grace A. Cataluña

Ms. Razel Elaine Grace Cataluña is a versatile individual with a background as a Chemist at the Department of Agriculture Region X. Beyond her scientific pursuits, she is a Financial Adviser and a Certified Investment Advisor at Pru Life UK, showcasing her financial acumen. Ms. Cataluña also serves as the President of Kids at Heart, Inc., embodying her commitment to philanthropy. Furthermore, she actively volunteers at Panampawan Elementary School in Claveria, demonstrating her dedication to education and community service.

Ms. Angelie A. Collera

Ms. Angelie Collera stands out as a professional with a strong focus on environmental planning. Holding the title of Registered Environmental Planner, she is committed to sustainable and responsible development practices. Ms. Collera takes an active role as the Moderator of the Federation of Accredited Extracurricular Student Organization (FAESO), contributing to the holistic development of students at USTP. Additionally, she is a member of Gulayan Sa Kabalayan CDO (GSK), emphasizing her involvement in community-based initiatives. Angelie also serves as a USTP Council Member in the Department of Educational Planning and Management and Public Administration, showcasing her leadership in educational governance. Furthermore, she holds the position of Center Head at USTP The Center for Human Development, indicating her commitment to human development and growth.

Bantugan Awards 2023 Awardees

Here are the recipients for this year’s Bantugan Awards:

Dr. Rene M. Chavez
USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Science and Technology

Dr. Rene M. Chavez is an accomplished automotive technician and consultant. Serving as a consultant for LGU Bukidnon and Bukidnon State University since 2016, he imparts expertise in automotive technology, conducts preventive maintenance of vehicle trainings, and offers basic diagnosis skills. Dr. Chavez holds key positions, including Vice President of the Mindanao Guild of Academic Inventors, Senior Member of the Philippine Association of Industrial and Technology Educators Inc., and the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology. He has garnered accolades, including a 3rd place award in the 2023 Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits ClusteRICE in Mindanao. Dr. Chavez’s significant contributions extend globally, as his inventions and innovations in the automotive industry inspire researchers not only in the Philippines but also in various international academic platforms.

Dr. Sergio N. Canoy Jr.
USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Education

Dr. Sergio N. Canoy Jr. has attended annual trainings by the German Academic Exchange Service and undergone rigorous local and international sessions on statistics, quality research, and science R&D. Serving as the President of the Mathematical Society of the Philippines in Regions 10, 12, and ARMM, he became a lifetime member of the Southeast Asian Mathematical Society. Progressing from an Assistant Professor at MSU-IIT in 1988 to a current Professor VI, Dr. Canoy’s passion for mathematics has left a lasting impact. His exceptional research outputs gained recognition globally, including in Germany and South Korea. Notable accolades include the Outstanding Young Scientist Award in 1999 and the CHED Republika Award in 2009 for the Caraga region, reflecting his significant contribution to the education sector. Dr. Canoy’s humble personality and dedication have inspired generations of learners in various settings, making him a deserving recipient of the Bantugan Award.

USTP Bantugan Awards 2023 Awardees with Judges and Key Officials 1

Mr. Timothy Glenn J. Palacio
USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture (Photography)

Mr. Timothy Glenn J. Palacio is a multi-talented individual with a fervor for photography and a deep commitment to community service. Serving as a dedicated EMT volunteer instructor for the Philippine National Red Cross from 2005 to 2011, he later contributed significantly to public service as the Tourism Consultant of the Provincial Government of Misamis Oriental from 2015 to 2019, promoting tourism through his exceptional photos. In 2012, he founded his own photography company, now recognized as a top-notch service provider in Northern Mindanao. Mr. Palacio has garnered numerous awards, including international recognition from Microsoft Philippines and Sony Philippines, and his significant contributions to the art of photography are well-endorsed by clients and recognized by various competitions.

Mr. Joel O. Abratiguin
USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture (Performing Arts)

Mr. Joel O. Abratiguin is a dedicated and long-time resident of the university. As a mentor in the Arts and Culture Department, his exceptional talent and unwavering commitment have made him an exemplary nominee. Serving as a mentor, teacher, and guide, Sir Joel has become an integral part of the USTP dance community, fostering an environment where students feel like family. Through his approachable demeanor and positive vibes, he creates a comfortable learning atmosphere for his students. His coaching and guidance have not only elevated the university’s name but also allowed student performers to shine both locally and internationally. As a dance researcher, his efforts have led the USTP community in the continual celebration of performing arts. With his dedication, the USTP community has become a vibrant and colorful environment that encourages students to express themselves not only academically but also in arts and culture. Many generations of graduates owe their success to his discipline in the performing arts.

