Groundbreaking of the new UP Sigma Delta Phi Sorority Plaza held

| Written by Franco Gargantiel II


A new plaza will soon rise in the UP Diliman campus—featuring a modern sculpture titled “Tagapag-Ugnay by UP Fine Arts alumna Melanie Libatique—courtesy of the UP Sigma Delta Phi Sorority (DSP) Alumnae Association to commemorate its 90th anniversary in 2023. Image provided by Ms. Melanie Libatique.

October 17, 2022, was the official groundbreaking of a new plaza soon to rise in the University of the Philippines’ (UP) Diliman campus, spearheaded by the UP Sigma Delta Phi (SDP) Sorority Alumnae Association in cooperation with the UP Office of the President. The new plaza will feature a modern sculpture titled “Tagapag-Ugnay,” designed by Sigma Deltan Melanie Chanco Libatique, a BFA Sculpture magna cum laude graduate from the UP College of Fine Arts.

The SDP Plaza is a legacy project of UP Sigma Delta Phi Sorority and will be located at Lakandula corner T.M. Kalaw Streets in UP Diliman. This project will be completed in February 2023 for Sigma Delta’s 90th-anniversary celebration, which will revolve around the SDP Plaza and flow into a street fair called “Balikada” (Balik Dekada sa UP). Visitors will be able to experience the sights and sounds of nine decades of campus life from the 1930s to the present through exhibits, music, food, and the era’s history.

Images provided by Ms. Melanie Libatique.

The new, three-piece modernist sculpture “Tagapag-Ugnay” represents and honors women’s constant challenges, innate strengths, and triumphs merited and meritorious as they sustain a cultural union of the physical and the metaphysical. It lauds the feminine among ancient Philippine divinities such as the Goddess of the morning Hanan, the Goddess of stars, Tala, IIdianale, the Goddess of labor and good deeds, and the Goddess of cultivated land, Ikapati. According to the project concept paper, “Tagapag-ugnay” expresses transcendence from the world’s vagaries and the triumph of diverse roles from the hand that rocks the cradle to a status of respect and equality in the community, the nation, and the world. “Tagapag-ugnay” evokes sisterhood and Sigma Delta Phi.

UP President Danilo Concepcion (in light-colored shirt) inspecting the mockup of the sculpture, “Tapagag-Ugnay,” to be installed in the new SDP Plaza. Photo from Ms. Melanie Libatique.

Many important guests attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the SFP Plaza, including UP President Danilo Concepcion, UP Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, Monalisa M. Lacanlale, and Marife Zamora. Along with giving speeches, the UP and UPSDP officials, together with SDP Plaza and statue designer Melanie Libatique, took part in burying the time capsule. UP is proud to continue celebrating local art and looks forward to seeing what new creations will be made with future generations that will heavily impact the Philippines and Filipinos everywhere.

Photos of the UP System, UP Diliman, and UP Sigma Delta Phi Alumnae Association officials who attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new plaza. Photo by Bong Arboleda (UP  MPRO)
Photo by Bong Arboleda (UP  MPRO)

UP Sigma Delta Phi was founded in 1933 and became well-known through the years for its artistic productions featuring prominent campus personalities. The UPSDP counts among its alumnae notable people such as Celia Diaz Laurel, Maureen Tiongco, and Dee Marquez, artists such as Araceli Limcaco Dans, Cota Deles Yabut, and Ofelia Gelvezon Tequi, economist Solita “Winnie” Monsod, architect Tina Turalba; writer Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, and the late activist Nelia Sancho. All of these women went from participating in sorority activities to the larger stage beyond Diliman, gaining recognition in their respective fields. A new batch of Sigma Delta Phi alumnae will receive Mariang Maya awards for distinguished achievement during the culmination of the February 2023 celebrations.