USTP Bantugan Awards 2023 Awardees with Judges and Key Officials 2

Ms. Rebecca J. Salamanca
USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Athletics and Sports

Defying gender stereotypes in the male-dominated arena of sports, Ms. Rebecca J. Salamanca, known affectionately as Ma’am Becky, emerged as a prolific female sports coordinator at USTP. Her influence became a cornerstone, fostering a tradition of confidence, discipline, and competitiveness among student athletes under her guidance. Through a combination of tough love and genuine kindness, she motivated students to excel, bringing honor to the university in various sports. Ma’am Becky’s dedication extended beyond athletes, influencing her colleagues to form a passionate community of coaches and instructors. Her efforts laid the foundation for the current USTP athletic community, inspiring students to engage in interschool and national-level competitions. Ms. Salamanca is not just an award recipient; she is an inspiration, coach, mentor, and, above all, a mother to the USTP community.

Mr. Nathaniel E. Quimada
USTP Bantugan Young Alumni Excellence Award (under 35 yrs. old)

Mr. Nathaniel E. Quimada is an accomplished environmental engineer who has seized every opportunity for growth. His international engagements include participation in conferences in Salerno, Italy; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Bogor, Indonesia. Notably, he received recognition both locally and abroad, with accolades such as the Global Scientist Award from USTP and the Civil Service Commission. His achievements extend to the USTP Research Summit, a presentation in Baguio City, and awards from ETCOR Educational Research Center and AHEdMRI.

USTP Bantugan Awards 2023 Key Personalities

No awardees were recognized for the remaining awards:

  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Engineering
  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Business and Entrepreneurship
  • USTP Alumni Bantugan Award for Excellence in Public Service and Governance
  • USTP Bantugan Lifetime Achievement Award (alumni with significant and sustained accomplishments)


A special part of the ceremony was also dedicated to Mr. Billy Kid S. Auza, who was posthumously honored with the Outstanding Alumni Award for his significant contributions to the community. The recognition symbolizes the Federation’s gratitude and respect for Mr. Auza’s lifetime achievements, which touched the lives of many.

Finally, some members of the USTP Board of Regents, who are also university alumni, were recognized for achieving remarkable success in their careers and making significant contributions to society. The following individuals were given Special Awards for their commitment, dedication, leadership, and impact on their communities:

  • Atty. Rufus B. Rodriguez – Congressman, 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro City
  • Dir. Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño – Regional Director, NEDA X
  • Dr. Renato O. Arazo – Chancellor, USTP Claveria
  • Dr. Ambrosio B. Cultura II – President, USTP System

Impact Beyond Recognition

The Bantugan Awards extend beyond mere recognition; they serve as a source of inspiration for current USTP students, motivating them to strive for excellence in their respective fields. The accomplishments of these alumni highlight the diverse paths one can take after graduating from USTP and emphasize the importance of continued engagement with the university community.

Furthermore, the awards foster a sense of pride and unity among USTP alumni, creating a platform for networking and collaboration. By acknowledging the achievements of its graduates, USTP reinforces its commitment to nurturing individuals who not only excel in their chosen fields but also contribute meaningfully to society.

USTP Alumni Federation

“Bantugan was conceived four years ago with a simple dream through the leadership and Initiatives of Mr. Jason Dalman, who is here with us, to recognize the extraordinary work of our outstanding alumni,” Hon. Joshua Jones G. Waban, President of the Federation of USTP Alumni Associations shared during his speech. “As we enter its second year, I take pride in witnessing the profound impact our alumni continue to make as pillars of our society. May your brilliance continue to illuminate the path, serving as a beacon of pride for USTP.”

The USTP Alumni Federation’s Bantugan Awards 2023 exemplify the spirit of excellence and achievement that the university instills in its graduates. The awards not only celebrate past accomplishments but also inspire future generations to reach new heights and contribute meaningfully to their communities and the world at large.